Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Double Wrapped Math! 2 X 150 = VIA 1

Two Canada 150 wrapped locomotives on VIA 1
The railfan news network was alive with the news that VIA's Canadian leaving Toronto on May 11 (through Winnipeg on May 13) had two "Canada 150" wrapped locomotives on the head end. This was the first time two wrapped F40PH-2 locomotives were on the Canadian, and perhaps the first time two operated together at all.

You may remember that VIA 6454 was the first "Canada 150" wrapped locomotive to visit Winnipeg. The second was VIA 6437 on May 4th and VIA 6416 on May 11th. I was out of town on both of those days so I didn't have an opportunity to see them.

A bonus was that this VIA 1 was also carrying a Rocky Mountaineer car west to home base in Kamloops, BC. These cars get refurbished now and then and I have seen them pass through on VIA 1 before.

What's a "Wrap"?

A quick aside to define what railfans mean by a "wrapped" locomotive or car. Locomotives and rail cars are painted initially. They can be repainted with a new scheme, or in VIA Rail's case they are usually covered with a vinyl "wrap" instead. Think of it like a giant decal. As a commenter on one of my previous Canada 150 posts said,
"They're a lot of work. First a crew comes in to clean the cars. Then a crew does body work and then we jump on them for the wrap. It takes 4 highly experienced 3M installers most of the day to complete one. We also did the Glen Fraser car and another biz class car with similar graphics. VIA then inspects them thoroughly."
Theoretically the wrap can be removed after the promotion is over, but in reality the locomotive or rail car normally needs to be repainted.

The Setup

I knew the Winnipeg railfans would cover it well within the city, so I decided to head east of the city and catch it somewhere on the CN Redditt subdivision. Before I went to bed on Friday night (May 12), I checked VIA's train tracker site and they said it was running a little over 2 hours late. Even better!

May 13... Saturday morning dawned... cloudy. Does a day really dawn if it is cloudy? Let me know!

Anyway... I woke up at 6:30 AM, and after a quick shower and breakfast, I hit the road for points east. I passed through Dugald and saw a few maintenance vehicles in the grain elevator siding there, and carried on to Anola. The siding in Anola was full of rail maintenance vehicles and there were a few pickup trucks around as well. Clearly some maintenance was planned for the day!

Subset of CN Redditt subdivision
I had originally planned to go all the way to Elma (mile 196.8) to catch VIA, but after checking VIA's web site again I decided to stop short, as the last thing I wanted to do was to get behind the train and miss it.

I drove into a few crossings east of Anola but none of them had great sight lines. I wanted a good side shot of the train so I had to have a wide view. I eventually decided on the small community of Vivian, mile 221.3 of the Redditt subdivision. I had been there before as it has a hotbox detector and Wheel Impact Load Detector (WILD) that I photographed for my article in the Trackside Photographer.

I parked on Park Street (heh) and walked around to find the best angle. I arrived at around 08:20 and nothing happened for half an hour. I had my scanner with me but nothing was going on.

I tried setting up my Canon S3 as a video camera but the batteries were dead. So I put my phone on the tripod... a little jury-rigged...

Eventually I noticed that a signal was lit.... and saw a headlight to the west! That can't be VIA...

CN 112

I wasn't really set up for an eastbound train but I did my best to capture CN 112.
CN 112 through Vivian, Manitoba
CN 8805 was on the head end and CN 2968 was on the tail end.
CN 2968 on the tail end
Odd how CN 2968 was facing forward... and what a rusty container!

They called VIA 1 to find out where they were. It turned out that the Canadian was not far away, in the siding in Nourse at mile 217.3, 5 miles east of me. They came in loud and clear on the scanner.

13 minutes after CN 112 left, VIA 1 arrived.

The Canadian in Vivian

VIA 6402 led the way as the Canadian rolled through Vivian.
"Canada 150" VIA 6402 and VIA 6436 through Vivian, MB
Here's a side shot of the two. The "Canada 150" wraps have 3 cities on each side of the locomotive. There are some cities repeated among locomotives, as you will see, but each side lists different cities. VIA 6402 has Ottawa, Winnipeg and Montreal on the engineer's side and VIA 6436 has Vancouver, Ottawa and Moncton. Canada's capital city was well represented!

A full look at VIA 6436:
VIA 6436 in Vivian, MB
VIA 6441 was the third unit - three units on the Canadian is unusual - and the first car after 6441 was a Rocky Mountaineer car, RMRX 9525.
Rocky Mountaineer #9525
It was, of course, empty.

You may recall that when VIA has carried the Rocky Mountaineer cars in the past, they had to put the car between the two locomotives due to the cabling used. I'm told there is new cabling so that VIA Rail can marshal the Rocky car(s) behind the locomotives and just pass the Head End Power (HEP) cabling through. It looks nicer too!

The going-away shot was not that impressive but I was there for the head end, not the tail!
Kootenay Park on the tail end of the VIA Rail Canadian
Here's the video of VIA 1 through Vivian with the two "Canada 150" locomotives. When you watch the video, note the two Skyline dome cars together.

