This is a GO train, 1974-style at Toronto Union Station, two years before trains bearing the VIA logo appeared on Toronto Terminals Railway tracks. GO was leasing ONR streamlined Polar Bear Express coaches, each emblazoned with a small GO logo. CN provided the motive power, passenger service-geared GP40 4016 and a steam generator.
Let's do some math illustrating some of the trains running out of Toronto in the 1970's and 1980's: CN + ONR = GO. GO + Tempo = GO. GO + VIA = VIA. CP + CN = VIA. CN + ONR = VIA.
As VIA began its history, passenger trains provided a rich cornucopia of combinations in a continuum. The introduction of VIA and its synthesis from CN and CP was gradual. I hesitate to use the term 'pre-VIA' because that implies there was a definite VIA era. But the pre-VIA era includes the above photo, and you can expect to see similar deliciously intriguing trains referred to in my upcoming book. They are entirely topical and genuinely germane to any discussion of VIA's early years.
Thanks to Brian (photo), Christopher and Tom for your support this week. Much appreciated!