On July 22, 2000 I was flying across Canada to Vancouver Island. I had a flight connection in Montreal for most of the afternoon and there was simply no way I was going to waste it hanging around the airport – heck I hate flying enough and if I could salve that with some time riding, photographing and generally soaking up the atmosphere of one of my favourite cities and certainly my other favourite railway, well I just didn’t even have to think about it. Twelve years ago AMT was still a haven of vintage railroad equipment in use in one of North America’s busiest commuter rail networks and a very stark contrast to GO’s spotless, very new fleet. Want to see GP’s and FP’s in regular passenger service? Why invest one’s time in some scenic railway when you could pick up a $6 ticket and spend a couple of hours with them as they earned a real living.
Of course a really fun wild card that AMT almost always delivered on was their constantly evolving collection of borrowed equipment and this trip delivered yet again. That Saturday’s Rigaud train was a string of the then stars of the AMT fleet, the 700’s. On that day their paint was gleaming. Of course the Easter egg here was leased VIA F40 #6455. Note the greyed out flags (only the Canada wordmark remained). I have more from this trip and I’ll try and post them online as time permits – of course I mounted all of them semi-permanently so freeing them to scan won’t be easy. Of every train photo I’ve ever taken these are amongst my very favourites.
Note the classic 800-series car between the 700’s and #6455. AMT always seemed to sandwich a dissimilar car between the power and the train – I never knew why.