††††††††††† In late February, I read on the Canadian Passenger Rail Yahoo group that the March 28 departure of the westbound Ocean might have be the last train with the Budd equipment as there were no departures in the fall with Budd equipment. I decided to go.
††††††††††† I opted to fly to Moncton on March 28 and pick up the Ocean there. I would ride to Montreal and connect to VIA train 57 to Toronto. The trip unfolded as follows.
March 28, 2011:
††††††††††† I got up around the time I get up when I go to work at my mom's store. I left just before 9:00 am. My mom gave me a ride to the Richmond Hill Centre where I would board GO Transit bus route 40 which is an express bus to the airport. About 10 minutes before the scheduled departure, GO bus #2136. I put my suitcase under the bus and paid $5.35 for the fare and got on.
††††††††††† A few minutes before we left, I saw the Northlander pass by, but I was unable to film it. I saw it was led by GP38 #1805 which is the only GP38 still in the Chevron scheme. The bus left on time. Traffic was decent and we arrived at the airport one minute early. The driver gave me a card to give him a good reference on GO Transit's website. I got my suitcase and photographed the bus.
††††††††††† I went into the terminal and checked in. I was flying on Air Canada Jazz; Air Canada's regional airline. I checked in and checked a bag. I went through security. I had a minor hiccup when they wanted to see the contents of my money belt, but I soon got it straightened out. I went to my gate and waited. Initially my flight was to leave on time.
††††††††††† Some point later, I went out and got something to eat. When I returned to my gate, I saw that my flight was delayed by 50 minutes! I investigated and found that the aircraft I would have flown has maintenance problems and our replacement plane wouldn't arrive until 12:25 pm. I figured I could still make it to the train station in Moncton if there were no further delays if the Ocean was on time.
††††††††††† I went back to waiting. I went up and photographed a Korean Air Boeing 777 and a KLM Airbus A330. I also learned that Roger Abbot from the Royal Canadian Air Farce had passed away at age 66.
††††††††††† Soon, I saw the plane that I would fly to Moncton on. It was a Bombardier CRJ-100 Regional jet. After the passengers got off it, it was soon time to board. I photographed the plane before I got on.
††††††††††† I was seated in the exit row. The plane departed almost an hour late.† As we taxied to the gate, I photographed the KLM Airbus A330.
We were stuck behind a private jet while we waited for permission to take off. When we did, I filmed the take off. I then changed the clocks on my camera and my cell phone. During the flight, I was anxious for any more delays. Water also was dripping on other passengers as well as me to add more discomfort. After 95 minutes, we were approaching Moncton. I filmed the landing. When we got off the runway, we had to wait for another plane to clear the gate before we pulled up. We were over an hour late.† I got off the plane and photographed it.
I then went to the baggage claim to await my suitcase. While waiting, I phoned VIA to find out when train 15 was due. I heard it had left Sackville 11 minutes late, but was expected to make up time.
††††††††††† Moncton's airport has only two baggage carousels. Many people gathered around the first one, but our baggage came on the second. My suitcase was one of the first to emerge and I headed out and got a taxi to the VIA station. I knew I was cutting it close! However, I got to the station before the train. I paid the driver and went into the station. I also phoned home to let my parents know I was at the station in time.
††††††††††† Since my Moncton trip in 2007, passengers weren't allowed onto the platform until after the train arrived. I went outside the station hoping to film the train arriving, but I went in and soon, the train arrived and I was unable to film it. A VIA employee remarked,ĒLast silver train.Ē
††††††††††† I then walked to the west end and photographed the train.
The train was led by two rebuilt F40PH-2s; #6456 and 6432. It had 9 Hep 1 coaches which were all ex CP. They were in order: baggage 8606-coaches 8117 and 8122- Skyline 8505-diner Emeralds-sleepers Chateau Latour, Chateau Roberval, Chateau Brule, and Chateau Laval. I was in room 7 of Chateau Latour.
††††††††††† I find it kind of ironic that 6432 was on what may be the last Budd Ocean ever because in 1993, 6432 led the last Atlantic with steam-heated coaches! The Atlantic used to run from Halifax to Montreal by way of Moncton, St. John, and through the state of Maine. It was discontinued about a year later. The Atlantic and Ocean ran three days a week until the Atlantic was discontinued. Now the Ocean runs six days per week.
††††††††††† The Ocean departed on time. After my ticket was taken, I went to the dome for a little while. I noticed the diner was refurbished and photographed the interior. I also noticed the car was being run backwards with the dining area towards the Skyline car in front instead of towards the sleepers.
††††††††††† I then went to the dome and watched the scenery. At one point, I saw a railfan photographing the train. As the train went around a curve, I photographed the engines. I then walked to the last sleeper to take in the names of the last two cars and then returned to my room and worked on this report some more. After, I headed to the dome.
††††††††††† After awhile, I went to the snack bar below the dome. There was a mother and her two young children ahead of me. They took several minutes. At one point, one said they wanted milk. The mother asked the other if he wanted milk too. He said he wanted a coffee! The mother said no. Next the kid (who was about 5-7 years old) asked for a beer! I couldn't help but laugh. The mother said that they were a little young for a beer! I went back into the dome as we stopped in Rogersville. As Rogersville, I photographed a mural on a building that was across the street from the station.
