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Chaleur Trip Report

Chaleur Trip 2009

 

Prologue:

 

††††††††††† Back when I was in the planning stages of my Moncton trip, Rapido Trains employee Dan Garcia, whom I know from the Toronto Transportation Society suggested I go for a ride on the Chaleur. After awhile, I finally decided to go in spring 2009. My original plan was to ride VIA train 60 to Montreal then ride the Chaleur in coach to Gaspe and then return to Montreal in a sleeper. From there, I would take VIA train 57 home to Toronto.

 

††††††††††† Meanwhile, a careless mistake led me to miss train 56 on my 2008 Adirondack trip and I had to take train 60 two hours later which cost valuable time to transit fan in Montreal. I originally wanted to do a make up trip separately, but my parents convinced me to wait. I decided to incorporate it into my Chaleur trip and would go at the end of March. The trip unfolded as follows.

 

March 24, 2009:

 

††††††††††† I left home at 7:45 am. I had made sure I had my tickets this time. Before I got into the car, one of the wheels on my suitcase snapped! It was too late to repack, so I opted to buy some superglue later.

 

††††††††††† I got to Union shortly after 8:30. I went into a nearby Shopperís Drug Mart and bought some Krazy glue. I then tried to glue the broken wheel back on, but it didnít work.

 

††††††††††† Boarding began at 9:10. I noticed that while VIA train 56 was still running as a J-train with train 42 to Montreal, 42 was now leading 56 between Toronto and Brockville instead of 56 leading 42 like on my Ottawa trip, my 2007 Adirondack train, and my Quebec City trip. Once I got to track level, I took some photos.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I took a window seat in the third LRC coach. Trains 42 and 56 left on time. As we departed, I filmed train 85 awaiting its 11:00 am departure. A few minutes later, I filmed VIAís inbound Canadian as it passed.

 

††††††††††† About a month after my 2008 Adirondack trip, VIA changed the Canadianís schedule by adding more time and as a result, the outbound Canadian leaves at 10:00 pm and the inbound Canadian is scheduled to arrive at 9:30 am.

 

††††††††††† Shortly after departing, I also noticed a TTC fishbowl parked in a lot east of Union station. I was unable to photograph it or get its number.

 

††††††††††† As we passed the TTCís Greenwood subway yard, I filmed the equipment. The train stopped at Guildwood and Oshawa. VIA train 41 passed by, but I was unable to film it. A little while later, train 53 passed with Renaissance coaches, but I was unable to film it. As of January 20th, VIA was running Renaissance equipment on trains 52, 52, 66, and 67.

 

††††††††††† The train stopped in Cobourg and Belleville. VIA train 43 passed, but I only got a blur of the last coach.

 

††††††††††† The train stopped in Kingston. After we left, train 57 passed, but I was unable to film it. West of Brockville, the train stopped so 42 could be separated from 56.We then stopped at Brockville.

 

††††††††††† VIA train 61 passed us. The train stopped in Cornwall. Soon, the train crossed into Quebec. As we approached Dorval, I saw a CP freight with a bi-level coach for the new Northstar commuter train. We stopped at Dorval where I managed to take a photo of the coach.

 

††††††††††† Train 56 soon departed. Soon, we were approaching Montreal Central Station. I filmed a couple AMT trains before we arrived into the station 16 minutes late. Once I got off, I took some photos.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I went upstairs and into a Business Depot to buy some superglue. After I left the store, I bought a day pass at the Bonaventure Metro station. I then got on a subway and rode to the Mont-Royal station and transferred to a 97 bus. I got off and walked over to my hotel which was the Hotel Parc Avenue and checked in. This was the hotel I stayed at last time in Montreal. I had found a web deal and my room cost a total of $55.00.

 

††††††††††† I then caught a bus to the Place des Arts Metro station on the green line. When I got there, I photographed STM MCI Classic #11-002.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I then rode a train west to Angrignon to look for STM Classic #60-013; their oldest bus. I was told by bus fans in the area that Angrignon was the best place to find 60-013.

 

††††††††††† When I got there, I photographed some CITSO buses and some STM Classics, but 60-013 didnít show up.

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† I took a brief ride on route 106 and then headed back to Angrignon. I saw a supervisor with a clipboard that listed which buses were on which route. I glanced at it and didnít see 60-013, so I got back on the Metro and headed to Vendome station in another attempt to see 60-013, but it never showed up.

