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June 21, 2018:

June 21, 2018:

 

††††††††††† I got up and had breakfast. I got dressed and headed out. I walked to the Metro station and boarded a train of MR-73s and rode to Barri-UQAM. I was going to La Ronde today before I went down to ride the MR-63s on their last day of service.

 

††††††††††† At Barri-UQAM, I transferred to the Yellow line. Since the last time I rode the Yellow Line which at the time used six car trains, STM was now running nine car trains on the line. During the MR-63ís last runs on the Yellow Line, the full nine car train was run.

 

††††††††††† I rode one stop to Jean-Drapeau and filmed the train leaving. I then went to catch a bus to La Ronde. STM route #167 goes directly from Jean-Drapeau to La Ronde. The park wasnít open yet as there was a crowd waiting to get in. I bought a ticket and joined the line to go through the metal detectors.

 

††††††††††† When the park opened I went inside after clearing the metal detectors. I saw they had a fast pass which would allow guests a chance to avoid standing in line for rides. There were three variants for sale at La Ronde. I went with the middle version which cuts waiting for a ride by 50% and tells them the time to report to the ride.

 

††††††††††† At Canadaís Wonderland back home, they have whatís called the ďFast LaneĒ and ďFast Lane PlusĒ which is a wristband that pretty much allows people to get to close to the front of the line of many of their rides. Before it was sold to Cavallino Matto in Italy, Skyrider was one such ride that the Fast Lane allowed people to get ahead in line.

 

††††††††††† The first ride I went on was Goliath which I rode in 2011. It is similar to Behemoth at Canadaís Wonderland. I photographed the ride.

 

 

††††††††††† After riding Goliath, I decided to take a picture of the fast pass which looks like a big Tamagotchi.

 

 

This little device was a big help at La Ronde this day.

 

††††††††††† The next ride I used the fast pass to go on was Le Monstre; a racing wooden roller coaster.

 

 

††††††††††† The next ride I went on was Gravitor.

 

 

††††††††††† Next, I rode Super Manege.

 

 

††††††††††† I then rode Manitou which is similar to a ride at the Canadian National Exhibitionís midway called Fireball.

 

 

††††††††††† I saw that the log ride La Pitoune which I went on in 2011 had been removed. Only part of the lift hill remained. Itís kind of sad. I photographed what was left of La Pitoune.

 

 

 

 

Hereís La Pitoune back in 2011 during happier times.

 

††††††††††† Next, I went on Orbite which is an ejector seat type ride.

 

 

††††††††††† I then stopped for lunch. After Lunch, I went on Titan which is like Psyclone at Canadaís Wonderland.

 

 

††††††††††† I then went on Bateau Pirate which is similar to The Rage at Canadaís Wonderland.

 

 

††††††††††† I joined the line for Phoenix which is similar to a ride that Canadaís Wonderland put in two years ago. Unfortunately, Phoenix wasnít covered on the Fast Pass, and it was getting close to the time I had to leave in order to get to Snowdon by 3:00 as thatís when I believe the MR-63 would be heading out on its last runs in service on the Blue line. I photographed Phoenix.

 

 

††††††††††† I then returned my fast pass and left the park. I boarded a bus on route #769 and rode to Papineau station on the Green Line. I then boarded a subway train and rode to Lionel-Groulx and transferred to the Orange line. I then rode to Snowden station and arrived there at 2:48 pm.

 

††††††††††† There were a few transit fans there already. I learned that the MR-63 would show up at 3:30 so I could have spent another 30 minutes at La Ronde. Oh well, I still went on 8 rides.

 

††††††††††† I photographed a few MR-73 trains in service on the Blue Line.

 

 

 

††††††††††† More transit fans arrived. Shortly after 3:30, the MR-63 train pulled in. I filmed it pulling in.

 

 

††††††††††† I boarded the front car. The Blue line uses six car trains. At least one station cannot accommodate a nine car train. As a result, the MR-63 train only had the first element and 3rd element in the consist. The 16th element had been uncoupled and was sitting in the yard.

 

††††††††††† The train soon departed. Today was the first and last day the MR-63s had run on the Blue line in revenue service; not to mention the first time I rode the cars on the line. I rode to Saint-Michael and photographed the train.

 

 

††††††††††† I then filmed the train pull into the tail track. I went to the opposite platform and filmed it pulling in. I then photographed the train.

