more photos and a preview of our book on CN & VIA Passenger
Services in Nova Scotia 1972-2012 click here.
we see a pure Alco/MLW set comprising three
different models - FPA-4 6789, FPB-4 6869 & RS-18 3108 (fitted
with a steam line) passing Rockingham station on the outskirts of
Halifax with the Ocean bound for Montreal in August 1975. CN
operated two passenger trains (Scotian & Ocean) from Halifax to
Montreal each day.
Halifax bound Scotian (train #12) leaves Campbellton NB bound for
Halifax behind a GM/Alco
mix: GM FP9A 6536 and Alco/MLW FPB-4 6866 & RS-18m 3105 on 31
photographs of CN F units can be seen in Canadian
National F units.
A shortage of locomotives has
necessitated the use
of RS-18 3667. Because it does not have a steam line to carry the steam
for heating the coaches, it has to be the lead locomotive and is
followed by F9B 6621, FPA-4 6765 (both equipped with steam generators),
a baggage car and 10 coaches passing Fairview shops on 5 September 1976.
Sydney to Truro train arrives at
the magnificent New Glasgow NS station (now demolished) behind RS-18s
3858 & 3629 in July 1973. Because these locomotives did not
have steam boilers a separate steam generator car was attached behind
the locomotives. On this occasion the steam generator unit (SGU) is CN
by Canadian Car & Foundry in 1956.
not strictly in Atlantic Canada, at Matapedia QC the power off the
Halifax-bound Scotian switches out the first coach behind the baggage
car to form train #118 to Gaspé in January 1975.
the Scotian's power is clear RS-18s 3865 & 3852 together with a
steam generator unit back onto the lone combination coach-baggage car.
RDCs ran from Halifax to both Moncton and Sydney. Normally two or
three RDC1s were used. Here train 603-602 from Sydney NS is almost at
the end of its journey as it pauses to detrain passengers at Rockingham
in June 1976. The station is on the left and the freight car scale on
In addition to the Halifax
services, RDCs operated from Moncton to Saint John and to
Edmundston mainly using RDC2s.
27 December 1976 a special train is running from Moncton to Mont Joli
QC with four passenger coaches and two RDC2s. A slide had blocked the
line and forced the Montreal trains to go via Edmundston. So to provide
service to Campbellton and Mont Joli, this special was run. It
with the Halifax train seen on the adjacent platform.
Pacific operated a daily loco-hauled train the "Atlantic" from Saint
John NB to Montreal. Power was usually one of the three E8s but an
FPA-2, FP7A or FP9A were sometimes used.
7 October 1977 we see the Atlantic being serviced at Saint John
station prior to its journey to Montreal.
Two days later the power for the Atlantic
- a single FP7A 4073 - is
serviced at the shops close to the ferry terminal in Saint John. The
ferry linked Saint John to Digby on the Dominion Atlantic Railway.
However it did not convey railway cars so all equipment for the DAR had
to be sent by CN. Often CP RDCs were carried on the tailend of the
Ocean or Scotian.
|3) Dominion Atlantic Railway
Dominion Atlantic Railway
(DAR) operated a RDC service from Halifax to
Yarmouth with one RDC running a round trip in each direction each
day. In May 1977, CP 9059 is leaving Kentville for Yarmouth. The DAR shops were at Kentville
NS and RDCs full of passengers were often backed
into the yards so that they could be refuelled. The attractive wooden
station has regrettably been destroyed. Another photo of the DAR
RDC can be seen on the page Old
operated a mixed freight train from Windsor NS to Truro NS where
there was an interchange with CN. The train left Windsor in the
afternoon and returned from Windsor at night. The freight originated at
Kentville and then stopped at Windsor NS to pick up an old wooden
clerestory coach (latterly 1720) which was equipped with an oil heater
and bus style seats. It was coupled ahead of the caboose.
In the picture above we see CP 8137 with
the mixed after arriving
at Truro NS in August 1973 and below we see the
Clarksville at 4:50 pm on 18 May 1974 led by CP 8139.
In 1976 CN introduced
marketing slogan "VIA CN" and the bright yellow and blue colour scheme.
On 31 March 1978, VIA acquired all CN passenger services and
next day became a separate Crown Corporation. In September
acquired CP's passenger services and equipment.
Initially services continued as before but in October 1979 the eastern
services were integrated. The Scotian & Atlantic Limited were
replaced by the Atlantic and the Sydney-Truro trains
were replaced by RDCs. RDC service continued between Halifax and
Yarmouth but the trains were based in Halifax not Kentville.
the next 10 years many schedule modifications were made to try and
ridership and cut costs but in 1990 all RDC service in Atlantic Canada
was discontinued. More information can be found in our books Dominion
Atlantic Railway - the final 25 years and CN
& VIA Passenger trains in Nova Scotia 1972 - 2012.
trains to Montreal were reduced to a single train from Halifax
(Ocean) six days per week and this in now three days per week. The Montreal - Gaspé
train is currently suspended. Renaissance
cars have been introduced on the Ocean and it is hauled by two or three F40PH-3s (see my videos on YouTube)..
Here we see FPA-4 6765
its new CN - VIA livery at Fairview, Halifax on 23 November 1976. Later
the red CN was discontinued and eventually when VIA became independent
a red VIA was added on the nose but eventually this too was dropped.
more photos including a passenger extra and a second section see Canadian
National F units.
