Friday, October 21, 2016

Turbo's Unique Technology

From an undated CNR pamphlet:

The sleek look of a born speedster. Strong. Eager.
The bold look of the new champion.

That's Turbo. Built to get you there - fast.

Under four hours between Montreal and Toronto.

*  *  *

That's how the Canadian National Railways saw the Turbo train in the 1970s. With the hindsight of history we can put some of those aspirational statements into proper context.

While I have felt a duty to assemble and post the small treasury of 'artifacts' my father preserved about the Turbo - as I previously mentioned - my main impetus was posting that old Central Station diagram. I expect that the audience for this material, today, is minimal. Canada is a big place and the Turbo ran in a relatively limited zone. Few people remember it; fewer rode on it. 

Casual railway histories of the CNR or Canadian passenger service often skip the Turbo. The short-lived LRC locomotives had more of an impact on Canadian passenger travel than the Turbo. Neither my father nor I could be considered enthusiastic about the Turbo. It was a curiosity and there were far too many broken promises associated with it.

However, there may be a benefit to having this ephemera about the ephemeral Turbo assembled together in one place. Identifying the particular references here might make it easier for someone researching later on.

Now an aging ex-Montrealer, I experienced the build-up to the Turbo as a kid. Finally understanding it as an adult through these materials, a variety of questions have occurred to me. I am asking them in a historical context as a non-enthusiast.

Above all, what did Canada lose in exchange for the Turbo?

*  *  *

**  The following paragraphs could be skipped if you just want to examine the Turbo technologies. **

In the rail enthusiast press of the late 1960s, the authors of articles on the Turbo had direct or indirect access to the information packages provided by the CNR or United Aircraft. However, first-hand operating experience with the technology was limited, and the parties promoting the Turbo weren't rushing to share the details of all the design shortcomings which were preventing the Turbo from entering regular service as promised.

My memory is that Garth C Campbell (red, white and blue fares) of CN , CN/VIA and VIA - in a CBC documentary about VIA Rail, aired in the early 1980s - said that the Turbo was built 'with a blueprint in one hand and a hammer in the other' - or similar words, suggesting that the design was relatively ... improvised.

How did the Turbo happen? 

Who thought the CNR Turbo train would be a good idea and how did they reach that conclusion? 

... Did someone get CNR President Donald Gordon's ear and convince him? If so, was it 'unsafe' for subordinates to advise him against a bad idea? Was it a case of CN 'group think'? Was CNR in a snit because CPR's Buck Crump had taken a final, costly gamble on passenger equipment and they had money-pit envy?  Did United Aircraft provide proof to the railway that they had designed a line of excellent railway equipment before? (That last question is obviously rhetorical).

... The Turbo was a relatively trivial project of the 1960s, literally dwarfed locally by wonders such as the Turcot Interchange and the coin-op autoroute system. Nearby, Mayor Jean Drapeau was putting in his underground rubber-tired trainsets while using the spoil to geoform islands in the St Lawrence.

How could anyone worry about a little CNR jet train when vast tracts of land were being expropriated around the planned operational footprint of that spectacular ivory pachyderm: Mirabel Airport? In the future, it was expected that everyone would continue to be drawn to Canada's largest city: Montreal. And supersonic transports would take us all to 'the old country' in Europe for commerce and vacations. ... Expropriated farming relatives, directly descended from the area's Scottish settlers, passed on to us the project's conventional wisdom that living with the all-day noise from this modern, busy airport 'would drive you crazy'.

Along with the Quiet Revolution, Les B√Ętisseurs d'eau and the nationalization of smaller heritage hydro-electric stations came to represent a new national pride in the resources of the land. The power-hungry north-eastern United States acknowledged the importance of Quebec and its hydro resources by connecting up. Most Canadians have no greater pride in their identity than when they are recognized by America.

