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Author Topic: By Train...Into The Wilds
ghCBNS
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There's been a lot of VIA passenger trains that have disappeared over the last four decades including such notables as the Super Continental, Cavalier and Atlantic.....but a pair of nondescript locals that have survived are the remote services between Montreal and Jonquiere/Senneterre. It's been awhile since I went for a ride but I had the opportunity three weeks ago just before the Covid-19 shut-down.

Departure from Gare Centrale, Montreal was at 8:15 on a Friday morning in light snow but as we headed northeast.....it cleared into a sunny but cold day.

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Above is the VIA Station at Garneau Yard....looking more like an airport control tower!

Consist for combined trains #601/603:

6424 F40 Locomotive (to Jonquiere)
Baggage (to Jonquiere)
Coach (to Jonquirere)
Coach (to Jonquiere)
6413 F40 Locomotive (to Senneterre)
Baggage (to Senneterre)
Coach (to Senneterre)
Coach (to Senneterre)

One train is coupled right behind the other with the second locomotive in the middle of the train. At Hervey Jct. the trains are separated......we pull forward and continue to Jonquiere and #603 led by 6413....heads off to Senneterre.

(FYI....Jonquiere sounds like: Jon-key-air)

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ghCBNS
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Shortly after Hervey Jct we arrived at Riviere-a-Pierre. The roads end here and the station parking lot was full. We had about a 20 minute stop while a coach and a half.... fill with passengers and the baggage car is loaded with boxes and coolers along with other supplies needed for a weekend or a week or two in the woods.

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We followed along a river for miles through beautiful, rugged country. Winter lasts 4 months here but summers are warm with swimming and boating on the many lakes and the fall colours can be especially nice for a train ride.

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There were numerous stops in the next 100 miles where the train (or a snowmobile) is the only access. Some stops are a minute or two and only a mile apart at a small shelter or just a path through the snow to a cabin in the bush. Passengers and their gear are off-loaded at the side of the track. And in the reverse.....the trains will stop just about anywhere to pick up someone to take them into the larger communities for appointments or supplies......and more so along the isolated old NTR (National Transcontinental Railway) route #603 follows between La Tuque and Senneterre.

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ghCBNS
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Stadacona at Mile 76.4 was busy with a large group met by snowmobiles.

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I sat with a couple that were heading in for a two week stay. Here's their cabin.......it's off-grid but they have solar power and there's wood for heat and cooking. (and now.....a good place to be during Covid-19 !)

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At Lac Brochette the roads reappear and we're soon into the Lac St Jean Region where the Lake is 30 km across here.

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Arrival at the modern VIA Station shared with the local transit authority in Saguenay-Jonquiere (metro pop: 146,000) is just short of 2 hours late because of the many stops we've made. It's an industrial city with hydro-electric developments and aluminum smelting.......and the Saguenay Fjord is a cruise ship destination.

https://www.quebecoriginal.com/en-ca/listing/things-to-do/heritage-sites-and-attractions/routes/fjord-route-49128190

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ghCBNS
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I grabbed a taxi to the Marriott 'Delta-Saguenay' for the night. This area of Quebec is very French but I had no problem with my limited French. The taxi driver knew a word or two in English and me .....a word or two in French and the hotel staff was fully bilingual.

(Does your local Marriott Hotel have a parking lot for snowmobiles along with cars? Winter sports are big here and trails lead from the woods directly to the hotel)

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I could have stayed over until VIA returned to Montreal on Sunday.....but on Saturday morning I took a bus to Quebec City. 'Intercar' has 4 buses each way daily that take about 3 hrs down the QC175/Autoroute 73 freeway. In Quebec City.....buses share VIA's beautifully restored 'Gare du Palais'


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ghCBNS
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I was continuing onto Montreal that evening on VIA so I had the afternoon to walk around the city......and there is just so much history in Quebec City to take in. It's a walled and gated, fortified city with some of the original buildings dating back to the 1600 and 1700s. Fascinating for a history buff...... and it's no Disney re-creation!

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The iconic Canadian Pacific Railway's Chateau Frontenac Hotel.....now a Fairmont (and not it's usual photogenic self with the scaffolding covering the face during a major renovation) .......sits high on a cliff along the boardwalk overlooking the St. Lawrence.