Here's the complete consist:

  • VIA 6402
  • VIA 6436
  • VIA 6441
  • RMRX 9525
  • VIA 8609
  • VIA 8106
  • VIA 8143
  • VIA 8503
  • VIA 8517
  • VIA 8413 Louise
  • VIA 8308 Bliss Manor
  • VIA 8341 Thompson Manor
  • VIA 8313 Cabot Manor
  • VIA 8301 Abbot Manor
  • VIA 8339 Sherwood Manor
  • VIA 8316 Christie Manor
  • VIA 8324 Dunsmuir Manor
  • VIA 8327 Fraser Manor
  • VIA 8224 Chateau Roberval
  • VIA 8228 Chateau Vercheres
  • VIA 8208 Chateau Dollier
  • VIA 8212 Chateau Latour
  • VIA 8219 Chateau Montcalm
  • VIA 8509
  • VIA 8414 Palliser
  • VIA 8206 Chateau Denonville
  • VIA 8227 Chateau Varennes
  • VIA 8708 Kootenay Park

I've highlighted the Skyline domes and the two diner cars. Now if you were a poor soul in Dunsmuir Manor, you had to walk forward through six sleeping cars to get to diner Louise or back through six to get to Skyline 8509 and through that to get to diner Palliser. Talk about a long stroll to get a bite to eat!

I think it might have been better to stick one of the domes between the Manor and Chateau cars, but maybe there were good reasons to marshal the train as it was.

After VIA rolled through, I tossed everything in the van and took off west in chase.

A Quick Grab

Surprisingly, I overtook VIA very quickly. I had not expected to overtake it at all, really, but I thought I'd give it a shot. Since I overtook it well before Anola, I turned up a side road and quickly parked to grab the power rolling through.
Side on view of "Canada 150" locomotives near Anola, Manitoba
After shooting those, the chase was on again.

I zoomed through Anola - slowing down to 60 km/hr, grrr - and carried on toward Dugald. I was well ahead of them by this point so I decided to shoot them at the grain elevator in Dugald.

VIA 1 in Dugald

I wanted to get the other side of the train to get the other six cities. Since it was cloudy, light direction was not a concern! I parked by the baseball field and rushed over toward the track to grab the shot.
VIA 1, the "Canadian", through Dugald, Manitoba
There was no time to set up for video so I just dropped the tripod and shot some stills.

VIA 6402 in Dugald
VIA 6402 had Moncton, Saskatoon and Kitchener on the conductor's side, while VIA 6436 had Guelph, Winnipeg and Montreal on the left. Note that Winnipeg is on both engines, just on different sides.

VIA 6436 in Dugald
The going away shot was a little better here.
Kootenay Park in Dugald, Manitoba
(I like how Chrome wants to correct "Kootenay" to "Hootenanny")


At that point I gave up the chase, as I didn't think I would catch them again. I would have had to crawl along at 60 km/hr and risk getting stuck behind traffic, and they had a clear shot to Transcona and beyond and there was no way I would catch them again before they parked at the station downtown.

Instead I elected to go east outside Dugald and wait for the promised 4 westbound CN freights. That's for another post...

From Others

Jack Hykaway was near Nourse just east of me and recorded VIA 1 coming through.

He also included VIA 6416 (from a week ago) in the video. Thanks, Jack!

Ken Storey photographed the 12-hour late VIA 1 through part of BC. He has several photos in his excellent VIA Flickr album but to me this was the shot of the day.
Red Rock

You'll note that the locomotives are different from when I saw the train. VIA 6402 was dropped at Saskatoon, I believe, and 6441 came off at Jasper and was replaced by 6453. It's too bad the wrapped unit wasn't leading. The odd thing was that the Rocky Mountaineer car wasn't dropped at Kamloops but instead went all the way to Vancouver.

Further Reading


Jenn said...

I think the Canada 150 trains are growing on me! Cool to see 2 of them together. I like the shot with the grain elevator...trains and elevators just go together so well.

Canadian Train Geek said...

I think they are growing on me too! I'd like them to wrap a stainless car or two but I don't think that will happen.

Trains and grain elevators together are nerdvana for me.

DaveM said...

The wraps on the F40PH look ok. But on the P42's, it looks like they are trying to cover over a bunch of bumps and scrapes.


Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi DaveM they certainly are covering over bumps and scrapes! I believe they do a bit of cleanup and repair before applying the wraps but I imagine the P42s get more bangs and scrapes due to the higher speed running they do.

Anonymous said...

Is Rocky Mountaineer #9525a end car? i noticed it had a large open deck facing the loco.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Anonymous, I think all of the double decker Rocky Mountaineer cars have that platform / deck on one end.

The Rocky doesn't really have an end car... sometimes you'll see the generator "baggage" car on the end. I'm a little surprised they don't have any kind of end dome or panoramic type car.

Unknown said...

Yet another great post Steve, although I still can't say I'm overly fond of the Canada 150 wrap. I guess I've still got another six months for it to try to grow on me, and perhaps it looks better in person than in pictures.

Three locomotives on the Canadian may certainly be unusual, but I lucked out a couple months ago and happened to catch it leaving Winnipeg for points west with four units on the front end and a Rocky Mountaineer car in tow. First time I'd ever seen a Rocky Mountaineer in person and I have to say that it's a mighty sharp looking unit. I got a picture of the four units and the Rocky car, but it's a terrible one. Taking it while driving truck around a corner in the snow with the train on the passenger side will do that, apparently. The picture may be terrible, but it's on Flickr ( http://bit.ly/2sGPOC0 ) if you want to see it.

I always enjoy your posts and look forward to each one. Keep it up!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Lee! Thanks for your message and I like your photos of the train.. I heard it went through Winnipeg but I missed it. Maybe I was in Italy or maybe I was just working. Can't catch them all!

Thanks for following my blog! I should have a pair of posts coming out this week.

Unknown said...

Great photos, Steve. I especially liked that one of the Canadian going away with the fantastic sky and clouds above.
Keep up the great work

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, James. The Canadian is one of the few trains that looks as good leaving as it does coming!