... But with Quebec's new national awakening, Montreal's character changed a little and the need for Canada's Supersonic Jetport faded. Perhaps self-driving cars and transport trucks will be as viable in our own future ... as noisy, supersonic aircraft at Mirabel turned out to be. Already travelling on a low-friction self-guiding right of way, maybe trains will be self-driving first? I assure you - this 'work' gives me no pleasure.

The 1950s and 1960s (with their post-war economic optimism) were a radically different time for investing in public infrastructure and also the infrastructure demanded by corporations (e.g. the steel and auto industries). A recent federal government cringed over, and delayed the work of, replacing the federal Champlain Bridge - the original was built over the new US-Canada St Lawrence Seaway - and there's another mega-project of those times. But back to the Turbo train micro-project ...

... Did an influential bureaucrat somewhere above the Crown corporation (CNR) hint that an organization which only gave up coal as a transportation fuel in 1960 ... had better smarten up and embrace something modern like aviation technology ... or the end of CN/CP passenger 'pool' service would mark the end of passenger service? Back then it was obvious that everyone would drive and fly in the future. As a former Minister of Transport stated: People who took the train were too cheap to fly and 'too good' to take the bus. The Shame of the Rails: the capital of Canada banished passenger trains to an industrial area as part of an urban master plan - Canadians (especially the politicians) wanted the convenience of driving their own cars without limits - so the capital was surrendered to the auto. Leaning hard on the automobile model ...

Auto companies produce 'concept cars' for the annual car shows to draw attention to their daring 'corporate vision' and to show what might be possible in the future. However, no one realistically expects people to buy one with gull-wing doors, put snow tires on it and drive it to and from work all winter. Given that we experience our world through the auto, it may become clearer that the Turbo was a 'concept train'. Just like a 'concept car' ... no realistic, informed person should ever have expected a 'concept trainset' to work in daily service. Is this being overly cruel to the memory of the Turbo?

... Consider the damage done to travel by rail in Canada. There was the lost goodwill of so many of the travelling public riding out of town on a rail - who were subsequently stranded, or who learned they couldn't trust a CNR or VIA schedule any farther than they could throw a lock-tite knuckle. This corrosive effect on public trust persisted for 15 years as the Turbo limped along.

... There was the money wasted on developing and re-developing the Turbo technology so it could kind of work in a Canadian winter. But this was the purpose for which it had been sold.

... There was the hyping and re-hyping of the Turbo experience - sorry, 'the born speedster'. And all the extra efforts and expense to cover for it when it failed - from altering timetables to finding rescue engines.

*  *  *

Most of the following images originate from the optimistic late-1960s. The Turbo is a little late going into service ... but it will coming soon, and it will be just as nice as travelling in an aircraft: ... with special uniforms for the stews, and airline captain's hats for the hoggers; the cabin will be pressurized to keep out dust; food will be heated instantly in special ovens and will brought to the tray tables of extra-fare passengers; and there will even be little turbo-powered overhead lights to eat by.

This undated CNR pamphlet, probably from the early-1970s, presents some of the aircrafty interior details.

*  *  *

from: Canadian Rail February 1969; Canadian Railroad Historical Association. Collection of LC Gagnon.
Both the of locomotives to the left would have little difficulty accelerating light aluminum cars to track speed. 

from: Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter, December 1968. Editor: James A Brown. Collection of LC Gagnon.
A can of car oil on its starboard, a steam connection on its port.

The regulated overbuilding to withstand strong buff forces 
(like meat trucks stopped on level crossings) 
must have seemed strange to the aircraft company.

from: Trains magazine; June 1967; Kalmbach. Collection of LC Gagnon.

from: Trains magazine; July 1967; Kalmbach.

from: Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter; December 1968; Editor: James A Brown. Collection of LC Gagnon.
If you check the Turbo films on YouTube, 
you'll see people ducking their heads and stepping down into the cars from the platform of Central Station.

from: Turbine Motor Trains; Michael Leduc; Canadian Rail April 1966; Canadian Railroad Historical Association. Collection of LC Gagnon.
Similar incoherent diagrams were furnished to writers and appeared in the rail enthusiast press.

