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I've been oogling Rapido's The Canadian and noticed they have a handy chart on their site for when the various liverys were in service. This got me thinking though: in the 80s, wasnt VIA all about the full blue scheme? Where do these stainless with blue stripe fit in to the mix of that era?
 

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The solid blue smooth side cars were ex-CN cars.....the stainless cars with the blue strip at the top were ex-CPR cars.....VIA ran those cars pretty much where the previous railroads ran them; solid blue on the Super Continental route, and the stainless ones on the Canadian route.....

VIA did mix them on other trains.....

A good resource book is Morning Sun’s VIA, The First 25 Years (by Kevin J. Holland)....

547528
 

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A history of the "Canadian" and it's equipment:

The "Canadian" began service in the 1950s as a Canadian Pacific train, with all stainless-steel cars. The original 1950s colours had a dark maroon band in the letter boards above the car windows. At a certain point, some older lightweight smooth-side baggage, coach and sleeper cars were painted silver with maroon stripes to match the appearance of the stainless cars so they could occasionally mix in.

In the fall of 1968, Canadian Pacific unveiled their re-branding as CP Rail with bright red official colours. The maroon stripes on the "Canadian's" passenger equipment was changed to red.

In 1979 CP Rail spun off their passenger serviced to VIA Rail, which had been created a few years earlier to re-brand and spin off Canadian National's passenger services. After 1979 VIA Rail handled all of the former CN and CP passenger operations. After this takeover of CP's operations, the ex-CP "Canadian" stainless steel cars were gradually repainted from CP Rail red stripes to VIA blue ones. It also became possible during the 1980s to occasionally see former CN cars (the solid blue with yellow striped ones) mixed in the "Canadian" consist. (The full-blue cars were regular steel bodied coaches; stainless cars just got the name board stripes.)

The remaining stainless equipment was rebuilt from steam heat to being run off HEP (head-end-electrical power) - this had already begun following the purchase of the modern F40PH-2D locomotives in the mid-1980s. Also a bunch of ex-Amtrak and misc. US road stainless steel coaches were acquired from about 1987-93 for reconditioning and conversion to HEP for use on VIA's regional trains.

In the early 1990s, VIA underwent a series of serious service cutbacks, following which most of the older ex-CN blue&yellow equipment was retired from service. None of the ex-CN blue&yellow cars were ever rebuilt in the HEP program. All were sold off or otherwise disposed of.

The original Canadian Pacific cars acquired for the "Canadian" service in 1956 are mostly all still in service today, minus a few wreck loses and retirements here and there.
 
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