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† The train soon left. When we got to Fabre, I took a picture from the train.

 

 

††††††††††† At Snowdon, we got off. I filmed the train pulling into the tail track. I sprinted downstairs to catch its next trip. There was a MR-73 train at the platform already. We let it leave and filmed the MR-63 when it came in again.

 

 

††††††††††† I rode to Saint-Michael and got off. At Saint-Michael, I got off and went to the other platform and filmed the train pulling in again.

 

 

††††††††††† I boarded the front car and the train left. I was told the train would make four trips. Another transit fan and I assumed they meant by two trips starting at Snowden and ending at Saint-Michael and two starting at Saint-Michael and ending at Snowdon.

 

††††††††††† At Snowdon, I got off and photographed the train.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I filmed the train departing thinking the MR-63 era was over. Some other transit fans and I boarded an MR-73 train and rode to De Castelnau station with the intent to film the MR-63 deadheading through. At De Castelnau, we got off and waited.

 

††††††††††† Soon the MR-63 showed up. However, it was still in service. The era wasnít quite over yet. I was filming the train when it entered.

 

 

Not quite retired yet!

 

††††††††††† We boarded the train and found out it would be doing about four more trips. I ended up riding to DíIberville station and getting a photo from the stairs leading to/away from the platform.

 

 

††††††††††† I filmed the train pulling out of the station and went to the opposite platform. While waiting for the train I photographed the next Saint-Michael bound MR-73 train.

 

 

††††††††††† I saw and spoke with Mario who I had seen a few times when I was in the Montreal area on my 2009 trip on the Chaleur, the TTSís 2010 Transportation Weekend, and the 2013 BHA Convention.

 

††††††††††† When the MR-63 returned, I filmed it pulling in before I boarded the front car.

 

 

††††††††††† I boarded the front car and we soon departed. I rode back to Snowdon. At Snowdon, I took some pictures.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I then filmed the train pulling out and went downstairs to catch its next eastbound trip.I filmed the train pulling in.

 

 

††††††††††† Once again, I rode to Saint-Michael. I got off and took some photos.

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† I went to the opposite platform and filmed the MR-63 pulling in.

 

 

††††††††††† I boarded the front car which was #81-501. The train departed. This would be the final westbound trip. It would make one last trip to Saint-Michael.

 

††††††††††† At Snowdon, the cab door was opened up. I took a photo.

 

 

††††††††††† I went downstairs to await the final run. The train pulled in. There were people from the news media documenting the final run of the MR-63. There were a lot of people on the platform as I filmed the train pulling in for its last run. Many people clapped and cheered.

 

††††††††††† I boarded the front car along with many top STM employees including the boss of STM.

 

 

††††††††††† I briefly spoke with the boss of STM. He seemed like a nice guy. He liked that I had come from Toronto for the last run. However, there was someone who had come from New York. When he found out I was from Toronto, he told me that they had taken the former boss of the TTC (which I was already aware of).

 

††††††††††† After leaving DíIberville, I filmed the ride to Saint-Michael where the train would go out of service for the last time. The train pulled into the station and everyone clapped. I got off and took some photos.

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† As these things go, things were better than the last runs of the H-4s, H-5s, and H-6 subway trains in Toronto. Even though I wasnít there for either run, I did hear some things.

 

††††††††††† On the last run of the H-4, one fan ruined other peopleís videos saying ďThis is the end of an eraĒ out loud. For the H-5, some fans allegedly reached into the open cab and hit something which caused a breakdown at Eglinton West station. For the H-6s, people, were hanging off the interior bars and stuff.

 

††††††††††† I went to the other side with some other transit fans hoping to once again go to De Castelnau station to catch the train deadheading to the yard. There was an MR-73 at the opposite platform, but it departed before we could get on. From the platform, I photographed the MR-63 as it pulled into the tail track and went to the very end.

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† Another MR-73 train pulled into the station to discharge its passengers. I wasnít sure if the MR-63 would pull out to allow the MR-73 into the tail track, but it turned out to have enough room for two six car trains in the tail track as the MR-73 pulled into the tail track and changed ends and pulled onto our track.

 

††††††††††† Some fans and I boarded the train and rode to De Castelnau. We got off and got into position to catch the MR-63 train pass by.

