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VIA F40PH-2 #6400:

VIA F40PH-2 #6400:


††††††††††† 6400 was built in October of 1986 as the first unit in an order of 20 F40PH-2s; (6400-6419). VIA eventually bought 39 additional F40PH-2s bringing the total F40 fleet to 59 units. 6400 was the first F40 to be painted in an advertising livery when in the early 1990s, it promoted Diet Pepsi. Here is a screenshot of the unit in Microsoft Train Simulator.



††††††††††† At some point in the mid 2000s, VIA found itself with excess power and 6400 and four other F40s were stored in Montreal. In 2006, 6400 was selected to be the prototype for an F40 rebuild program and was rebuilt by CAD in Montreal. The unit was extensively rebuilt and when it was completed, the unit was painted in the Renaissance livery worn by VIAís P42s.


††††††††††† In 2007, 6400 went out west on the Canadian. I found out almost at the last minute, but I was able to see it. This is the only picture of 6400 I have following its rebuild.



††††††††††† The picture was from a video I filmed of the train passing. The video can be viewed here:


††††††††††† Around the time I saw the real 6400, I was making a model of the unit on my HO scale electric train set. When I was on my Western Canada trip, the decals I bought at the hobby shop in Vancouver were intended for my model of 6400.


††††††††††† When my model of 6400 was completed, it was one of my pride and joys on my layout because I put a lot of work into the model and in the end, it looked very good. When 6400 wasnít pulling a train, I kept it in a display case.



††††††††††† Here is another shot of my model of 6400. This time it and a model of VIA 6444 are pulling my representation of the Canadian. Right behind the two locomotives is another one of my pride and joys; lounge car Glenfraser made from a Rapido coach. (Long after I finished that model, Rapido announced theyíre releasing a model of Glenfraser! Oh well.)



††††††††††† The real 6400 never led the Canadian following its rebuild. After it returned from out west, it spent most of its time running between Montreal and Halifax on the Ocean. However, it did make it to Quebec City and to Toronto.


††††††††††† One feature included in the rebuilt F40s including 6400 were new microprocessor controls like newer locomotives. There has been an unusual problem as the computers are troublesome when a rebuilt unit is run with an unrebuilt diesel or as a single unit. However if two rebuilt F40s are run in a train, theyíre fine!


††††††††††† Meanwhile, beginning in 2009, VIA began rebuilding their F40 fleet in earnest. They decided to make some changes by including an independent HEP generator that runs separate from the diesel engine giving the unitsí 3000 horsepower to pulling the train. In order to accommodate the new HEP generator, the locomotivesí carbodies had to be extended over the back platform. The first such unit; 6402 was released in March of 2009. VIA was planning on adding the feature to 6400 in due time.


††††††††††† However, that was not to happen. On February 25, 2010, 6400 was leading rebuilt sister 6457 and seven Budd coaches on the westbound Ocean when it derailed in St-Charles-de-Bellec, Quebec. 6400 spun around and landed on its right side. There are pictures online, but I donít own them. So I have staged my model of 6400 and similar coaches to recreate the wreck.




††††††††††† The engineers on 6400 suffered minor injuries and were released from hospital a day or two after the accident.


††††††††††† A few days after the accident, 6400 and the damaged equipment were moved to VIAís Montreal Maintenance Centre. Speculation on whether 6400 would be rebuilt or written off was in the railfan community. Someone announced that a VIA employee at the Vancouver Maintenance Centre said 6400 had suffered frame damage and was a write off.


††††††††††† Whatís odd is that 6400 was assigned to VIAís Montreal Maintenance Centre, so there was still a slim hope 6400 could be saved. Though if itís written off, 6400 would be the 6th VIA F40 to be written off due to wreck damage.


††††††††††† When I went to Montreal a month and a half after the accident, I saw that 6400 had a black tarp over it and was parked in front of 6430; another F40 wreck casualty. 6400 also had a black tarp over it like what VIA did to 6423 after it was wrecked. So it looks like the prototype rebuild unitís future is bleak.



††††††††††† With 6400 being written off, Iím more then a little upset because it was the prototype of one of my pride and joys on my electric train set. I am now planning on trying to recreate one of the extended carbody F40 rebuilds.


††††††††††† On the day of the accident that wrecked 6400, it was leading fellow rebuilt #6457 which also derailed but remained upright and suffered way less damage. 6457 was repaired and returned to service in late 2010-early 2011. In January of 2011, I caught it leading train 60 to Montreal.



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