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ghCBNS
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Now a walk through the Battlefields on the Plains of Abraham where back in 1759.....the British forces under General James Wolfe defeated the French led by the Mauquis de Moncalm.....and the surrender of Quebec to the English. But it's still a very French city.......look across the street in the photo below. That's the Assemblee Nationale Quebec's Parliament with the Fleur-de-Lis Flag flying from the tower.

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(And to put a VIA twist to the story......occasionally you will find Sleeping Cars Wolfe Manor and Chateau Montcalm together on the Canadian.....leading some to call it a Plains of Abraham consist.

The narrow, cobblestone streets are lined with shops and restaurants and in summer......outdoor cafes and bars. Just so very European!

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ghCBNS
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I also took a short ferry ride across the St. Lawrence that offers a great view of the city:

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Then it was time to make my way back to Gare du Palais and a Business Class ride on VIA #29 to Montreal.

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ghCBNS
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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Now lets go way back to February 1976 and I took almost this same trip except the train ran overnight......and continued another 9 miles beyond Jonquiere to Chicoutimi.

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Departing Montreal at 8:20pm.....we were hauled 5 miles out of Central Station through the Mount Royal Tunnel to Eastern Jct. by ancient GE Box Cab Electrics. (Today's train runs around Mount Royal (not through it) via CN's Taschereau Yard.....adding about 9 miles to the trip.)

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CN #73 Montreal - Chicoutimi, Feb. 20, 1976

6712 GE Electric (cut off at Eastern Jct)
6714 GE Electric (cut off at Eastern Jct)
6787 FPA4
6636 F9B
9332 Baggage
1815 Allendale 8Sec, 2Comp, 1Dr.
1087 Cape Breton 2Bdr. 2Comp Buffet Lounge
5227 Coach
5298 Coach (off Arvida)
5187 Coach (off Jonquiere)
5287 Coach (to #75 at Hervey Jct to Senneterre)
431 Dinette (to #75 at Hervey Jct to Senneterre)
1807 Campbellton Sleeper (to #75 at Hervey Jct to Senneterre)

I remember the train was packed on that Friday evening and Buffet Lounge Cape Breton was doing a great business! I had a Lower Berth in Allandale.....an old Heavyweight Sleeper built in 1929 but fully modernized, warm and comfortable!

Arrival in Chicoutimi was at 7:45 on Saturday morning and I walked the short distance to the Voyageur Terminal for the 9am bus to Quebec City (and on an almost identical schedule as today!)

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We arrived in Quebec City at noon with plenty of time for me to get CP Rail's RDC 'Dayliner' at 1:30pm to Montreal via Trois-Riviere......arriving there at 4:50pm.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Well Mr. Hadfield, you missed a photo of Kapithicuan Club, PQ. That is where I was "deposited" during 1956 for a three week canoe trip to Chibogmau. There was a steam locomotive on the head, as there was on The Montrealer Windsor-Montresl.

"I'm not into that kind of stuff", but was anyone about to tell my Father that?

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Ocala Mike
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Thanks for that travelogue. If my A/C ever fails in the middle of summer here, I've got something to fall back on to cool me off.

Gil, did your cat get on your keyboard or have you been into the grape again?

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ghCBNS
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
Well Mr. Hadfield, you missed a photo of Kapithicuan Club, PQ. That is where I was "deposited" during 1956 for a three week canoe trip to Chibogmau.....

Kapitachuan Club is still a stop for VIA but it's on the other line (train #603) to Senneterre after the trains split at Hervey Jct.

I'd love to go back this summer (if we all get though this thing!) and do that route up to Senneterre....but it will take more planning for a hotel etc as Senneterre is much smaller than Jonquiere.

And BTW.....VIA is pretty well shut down except limited service in the corridor but those remote service runs to Jonquiere/Senneterre are still running.

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ghCBNS
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
Looks OK to me, Mike - albeit after a spellcheck.

Perhaps he is looking at The Montrealer Windsor-Montresl

Would that be White River Jct-Montreal??....and hauled the last couple of miles into Central Station from the Victoria Bridge by Electric Box-Cabs similar to the one in my photo above?

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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Hadfield, Central Vermont track began at Windsor VT, although I will concede the operational interchange between the CV and the Boston & Maine occurred at White River Jc.