 

††††††††††† Next, I rode to Bonadventure station to look for RTLís oldest Classics. I saw one parked and I photographed it.

 

 

††††††††††† Classic 9-049 didnít go into service, so I rode an RTL Van Hool AG300 to Terminal Panama. When I boarded, I learned that RTL no longer gives paper transfers and you need some fare card which is inconvenient for people from out of town.

 

††††††††††† On the way, I saw Amtrakís Adirondack, but was unable to photograph it. At Terminal Panama, I photographed a Classic parked there.

 

 

††††††††††† I then rode back to Montreal and then took the subway to Henri-Bourassa and had dinner at a nearby Taco Bell. I then rode the orange line to Lionel-Groulx and caught a green line train to Place de Arts.

 

††††††††††† I then photographed one of STMís newest Nova LFSís.

 

 

††††††††††† Once I got back to my hotel, I watched some TV. After, I took a walk and withdrew some money from an ATM and bought some snacks and cereal at a gas station before I returned to my hotel. I then used the superglue to reattach the broken wheel on my suitcase. It seemed to hold. I then called it a night.

 

March 25, 2009:

 

††††††††††† I got up at 8:00 am and watched some TV. I then walked across the street and bought some milk from a gas station before I had breakfast. After, I caught a bus to Place des Arts Metro station. I tried to get a day pass, but they didnít sell them at that station. I paid $2.75 and rode to Vendome to try to see 60-013. I photographed a Classic, but didnít see #60-013.

 

 

††††††††††† I then went back inside. I found I couldnít buy a day pass at Vendome either. I paid another $2.75 and rode to Bonaventure and bought a day pass there. Honestly, STM should sell day passes at all metro stations like the TTC does; not just the bigger ones.

 

††††††††††† I then headed back to my hotel by way of Mont Royal subway station and I rode a Nova Classic.

 

††††††††††† I finished packing and checked out of my hotel. I then headed to Central station. On the bus to Place des Arts, the wheel of my suitcase seemed to be okay. Right after I got off the bus which was a Nova LFS, the wheel snapped off again! I made a couple unsuccessful attempts to reattach it before finally giving up.

 

††††††††††† When I got to Central Station, I asked if I could leave my suitcase there for a few hours. It cost $3.00 which was reasonable. However, the employees there werenít the sharpest tools in the shed.

 

††††††††††† The employee asked me what train I was going on. I told her it was the Chaleur to Gaspe. She thought it was a Renaissance train when it isnít. Another employee and I were able to convince her that the Chaleur isnít a Renaissance train.

 

††††††††††† However, they both insisted that next time, I should check my bag. I told them that I had brought it on as carry on, but they said it was because their carry on policies were different. However, I had brought that bag on as a carry on during previous trips on the Canadian and train 60 when I could have checked it. To me, I only will check my bag if Iím going to be on a Renaissance train. Otherwise, it comes on as a carry on baggage car or no baggage car. The only exception was when I rode the Canadian on my Western Canada trip where I still believe that I could have brought my suitcase as a carry on without problems.

 

††††††††††† After storing a bag, I had lunch at the McDonaldís in the station. After lunch, I saw the next train on AMTís Montreal-Deux-Montagnes line which uses self-propelled electric vehicles was leaving at 12:30 pm. I decided to go for a ride. Shortly after 12:00 pm, we were allowed to board I took a picture of the train.

 

 

††††††††††† I boarded the front car and the train left promptly at 12:30 pm. I had a quick seven minute ride through a long tunnel and I got off at the first stop. I got off and took some photos and a video of the train departing.

 

 

 

††††††††††† The cars that currently run on the line were built in the mid 1990s to replace vintage equipment that previously ran on the line. Some of the cars they replaced were built in the 1930s!

 

††††††††††† Until the early/mid 1990s, I had family living in Montreal who used the line. When I was younger and I visited them, I wanted to see the trains because my dad said they were ďcommuter VIA trainsĒ. However, I never got to see them. However, I did see some of the equipment that used to run on the line in 2002 and 2006 when I visited Exporail.

 

††††††††††† I left the station to catch a bus to the Metro. I saw I was near a line. A few minutes later, I saw a CP intermodel train stop at a signal. I photographed it.

 

 

††††††††††† I believe this line is also used by AMTís Montreal-Blainville line. A few minutes after the freight train stopped, I saw a CP freight pass by led by two SD40-2.

