Wednesday, November 23, 2011
RDCs in Town
VIA 6135 and 6148 in Winnipeg. Photo by Jeff Keddy
For years, VIA Rail has provided passenger service on Vancouver Island. In recent years that was provided by RDCs (Rail Diesel Cars), but that came to an end early this year when track conditions forced VIA to suspend service and replace the RDCs with buses. The bus service was terminated on August 7 and VIA is, at least temporarily, out of the passenger business on Vancouver Island. There is an travel advisory by VIA about this.
The two RDCs (VIA 6135 and 6148) providing that service were stored in Nanaimo on the Island since May. VIA decided to move them off the island and on Saturday, November 5 they were put on a barge and shipped to the mainland. In the fine tradition of the excellent Oil-Electric blog, I'll talk about the barge too. ;) The barge in question was the MV Carrier Princess operated by Seaspan Ferries. The Carrier Princess was launched in 1973, is 380 feet long, and has a capacity of 38 truck trailers and 22 rail cars. Oddly, she is powered by four EMD 645 engines, the same family of engine in such diesel-electric locomotives as the GP38, GP40, F40 and so on. Here's a little video I found of the Carrier Princess.
There's a nice Flickr photo showing her deck with the embedded rails. More information on MV Carrier Princess.
Hey, did you know you can track her position? This link shows her position and you can see her route very well.
Anyway, the RDCs reached the mainland and were put on the Canadian for shipment east. They were spliced between the two F40PH-2 engines, because they do not have HEP connections and therefore could not be placed in the regular consist, much like the Rocky Mountaineer cars are carried. VIA 6434 was leading, followed by 6135 and 6148, with VIA 6412 providing HEP power after.
VIA 2 was almost 2 hours late coming into Winnipeg on Sunday, November 19. Jeff Keddy braved the bitter night cold to shoot them at the depot in downtown Winnipeg. Here's VIA 6135.
This is VIA 6148:
The depot is not very accessible for photographs and Jeff did a good job getting these photos. Thanks for sharing!
The building looming in the background is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, under construction. When complete it will be a valuable addition to Winnipeg's downtown.
Tom Jankowski shot VIA 2 with the RDCs in Thornhill in the Greater Toronto Area. Nice job!