Flashback: Last VIA Budd Train For a While

This is a repost. The original post was written in May 2006. I thought I’d freshen it up and resurface it for those who weren’t following this blog almost 14 years ago (gulp). Hope you like it! My comments and additions will be in italics.

David Morris, Peter Gough, Ken McDonald and I decided to go chase the last Budd Ocean* on Wednesday, May 3 [2006]. We left Fredericton at 11:00 and made it to Oxford Junction by 13:45. Good time on the highway!

* at the time there were strong rumours that the new-to-VIA Renaissance equipment would completely replace the 1950s era Budd equipment forever. That didn’t happen, and the Budd equipment is going to outlast the Renaissance equipment!

Oxford Junction

VIA Rail’s “Ocean” at Oxford Junction

The signals were red-over-red at the Junction so we went to Tim’s to fortify ourselves for the chase. We returned to the Junction and looked for places to shoot from. I scrambled up a hill to check out a bridge shot but ruled it out (too sharp an angle) then walked east beside the track to see what was up there (not much). In the end I set up my tripod just west of the rest of the people.

We noted that the east leg of the wye had been recently removed. This used to be the connection of CN’s Oxford subdivision to the main line.

Dismantled east leg of the wye
Dismantled east leg of the wye – facing west

A few CN high-railers came in from the west and parked by the depot. They said VIA would be through at about 10-15 minutes after 3.

At 15:11 VIA 15 blasted through with VIA 6426 on the point.

Evangeline Park at Oxford Junction, NS

It had 6426/6405/6416 leading baggage 8623, coaches 8107 and 8139, Skyline 8504, diner “Acadian” (8401), Sleepers Latour, Bienville, Radisson, and Viger (8212, 8202, 8221, 8229) and Evangeline Park (8704) bringing up the markers.


VIA 15 passing Fort Beasejour

We hopped into Peter’s car and hit the highway for the border. Our plan was to get inside the curve at Aulac (just on the New Brunswick side of the Tantramar Marshes) and shoot him going around the curve. We made it to Aulac in good time, and waited for him to arrive. Another railfan, Roger Cook, showed up. He said he had chased them down from Matapedia to Halifax and was now chasing them back.

The Ocean showed up at 16:00 on the nose.

VIA 15 at Aulac

We hit the highway again, intending to catch him just west of Moncton before proceeding to the station. We called Bill Linley [who was on the train] on his cellphone and had a good chat as we hurtled toward Moncton. He said he was enjoying champagne in the dome!

Painsec Junction

After some discussion we decided to go to Painsec Junction. It’s easily accessible from the highway and left us in a good position to get downtown to the station. We set up there and called Bill again for a position report. They rocketed through at 16:45.

The lead shot of this post was taken with my digital camera, pointed blind, while I shot video of them. It turned out OK, I thought, for an unaimed shot.


VIA 6426 refueling at the Moncton, NB station
VIA 6426 refueling at the Moncton, NB station

We beat it downtown through medium traffic and found them at the station in downtown Moncton. The “Ocean” has a lengthy station stop here for refueling and replenishment.

Peter and I talked with Bill for a few minutes before heading out to Gort. David was going to the Mitsubishi dealer to get them around the curve and Ken was going to remain at the station.


VIA blasting by the CN Gort sign
VIA blasting by the CN Gort sign

We got to Gort in good time and set up on the Delong Drive overpass. We saw a freight (CN 308) pulling into the yard, which unfortunately left a few autoracks casting shadows over the tracks. What can you do?

VIA 15 ambled through at 17:25.

Evangeline Park on the tail end of the "Ocean"
Evangeline Park on the tail end of the “Ocean”

A CN local with a GP38 on the point was waiting for VIA to clear before proceeding onto the main line. They ended up pulling onto the main, then backing out of sight around the curve.

A long distance view of the CN local waiting to come onto the main line

Bye-bye steel cars! See you in the fall.

The Video

VIA 15 from Oxford Junction to Moncton, May 3, 2006

2 thoughts on “Flashback: Last VIA Budd Train For a While”

  1. Nice repost, Steve. I’ve often thought of redoing some of my early posts (2008, blog newbie!) to reformat, re-do photos, add additional information etc. I’ll probably do it at some point. Loved that 3xF40 streamliner!


    • I always assume everyone has read every blog post, but of course nobody would do that! Redoing posts brings the “good stuff” back to the front.

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