Perhaps the aircraft company assumed readers had experience solving railcar brake rigging puzzles 
and that they could be depended on to decipher the pendulum motion which banked the cars.

from: Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter; December 1968; Editor: James A Brown. Collection of LC Gagnon.

*  *  *

Photo: James A Brown. from: Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter; December 1968. Collection of LC Gagnon.

Between the two publications, the axle sets and articulation are presented with good detail.

from: Turbine Motor Trains; Michael Leduc; Canadian Rail, April 1966; CRHA. Collection of LC Gagnon.

*  *  *

The details of the trains' initial arrangement are documented in detail below.

One original operating plan was to operate two trainsets, coupled, as a train.
The fifth train would be swapped in as required to cycle trainsets for maintenance or repairs.

With such a strict 'concept' emphasis put on the Turbo's aerodynamic features,
(such as: the design compensated for the vacuum which develops behind a train)
one might be forgiven for questioning how coupling trainsets could be tolerated.

from: Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter; December 1968; Editor: James A Brown. Collection of LC Gagnon

from: Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter; December 1968; Editor: James A Brown. Collection of LC Gagnon.

*  *  *

Of all the 'future Turbo' text I have read, the last paragraph, below, offers the most clear-eyed view.

from: TURBO-propulsion; WG Blevins; Canadian Rail, February 1969; CRHA. Collection of LC Gagnon.

Considering paragraph two, above, ...

'From my amateur studies' 

... of the techniques used on the former CNR steel passenger cars as their steel brake shoes glowed and threw sparks - as trains arrived at Kingston. The aircraft company's insinuation - referred to by the writer in his article - regarding slack may need to be examined. The Turbo's articulation was a double-edged sword, as whole trainsets needed to be shopped simply to 'uncouple' cars or power units.

In the railway freight service of that era, 'power braking' - working the throttle against set train air brakes - could keep a freight consist stretched over undulating territory without sacrificing much speed. This would prevent uncontrolled slack action which could exceed the car design limits, resulting in broken coupler knuckles and delays. This time-honoured approach was subsequently discouraged after railway management began to seek ways to decrease fuel costs, to run longer unscheduled trains in which slack action became a bigger problem, and to generally 'back seat drive' every decision traditionally made by engineers. ... In contrast to old power braking, a modern practice might include the use of the locomotives' dynamic brakes to bunch slack when slowing or stopping a freight or to avoid undesired slack action.

Couplers on railway passenger cars built in the early diesel era were designed to minimize slack action for greater passenger comfort. Power braking was probably more important as a 'spotting aid' as the conductor signalled the engine crew to stop via the air signalling line - the first cab whistle was the warning, the second cab whistle completed the prescribed " o o " sound in the rulebook - 'stop'.

In passenger service using conventional equipment - sometimes with consists of 20 cars - the engineer was expected: to stay on schedule through efficient operating; to provide smooth train dynamics for passenger comfort; and to spot the train precisely for the conductor to entrain and to detrain passengers from specific cars.

With adhesion between the brake shoe, wheel and rail becoming more efficient as speed decreases - it was essential to avoid a 'brick wall stop' ... the adhesion surfaces slide and slow the train smoothly at higher speeds, but as a stop approaches, these surfaces suddenly lock in a very efficient stop: passengers surge forward, then are thrown backward into their seats. 

Here is one simple model of how an engineer might stop a passenger train smoothly using power braking. A relatively 'heavy' brake pipe reduction might be made to slow the train efficiently from track speed on the approach to a station stop. Travelling near or along the platform, the air brakes would be released and then, almost immediately, a second, lighter brake pipe reduction would be made - in co-ordination with the conductor's train line signal. Throughout this process, the engineer could subtly adjust the throttle more quickly than it was possible to alter the brake application. If possible, the second, lighter brake application would be released just before the consist stopped - a brake application would also be necessary to hold the stopped train.