It was a danged if I do danged if I don't call I had to make.

quote:
Originally posted by ghCBNS:
I'd love to go back this summer (if we all get though this thing!) and do that route up to Senneterre

Ok, I'll stand corrected on that point; Johnquirre does look a bit more civilized than I'd dare say Senneterre!
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ghCBNS
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Mr Norman.....This was probably the CNR Timetable in effect for your trip to Kapitachuan Club back in '56.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Hadfield, the Car heading from Montreal to KC was named Anticosti Island and for the return, McDougal.

Some kids "eat that kind of stuff up"; guarantee you, I was not one of 'em.

No doubt my postings, and the half a dozen or so around here who know me face to face, are quite aware I'm "not exactly into roughing it".

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ghCBNS
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
the Car heading from Montreal to KC was named Anticosti Island and for the return, McDougal.

Guess you recorded consists too!!

Here's 'Anticosti Island' and 'McDougall'. They were still on CN's roster at 1975...just before VIA but I don't know if they actually saw VIA service or not.

On the photo sheet....the top one is a car the same as McDougall but the paint scheme back in '56 would have been solid green or the 'Maple Leaf' scheme like the others in the photo.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Hadfield, did I or didn't I, record consists:

http://www.railroad.net/viewtopic.php?f=155&t=12524

Oh, and lest we note "I'm not making up stuff" around here; loved the "portholed" vestibule doors those cars had.

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ghCBNS
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
Mr. Hadfield, did I or didn't I, record consists:

http://www.railroad.net/viewtopic.php?f=155&t=12524

Oh, and lest we note "I'm not making up stuff" around here, loved the "portholed" vestibule doors those cars had.

Thanks for that link and the flashback!

The first one (3rd down) I posted there...is the same one I posted in the trip report above.

The one below that is from a trip to Senneterre & Cochrane in '74 (and I passed through Kapitachuan Club on that trip) I had a reservation for a lower in 'Battleford' an 8-1-2 but due to a union work stoppage there was no porter that night so the sleeper was out of service and I rode coach. Well the conductor took pity on us and rotated seats so everyone (and there weren't that many) had a four-seater to themselves....then went back to sleeper for pillows for all. It wasn't the lower I had expected....but pretty darn comfortable anyway!

And I remember those Porthole windows. Standard on a lot of the modernized heavyweights. 'Battleford' had them....but really can't see them in the photo below with all that steam at Gare du Palais in Quebec City.

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yukon11
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Great photos, thanks for posting them.

What train station (shown from the inside) is that in photo #31 from the top. Is it in Quebec City?
The Chateau Frontenac is a favorite of many.

Richard

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ghCBNS
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quote:
Originally posted by yukon11:
Great photos, thanks for posting them.

What train station (shown from the inside) is that in photo #31 from the top. Is it in Quebec City?
Richard

Yes...VIA's Gare du Palais in Quebec City. Taken just as you enter the station from the adjoining bus terminal (those are the doors at the far end in the distance in the next photo) Note the sign on the right for the 'Navatte' or Shuttle to the Ocean. This is where you gather in the evening to get the bus 8 miles out to the suburban Sainte-Foy station where the Ocean departs from for Halifax.

Here's some photos of the Ocean at Sainte-Foy:

http://www.railroad.net/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=171186

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palmland
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Excellent trip repot, thanks! In the late 60’s CN made a real effort with their passenger service. I don’t remember the name, but we were trackside at a suburban Montreal station and was amazed at the number of trains with consists that had many heavyweight cars. Somewhere we have a bunch of slides of that vacation, our first, (for ‘69 World’d Fair) that I need to digitize.
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ghCBNS
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Back in 1956 when Mr Norman went to Kapitachuan Club.....the CNR was promoting Hunting, Fishing and Canoe Trips into those areas of Quebec still served today by VIA's Jonquiere and Senneterre trains:

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Gilbert B Norman
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I remember mention of the Seqouin Brothers, as their property was adjacemt to the Camp's on Lake Choiseul. Those of us coming up from "L'Etat" were known as "The Sports".

Can't say all of this is ringing up "fond memories", but it is ringing up "memories".

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yukon11
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Another ride along the CNR route, east to west:

https://is.gd/dX5hvs


Some of the filming locations:

London, England
Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia
Montreal
Quebec City
Ottawa
Rivers in Manitoba
Alberta province entrance
White Rock, BC

No stop at the Kapitachuan Club, however.

Richard

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