 

††††††††††† A train of MR-73s came by heading west to Snowdon. A few minutes later, the MR-63 train pulled in. I had assumed the train would pass through the station non-stop and go into the yard. I filmed the MR-63 train as it approached the station.

 

††††††††††† Instead of passing right through, the train stopped for a couple minutes. Many transit fans including myself reached out and touched the train as it would be the last time we would get to do so in the Montreal Metro. I also took some photos.

 

 

 

††††††††††† The train pulled out of the station as people cheered. I filmed it pulling out. I then waited for the next train and rode one station to Parc. I walked over to the commuter rail station and saw a train was coming in about 20 minutes. I phoned home and told my mom that the MR-63s were now retired and I had ridden their last trips.

 

††††††††††† I waited around for the commuter train to come by. I was expecting the train to have an ex GO F59PH and AMTís newest coaches like the train I rode the day before. When it did pull in, I saw it was pulled by an F59PHi and had Bombardier bi-level coaches similar to what GO Transit uses. I photographed the train.

 

 

††††††††††† I then filmed the train pulling out and took one more photo.

 

 

††††††††††† I then boarded a bus and rode across to Namur Metro station. I then walked to the Gibeau Orange Julep; the restaurant shaped like a giant orange with really sweet orange juice. I had dinner there.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I then walked back to Namur. I attempted to photograph a couple CP locomotives running light.

 

 

††††††††††† I then got onto the subway and returned to where I was staying. I eventually set my alarm and called it a night.

 

June 22, 2018:

 

††††††††††† I got up and had breakfast. I finished packing and then left the apartment. I had plenty of time before my VIA train home to Toronto was scheduled to leave. I had decided to go up to Sauvť station and try to see VIA trains 601 and 603 passing through on their way to destinations in northern Quebec.

 

††††††††††† I walked to the Joliette Metro station. A train of MR-73s pulled in. It was a bit sobering knowing the MR-73s are now STMís oldest subway trains. I photographed the train before I got on.

 

 

††††††††††† I rode to Barri-UQAM and got off. I filmed the train pulling out. I transferred to the Orange line and boarded an Azur heading towards Montmorency. I got off at Sauvť station and walked over to the AMT commuter rail station as that would be the line VIA trains 601 and 603 would use.

 

††††††††††† In the distance, I could see one of AMTís bus garages. I attempted to photograph it.

 

 

††††††††††† I eventually saw some other people gathering. One asked me if the VIA train had come. I told them no. While VIA trains 601 and 603 use the same line as Exoís (formerly AMTís) newest commuter rail line, they take different paths away from Central station. The commuter trains take the tunnel which requires them to run with a dual mode locomotive that runs with both diesel and electricity from overhead wires.

 

††††††††††† VIA trains take a more roundabout route because they canít run through the tunnel as VIA only has diesel locomotives.

 

††††††††††† After awhile, I saw the train in the distance. I had assumed that the train would just roll non stop through the station. However, the train actually stopped as itís a passenger stop on the line. I filmed the train pulling in and then photographed it.

 

 

††††††††††† Train 601 usually has a F40 for power, a baggage car, and one or two HEP1 coaches. Itís the same story for train 603. The two trains actually run combined head to tail between Montreal and Hervey, Quebec; about three hours away where they split. One train heads off to Senneterre while the other goes off to Jonquiere. Coming back towards Montreal, the trains combine at Hervey before heading the rest of the way to Montreal.

 

††††††††††† I noticed that one of the two trains had a Skyline dome in the consist! This is rare to say the least. The Skyline ended up being #8501 which was the Skyline Rapido ended up chartering back in 2015.

 

††††††††††† After the passengers waiting for the trains had boarded, the crew looked at me thinking I was boarding the train too. I gestured no and the train soon departed. When the train departed, I filmed it pulling out. I attempted to photograph the last coach.

 

 

††††††††††† I then walked back to the Metro. I wanted to ride the Blue line one more time. I still had time before my train left.

 

††††††††††† I rode to Jean-Talon and filmed the train pulling out. I then transferred to the Blue line and rode an MR-73 to Snowdon where I filmed the train departing as well.

 

††††††††††† I then transferred to the Orange line and waited for a train. I photographed the train that pulled in.

