THIRD QUARTER 2016: Kent Patterson wraps up his two-part history on the rebuilding and expansion of Metro-North railroad throughout thew New York and Connecticut suburbs. C.B. Hall takes a look at Amtrak’s Thruway bus connections and the status of corridor cars for Illinois, Missouri, and California. William Thoms explores the new Denver RTD commuter rail system opening and under development. El Simon rides and reports from Amtrak’s Cardinal.
Traveling by rail from Windsor, Ont., to Churchill, Man., is a one-way journey of about 2,500 miles (4,000 km) on three different VIA Rail Canada trains. The western end of VIA’s Corridor links Windsor with Toronto, where connections can be made with trains 1 and 2, the transcontinental Canadian. In Winnipeg, Man., Churchill passengers make their connections to and from twice-weekly trains 692 and 693, the Hudson Bay.
Fortunately, prior to MNR’s start, the serious planning underway at both MTA and CDOT did mitigate the challenge somewhat. A multitude of projects and plans were underway to address the looming realities regarding delivering reliable service, along with a tight supply of electric-service passenger equipment.
Today, little resembles MNR’s ragtag beginnings on Jan. 1, 1983, when this new, roughly 400 mile railroad was an unwanted appendage of Conrail and several other eastern commuter operations, all suffering from years of deferred maintenance and attention. Oh, the MNR ran—but barely, with old equipment lacking parts, worn infrastructure, shortages of tools, an absentee top management, and no vision or direction toward the future, neither service-wise nor functionally.