††††††††††† We soon departed. After awhile, I went back to my room. I stayed there until the 6:30 pm dinner seating. I sat across from someone who looked like James Dean with glasses. We passed a yard with several center beam flatcars that were snowed in and looked like they were there for awhile. We then stopped at Miramichi.
††††††††††† After dinner, I went to the dining area of the Skyline car where they were showing the movie ďDespicable MeĒ. I worked on this report some more. I headed to the dome for a little and then watched the movie some more. I then headed back to my room where I couldn't raise the window blind! I called the attendant who fixed it.† I then worked on this trip report some more.
††††††††††† The train stopped at Bathurst. I went to the dome car. We soon departed Bathurst. We soon were in the middle of no where. I listened to my Ipod for awhile. At one point, I saw a car race through a level crossing whose lights were flashing!
††††††††††† I soon headed back to my room and worked on this report for awhile. Later, the train passed non-stop through Jociquet River.
††††††††††† After awhile, I went to the lounge and bough two bottles of milk. The train stopped at Charlo. I remained in my room until we stopped at Campbellton. Campbellton was a smoke stop so I got off and took some photos of the train.
††††††††††† To avoid the scare I got in 2006 when I first rode the Ocean, I boarded through the coaches up front. The train departed. I worked on my trip report some more.
††††††††††† Shortly after leaving Campbellton, I reset the clocks on my cell phone and my camera. I then headed to the dome. Today was a day when the Ocean combined with the Chaleur so I was hoping to watch them combine the trains at Matapedia.
††††††††††† Soon we arrived at Matapedia. The Chaleur was already in the station. I wandered to the first coach and got onto the platform after I found a VIA employee and asked him if I could watch them combine the trains. He said I could.
††††††††††† As I got to the front of the Ocean's baggage car, the engines were cut off. I took some photos.
††††††††††† In the past; like my 2007 Moncton trip and my 2009 and 2010 trips on the Chaleur, the Ocean's locomotives uncoupled from the train and backed onto the front of the Chaleur's locomotive. They then coupled the Chaleur last coach to the Ocean's baggage car. Once HEP was restored, the train departs.
††††††††††† However this time it was different. They had uncoupled the Chaleur's locomotive from its train and then coupled the Ocean's locomotives to the rear of the Chaleur's locomotive. The Chaleur's locomotive would be leading the rest of the way to Montreal. They then backed the locomotives onto the Chaleur's baggage car and then coupled the last car on the Chaleur to the Ocean's baggage car. I filmed the coupling moves and took some photos.
††††††††††† I'm not 100% sure why they changed the procedure and added additional moves. I have a theory based on the fact the F40PH-2 on the Chaleur was still unrebuilt. When VIA's F40's are rebuilt, they add a seperate HEP generator while allows the unit's 3000 HP to go completely for pulling power and not zap 600 HP for the HEP. That is the reason why the rebuilt units (minus the late 6400) eliminated the rear platform.
††††††††††† After the Chaleur was coupled to the Ocean, I reboarded and went to my room. Power was restored shortly after I got there. I worked on this report some more and then headed to the dome car.
††††††††††† While in the dome car, I learned of some drunken passengers who caused trouble with other passengers. That reminded me of a time I dealt with a drunk back in 2003 when I was going to SAIT. There was a drunk and disorderly woman on the C-Train who was cursing and throwing change around the car and spilling beer on other passengers until I had her removed.
††††††††††† These drunk passengers caused a fight and a passenger got pushed and the VIA crew apparently had to remove him from the train.
††††††††††† I went back to my room and watched Unstoppable on DVD until we left Matapedia. I then worked a bit more and then called it a night after setting my cell phone's alarm for 7:15 am.
††††††††††† March 29, 2011:
††††††††††† I got up at 7:15. I got dressed and went to the dining car for breakfast. We had lost a considerable amount of time. While I was in the diner, we stopped at Montmagny. We soon left. We passed a couple CN freights.
††††††††††† A little while later, I could see the Quebec Bridge. I could tell we were 3+ hours late since we're supposed to stop at Charny around 6:00 am.
††††††††††† We passed the CN yard southeast of Charny. I photographed some of the locomotives in the yard. I also filmed a center beam flatcar whose end was smashed! I also filmed a couple dimensional loads on flatcars at the west end of the yard.
Ouch! Looks like there was a hard coupling at the right end of the car!
††††††††††† The train reversed into Charny. This was a smoke stop so I used it to take some photos of the train.
††††††††††† After, I got back on the train and worked on this report some more. The train departed Charny at 9:19 am. I watched the rest of Unstoppable and then went to the dome. I also called my mom at work to let her know of my train's lateness. I also filmed VIA train 20 led by rebuilt F40PH-2 #6401.
I went back to my room and worked on this report. Later, I went back to the dome. The train stopped at Drummondville. After we left, our service attendant came in and talked to the people in the dome. They told someone who was going to Ottawa that they would be bumped to train 635. I was told that we'd arrive shortly after noon and they may hold train 61 or I would be going by bus. He also confirmed my belief that I would get a voucher out of this because I got one in 2009 when my Chaleur was delayed and I got bumped to train 61.
