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’83 Nostalgia - A Ride on the New ‘International’

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Hard to believe its been 35 years.but back in January 83 I picked up a VIA CanRailPass and set off on 15 days of train riding. The Pass was $160 and good anywhere in Eastern Canada...plus for a supplement on Amtrak, I could include a ride on the recently inaugurated (Oct 82) International. No advance planning or reservations were required....If a seat was available.just show your pass and you got a ticket!

 

My CanRailPass got me as far as Sarnia....then I had separate ticket coupons between Sarnia and Port Huron and Port Huron and Chicago. (VIA crews changed with Amtrak at Port Huron)

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I spent a couple of day in Chicago....making a quick round trip to Milwaukee on the Empire Builder (first time on a Superliner)...then returned on the Marquette......and also a ride out to East Chicago and back on the CSS&SB.

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Returning.we had VIAs contribution to the International.....the xCN** Tempo equipment: Coach 360, Café 343, Coach 368, Coach 372 but with Amtrak F40 323 for power.

 

(**the xCN Tempo equipment eventually went to the Denver Ski Train and has come full-circle back and now operates on CNs Algoma Central Agawa Canyon Tour Train)

 

In Port Huron at sunset:

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We crossed through the tunnel and back into Canada at Sarnia and I remember my interrogation by Canadian Customs went something like this. Citizenship? Canadian Where have you been? Just rode the new train to Chicago and back Railfan? Yes....then he was on to the next person. Oh how simple things once were!! We took the route through London and Brantford.arriving back in Toronto at 2150.

 

Now what to do?? Well the Canadian was leaving at midnight and that could be my hotel for the night. The coach ticket was free with my Pass but for $18 I could upgrade to a Lower Berth and ride as far as Sudbury. I took a seat in Yoho Park as we departed at 2359 up the Newmarket Sub.then back to my warm berth on that cold and snowy night and stayed awake to watch as we crossed over from CN to CP at South Perry. This was similar to what the w/b Canadian does today but we stayed on CP right into downtown Sudbury for a 7:30 arrival on a clear -20 morning.

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Transcontinental service had been discontinued through the Ottawa Valley between Montreal and Sudbury but VIA still maintained a tri-weekly service on this route to Ottawa. (At that time....the Canadians through cars between Montreal and Vancouver were handled in a Corridor train between Montreal and Toronto)

 

The RDC Railiner leaving Sudbury at 0900 would get be over to North Bay in plenty of time to connect with the Ontario Northland Railways Northlander at 1255 for Toronto.

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I rode that train with my parents from Kalamazoo to Toronto and return, back in 1992. As a young rail fan I recall being utterly thrilled that I actually got to spend all day on the train (a first at that time)! I also remember that at Sarnia they added some VIA equipment to the rear of the Amtrak consist, probably LRC from my somewhat faded memory. Thanks for the pictures and report!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

Edited by aewanabe

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Even though the Northlander was shown in the VIA Timetable and ran on CN from North Bay to Toronto.....it was still considered a ONR train and a separate ticket was required with a supplement of $25. The Northlander used the xTEE (Trans European Express) equipment and I had a seat in one of the enclosed compartments with 3 facing seats on each side. So very European!....but a GMD FP7 had replaced the original TEE locomotive. Arriving back in Toronto at 1820

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Most enjoyable, I too had,several similar adventures when the Rail Passes were good in both Canada and the US!😎

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Awesome trip report. Loved seeing your old tickets and time tables!

Edited by Woodcut60

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