During the summer of 1978, there was an Air Canada strike.
This engineer has just stopped a 19-car train (probably 68) on a downgrade at Kingston.

In July 1982, the weekend edition of VIA Train 63 
was delayed by about 3 hours just east of Kingston 
because of a seized pinion (gear) on the lead cab unit.

Above, with a replacement unit leading, it is coming through a crossover to arrive on the north track at Kingston.

Conventional equipment was designed to offer operating flexibility.

The Turbo's short light consist, its identical equipment built at the same time by the same manufacturer, and its electro-pneumatic brake equipment made stopping relatively easy. The aircraft company wouldn't say it this way, but the Turbo was a light, uniform, matched set of equipment, offering no daily operating flexibility whatsoever - the simplified controller was an insignificant advantage when compared to the 'full train today or no train today' option forced by the Turbo equipment. 

When compared to spotting a 3-unit, 15- or 20-coach passenger train with its eighth car at the station ... spotting the Turbo acceptably might have had more in common with ... stopping a city bus precisely at the bus stop sign, while driving through a water-filled pothole carefully enough to avoid splashing the line of bus stop passengers waiting to board.

from: The Pictorial Encyclopedia of Transport; Ing J Tuma; 1979; Hamlyn.

from: Trains magazine; November 1971; Kalmbach.

from: CNR employee timetable; April 1971.

Railways of the World; Brian Hollingsworth; 1979; Bison Books.

Like a modern airport, everywhere is a taxi ride away from the 1950s urban-planned CNR Ottawa station.

Trains magazine advertisement; September 1960.

If you can dream it, you can do it.

But must you?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Turbine of the Turbo

This post looks at the PT-6 series of engines. A power plant of this family was used on CNR's Turbo train. As you already know, there was a fair amount of public/private partnership in this story.

I found an unexpected link between the Turbo train references and other books I have about technology. The person named below is key in interpreting the engine at the heart of the Turbo.

from: Flight International; Oct 9, 1969.

Howard Fowler wrote two books for what was then known as the National Aviation Museum - one on aircraft piston engines and one on jets. They were written 30 years after the events reported above.

The text below is from: The Evolution of the Jet Engine; Howard S Fowler; 1999; National Aviation Museum, Ottawa. 

'It is interesting to compare the two versions of a seven-passenger light aircraft, the de Havilland Beaver, which was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R 985 Wasp Junior air-cooled radial engine, and the Turbo-Beaver which was essentially the same aircraft but powered by the PT6-A6.

'The Wasp engine, of 450 hp, weighed 309 kg, while the PT6-A6 developed 578 hp, for a weight of only 131 kg. It is stated that the 'length of the cabin is increased by 2 1/2 feet, giving space for two more passenger seats. This, and the 12% increase in cruising speed, results in an improvement of 35% in operating economy'. The take-off distance is decreased from 381 to 274 metres, giving a considerable advantage in short-field ability. 

'The PT-6 had a most interesting history of development. The first engine was run on the testbed in November 1959, flew in May of 1961, and was certified in 1963. It began by producing 475 shaft horse power, and the series was ultimately developed up to 1350 shp. A most ingenious layout resulted in an overall diameter of only 48 cm, a total length of 152 cm, and a frontal area of 0.18 square metres. [The figure farther below] shows how this was achieved, albeit at the expense of a somewhat contorted airflow path through the engine. 

' ... There was a long series of PT-6 engines, in which continual development of compressor stages, of the turbine, and of fuel and control systems, raised the power output [as noted above].

' ... Ultimately it was decided to redesign the engine, as the PT-7, embodying all the lessons learned in the PT-6 series.

' ... The flow path was straightened out, and a nose intake capable of rejecting ice particles and other foreign matter was developed during the extensive testing in the National Research Council (NRC) icing tunnel.