1986 VIA introduced the F40PH-2s. On 2 February 1987 6408 left Montreal
with The Atlantic and was the first F40PH-2 to bring a passenger train
into Atlantic Canada (thanks to Brian Barchard for this information).
Initially they were paired with an
older unit which provided the steam heating to the cars. Here we
see 6456 with FP9A 6506 leaving Halifax station in February 1990.
Behind the FP9A is a steam generator car.
6440 is paired with F9B 6618 and they are seen from the rear
"Atlantic" as it climbs to the summit at Folly Lake on 13 September
the 1990 cutbacks and the conversion of the coaches to electric heat
F40PH-2s have been used with both units facing forwards. A VIA official
told me that this was so that if one unit fails it can be removed and
the train can continue with the other unit. Here we see two F40PH-2s
(6450 leading) with the eastbound "Ocean" near Nappan NS on 18 August
This photograph shows the desktop
control stand of F40PH-2 6442 on 26 September 1995
was undergoing routine servicing in the now closed
Halifax shops. The desktop control panel was fitted to many locomotives
in the 1980s & 90s. Subsequent CN deliveries have vertical
control stands (apparently at the request of the engineers who found
the desktops uncomfortable) but VIA's new deliveries of the P42DCs
have desktop controls.
RDC services from Halifax to Yarmouth, Sydney, Moncton NB and beyond
(Saint John & Fredericton had RDCs service from Halifax at
certain periods) were
continued by VIA Rail until the cutbacks in 1990 when all RDC
operation out of Halifax and Moncton ceased.
Here we see three RDCs led by 6219 leaving
Halifax station and
passing the VIA maintenance shops on 11 November 1988. On the left the
remnant of the station canopy is being used as an unloading platform
for less than carload freight for road delivery mainly by Clarke
Between 1981 & 31 May 1985, RDC
from Halifax were extended as far as Fredericton. Then from 1 June to
14 September 1985 there was RDC service every day except Sunday from
Fredericton to Saint John, leaving each morning at 08:30 and returning
in the late afternoon. This allowed people to attend the
Canada Summer Games. Thanks to Brian Barchard for the
Here VIA RDC-2 6218 is laying over at
Fredericton station on Sunday 18 August 1985.
In the snow on 17 January 1990 two RDCs
wait at Sydney before
returning to Halifax as train #608 in the last week of service on 7
VIA RDCs 6137 & 6214 provide the
last RDC passenger service to
Moncton NB as train #613 on 14 January 1990.
thirteen years later another VIA RDC, 6135, came from IRSI in
Moncton, after upgrading, to Halifax station on a freight train before
returning to Vancouver Island on the rear of the Ocean and Canadian. It
is seen at the station on 23 March 2003.
December 1994 the Atlantic was discontinued
and the Ocean was the last VIA passenger train left in Atlantic Canada.
It still operates six days per week between Montreal & Halifax
Campbellton & Moncton. It does not leave either terminus on
Tuesdays. Three trainsets are required to operate the service.
Ocean is normally turned on the balloon track at the Halterm container
pier. However if the track is not available the train has to be backed
16 miles to Windsor Junction where, with much squealing, it is turned
on the wye before backing the sixteen miles to Halifax station. In
recent years the last car is specially fitted with temporary ditch
lights if the train has to go to Windsor Junction.
June 2003, F40PH-2s 6432 & 6420 and their train of about 12
are entering the gates of the Halterm container pier where they will
meet an escorting truck with flashing lights that will lead them around
the balloon track.
the Ocean & the Gaspé train are run as a single train from
to Matapedia where the two trains are separated (see the photos in the
CN section). One locomotive and about five or six cars go to Gaspé.
because of equipment failures or track problems this does not happen an
the entire train comes to Halifax with the three locomotives and two
baggage cars on the head end.
January 2003 the combined train prepares to leave Halifax behind 6408,
6414 & 6428.
the F40PH-2s got older, locomotive failures became more common. When
this occurred a CN locomotive was leased if one was
Models used included GP38-2, GP40-2, SD60F, SD70M-2 but perhaps the
most surprising was the GP9R 7003 that was picked up at Charny and came
all the way to Halifax. Because of the requirements to provide
electrical power to the passenger cars the leased locomotive has to be
on the front. It is seen here leaving Halifax on 19 January 2003.
summer only tourist train, the Bras d'Or was
introduced between Halifax & Sydney Nova Scotia in 2000. It
operated until the fall of 2004 and used equipment, including
Skyline & Park dome cars, from the Ocean during its layover in
Bras d'Or with VIA 6433 and 5 cars passes Bedford Quarry &
Rocky Lake about 7:30 am on 8 July 2003.
the Bras d'Or with 6432 with four VIA cars and a private car on
the rear crosses a bridge at Sutherlands River on 19 August
December 2000 VIA purchased 139 British-built
Nightstar coaches. After modifications they became the Renaissance
cars. However they had many problems especially because of our cold
winters and so many modifications and repairs have had to be carried
The first Renaissance Ocean left Montreal on 30 July 2003. Here it is
seen crossing Elmsdale bridge on 1 August 2003.
2006 the first of the VIA F40PH-2s 6400 was
rebuilt. It was tested for two years, quite often on the Ocean, before
other units entered the rebuilding programme at Canadian Allied Diesel
in Lachine QC. Now the majority of units have been rebuilt and all
these have had their carbodies modified to accommodate a Head
Power electric generator.
F40PH-2s 6417 & 6410 head the Ocean with 14 Renaissance
cars and a Park car out of Halifax on 2 September 2010.