 

 

 

††††††††††† A few minutes later, my bus arrived and I rode to the Suave Metro station. I noticed there was a Wal-Mart nearby, but I didnít go over. I got on the metro and rode to Vendome. At Vendome, I took some photos of buses, but didnít see 60-013.

 

 

††††††††††† I asked a transit supervisor at the station if he knew where 60-013 was. He asked why, so I told him that I was a bus fan and 60-013 is a fan favourite because itís STMís oldest bus. However, he didnít know, so I got back on the Metro and headed to Angrignon. At Angrignon, I photographed a few buses, but I still didnít see 60-013.

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† Once again, I took a brief ride on route 106 and got off and photographed another Classic.

 

 

††††††††††† I then headed back to Angrignon. I boarded Classic 13-100 and rode back to the station. I photographed the bus when I got there.

 

 

††††††††††† I also photographed one of STMís Nova LFS hybrid buses.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I asked some more transit supervisors if they knew where 60-013 was, but they didnít know. Feeling disappointed, I headed to Bonaventure. I filmed my green line train departing at Lionel-Groulx and my orange line train departing Bonadventure. I then headed up to where the RTL buses board.

 

††††††††††† Shortly after I arrived, I saw an RTL Classic with an electronic sign boarding passengers. I also met Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board member SMS.

 

††††††††††† Prior to the trip, I had posted a message on the board asking where to find RTLís oldest Classics and STM 60-013.

 

††††††††††† SMS and I talked about buses. He asked how things were in YRT territory when it came to photography in regards to the two incidents I had with YRT drivers who were under the misapprehension that photography; even from public property was not allowed. Other bus fans also had previous run-ins with YRT drivers and one transit fan contacted the head of YRT. After a long series of calls, YRT has since informed drivers that bus fan photography is allowed without exception.

 

††††††††††† SMS also asked if I had any problems in the Montreal area. I told him that I didnít. SMS also showed me some photos he had taken.

 

††††††††††† A few minutes later, RTL Classic #9-007 pulled up. 9-007 still has a myler rollsign. I told SMS I was going for a ride which I did. I boarded the bus and noticed its seat cushions were similar to the ones on TTC buses back home. The bus soon departed. A couple minutes later, the bus stopped to let some people on. I got off and photographed the bus.

 

 

††††††††††† I donít know if I was supposed to get off since I was still in the Montreal area; STMís territory. I filmed 9-007 pulling away and photographed some other Classics. From what I read on the Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board, downtown Montreal was good to see RTLís oldest Classics. I saw quite a few. It was like how Mark and I kept seeing ETS fishbowls at the West Edmonton Mall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† I then walked back to Central Station and retrieved my suitcase. I then waited to board the Chaleur. Boarding began shortly before 6:00 pm. The Chaleur was running combined with the Ocean which was running with Renaissance coaches while the Chaleur was running with Hep1 cars. I photographed train 60 which had arrived late and the Ocean and Chaleur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† I was seated in Hep1 coach #8124, an ex CP coach. While waiting for the train to depart, I filmed a couple VIA trains as well as Amtrakís Adirondack arriving about 40 minutes early.

 

††††††††††† My ticket was taken shortly before we departed. After we departed, I walked to the Skyline car behind my coach. I believe I was the first coach passenger on the train to head to the dome.

 

††††††††††† From the dome, I photographed the head end of the train as well as the Renaissance equipped Ocean. The train consisted of three F40PH-2s, (two for the Ocean and one for the Chaleur), five Hep1 cars on the Chaleur and 14 Renaissance cars on the Ocean.

 

 

 

††††††††††† As we passed near VIAís Montreal Maintenance Centre, I filmed it as well as a VIA train deadheading to the yard. The train stopped at St. Lambert. He had to make 2-3 stops to allow passengers to board the Ocean and Chaleur.

 

††††††††††† We passed CNís tank train and a deadheading AMT commuter train before I went to the dining area of the Skyline car for dinner.

 

††††††††††† The sun went down as we stopped at St. Hyacinthe and Drummondville. East of Drummondville, we stopped to let VIA train 27 pass. Later, we stopped in Charny which is a smoke stop. I used the time to photograph the train.

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† The train reversed out of Charny to continue on towards Matapedia and points east. I took some Nytol and called it a night. Unlike Amtrak, VIA provides pillows AND blankets to coach passengers while Amtrak simply provides pillows.

 

Click here for part 2: Chaleur trip part 2