' ... In the 1960s, the writer [Howard S Fowler] was asked by Dr MacPhail, his Director in the Mechanical Engineering Division of NRC, to look into the real flow in the channels of the impeller. Using data supplied by Pratt & Whitney, a ten-times full size model of the PT6 impeller was built and spun at 70 rpm, with the writer firmly fixed into its centre, and the actual flow was mapped using smoke streamers and a hot-wire anemometer. Some 200 hours of running and many more of analysis, revealed the true picture of the flow in the impeller ...

' ... This information was passed to Pratt & Whitney, whose aerodynamacists were then able to develop a greatly advanced mathematical treatment of the true flow, which enabled them to design a compressor with a predictable performance far in advance of previous machines.' 

*  *  *

Jet versus Prop-jet

In these two schematic diagrams, the white arrows represents the relative energy flows. The black arrows represent the torsional force imparted to the central shaft. The general air flow through both engines is from left to right. 

First, looking at the pure jet engine: The top big white arrow represents the energy input of fuel. The fuel is aerosolized and ignited and the expanding gases (arrow pointing right) turn a turbine (vertical hatching). The torsional force is transferred 'upwind' by the shaft (notice the white curved energy arrow underneath). Near the inlet, this torsion drives the compressing turbine (vertical hatching). Compressing air causes it to heat up, and it also increases the amount of oxygen available (in a given volume of air) to support fuel combustion.

When the jet is ready for work: hot, oxygen-rich intake air is mixing efficiently with the fuel aerosol in the fuel burners. The tailend turbine is designed to steal just enough energy from the expanding gases to spin the compressor. The propulsion for the aircraft comes from the thrust out the tailend - the big white arrow at the right.

from: The Evolution of the Jet Engine; Howard S Fowler; 1999; National Aviation Museum, Ottawa
Now looking at the prop-jet engine schematic (above), the fuel/energy input is again represented at the top. There are two separate turbines at the tailend with concentric shafts: one shaft operates the compressor at the upwind end, the other turbine spins the propeller. The hot combustion gases exit the rear of the engine and provide some thrust.

The critical difference from the jet, is that energy is focused on turning that central shaft to turn the propeller.

Like the Turbo train application, the compressor turbine operates continuously during idling, BUT the power turbine (here for the propeller) is only engaged when needed for vehicle propulsion.

*  *  *
from: The Evolution of the Jet Engine; Howard S Fowler; 1999; National Aviation Museum, Ottawa.
With the Turbo train's PT6 in an aircraft application (e.g. a Turbo-Beaver), there is no thrust out the tailend. As Howard Fowler noted, the air flow is relatively circuitous; the tailend of the engine is located at the cockpit firewall.

Similar to the prop-jet diagram, you can see that the compressor turbine is separate from the power turbine. The compressor turbine turns during idling with the power turbine engaged only when vehicle movement is desired.

*  *  *

from: Turbo-propulsion; W G Blevins; Canadian Rail Feb 1969; Canadian Railroad Historical Association. Collection of LC Gagnon.
In the Canadian Rail Turbo train illustration above, you can pick out the segments of the engine.
Below, in an aviation application, you can see the engine again.

*  *  *

from: The de Havilland Canada Story; Fred W Hotson; 1983; Canav Books.
Above, is the PT6 turbine engine installed in a Series 300 Twin Otter aircraft. 

16 is a PT6A-27, free-turbine powerplant producing 620 shaft horsepower. 17 are two engine exhaust nozzles. 14 is the air intake deflector. 12 is the air flow duct. 18 is the engine air inlet.

*  *  *

from: Overland Models advertisement; Locomotive & Railway Preservation; May-June 1991.
Rhetorical Corner:
Turbine engines in railway service are not used to lift the vehicle off the rails.
Is it therefore necessary for the turbine engine itself to be as light as possible?

*  *  *

My father included this article in his Turbo train file.

