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Kingston Transit #7975 charter:

Kingston Transit #7975 charter:




            In the fall of 2004, Kingston Transit only had one General Motors fishbowl bus left in revenue service. Someone decided to charter it. I contemplated going to Kingston, and eventually chose to go and that I would take the train down. My plan was to ride VIA train #652 to Kingston, attend the charter, then take train 65 home.


November 13, 2004:


I got up early and arrived at Union Station at 7:15 am, 30 minutes before train 652 was scheduled to depart. When it was time to board, I was surprisingly seated in a VIA 1 LRC coach, even though I had an economy class ticket! I guess they didn’t have any other economy class coaches available, and substituted the coach. We left on time and I watched as we passed the TTC’s Greenwood subway yard. We stopped at Guildwood. When we left, we were passed by VIA train 51, the Toronto bound Enterprise.


This train was running as a J-train; VIA train 640 bound for Ottawa was coupled to the rear of train 652. The two trains would be separated at Brockville. I snapped a photo of train 640’s locomotive from the rear window on the last coach of train 652.



Meanwhile, VIA crews were service snacks and beverages. I bought something to eat when they came past. The train stopped in Oshawa, Cobourg, and Belleville. Finally, we arrived into Kingston on time. Once I got off, I snapped a few photos of the train when it departed.






Once the train had departed, I went into the station. I met another charter attendee, Mark Walton who had come on train 641 from Ottawa. Soon, we were joined by John Peakman, the organizer of the charter. The three of us went over to his apartment for a few minutes. While there, I played with his three cats. Soon, we headed over to the Kingston Transit bus garage where our charter bus, #7975 was waiting.



At the garage, most people attended the charter were waiting, including many regular people from the Toronto area who had taken the bus down to Kingston. We soon boarded 7975 and were off. Before we left, I took some interior photos of the bus. Out first photo stop was at the VIA station to see if there were any more people coming on the charter. When we got there, we were stopped behind Kingston Transit Classic #8867



No more patrons joined the charter at this point. We soon left, and visited the Kingston Centre mall where several Kingston transit routes converge.


{Photo coming soon?}


We were at the mall for about 10 minutes. After taking a few photos, I ran inside and bought a bottle of Coke. We had some more photo stops throughout the morning. At one point, as the bus was going through an intersection, we saw some man being arrested by the local police! However, we weren’t sure what for.


At one point, we went to Fort Henry which was on top of a hill and parked the bus so we could photograph it with the city in the background. I took some photos, but they didn’t turn out so well.


Eventually, we stopped at a Husky restaurant in Joyceville for lunch. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, fries, a candy bar, and a drink. I ate it on the bus. Before I got back on, I took a couple photos of the bus.


{Photo coming soon?}


After lunch, we headed around, having several more photo stops. At some points, we were in rural areas. At one point, we stopped at a scrapyard where we could barely see two other Kingston Transit GM Old looks awaiting their fate off in the distance. We then stopped at a second scrapyard with an ex Kingston Transit fishbowl awaiting its fate.


Next, we stopped at a drive-in movie theatre where the projector was inside of a former Kingston Transit 30 foot Orion 1. There was also a CN caboose nearby.


{Photo coming soon?}


Throughout the afternoon, we made a few more photo stops. We ended up at the Cataraqui Centre mall where a couple Kingston Transit bus routes converge. Throughout the day, I was talking to some of the people on the charter. At the mall, I brought up the topic how five years earlier, the driver of a Niagara Transit fishbowl offered to sell me the bus for $5.00! Upon hearing what I said, the driver of our charter bus said he’d sell me 7975 for a nickel! A couple people said, “Show me the papers!” while I searched for a nickel. Somehow, he was most likely kidding, but I was thinking deja-vu.


After a group photo, the charter ended back at the Kingston Transit garage where many people on the charter took some photos of retired buses as well as buses waiting to go into service.



Among the retired buses was Kingston Transit Classic #8383. That bus was the first Classic to be sold to a transit property in Ontario. Unfortunately, the bus had been stripped of various mechanical parts including the engine.


Meanwhile, our charter bus #7975 was actually put into service on a Saturday, despite the fact there were plenty of newer buses that were ready and waiting. It was nice to see a 25 year old bus being used on a Saturday, but then again, GM buses are very reliable.


After the garage tour, I was driven back to the VIA station. I was hoping that I would see some trains before my train would arrive. However none came. At one point, I tried to get some candy from a machine, but it ate my quarter.


Meanwhile, the sun went down. The first train to finally come by was VIA train 64 heading for Montreal. A few minutes after it left, my train arrived. I didn’t take any pictures of the trains because it was dark at the time.


I boarded an LRC economy coach and when I found my assigned seat, there was a woman sitting in it. She quickly moved however and I sat down. We left on time, and soon, dinner was being served. I bought a cheese sandwich and a drink which I ate at my seat.


The train ride was uneventful as we passed by the TTC’s Greenwood subway yard and soon arrived at Toronto Union station. I got off the train and got on the subway to go home.




Despite the early start, (I’m not a morning person), the day was good with the exception of loosing a quarter in the candy machine. In 2005, Kingston Transit bought a Fishbowl and three Classics from Cornwall. In March of 2006, they retired #7975. Fishbowl #7975 was then donated to the OPP for "tactical training". Until next time…