VIA Rail has five cars stored at the Winnipeg Maintenance Centre. These are all labeled "Northern Spirit" and were acquired from Amtrak for use on the Hudson Bay between Winnipeg and Churchill. The cars are all sleepers. They were put into service on the Hudson Bay in 2000 (ref VIA Rail annual report) and were withdrawn from service.... in 2006, I believe. The cars were leased from Amtrak in 2000 and purchased by VIA in 2004. They have been stored at the WMC for some time and are for sale. They are moved every six months to ensure the wheels are still functional.
Each is decorated with a different northern animal.
|VIA 2448||polar bear||ex Amtrak 2448 (Oak Grove), ex Amtrak 2684, ex SP 9004||1950|
|VIA 2449||snowy owl||ex Amtrak 2449 (Maple Grove), ex Amtrak 2686, ex SP 9006||1950|
|VIA 2455||caribou||ex Amtrak 2455 (Elm Grove), ex Amtrak 2680, ex SP 9000||1950|
|VIA 2462||beluga whale||ex Amtrak 2462 (Silver Chasm), ex Amtrak 2657, ex CB&Q 430||1952|
|VIA 2463||osprey||ex Amtrak 2463 (Silver Dale), ex Amtrak 2658, ex CB&Q 431||1952|
Let's look at each one in numerical order.
Here's 2448, with 2462 in the middle and 2449 at the far end.
VIA 2448 has a nice polar bear on it.
VIA 2448 was leased to Canadian Pacific for a while and was located in the West Coast Express yard in Vancouver for use by WCE crews to sleep in. Apparently their regular rooms in the CPR Vancouver station were closed for a construction project. Here's a Flickr photo showing the car in Vancouver in late 2007.
Here's VIA 2449 with what looks like a snowy owl on it. There are a number of condemned wheel sets rusting away next to the Northern Spirit cars.
This is VIA 2455 with a
Strangely I did not shoot 2462 directly. This photo shows it has a beluga whale
Here's VIA 2463.
I noticed that 2463's Burlington heritage is showing through - note the B U R L I N G T O N showing through the paint. Any idea what type of bird this is? EDIT: It's an osprey.
There's some discussion of these cars here.
That concluded my tour of the Winnipeg Maintenance Centre.
I want to thank VIA Rail for permission to roam through their facility and photograph whatever I pleased, the shop foreman for answering my questions, and especially engineer Tommy Bozyk for arranging this and being my tour guide. His knowledge of the equipment and facility is first-rate and I appreciate the time he spent arranging it and showing me around.
Thanks for reading.
EDIT: Thanks for the help identifying the various animals!