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Trip on VIA Lounge car “Glenfraser”:

Trip on VIA Lounge car “Glenfraser”:




            In 2002, The British Columbia Railway ended its passenger service, including the Whistler North Wind luxury train. In 2003, VIA Rail bought five coaches from that train. They were three glass top coaches, an observation car, and a lounge car named Glenfraser. The three glass top coaches were repainted and put to use on VIA’s Skeena out west and they saw occasional use on the Canadian. The observation car and Glenfraser were held for charters. In spring of 2005, VIA began running Glenfraser between Toronto and Montreal. Glenfraser would be sent to Toronto on train 69 on Sundays, and from Toronto to Montreal on train 68 on Fridays. Other then that, Glenfraser wasn’t used. I wanted to ride Glenfraser; it was fancy inside.


My birthday was on a Sunday, so I decided to ride VIA train 64 to Cornwall, then back on train 69. However, in Oakville, VIA had a special train of the Renaissance cars on display at the station. My friend Jason was going to. I determined there was just enough time to see the train in Oakville, before having to take a GO train to Toronto to get on train 64.


May 15, 2005:


            My mom picked up Jason and drove us to Oakville. We arrived around noon. There was a pavilion at the station sponsored by the New Brunswick tourism board. I entered a draw where you could win a trip to New Brunswick. Soon, Jason and I went onto the train that was on display. It consisted of a VIA F40PH-2, a Renaissance baggage car, a Renaissance coach, a Renaissance diner, a Renaissance sleeper, another Renaissance baggage car, and a VIA P42. After exploring the train, I took a few photos.




            After we checked out the train, Jason and I bought tickets for the next GO train to Toronto. While we were waiting, we walked to a Macdonald’s about a block away. After we got our lunch and headed back to the station, we saw the GO Train arriving. Fortunately, we had enough time to get back to the station and onto the train since on weekends, the GO trains only run as far as Oakville. We also saw VIA train #72 arriving from Windsor bound for Toronto. The GO train departed and I shot video of the VIA Renaissance train that was on display. Jason and I had a conversation with the train’s conductor. I shot video of VIA’s Toronto maintenance centre as we passed by. Soon, we arrived in Toronto’s Union Station, where I had to buy batteries for my digital camera. Soon, I said goodbye to Jason as I boarded train 64.


            On VIA trains 64, 65, 66, and 67, they assign seats to people while on other trains, its first come first serve. I was lucky enough to get a window seat on the left side of the train. I also noticed that the train I was on was the same train Jason and I saw arrive in Oakville as train 72, as VIA tends to cycle trainsets that way. The train consisted of VIA P42 #920, a VIA 1 LRC coach, and four economy class LRC coaches.


            We left on time and made scheduled stops in Guildwood and Oshawa. We made an unscheduled stop in Cobourg as an inspection found a problem which took a few minutes to fix. I was anxious because timing was important. We stopped in Kingston where we had a longer stop. Soon, we were on our way and my stop, Cornwall, was next.


            When we arrived in Cornwall, I was relieved that I was still going to make my connection with train 69. I took video of train 64 leaving. I waited for a little over 20 minutes for train 69 to arrive. At it pulled in, I took video of it.



The train consisted of an F40PH-2, a VIA 1 Hep2 coach, lounge car Glenfraser, and three economy class Hep2 coaches. I got on and selected a seat. Shortly after my ticket was taken, I went into Glenfraser and took some photos of the interior.



            In Glenfraser were a small group of older railfans riding to Brockville. I had a conversation with them. Soon, their stop came, and they got off. I decided to get my stuff and spend the rest of the train ride in Glenfraser. At dinner, I got a ham and cheese burrito/sandwich and a can of Pepsi. Throughout the trip, I could only imagine what it must have been like to ride the Whistler North Wind. We arrived in Toronto at 11:30, just as the Toronto-Montreal overnight Enterprise train was departing. As it left, I shot video of it. After I got off, I took one picture of the exterior of Glenfraser.



I found my dad waiting for me once I got to the arrivals level. I was home shortly after midnight.




This trip ended up going almost without a hitch. I was able to achieve what I set out to do by seeing the train on display at Oakville, and riding Glenfraser on VIA 69. Until next time…