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At the border town of Vanceboro, Maine, it was pouring rain and gloomy even at 6.30 a.m. thirty-five years ago on Saturday, June 1, 1985, as a headlight appeared in the distance.   I had returned to New Brunswick from my new home in Halifax to join friends David Morris and Fred Angus in welcoming VIA Rail's re-incarnated ATLANTIC to Atlantic Canada.  

We were not disappointed.  The headlight evolved into a pair of gleaming MLW passenger cab units led by FPA-4 6777.  
 
A full-featured 11 car train trailed behind punctuated by sleek Budd dome observation lounge BANFF PARK.  The new ATLANTIC introduced Park car service to Halifax for the first time.  VIA reduced the OCEAN to a Montreal – Moncton service as the ATLANTIC became the primary train serving the Maritimes.  

The revival of the ATLANTIC on CP Rail's Sherbrooke to Saint John route marked a significant reversal in VIA's service to Atlantic Canada.  With the Liberal Government's cuts to passenger service across the country on November 15, 1981, they abandoned the shortest Montreal – Halifax route through northern Maine.  Introduced by the same government in late October 1979, it had been immensely popular running 19 car trains at peak times.  A Fredericton – Halifax RDC Dayliner replaced it.   
 
Sherbrooke, Quebec and Saint John, New Brunswick, were the on-line communities most impacted by the cuts of November 1981.  In due course, Canadians elected a new Conservative federal government in September 1984, including former Saint John mayor Elsie Wayne and Jean Charest from Sherbrooke. They campaigned on restoring through passenger service, and several months later, they realized their vision.  VIA ran a seven-car promotional train in late May 1985 that was displayed in on-line communities as far as Moncton, N.B.  It's consist showcased BANFF PARK.  

My photograph of the inaugural train was taken near Hampton, New Brunswick, alongside Highway 100 around noon, again in a downpour.  Train 12 included locomotives 6777 and 6871, baggage car 9668, coaches 5545, 5499, 5623, café lounge 750, 56-seat daynighter 5749, 4-8-4 sleepers GREENPOINT and GREENING, diner 1341, 4-3-1-8 sleeper CHATEAU LEMOYNE, and BANFF PARK.    

The Conservative government's disenchantment grew as the 1980s wore on, and they cut the ATLANTIC to a tri-weekly service balanced by an extension of the OCEAN to Halifax on January 15, 1990.   At the same time, the Conservatives cut all other services in the Maritimes permanently despite their popularity.  

The new majority Liberal government in Canada's election of October 1993 foreshadowed trouble for the ATLANTIC.   Ironically perhaps, just two Conservative members were returned to Parliament: Elsie Wayne and Jean Charest, the train's saviours in an earlier era.   CP Rail's announcement of their intention to withdraw from lines east of Farnham, Quebec in early 1995, created an opportunity for the federal government to axe the ATLANTIC.  Although the interruption of rail service proved to be only a matter of days, the governing Liberals summarily cancelled the ATLANTIC effective December 15, 1994, shifting its trainset to the OCEAN's route.  

Although the rain was a major distraction it was a great day for a railfan in Atlantic Canada.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Bill Linley all rights reserved.



Caption: At the border town of Vanceboro, Maine, it was pouring rain and gloomy even at 6.30 a.m. thirty-five years ago on Saturday, June 1, 1985, as a headlight appeared in the distance. I had returned to New Brunswick from my new home in Halifax to join friends David Morris and Fred Angus in welcoming VIA Rail's re-incarnated ATLANTIC to Atlantic Canada.

We were not disappointed. The headlight evolved into a pair of gleaming MLW passenger cab units led by FPA-4 6777.

A full-featured 11 car train trailed behind punctuated by sleek Budd dome observation lounge BANFF PARK. The new ATLANTIC introduced Park car service to Halifax for the first time. VIA reduced the OCEAN to a Montreal – Moncton service as the ATLANTIC became the primary train serving the Maritimes.

The revival of the ATLANTIC on CP Rail's Sherbrooke to Saint John route marked a significant reversal in VIA's service to Atlantic Canada. With the Liberal Government's cuts to passenger service across the country on November 15, 1981, they abandoned the shortest Montreal – Halifax route through northern Maine. Introduced by the same government in late October 1979, it had been immensely popular running 19 car trains at peak times. A Fredericton – Halifax RDC Dayliner replaced it.

Sherbrooke, Quebec and Saint John, New Brunswick, were the on-line communities most impacted by the cuts of November 1981. In due course, Canadians elected a new Conservative federal government in September 1984, including former Saint John mayor Elsie Wayne and Jean Charest from Sherbrooke. They campaigned on restoring through passenger service, and several months later, they realized their vision. VIA ran a seven-car promotional train in late May 1985 that was displayed in on-line communities as far as Moncton, N.B. It's consist showcased BANFF PARK.

My photograph of the inaugural train was taken near Hampton, New Brunswick, alongside Highway 100 around noon, again in a downpour. Train 12 included locomotives 6777 and 6871, baggage car 9668, coaches 5545, 5499, 5623, café lounge 750, 56-seat daynighter 5749, 4-8-4 sleepers GREENPOINT and GREENING, diner 1341, 4-3-1-8 sleeper CHATEAU LEMOYNE, and BANFF PARK.

The Conservative government's disenchantment grew as the 1980s wore on, and they cut the ATLANTIC to a tri-weekly service balanced by an extension of the OCEAN to Halifax on January 15, 1990. At the same time, the Conservatives cut all other services in the Maritimes permanently despite their popularity.

The new majority Liberal government in Canada's election of October 1993 foreshadowed trouble for the ATLANTIC. Ironically perhaps, just two Conservative members were returned to Parliament: Elsie Wayne and Jean Charest, the train's saviours in an earlier era. CP Rail's announcement of their intention to withdraw from lines east of Farnham, Quebec in early 1995, created an opportunity for the federal government to axe the ATLANTIC. Although the interruption of rail service proved to be only a matter of days, the governing Liberals summarily cancelled the ATLANTIC effective December 15, 1994, shifting its trainset to the OCEAN's route.

Although the rain was a major distraction it was a great day for a railfan in Atlantic Canada.

Photographer:
Bill Linley [55] (more) (contact)
Date: 06/01/1985 (search)
Railway: VIA Rail (search)
Reporting Marks: VIA 6777 (search)
Train Symbol: Train 12 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Mileage 67 Sussex Sub (search)
City/Town: Hampton (search)
Province: New Brunswick (search)
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