We’ll always have Dorval

My “stuff” purge continues to inch its way through my photo collection. Rather than prints in albums I’ll never open I figure I’ll scan them and keep digital copies. This evening I grabbed a small album of photos I took on a trip to Montreal to ride and chase AMT commuter trains. I’m so proud of the way Montreal’s commuter rail provider has modernized and how much more mature it is now. If I were using it to travel to work, today’s is the better option. Mind you, it’s not the same for those of us who’d drive all that way just to watch their former fleet in action. These photos were all taken on a single afternoon in July 2000. There is so much I didn’t get a chance to see that day but even in these photos I am reminded of the variety that awaited the commuter rail junkie when he walked through the sliding glass doors at Lucien l’Allier (“LuLa”) and into paradise.

AMT July 22 20000029

Above is one of my favourite train photos, of all those I’ve taken. I’m at LuLa and have wandered pretty far down the platform to take this one. On the point of our train is an F40 leased from VIA Rail, number 6455.

AMT July 22 20000004

Walking back toward the station here’s a closer photo of 6455. In VIA service this engine would have worn the Government of Canada wordmark and the Canadian flag in several locations. I don’t know if it was official or not but it’s hard not to notice that someone has applied strips of tape to mask almost all the flags on this engine.

The Montreal commuter rail fleet was always a study in contrasts. No more evident is that than in the first car behind 6455. This coach was built by the Canadian Car and Foundry for Canadian Pacific Railways. It has spent its entire life in suburban services. When it would have entered service, it would have been pulled by CPR steam engines.

The balance of the train is made up of, then, AMT’s newest coaches. Built by Bombardier and of similar design to Amtrak’s Horizon fleet coaches these cars were gaining popularity with other commuter rail agencies (Conneticut’s ConnDOT and Boston’s MBTA immediately spring to mind). This was the first time I’d seen them up close and I still like their subtle lines. Lovely riding cars too – in my opinion.

I’ve always thought I’d someday like to build a model railway to showcase commuter train operations in and out of this station and every trip with a camera has provided an opportunity to record a few more random details. I wonder how many times I’ve photographed these same lights?

I rode the rain out to Dorval station that afternoon. Stepping down onto the platform I turned to grab a quick photo of the tail of my train as it departed. Moments later an inbound train arrives on the opposite track led by former CP Rail #1301. It was leading a train of former GO Transit, single level, cars. The entire train was decorated for the Rivertrain service. I believe this was the last time I’d see an FP7 in AMT service.


Thanks for following along on this adventure. I may very well have shared a few photos from this in previous posts but it’s nice to present the entire afternoon. I’m proud of these photos and considering it was me snapping that shutter, they turned out okay. As for the camera, it couldn’t of been more humble: a disposable I bought at a Jean Coutu store.

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