Friday, July 19, 2013

Ex-CP Smooth-Sides

VIA's ex-CP smooth-side coaches and baggage cars are one of my favourite early-VIA era subjects. I wanted to learn more about them, and I included what I learned in my second book. Of course, there's always more to learn, and this past week I was able to participate in a discussion of these cars. Specifically, were they in VIA service and did they receive a VIA paint scheme? Answers: Yes, and No.

Contributor Bruce Chapman was kind enough to contribute some fantastic photos for my book, showing some of the ex-CP baggage cars languishing at Montreal's Glen Yard. Notice how the maroon stripe below the windows (and letterboard at roofline) bled through the CP Rail silver paint, which was in turn covering the CPR maroon. While theoretically on VIA's roster, photos like the one above show us that these cars rarely if ever turned a wheel in VIA service. I included paint information, disposition and a roster in my book.

Wouldn't these cars have looked good with a blue VIA letterboard and yellow VIA logo? Unfortunately, due to their lack of mechanical capability with the rest of VIA's fleet, as well as other factors, they were early departees from the VIA roster, finding homes on regional railways and other new owners.



  1. Thanks, Eric, for posting this. I've always enjoyed CP's smooth sided equipment which kind of got lost in the shuffle with the purchase of Budd equipment. I've always wondered what would have happened if CP had decided to build their own fleet of cars rather than the purchase of those of Budd?

    Have you done any research on CP's Grove sleepers. Would you know if any still exist?

  2. Thanks for your comment, Chris. I just looked into the CP cars that went to VIA, so didn't look at the sleepers you mentioned. I had seen some of the smooth-side coachyard 'queens' that VIA got from CP, and was eager to dig up some more information on them, for my second VIA book.

    Not surprisingly, some of the baggage cars, especially, were not really roadworthy, and operated little if any with VIA.