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In the mid 1970s the passenger service in Canada was rather tattered. In order to improve service, CN offered up a new marketing slogan "VIA CN" complete with a fresh blue/yellow distinctive paint scheme. In January 1977 the government decided on a wholly owned subsidiary that would operate CN and CP passenger trains, which became effective in June as the new VIA RAIL Canada took over all the main passenger services in the country. March 31, 1978 VIA took over all CN pass. equipment, next day VIA became a Crown Corporation and in Sept of 1978 took over all CP passenger equipment. This image of mid-April 1977 of a westbound at Cornwall was my first sighting of the new paint scheme, and one of the very few seen with the "full dress" paint on the nose. This leaves me wondering which unit was painted first, and when.
Copyright Notice: This image ©A.W. Mooney all rights reserved.



Caption: In the mid 1970s the passenger service in Canada was rather tattered. In order to improve service, CN offered up a new marketing slogan "VIA CN" complete with a fresh blue/yellow distinctive paint scheme. In January 1977 the government decided on a wholly owned subsidiary that would operate CN and CP passenger trains, which became effective in June as the new VIA RAIL Canada took over all the main passenger services in the country. March 31, 1978 VIA took over all CN pass. equipment, next day VIA became a Crown Corporation and in Sept of 1978 took over all CP passenger equipment. This image of mid-April 1977 of a westbound at Cornwall was my first sighting of the new paint scheme, and one of the very few seen with the "full dress" paint on the nose. This leaves me wondering which unit was painted first, and when.

Photographer:
A.W. Mooney [1281] (more) (contact)
Date: 04/19/1977 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 6526 (search)
Train Symbol: Not Provided
Subdivision/SNS: CN Kingston Sub. (search)
City/Town: Cornwall (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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6 Comments
  1. Arnold, I helped Rapido choose numbers for their upcoming FPA4 models. The blue VIA nose logos came up, and the only two done were 6758 and 6775 (not 6785 that I mentioned earlier). They were done sometime in the 80′s after the red logo was standard.

    The basic scheme progression went 1) VIA livery with CN noodle on nose, yellow pilot, angled yellow/blue separation line on cab sides (appeared in 1976) 2) same as 1 but with black pilot (some units with it yellow may have had it painted black), 3) same as 2 with angled separation line but now with red VIA logos on nose (CN logoed units may have had it buffed off and changed) 4) VIA livery with red VIA nose logos but straight blue/yellow separation line (the blue logo units were later one-offs that got it in the 80′s sometime), and 5) VIA livery with no nose logos, began appearing early-mid-80′s.

    Another variation was the CN zebra scheme but with wiped noodle logos on the nose (buffed off/removed) and tiny VIA lettering by the roadnumber. A handful of FPA4′s had this in 1978-80, and an FPB4 even lasted in zebra until retirement, never seeing VIA paint (6866).

  2. Thanks for this news on the first unit in the blue/yellow. My only photos of it have a black pilot, but the photo only dates from 1986. Also see I’ve a shot of VIA 6775 taken around same time with blue VIA on the nose, but thats the only one I have found so far. Perhaps the Morning Sun book covers these variations in detail? Would be nice.

  3. According to the recently published Morning Sun book ‘VIA The First 25 Years 1976-2001′, the first locomotive to receive the new blue & yellow VIA CN paint scheme in 1976 was CN’s FP9A 6516. Apparently CN 6516 was also used in 1961 to promote the then new orange black & white locomotive paint scheme and current CN logo.

  4. I know one or two FPA’s had ‘em. 6758 and 6785 IIRC. Not sure on the FP9′s though.

  5. Thank You, MrDan, for the very interesting commentary. I had totally overlooked the CP 4107. And I gave up trying to figure out what units had what schemes and when. Another curiosity was the loco with the blue “VIA” on the nose. Only saw one, but then, I wasn’t out much. Any comments on those?

  6. And this one is still roaming the rails in Canada: it went on to become CP 4107 after serving both CN & VIA before.

    It could have been either one of the FPA4′s or FP9′s. The earliest scheme variation had the yellow pilot, very few had it. 6765 had in in Nov-76, as did a few others like 6540. Units 6505, 6516, 6524, 6526, 6768, 6778, and 6762 are others in the earlier VIA-CN scheme, many with the later black pilots.

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