I was recently offered the chance to tour VIA Rail's Winnipeg Maintenance Centre. VIA Rail engineer Tommy Bozyk, who is also active with Operation Lifesaver, made the offer and I gladly accepted. We eventually settled on Friday, October 14th, as it is least busy there during the day with no Canadian (VIA 1/2) or
The maintenance centre is at the end of Brandon Avenue, off Osborne Street behind the bus depot. I arrived there at 10 sharp and met Tommy at the entrance. After signing a waiver and the visitor log, I met the shop foreman and began the tour. I was given the run of the place and the only restriction was that I could not take pictures of any VIA Rail employees. Tommy had already cleared my presence with VIA management so everything was on the "up and up".
The shop building has four tracks numbered 1-4 with 4 being closest to the CN main line in Fort Rouge. Sleeper cars Chateau Brule (8203) and Chateau Viger (8229) were both on track 1. Brule is the one on the right in the photo below.
|Inside the VIA Rail Winnipeg Maintenance Centre|
|VIA 6449 and 6429 in the Winnipeg VIA Rail Maintenance Centre|
The WMC does all the servicing for the Winnipeg-Churchill train, as well as any incidental work that needs to be done on the Canadian as it passes through Winnipeg. The WMC is capable of doing any repairs and maintenance short of a rebuild.
We went to look at the passenger cars first. This is Chateau Brule (VIA 8203).
|VIA 8203 - Chateau Brule|
|Chateau Brule wheel changeout|
Here's a shot from the south end of track 4, showing VIA's Trackmobile attached to the end of Chateau Viger. The Trackmobile is used to move cars around.
|Trackmobile in the VIA Rail Maintenance Centre|
VIA 692 returns from Churchill and goes to Union Station in downtown Winnipeg. When they are done unloading passengers, it continues east to Beach Junction just north of CN's Symington Yard, turns on the wye there, and comes to the Winnipeg Maintenance Centre pointing "railway west". Once or twice it has been spotted turning at Portage Junction instead.
Two engines were inside the facility, VIA 6449 and 6429. As you can see from the photo below, they are pointing "railway west" or south as the rest of us call it.
|VIA 6429 in the Winnipeg VIA Rail Maintenance Centre|