Thursday, 12 July 2018

Throwback Thursday - Operation Axle in London

 
Via 80, led by GO 723, prepares to leave London depot on April 12, 1992.  723 is an EMD-built GP40-M-2, a former Rock Island unit acquired by the Toronto - area commuter line in 1982.

By Peter Mumby

Viaphile Eric Gagnon describes Via's operations in the early months of 1992 with the phrase "Operation Axle."  Serious problems had developed earlier with axles on some of the LRC coaches, and by this time the whole fleet had been withdrawn for checking and repair.  In the resulting scramble to find temporary rolling stock replacements, a number of GO train sets were pressed in to service.  One such set of GO equipment is the subject of the accompanying photo.

As is apparent by the length of the photographer's shadow, this was an early morning train - specifically #80, a Sarnia to Toronto run.  If everything is running on schedule, it must be between 07:42 and 07:47, as #70, the train from Windsor, should be pulling up on track one behind this train at 07:47.  Via 80 will use the "back route," travelling to Toronto by way of Stratford and Kitchener.  Its arrival time at Union Station is scheduled for 10:35.  Via 70 will have the quicker schedule, travelling over the Dundas and Oakville Subdivisions by way of Brantford, with an ETA at Toronto of 10:14.

This GO equipment was never designed for long distance runs, so the seats must have led to a few cases of "numb bum" for Sarnia to Toronto passengers.  Not to mention the lack of washroom facilities on these cars - hopefully passengers had sufficient time at the Sarnia station to permit a little pre-planning!

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