VIA consists and early observations

As I mentioned in my previous post I have some observations. These are based on entries copied from Eric’s book and I wouldn’t have any of this without his detailed work. I really appreciate that he did it and furthermore that he invested even more effort and published such an excellent body of work. If you haven’t purchased a copy yet please do, you’ll be glad you did.

The entries I’ve copied into my own database so far are from the period July 7, 1975 to June 13, 1976. In total this means that I’ve copied in 268 eastbound entries and 247 westbound entries. Each “entry” is a row in the database. A new row is created for each car or locomotive number. For each entry I’ve brought in the number, the date, etc. as outlined in my previous post.

One of the first things I can do is count how many times a car or locomotive appears in the book’s data. Here’s a quick snapshot by number and train direction:

Number Eastbound Westbound
6117 6 4
Rideau Club 4 6
York Club 3 4
9621 3 3
6101 3 3
6108 3 3
St James Club 4 2
9662 3 3
6001 2 4
Hamilton Club 4 1
6114 2 3
6629 5
151 3 2
Union Club 4 1
2509 2 3
126 3 2
6119 1 4

It’s neat that the club cars are showing up so frequently. I’m sure these are readily available in the Rapido Trains catalogue. “Partial” is a row in the above table and denotes the number of trains where Eric has noted that the train’s consist is only a partial listing so it really shouldn’t be counted in the above table.

I like to be able to see what we can learn about individual cars that show in the list. For instance, VIA 6117 shows up in the list ten times so far. From what I understand 6117 was an RDC-1. I wasn’t able to find a picture online of VIA 6117 but I was able to find one of CN 6117 and I assume that in the seventies this was one and the same?

We can drill down further into what trains and when did 6117 appear:

Train Date Eastbound Westbound
729 April 2, 1976 1
713 May 15, 1976 1
1546 May 20, 1976 1
1557 May 21, 1976 1
1622 May 21, 1976 1
May 23, 1976 1
1539 May 23, 1976 1
1541 May 30, 1976 1
1547 June 2, 1976 1
1551 June 3, 1976 1

Next I should try and find some older VIA timetables to learn more about these trains. Given that this project is driven by model railway design I would think that this movement would be included in most operating sessions.



  1. Yes, 6117 was an RDC-1, and based on my observations, it received VIA paint sometime between August 1977 and May 1978.

    I should mention that there was a morning Kingston-Toronto RDC run, an afternoon Toronto-Kingston-Toronto RDC run, and the (next day’s) morning Kingston-Toronto RDC’s returned to Kingston at night. That’s why the E-W times are shown for the afternoon RDC’s.

    There’s a little more background on these trains in this post:

    Hope this helps Chris,

    1. It would be neat to include a reference to the paint scheme the cars and locomotives would have worn. I’m hoping that for this first pass I’d like to just keep to what I can surmize based on what’s in the book now. Thanks again for putting together such a neat book.

  2. OK Chris, the paint scheme information is based on my sightings only, shown as Paint Transition Data in the back of the book. Since I couldn’t guarantee when the cars were painted (unless I had shop records from PSC, Transcona and elsewhere, which I don’t) I didn’t want to list that information in the consists, plus it would make the listings too crowded. Maybe someone has this information somewhere, or maybe it all ended up in a CN dumpster!


    1. As I work toward getting more of this stuff keyed in I’m going to try and match up typical cars. Perhaps someone reading this and following along will be able to add in the paint information.

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