On April 27, 1967, (this is based on an apocryphal story later published in the Montreal Gazette) Prime Minister Lester Pearson did not travel from Ottawa to Montreal aboard the CN's Turbo train to open Expo 67. This did not happen because the Turbo train was not ready by the date which had been advertised and promoted.

Over a year later - on September 14, 1968 - this cover story ran in the Weekend Magazine. This newsprint magazine and the comics section were included with the Saturday edition of many Canadian newspapers of that era. Near the end of the article is this passage:

" ST6 engines will whisk Canadian National's plane-type aluminum turbotrains ... "

... So, as this article was being printed, neither was Canada's current leader, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, going to be riding the Turbo.

The first image below is the initial two-page spread of the article - to show you the presentation. The text is removed and reproduced below in a more readable size.

Below, the Turbo train is (probably) seen approaching Kingston from the east at around mile 171. For a number of years, in regular service, its zone speed would be 95 mph, but it would have to slow to 40 mph to operate through the horseshoe curve at Kingston's 'outer' station - the curve being virtually unchanged since it was laid out by the Grand Trunk Railway in the 1850s.

In hindsight, the 'unspoiled' heritage roadbed and public crossing timing circuits would limit the Turbo's speed more than wind resistance or the absolute weight of the trainset and its power plant.

Perhaps this story idea was advanced by the Turbo partners at this point because of the delays in bringing the Turbo into revenue service  - a case of 'earned media' to help take a little pressure off the government-owned CNR as well as its private contractor, United Aircraft.

*  *  *

In early 1966, a Canadian Rail article presented some early images of the arrangement of the turbines. This section will wrap up this post on the Turbo's power plant.

from: Turbine Motor Trains; Michael Leduc; Canadian Rail, April 1966; CRHA. Collection of LC Gagnon.
For motive power, I understand that two turbines were placed in each power car. Here, also, is the power transmission arrangement as it was foreseen in 1966. 

Only the American version of the Turbo, which would be under test primarily in the north-eastern US, needed the capacity to operate using a DC motor taking power from a third rail. As you know, particularly around New York City, the turbines could not have been operated in tunnels and other enclosed areas where a third rail power system had been established for safety reasons.

Jumping to a conclusion, the darkest of the THREE turbines on this unit is probably the trainset's fifth turbine - which would act just like an airliner's auxiliary power unit to provide 'hotel power'. The motive power turbine located closest to that APU is probably the one designated as its backup. If the APU turbine failed, it could be replaced in its function of powering climate control and lighting by switching over a designated turbine from propulsion to APU duties.

from: Turbine Motor Trains; Michael Leduc; Canadian Rail, April 1966; CRHA. Collection of LC Gagnon.
In this early image, you can see the general location of two turbines, without their exhaust stacks.
The latter ran up through the large partition between the passenger dome chairs.

You can see how blowing snow and road dirt could foul the turbines if intake air filtering wasn't highly efficient.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Central Station Turbo Maintenance Area, Turbo 1974-82

This post presents additional newspaper clippings my father filed about the Turbo train.
They span the period from 1974 to the Turbo's retirement in late 1982.

The captions aren't matched with the correct photos.

*  *  *

This series on the Turbo train began because I wanted to get this artifact (below) on the internet so people who are interested in this subject, or those doing research in the future, could have access to it. The title of this post tags the document to make it easier to find.

This rough diagram of the lower level of tracks at Montreal's Central Station may originate from the Turbo's introduction to service, or it may have been produced later ... for example, in 1971, when the train length and configuration was being changed from its original. I have introduced it at this point because the article above mentions the United Aircraft of Canada employees working at this location.

I bought this diagram a number of years ago at the Kingston railway show. The vendor (I suspect, the original owner) had gone to the extent of producing an interpretive 'label' in the form of a sheet of paper with computer printer images of both Central Station and the Turbo on it. I assured him the diagram was going to a good home, and with this posting it is - yours.

