Friday 15 December 2023

B&M - CP RDC Day Train

Two become one at Wells River, Vt. during May 1960. The Montreal and Berlin, NH trains are combined here each day heading south. The northbound train is split apart here here also. Jim Shaughnessy photo.
Ken Patton's photos this week at St J mentioned the day train as being the Red Wing. This was the information supplied as the captions included on the photos. Geoff Southwood noted that this might not be the case as that train travelled at night. I am not all that familiar with this operations so I did a bit of a dive into some of my books, magazine articles and historical society. The two prior Red Wing posts have been altered. I also asked Geoff what he knows about this train as by 1964 most photos just mention the train as being the "day train". Here is what Geoff passed along...thank again Geoff.

"The Canadian Pacific timetable for October 25, 1964 to April 24, 1965 shows the train as “The Alouette” southbound as #32 and northbound as #31.

Boston & Maine curtailed its long distance service in the first few days of January 1965.  Canadian Pacific could not get permission for abandonment of the service on its line and so the train continued to operate between Montreal and Wells River for some time.

The Canadian Pacific timetable for April 25, 1965 to October 30, 1965 continues to show the train as “The Alouette” southbound as #32 and northbound as #31 but terminating in Wells River.

The closest timetable that I have for the B&M is Time Table No.8 effective October 25, 1964 and it shows the #32/31 service but makes no mention of it being the named train The Alouette.

If you have a copy of the “B&M Bulletin” Volume XXIV, Number 4, on Page 39 the magazine published a slide that I took of B&M RDC-2 6210 and CPR RDC-2 9108 departing Montreal West Station in early January 1965.  I never dated the slide so I do not know whether this was the last appearance of a B&M RDC in Montreal.  Someone somewhere must have taken a picture of the actual last run.

Kevin Holland’s book “Passenger Trains of Northern New England in the Streamline Era” on page 148 says, “Canadian Pacific pooled RDC-1 and RDC-2 units with the B&M to handle the roads’ jointly operated daylight Boston-Montreal through schedule from October 1956 until its January 1965 discontinuance.”  This is somewhat corroborated in my B&M July 8, 1956 timetable which shows both The Alouette day train and the Red Wing overnight train with standard locomotive hauled consists.

As an aside, back in the days when the NHL original six teams rode the rails, and when the Bruins visited the Canadiens for the traditional Saturday night Forum game and then moved to The Garden for a Sunday night game, it must have seemed odd that the Canadiens and Bruins boarded the Red Wing for their journey.  I do recall an article that mentioned that the teams had to be separated in different cars of the train!"

One should note that the nocturnal Red Wing was discontinued on October 24, 1959. The station stops made at St J for the Alouette during 1962 were southbound #32 at 1304 and #31 northbound at 1656. The splitting of the RDC's at Wells River, Vt. began in 1958. One or more RDC's went to Montreal while the other to Berlin, NH...George Dutka

This photo was a Christmas card Geoff used years ago. This shot was taken of CPR RDC-2 #9108 on Train 32 at Highwater, Quebec on March 25, 1965. It was bound for Wells River. It was snowing that day and he had rode it from Montreal to meet a friend on Easter Break. Geoff Southwood photo.

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