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.