In early 2000, VIA Rail Canada
reintroduced overnight Toronto-Montreal service with a train called the Enterprise.
At first, the train ran with Hep2 coaches, Chateau type sleeping cars, and a
Park car, (dome observation-sleeper-lounge). In summer of 2002, the Enterprise
became the first train to be equipped with the Renaissance cars.
In the summer of 2005, I read on a
train discussion board that VIA was going to discontinue the Enterprise.
I figured that since I rode the Three Rivers back in February, which was going
to be cut, that I would ride the Enterprise.
I also decided to book a sleeper. This trip would also be the first trip I had
taken since former Toronto Transportation Society president/member Ray Neilson
died of cancer.
My friend Mark heard that I was going to take this trip, and
asked if he could come too. I decided that it would be okay. I chose the date
of Monday, August 15th, exactly one month before the Enterprise
would be discontinued for the day of departure. I chose this date because
things were really busy at work, and I wanted to arrive back in Toronto
on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday to film the tri-weekly Canadian departing
for Vancouver. The plan was to ride
VIA Rail’s express Toronto-Montreal train, mess around Montreal
for an hour, then get back onto the Enterprise.
invited me to his house early that afternoon. After about an hour or so, Mark’s
mom insisted on taking us to the subway for us to get down to Union.
She might have thought that you had to be at the train station two hours before
departure like at the airport. I told her we had to be there 30 minutes before,
but she insisted “just in case there’s a delay on the subway or something”. I
backed down as she gave Mark and me a ride down to the subway. We ended up
arriving at , two and a half
hours before VIA train 66 was supposed to depart. We decided to get something
to eat from the Harvey’s in the
station. After lunch, we headed over to the skyway to photograph trains. I took
a picture of a couple GO trains, and VIA train #75 departing for Windsor.
We then saw the consist of train 66
arriving into Union station from the Toronto Maintenance Centre, but neither
one of us photographed it. The train consisted of VIA P42DC #919, two VIA 1
class LRC coaches, and an economy class VIA LRC coach.
headed back to the main VIA Rail departure area. We then lined up at the gate
train 66 would board. A VIA Rail employee was looking at our tickets and
telling us which seats we were assigned. Eventually, it was time to board. Mark
and I boarded the last coach in the train and took our assigned seats. The
train left on time.
As we raced
past the TTC’s Greenwood subway
yard, I filmed the equipment in the yard, including the former Gloucester
class equipment used as part of the two rail grinding trains. The conductor was
also explaining how to exit the train in case of an emergency.
raced through Guildwood and Oshawa
stations since train 66 is an express train and makes only one stop between Toronto
and Montreal. We raced through
other towns and cities along the route.
other VIA trains in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, train 66 doesn’t have a
café car, so attendants push cars down the aisles, serving passengers at their
seats like on a plane. Mark and I bought our dinner in that fashion. Mark had
some nachos and cheese while I had a ham and cheese sandwich.
sun went down. Train 66 made its only scheduled stop at Dorval
which is 20 minutes outside of Montreal.
After we left, we were still making good time and arrived in Montreal
a few minutes early.
and I got off train 66, I took two photos of the train and a 2 second video of
a Renaissance equipped train that had come in from Quebec City backing out of
the station heading for VIA’s Montreal Maintenance Centre.
Mark and I
headed into the station and after we explored the station a bit, we decided to
ride the subway. We got on the Orange line train where
we rode to Berri-UQAM station where the green and yellow subway lines connect.
Mark and I transferred to the yellow line since there are only three stops on
the line. After our ride on the yellow line, we got on a green line train. One
thing about the green line is that it uses the original stock bought for the Montreal
subway in the mid 1960’s and the other three lines use newer stock.
After we got off the green line train at Lionel-Groulx, we transferred back to the Orange
line and rode back to Bonadventure station to head back to the train station.
and I were traveling in a sleeper on the Enterprise,
we were allowed access to VIA’s Metropolitan lounge. About an hour before the Enterprise’s
scheduled departure, sleeping car passengers were allowed to board. Mark and I
boarded Renaissance sleeper #7506 and quickly got settled into our room. I
opted for the lower bunk. We then asked the conductor if we could go out and
take pictures of the train. They friendly allowed us, and Mark and I did just
Enterprise was F40PH-2 #6408, which
was still in the Spiderman 2 advertising livery. After taking a couple photos,
we got back on the train.
departed on time and shortly after we left, the café car opened. Mark and I
headed there where we were given complimentary bags of chips. Soon, we decided
to turn in after requesting a wake up call at for continental breakfast.
August 16, 2005:
after , Mark and I went to
bed. As we tried to sleep, we were interrupted several times by the Renaissance
cars’ suspension mechanisms. They made a noise that sounded like Donald Duck
being choked to death! However, VIA provided two pairs of earplugs!
While I did
get some sleep, I woke up while we were stopped in Kingston,
where the train was coupled onto the rear of another VIA train. This train now
consisted of VIA P42 #917, three economy class LRC coaches, one VIA 1 LRC
coach, F40PH-2 #6408, a Renaissance baggage car, two Renaissance coaches, a
Renaissance café car, and two Renaissance sleeping cars. I went back to sleep
and soon, got up as we were stopped in Cobourg. Mark and I got dressed then
headed to the café car for breakfast. Shortly after breakfast, a VIA attendant
was changing our room to its daytime configuration. We stopped in Guildwood. I
wanted to once again film the Greenwood subway yard as we went past it, but my
digital camera was being problematic which resulted me missing filming the
yard. However, the problem soon fixed itself as we neared Union station and I
filmed some of the coaches on the transcontinental Canadian which was on the
adjacent track. We arrived on time. As Mark and I gathered our stuff and headed
out into the hallway, we were blocked by a little kid throwing a temper tantrum
in the aisle. I said to the kid, “You make a better door than rug.” The kid
eventually moved aside as we got onto the platform. I took some pictures of the
Enterprise and the Canadian.
After we got to the main concourse, Mark and I sprinted to
get to the skyway before VIA train 97 departed for New
York. We got there just to get a half decent shot of
the train pulling out. I then took a picture of it.
Mark and I set up outside the
skywalk to film the Canadian as it departed. We filmed the Enterprise
deadheading to the Toronto Maintenance Centre. I also took a photo of the
Northlander passenger train awaiting its
was , the Canadian’s scheduled
departure time. Baggage was still being loaded. Several GO trains and a few VIA
trains arrived into Union station. One train had the unit VIA did up to
commemorate the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s 50th
anniversary. Mark and I took pictures of that train.
Mark and I
were still waiting for the Canadian to depart. Finally, at , almost 40 minutes late, the Canadian pulled out. Mark
and I filmed the 26 car train pulled by three F40PH-2s. Once it had left, we
headed back to Mark’s house after encountering a “Bustitution” on a section of
was pretty enjoyable. Plus having a friend along was also good. On September 15, 2005, the Enterprise
departed Montreal and Toronto
for the last time. After that, the Enterprise
was replaced by a train that left Toronto
at , arriving at Kingston
at , where it is wyed and
leaves at , arriving into Toronto
This trip was also Mark’s ride on a
VIA train. I just wish we could have gotten a better view of the Maple Leaf
departing for New York. I would
have also liked to have filmed Greenwood
yard from the Enterprise. Despite
the annoying noises cause by the suspension mechanisms, my first ride on VIA’s
Renaissance coaches was interesting. I just wish there was a better selection
for the continental breakfast. Until next time…