Showing posts from March, 2014


I forgot to post anything this week did I...

Well I guess I'll share these couple of pictures that I'm semi-satisfied with... here's something at least. I took them last fall near this spot called Cranbrook in British Columbia.

Amtrak Cities Sprinter for a third time?

As production and commission of the Siemens ACS-64 come to full swing, it is only appropriate that I write some more here about this important locomotive that brings North American passenger rail into a whole new era.

For those still not familiar with this name, ACS-64 is the new workhorse of the Regional (name for the locomotive-hauled 125 mph intercity service) fleet on the Amtrak Northeast Corridor. Seventy of them all together, projected to be delivered by 2015, will effectively replace all other electric locomotives currently in use. The model number decodes into Amtrak Cities Sprinter and rather than horsepower, the number 64 denotes the locomotive’s maximum short-term rating of 6,400 kW. That is a whopping 8,660 good ol’ horses (and remember, this is a 4-axle locomotive, so one axle of the ACS-64 is more powerful than a GP38!). Like the AEM-7, the ACS-64 is a full fledge European locomotive that is build in America. The Cities Sprinter is based on Siemens’ new Vectron platform …

Toronto Union Station Part 3

The continuous cuts in Canadian intercity passenger rail service did not hamper the livelihood of our grand train station in the heart of Toronto. With years of improvement in regional transit by the Government of Ontario, Toronto Union Station is once again a prosperous union passenger depot she is ought to be. 246 weekday commuter services see passengers on and off at Union Station. On average, the GO concourse sees over 200,000 people flooding through each day (in the very positive way). In conjunction with the TTC Union Subway Station, Toronto Union Station is the busiest transportation hub in Canada.

In the late 2010s, with the announcement of the BigMove transit investment plan by the Government of Ontario, under the same heritage head house, Toronto Union Station will receive some long overdue revitalization. A new retail level underneath the current GO concourse and a new entrance on the south side will be added, a section of the train shed will be rebuilt with glass (due to U…

Toronto Union Station Part 2

The Union Station we know and love today is in fact the 3rd Union Station Toronto has seen in her brief 180 years of history.

The thought of a even more grand union passenger depot was first contemplated by the Grand Trunk Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1905. One year later, the Toronto Terminals Railway was incorporated by the Government of Canada and jointly owned by the GTR and CPR for the sole purpose of constructing and operating such a station. In 1914, the breathtaking Beaux-Arts head house of the new Union Station finally broke ground on land acquired by the GTR after the Great Toronto Fire of 1904.

The construction was the station was no smooth sailing, plagued by wartime shortage and financial troubles of the GTR. The head house of the station took until 1920 to complete, however, the there was no track or train shed adjacent to the building. It took another 7 years of mostly arguing, some constructing until the grand opening of the new Union Station as a passen…