††††††††††† Two days earlier, a 116 car freight train derailed near Port Hope and put 20-26 cars on the ground including several tank cars hauling jet fuel which exploded. People had to be evacuated and VIA was bussing people. I was unsure if I would be bussed even if the Ocean was on time.
††††††††††† The train passed through St.-Hyacinthe non-stop. I went back to my room and worked on the report some more. I then returned to the dome. The train made a triple stop at St. Lambert. We crossed the St. Lawrence River on the primary bridge. As we passed near VIAís Montreal Maintenance Centre, I filmed it as well as the Alstom yard beyond it. I saw lots of retired AMT coaches and some ex GO Transit F59PHís.† I kept an eye out for VIA 6400 because last month, it had been moved in front of the Alstom building with 6430 to be scrapped. I didnít see 6400 so it may have been cut up by now.
I returned to my room. As we approached Montrealís Central Station, I photographed the train as we went around a curve.
††††††††††† The Ocean arrived into Montreal three hours and 13 minutes late. I got off and took some photos.
Hereís the refurbished diner ďEmeraldĒ.
††††††††††† I then noticed on the platform track next to my train LRC coach #3315. 3315 is the first LRC coach to have been refurbished by IRSI in Moncton. I had seen 3315 a couple weeks earlier on train 64. Needless to say, I photographed 3315.
††††††††††† I then went upstairs. I joined the line for train 61. I learned that while CN had reopened the line, there was a backlog of CN freights which would have led to significant passenger train delays. As a result I was being ďbustitutedĒ.† However, VIA would be providing food for the passengers on the bus so thatís a small savings grace.† I took a few shots of the departures board at Central Station announcing the bustitution. It reminded me of how VIA train 27 had been replaced by a bus on the second day of my Quebec City trip.
††††††††††† There was a delay in getting on the bus. And we were made to stand outside the station for a considerable amount of time. Eventually La Quebecois Provost Highway coach #2626 pulled up and I got on. I took a couple photos first.
††††††††††† The bus departed shortly after 1:00 pm. We were first told that it would take 5 hours to get to Toronto. We were running non-stop to Toronto. Shortly after we left, they passed out food free of charge. We drove past the CAD plant where VIAís F40s are being rebuilt. However, no new rebuilds were outside at the time. As we passed near VIAís Dorval station, I saw an eastbound VIA train led by F40 6424 and consisting of HEP2 coaches. However, I was unable to photograph it.
††††††††††† We soon hit the highway. I listened to my Ipod and read a bit. At one point, I was feeling tired, so I decided to lie down.
††††††††††† The bus pulled into a rest area outside of Cornwall. I took some pictures of the bus before I went inside.
††††††††††† The rest area had a Burger King which was closed! The only thing we could use was the washrooms! However, there was a gas station nearby which I went to and bought a treat and a drink. I then returned to the bus and we soon left.
††††††††††† I was feeling tired still, so I decided to lie down again. I woke up as we passed through Kingston. We then drove through Nappanee and Belleville.
††††††††††† I heard we were now due into Toronto around 7:00 pm; one hour later than I thought.
††††††††††† We drove through Cobourg and Port Hope. I was wondering if the highway would go by the part of line where that train derailed, but it didnít.
††††††††††† West of Port Hope, we were running parallel to the CN line and I saw a westbound freight but didnít photograph it. We soon passed through Oshawa and Whitby. I saw a few GO trains and another CN freight.
††††††††††† Soon, we passed through, Ajax, Pickering, and Scarborough. As we got of Highway 401 onto the Don Valley Parkway to go south into Toronto, we hit bumper-to-bumper traffic. Itís odd because it was going into the city and we were at the tail end of rush hour.
††††††††††† We made it to Union Station just after 7:00 pm. I got off and retrieved my suitcase from the bottom of the bus and took one more photo of it.
††††††††††† I then went inside and bought dinner from the McDonaldís in the station. After, I checked the GO schedules to see if the last Richmond Hill bound GO train would leave soon, but it was leaving in 24 minutes. I phoned home and let my mom I was back in Toronto. I then got onto the subway and rode to Finch. I ate my dinner on the subway.
††††††††††† When I got to Finch, my mom met me and we headed home.
††††††††††† This was not one of my better trips. However, it could have been worse if my flight was much later. Iím not sure when Iíll fly again, but Iím considering putting one night between my flight and my train trip with the possible exception of flying Southwest Airlines which is known for being on time.
††††††††††† I wasnít too happy to be bussed to Toronto instead of the train, but this wasnít VIAís fault. The ride on the Ocean was nice despite the lateness. Iím glad I once again got to watch the Ocean and Chaleur get combined.
if the train part of the trip had gone perfectly, I donít know when Iíll head
††††††††††† As a result of the Oceanís lateness and the bustitution, I am entitled to a voucher which will go towards a trip Iím now thinking of taking in early August on the Canadian.
††††††††††† My next trip however isnít until June when I plan to once again visit the delightful city of Montreal. Until next timeÖ