Something Borrowed


The year is 2007 and the location is Victoria, BC.  Via Rail is running a daily Budd RDC set as the Malahat service on Vancouver Island.  It departs in the mornings from Victoria and heads up the island along the E&N (Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway) to Courtnay, a distance of about 140 miles.  To see Budd cars in operation as part of a daily passenger service is rare anytime in the 21st century.  By the time these two were captured, BC Rail's Budd cars had been gone for 5 years.  

Captured here in 2007, the Malahat would cease operating as track deteriorated in the years that followed.  There has been talk of restoring the service, however, it seems that little progress has been made and these were on borrowed time.  The combined rail / path bridge that rolled the passenger train the last few hundred yards to the depot has also been redone, without the rails.  In 2011, the service was ended - reminding me of the axiom that once it's gone, it's hard to get back.

But 2011 is still a few years distant in these photos of an early morning departure beneath the high blue skies of a beautiful May 2007 day.  The yellow ends glisten and the stainless steel still shines, resplendent in the Art Deco styling of the day.  

Not all was in good repair even then as the photos below suggest.  Coolant leaks from the engine compartment housed above the passenger cabin (below).  

Via 6148 is paired with the 6133 on today's train and is pointed to head out on the high-ball that will soon come.  Via hung on to several Budd cars for many years, 6148 being eventually retired.  6133 has an interesting history and future, however.  It was one of the last RDCs on Vancouver Island, and closed out the last service on the Quebec Central Railway in 1967 as well [1].  Today, it has been rescued from scrap and is in the process of a restoration.  You can read more about it here, and even donate to the cause. 



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