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Showing posts from December, 2009

The Canadian

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The Canadian was officially launched as the flagship transcontinental passenger train by the Canadian Pacific Railway on 24 April 1955.  It was designated as Train No. 1 (from Toronto) and 11 (from Montreal via Ottawa) going westbound to Vancouver and Train No. 2 (to Toronto), and 12 (to Montreal via Ottawa) going eastbound.  The two sections join and split in Sudbury, Ontario and the train travels through Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, and Banff.  It was the first all stainless steel dome streamliner in Canada featuring stainless equipment built by the Budd Company.  These stainless steel cars are still in use today on The Canadian, Via Rail Train No. 1 and 2.


The Canadian-the original at Banff, AB with a leading EMD FP9


Park Series observation car at tail-end of The Canadian-the original

However, with the decline in passenger ridership in the 1970s, the Canadian Pacific Railway removed itself from the passenger rail market as the Federal Government formed the Crown corporatio…

GE P42DC Genesis

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The General Electric P42DC is a 4-axle locomotive first produced in 1997 for passenger services.  It is widely used across the entire Amtrak system where it is permitted to travel at up to 110 mph (its top speed) and Via Rail Canada's Quebec City-Windsor Corridor where it is permitted to travel at up to 100 mph.

Via Rail J-Train 42/56 from Toronto to Ottawa/Montreal with mix consist (Kingston, ON)
The P42DC is one of last locomotives produced in the Genesis series and is the successor of the P40DC (aka Dash 8-40BP or AMD-103).  The Genesis series locomotives feature a monocoque body design unlike the body-on-frame design used by older locomotives and they are equipped with high-speed bogies designed by German firm Krupp Verkehrstechnik GmbH (now Vossloh AG).  They are the only diesel-electric locomotives Amtrak operates that are low enough to meet the clearance of the Northeast Corridor.  Like what its name indicates, the P42DC has a total output of 4,250 horsepower from its 7FDL16…

The Montréal Métro

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Per readers' request, we are taking a look at the Montreal Metro operated by the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) this week.  I was fortunate to have experienced the system twice to connect between the downtown Coach Canada terminal and Gare Centrale at Bonaventure for the Amtrak Adirondack in 2008.  However, the distinct feature of the metro trains in Montreal is very easy to spot.  The train bodies are narrower than the Toronto subway trains (8 ft 2.4 in vs. 10 ft 4 in) and they run on rubber wheels!


Canadian Vickers MR-63, the original metro train in Montreal

The Montreal metro began operation on 14 October 1966.  It was inspired by Paris metro where trains serving some of lines also used rubber wheels.  The metro trains draw electricity from the guide bars beside the rails.  The horizontally placed wheelsroll against the guide bars to guide the trains.  The trains also have conventional flanged steel wheels on standard gauge (4 ft 8.5 in) rails to guide the trains throug…

General Electric ES44AC

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The ES44AC (successor of the AC4400CW) is a member of the family of GE's latest and greatest diesel-electric freight locomotives, the Evolution Series.  Other locomotives in the Evolution Series include ES40DC, ES44DC, ES44C4 for the domestic market and ES44ACi (Kazakhstan), ES59ACi (China), and ES44DCi (Australia) for export.  The direct competitor of the ES44AC is the SD70ACe developed by Electro Motive Diesel (EMD).  The name ES44AC can be simply decoded as Evolution Series 4,400 horsepower AC traction (this naming scheme does not apply to EMD products or the ES59ACi which actually outputs 6,250 horsepower).  However, unlike electric locomotives, the rated power of diesel-electric locomotives are measured at the prime mover (i.e. the diesel engine), not at the traction motors.

The Evolution Series were developed to meet the stricter EPA Tier 2 emission standards.  These locomotives use the GEVO prime movers instead of the FDL prime movers used on the older Dash 9 and AC units. …

Bombardier Zefiro 380

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One of the readers suggested that we talk about the Maglev or the TGV this week.  Since I mentioned at the beginning that I would like to talk more about trains we could see around us or relate to first, so I will still talk about a train we as Canadians can somehow relate to and save the TGV and Maglev for later.  However, this doesn't mean that this train is any slower than the TGV.  I am talking about the Bombardier Zefiro platform and particularly the Zefiro 380, an 8 or 16 car very-high-speed train due for delivery to the Chinese Ministry of Railway (MOR), China's national passenger rail carrier, in 2012.  Yes, the name Zefiro 380 implies a top speed of 380 km/h (236 mph) in regular service.

The Zefiro incorporates technologies derived from the Gröna tåget (Green Train) project, a joint project with the KTH Railway Group (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm) and Chalmers Railway Mechanics (Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg) to develop energy efficient high-…