Thursday, May 03, 2012

Detective Work

I had an inquiry from a woman whose grandmother took a train from Winnipeg west to Vancouver in early 1983. She was asking about trip times and also whether the Winnipeg Union Station downtown said "VIA" or "CN" on it.

Getting the trip times is easy enough. I have a VIA Rail system timetable dated November 15, 1981 (effective to April 24, 1982) and another dated May 29, 1983. The times for the Canadian in both are the same so I think it's a safe assumption that it did not change in between.

VIA 1 arrived in Winnipeg at 10:00 AM daily and departed at 13:30, on CN to Portage la Prairie and then switching to CP tracks for the remainder of its westward journey. It arrived in Brandon at 16:50 and departed at 17:05. The Canadian then passed through Regina, Calgary and Banff before arriving at Kamloops at 22:30 and departing 15 minutes later at 22:45. It finally arrived in Vancouver, BC at 07:00, almost two days after arriving in Winnipeg.

The Super Continental had been cancelled in 1981 (only to return briefly in 1985) so it had to be the Canadian that her grandmother took.

Here are the two relevant pages from the November 15, 1981 VIA Rail System Timetable. First, page 32 (Montreal - Toronto - Sudbury - Winnipeg).

Next, page 33 (Winnipeg - Regina - Calgary - Banff - Lake Louise - Vancouver).

Click on either page to see a larger version.

Her other question was whether the Union Station in Winnipeg showed CN or VIA. Since CN owned the station until 1986, it was a good question. It turns out that the station did show CN until at least June 3, 1986 when Eric Gagnon took this photo.
Union Station in Winnipeg. Photo by Eric Gagnon

Click on the photo to see Eric's original blog post about laying over in Winnipeg.

Mark Perry found a photo on Flickr of Union Station from 1967 prominently featuring the CN logo.
CNR Station at Winnipeg, Manitoba

I love this kind of detective work!

1 comment:

Eric said...

Glad to help solve the mystery, Steve. Interestingly, 1983 was one of only two years I didn't make it to Winnipeg and Portage between 1976 and 1986.

VIA really needed new motive power, hence the hurting power consist of CN 9151-VIA 6617, the latter usually being an eastern unit. I'm guessing this power was off the Churchill train, and that ex-CP baggage 605 is the car behind them. Oh well, the F40PH-2's were just over a year away.