Thursday 11 June 2015

Throwback Thursday - VIA FPA-4 at Spadina

VIA FPA-4 sits in quiet repose near the old coaling tower at the Spadina Ave locomotive servicing facility. Undated Kodak negative from author's collection (likely early 1980's); photographer unknown. 

Today's Throwback Thursday takes us to a place that for years provided Canadian railfans with plenty of action, and was synonymous with passenger train operations in Canada's largest city - Spadina shops, located just west of Toronto Union Station. A boon to anyone interested in passenger operations - back when the passenger trains were more than four cars long - Spadina was the hub of passenger operations for Canadian National, and later crown corporation VIA Rail in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton area. One could often find all sorts of neat things laying over at the yard - RDC's, Tempo engines, the Turbo Train, and more - much of it MLW-powered, much to my liking. A city overpass lent its' name to the area and provided railfans a convenient means of getting overhead shots of the facility. It seemed the roundhouse was always chock-full of idle power laying over between runs, and was known to be railfan-friendly; at one time, all it took was signing a release and having the basic sense not to doing anything stupid and one could roam the area and take photos of whatever one pleased. Alas, those days are long gone, much like Spadina as we knew it - the roundhouse demolished and passenger train servicing operations - vastly scaled-down - moved a few miles further west to a new VIA terminal at Mimico, adjacent to GO Transit's Willowbrook facility. The land where the roundhouse once stood is now dominate by the Roger's Center (baseball stadium) and rows of high-end glass-encased condo towers. A far cry from a greasy railway yard, Spadina no longer has much of a railfan connection. But what of VIA 6763? It's fate proved somewhat more favourable. Having been built as CN 6763 by MLW in December 1958, the engine was cascaded to VIA ownership in the 1978 formation of the national passenger carrier. Continuing to haul passengers up until retirement in May 1995. A series of ownerships brought the unit to become part of the Delaware-Lackawanna fleet, and the engine is now part of a lineup of other Alco-MLW products serving as a parts source for the roads' other Schenectady-built locomotives. Time will tell if the unit will ever run again, but no doubt a deadline is much better than having been turned into razor blades... 

'Til next time,

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