The original is on heavy tracing paper which has become dark brown with age. The drawing and writing has been done with various sizes of black felt-tipped markers. The overall size is the equivalent of 4 sheets of 8x11 paper laid side-by-side.

This software platform often frustrates my attempts to post larger items in sufficient detail that readers can read or download them. In all cases below, you will need to scroll to the right to see the entire document. It took a number of tries to find a size and format which made the document useful to readers.

The first image shows the entire document as an overview.

Then, the following two images show two halves of it in sufficient detail so you can read all the written characters. The word 'SOUTH' is duplicated on both halves to serve as an anchor - if you want to stitch them back together. 

The two halves (below) ...

*  *  *

There is a significant gap of a few years in my father's clipping file on the Turbo - maybe everyone got tired of reading about it. The last article (March 1972) in a previous post foretold of a Turbo return in early 1973.

I have left out a Toronto Star clipping from June 23, 1973. This pits the speed of a Turbo trip against an Air Canada flight - using downtown Toronto and downtown Montreal as the travel points. The reporter took the Turbo east and Air Canada west, back to Toronto. Other key points: His flight left Montreal 80 minutes late and he checked his bag on the plane, requiring a delay at the carousel.

Excerpts ...
"A ride on the super-train ... Turbo Beats Jet by 35 Minutes" 
' The Terrible Turbo - Canadian National Railways' super-train with a remarkable propensity for breaking down - has made a comeback. ' 
' Now, almost a year and a half and some 100 modifications later, the Turbo is back ' 
' However, the [other] Turbo from Montreal to Toronto arrived at Union Station last night 56 minutes late. The lights went off and the air-conditioning failed, giving passengers an unscheduled 35 minute stop at Cornwall. This train made the 337 mile run in 5 hours and 6 minutes with one engine shut down after the Cornwall stop. ' 
There is a lengthy comparison of leg room, etc, and the food and drink offered.
' [On the reporter's train]: Most complaints centred on the fact that CN has dropped the traditional dining car. [passenger quote]: "It seems to me that this eating at your seat might be efficient but I hate to see the passing of the train dining car. There is something quite elegant about dinner aboard a train. It was the worst thing they could have picked up from the airlines." ' [end of article]
*  *  *

April 26, 1976
... That's quite a model of the Turbo you have there!
The jumble of text includes non-Turbo trains.

My first ride on the Turbo was in April or May 1976 - returning from a job interview.
I remembered it as being low to the ground, fast and hard-riding.
And now I wonder if I could have had a train with a dining car.

*  *  *

*  *  *

June 12, 1976

*  *  *

July 23, 1976
That's quite a drawing of the Turbo you have there!

In case you are not a Turbo fan, here is a brief digression.
It's another distance expression for the public which invokes the moon
from a 1950 Trains magazine.
It seems that almost every aspect of the Turbo had already been 'done' somewhere else before.

*  *  *

December 20, 1976
They are like heavily-laden prospectors of the late 1800s, at a northern Ontario flag stop, clambering aboard from the level of the ballast. They are herded in through one door into one car, so they can be supervised. Shack is the conductor today, and no one is going to ride for free!
(cf. Emperor of the North)

You take this exquisitely engineered greyhound of the rails, bank it at high speed through the curves ... but you don't do anything to ameliorate dwell time or 'customer experience'.

*  *  *

March 11 1977

Don't be confused by spin: The 'next generation' is very different from a 'new generation'.

May 31, 1979
In a later article in another paper, a fuel line leak was speculated to be a possible cause.

This article was preserved as a photocopy.

*  *  *

The images below come from the dinnertime arrivals of the Turbos to Kingston. I probably took them in 1982. In the first you can see the tower of Collins Bay Penitentiary in the distance. It was also during this time in VIA history that the Canadian travelled between Montreal and Toronto through Kingston.

The westbound gets a pull-by inspection by some passengers as it stops at the station.

At least one more post will follow with the enthusiastic and optimistic
 late-1960s descriptions of the Turbo technology and what it was expected to achieve.