Saturday, May 09, 2009

Switching the Chaleur

The Chaleur at Matapedia, Quebec
As I mentioned, I saw the Ocean and Chaleur switch at Matapedia this past Monday night. You may or may not know that the two trains travel together from Montreal, then split at Matapedia and go their separate ways. When the Chaleur returns later that day, it is merged back into the Ocean and they travel as one train back to Montreal.

They start with the Chaleur on the track leading to the Gaspe coast, and the Ocean beside the station on the other side. Both trains face railway west.

The basic procedure is this:
- Uncouple the engines from the Ocean and run forward to the switch
- Back those engines onto the head of the Chaleur
- Take the entire Chaleur consist forward to the switch
- Back the entire Chaleur consist onto the Ocean's cars.

Of course, there is lots to do in between, because all the various cables and hoses have to be detached and attached on every movement. There are a lot of connections!
Cabling between VIA engines

On Monday the procedure was done by one person on the ground together with one of the Ocean engineers. The Chaleur head end crew was not involved. I'm not sure if they were onboard or had booked off.
Switching the Chaleur

I was glad I could see the procedure. It was quite a little dance.

No comments: