Thursday, March 5, 2009

Remember the Turbo Train

back in the day this was the fastest we had Montreal - toronto a laughable 4hrs..Yikes !! We had the technology then ,but no political will to actually have a fast link btwn Montreal - Toronto....Now there's talk of having another quick link ( I hope the next one is a real fast train.  also do you remember what the Turbo replaced in those days ,

   it was called the   "RAPIDO" .........................



Connect The Dots: Toronto To Montreal By High-Speed Train

CN's "Turbo." What goes around comes around.

The new Board of Directors at Via Rail decided to look back fifty years in the history of rail travel in Canada and ask the question, "What are we doing to build a high-speed link between Toronto and Montreal?" Why look back you ask? Well, a lot of people don't remember that Canadians once led the world—sort of—in fast trains. Remember the "Turbo?" In the sixties it actually plied the rails between Canada's then two greatest cities at an average speed of between 160 to 200 k. Here is what the Wikipedia says about the train:

Canada placed some early hopes with the United Aircraft Turbo train, in the 1960s, which was a true HST. The train sets achieved speeds as high as 200 km/h in regular service, but for most of its service life (marred with lengthy interruptions to address design problems and having to cope with the track poor quality), it ran at a more realistic 160 km/h. The Turbo Train featured the latest technology advances such as passive coach tilting, Talgo attachment for rigid coach articulation and gas turbine power.

So, in the typical Canadian fashion of blowing technological leads (remember the Avro Arrow and its Orenda engine), we stopped investing in our passenger rail system and poured billions into aviation infrastructure. The result is our world-leading national airline—excuse the snark.

Liberal leader Dion thinks improved trains are one part of the solution towards sustainability. We agree and so apparently does the board of Via. Does that mean anything will actually happen? Well, have you read the book, "Why Mexicans Don't Drink Molsons?" According to the book's author, Andrea Mandel-Campbell:

Canada has all the makings of a global leader, yet it has opted to become a global laggard, preferring to fritter away its jackpot of rich resources rather than build viable multinationals that are ultimately the country’s best defence in a globalized world.

If we continue our comfortable status quo, the answer is no. Global warming is the variable that might change our laggardly habits. Anyone care to wager on the outcome?




Robin Turner said...

I remember the Turbo. When I used to travel between Montreal and Toronto on business I would take the Turbo - First Class. This was cheaper than economy flying plus you got a real meal and free booze (after 11 A.M.). I somehow always managed to get a seat in the dome - behind the driver going to Toronto and at the end of the train on the way to Montreal. Great views!

Guy Billard said...

I remember the Turbo quite well. It had several mechanical break downs while in service thus disrupting squedules and had bad accidents hitting vehicules. Too bad as I believe the Turbo engines were made by P&W in Longueuil and gave highly paid jobs to higlhy qualified people. As the article says we again missed the boat as with the Avro Arrow. Many engineers if not most ended up going to the U.S. to work for the armament industry. Diefenbaker was responsible for the Avro fiasco and Chr├ętien was responsible for the cancellation of the helicoptor fiasco.

Steve Gladwish said...

My first boss in the Point worked on that project.The stories he told me about getting it on the rails.
Running out of fuel and stopping at a gas station near the tracks and telling the guy fill it up from his truck...First run on opening day and the train did not make it without a problem.I understand that the Aero guys and the Railroaders had alot of different opinions on making it successful.Too bad..I never rode it and always wanted to. Saw it stored under Central Station one day..not sure where it is.

Les F said...

I've just added a few more shots of the Turbo ,that I had on the old hard drive, go with this article..
I also have one showing the Turbo 'derailed' but I have to look for it, I will add it here later (if found)

catherine wilkins said...

I remember both the Turbo and rapido....and the bar car on one, i forget which now...but wow that trip to TO from Monty sure went by quickly!lol....