Kingston Day Trip:
In the summer of 2015, Rapido Trains prepared to unveil their new product up for development at Exporail in October. They decided to go in style by offering a special train coupled to the rear of a regular VIA train known as “The Rapido” after CN ran trains with the name prior to VIA’s creation. The special train would have a business class coach and either a Skyline car or a Park car coupled to the rear of VIA train #52 on October 11th and the rear of train #69 the following day. They had sold a package including tickets on “The Rapido”, hotel accommodations, travel and admission to Exporail for $500. I was interested, but it sold out before I could buy a ticket.
However, I still wanted to see the train and photograph it because dome cars aren’t normally run in service in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. The last time was in 2002 prior to VIA equipping the Enterprise with Renaissance cars. I decided to ride train #52 in Economy Class to Kingston where I would film the train pulling away and then catch VIA train #45 back to Toronto. The trip unfolded as follows.
October 11, 2015:
I got to Finch around 7:45 am. Unfortunately, the subway opens just before 9:00 on Sundays. I took a route #320 bus to Union which got me there at 8:45 am; 40 minutes before my train's scheduled departure. I was hoping I would have gotten to Union much earlier to see the train pull in.
I lined up for train #52. Shortly after 9:00 am, I saw people who were part of the Rapido special pass by.
I admit I'm jealous of the people who were able to get tickets on the special. At one point, I saw Dan Garcia who I know from Rapido and the TTS and said hi to him. Boarding of Economy passengers began at 9:15 am. I went up to the platform level and saw the Rapido cars coupled to the rear of the train. I photographed the train.
I was seated in LRC coach #3361, an unrebuilt coach. I had an aisle seat on the right hand side of the train. I wish it was still first come first serve when it comes to seating on the Quebec City-Windsor corridor trains. I logged into VIA's Wi-Fi. I went on Facebook and saw an entry from Rapido Trains saying the dome car was a Skyline car (#8501). The train left on time. Like the last time I rode train #52, we were running combined with VIA train #62 to Montreal.
My ticket was taken around the time we passed the TTC's Greenwood subway yard so I was unable to film it. Between Whitby and Oshawa, we were running alongside an eastbound GO train. We stopped in Oshawa a little while later.
Someone from the Rapido special walked through my coach. A little while later, we were running between the CP main line and Lake Ontario. We passed through Port Hope. We stopped at Cobourg a little while later.
East of Cobourg, we took a siding for a westbound CN intermodel. We were soon moving at track speed again.
When we passed by the Memory Junction railway museum, I filmed it. The train passed through Trenton Junction.
A westbound CN freight train passed. We then passed through Belleville non stop. We passed a stopped freight train in the yard in Belleville.
East of Belleville, another westbound CN freight train passed by. A VIA train passed by, but I was unable to film it. It consisted of a P42 and three LRC coaches. The train passed through Nappanee.
We passed a siding with a couple flat cars with a Bombardier rail vehicle under tarps. Unfortunately, I was unable to film it.
We were soon nearing Kingston. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.
Trains 62 and 52 arrived into Kingston 8 minutes late. I got off and photographed the train.
I noticed that all the coaches in VIA train #62 were all rebuilt. This was the first time I had seen a VIA train with all rebuilt LRC coaches.
When the train departed, I filmed it pulling out of the station and took one last photo of the Skyline that is part of the Rapido special.
I went down to the main station to await my train back to Toronto. I would be in Kingston for less than an hour. I hung around the station. At one point, I went outside and photographed a Kingston Transit XD40.
I went back to the waiting game. Less than 10 minutes before train 45's scheduled arrival, there was an announcement that the train was about 10 minutes late. There wasn't anything I could do about it.
When train #45 arrived, I filmed it pulling it.
I was seated in LRC coach #3330, a rebuilt coach. My train had two unrebuilt coaches in the consist as well. I had a window seat on the left hand side of the train. The train departed 10 minutes late.
West of Kingston, VIA train #40 passed, but I was unable to film it. Train #45 runs non stop between Kingston and Toronto.
When we passed the siding where I saw the Bombardier vehicle, I photographed it.
I then bought lunch. I worked on this report some more. The train passed through Belleville. West of Belleville, VIA train #64 passed, but I was unable to film it.
A little while later, we were running parallel to the CP main line. We passed through Cobourg a little while later.
We then passed through Port Hope. A couple eastbound CN freight trains passed. East of Oshawa, we stopped. Moments later, we were underway again. I went on Facebook and saw some pictures taken about the Skyline on the Rapido special. I wished I could have been there!
The train passed through Oshawa. Around Guildwood, VIA train #44 passed but I was unable to film it.
When we passed Greenwood Yard, I was able to film the equipment in the yard including some H-4 subway cars.
We were soon getting close to Toronto's Union station. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.
Train #45 arrived into Union Station 6 minutes late. We pulled in between VIA train #46 bound for Ottawa and train #66 heading for Montreal. I got off and took some photos.
I then went downstairs. I went to the area on the west side of track #3 and photographed VIA train #66 one last time.
I then went to the subway which was running now. I boarded a Finch bound train but I got off at St. Clair station and went to the McDonald’s in the station and bought a drink because I was thirsty. I then got back on the subway and rode to Finch. I then boarded a VIVA bus and headed home.
I said it before and I’ll say it again; I would have LOVED to have gone on the Rapido special. For starters, it would have been an even more interesting report. I guess I’ll just have to catch the next Rapido special.
Still, it was a good trip on VIA. I wish I had a window seat on train #52 though. Getting to Union on a Sunday morning was a bit annoying with the subway opening later. At least I made it in time to catch the train.
My next trip won’t be until late November. Until next time…