March 31….another year was ending in VIA Rail Canada’s ‘Preference’ (frequent flyer) Program and I needed a few more miles/points ($’s spent) to retain status and that would be easy!...... just take a quick trip on the ‘Ocean’..…covering the 840 miles overnight from Halifax to Montreal. I dropped my car off at YHZ…..the Halifax International Airport so I could have a fast get-away when I returned by plane Saturday……then hopped a Metro Transit bus heading downtown to the VIA Station….shared with Maritime Bus and also part of the Westin (a former CN Hotel) The ‘Ocean’ boarded at 12:20 for an OT departure at 1pm with plenty of time to walk forward for photos and record the consist: F40PH2’s 6407 and 6418 leading 13 ‘Renaissance’ cars including 3 Coaches and 5 Sleepers along with a Budd Dome-Observation ‘Revelstoke Park’ bringing up the rear. First Call to lunch was at 1:15 and I headed for the Diner. It’s a Table Car only with just a small pantry in the centre for preparing morning toast, serving drinks and desserts etc…..but no Kitchen or Chef on-board. Instead....meals come from an airline caterer "Gate Gourmet"....and are heated in a Convection Oven (NOT a Microwave) in the adjacent Service/Lounge Car.....then replated on real dishware (no plastic here!) I had the Ocean’s signature Fish Chowder (thick!) along with the Shrimp Alfredo.