 

 

††††††††††† I boarded the front car and rode to Bonadventure. I got off and filmed the train leaving. I then went to Central Station. I noticed that the Adirondack now left at 10:00 am instead of 9:30. I looked around the shops and bought a Coke from the McDonaldís in the station. I eventually joined the line for train #65.

 

††††††††††† Boarding began some point after 10:30. I was seated in LRC coach #3336. I had a window seat on the right hand side of the train. One of the first things I noticed that the AC outlets on my side of the coach didnít work. I had previously experienced something like this when I rode Amtrak train #145 from Manassas to Lynchburg in 2016. However this time, I couldnít go to the cafť car and use the AC outlets there as VIAís corridor trains lack cafť cars.

 

††††††††††† Train #65 left on time. Shortly after we left, I spoke to a VIA employee on the train and told her the outlets werenít working. They tried a few things but they would never get the problem fixed. I also learned the train would be sold out so I couldnít move to another seat.I photographed some retired AMT coaches in a yard.

 

 

††††††††††† The train stopped in Dorval where I got a seatmate. After my ticket was taken, I attempted to do a little work on my laptop when I made a horrible discovery: I hadnít copied many of the pictures onto my laptop as I had thought from the first two days of the trip. Worse is that I deleted them and had already written to the card. However, many of the pictures I took of the MR-63ís last runs were still intact. The photos I did loose were of train #62 in Central Station, the ads on the MR-63, some pictures of the electric Nova LFS, and most of my ride to Saint Jerome on the commuter train.

 

††††††††††† I shut my laptop down to conserve the battery and bought lunch. VIA train #60 passed, but I was unable to film it as I was on the wrong side of the train. I bought lunch. The train stopped in Cornwall.

 

††††††††††† West of Cornwall, train #62 passed, but I was unable to film it. We stopped at Brockville. At one point we hit a slow area but soon sped up. We stopped in Kingston. West of Kingston, train #64 passed, but I was unable to film it.

 

††††††††††† We stopped in Belleville a little while later. As we passed through Brighton, I filmed the Memory Junction museum. We stopped in Cobourg a little while later.

 

††††††††††† At Cobourg, I saw a damaged hopper car. I photographed it.

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† We departed and a little while later, we passed non stop through Port Hope. We stopped in Oshawa a few minutes later.

 

††††††††††† The train stopped at Oshawa and Guildwood. My seatmate got off. It also felt good to be in GO Transit territory again.

 

††††††††††† As we passed the TTCís Greenwood subway yard, I filmed it. Soon, we were nearing Toronto. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.

 

††††††††††† Train #65 arrived into Union Station 28 minutes late. I got off and photographed the train.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I went downstairs and went to the GO Transit ticket booth. I bought a ticket to Langstaff on the next departure. I then boarded a GO train which left at 5:00 pm. I attempted to film VIA train #68.

 

††††††††††† I phoned home and let my parents know I was taking the GO train to Langstaff. The GO train ride took 30 minutes. I was getting anxious to get home. After we arrived in Langstaff, I got off and photographed the GO train.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I then met my dad in the parking lot and headed home.

 

Conclusions:

 

††††††††††† I am really upset with inadvertently deleting 100+ photos. I made several unsuccessful attempts to recover the pictures in the days after and have given up. However, I managed to get by with help from FelixINX from the Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board and STM. Iíve decided Iíll go back to Montreal to retake the photos I deleted of train #62 in Central Station, an electric Nova LFS, and the commuter train in Saint Jerome.

 

††††††††††† Both VIA trains had problems. Train #62ís Wi-Fi cutting out FOUR times and the electricity not working on one side of the coach. Hopefully these are isolated incidents and when I return to Montreal, things will be different.

 

††††††††††† Still, I was glad I could have been there for the end of the MR-63 era in Montreal. They were in service for 52 years which is no small feat. If the TTCís subway trains had lasted that long, the Gloucesters would have retired in 2006. The M-1s would have retired in 2015, and the H-1s would be retiring now.

 

I decided to do a photo tribute to the MR-63s with various pics taken between 2005 and 2018: MR-63 tribute

 

††††††††††† STM did confirm they are keeping the third element which was on the last active MR-63 train. However, Iím not sure how often it will go out. I hope to get back to Montreal in late July/early August. I hope to have at least one big trip to the U.S. after. Until next timeÖ

 

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