How Far Do You Think To The Next Gas Station?

'Bista' and friends tour the US back in 1996...


The view of a front coach rider.

There are times when being bitten by a particular bug can send all vestige of reason and common sense completely into touch. In this case it was American stuff and the older the better. By this time the Amtrak FL9s, of which Id nailed only 1, had gone (or had they?). The Metro North and ConnDOT variety were still very alive although Amtrak and Metro North were both now getting reasonable service from their GE dual modes Genesis so the tide was defiantly on the turn. Long Island was still running real trains but of all the possible options to pursue there was one that demanded determined attention.

A year earlier a then little know US railroad had bought up its connecting railroad in Canada. This sort of on going merger activity in the US would usually do little to register with the UK observers but this was different. The Buyer was Wisconsin Central, the seller the Algoma Central. Big deal you say, Ah! But the Algoma ran tour trains to take bear, lake and tree spotters into the wilderness; VERY BIG TOUR TRAINS! And these needed a lot of power. Algoma had for years battled on with these trains just using any old Geeps or SD's from their freight fleet but Wisconsin (quite rightly) saw these as far more use moving their freight than pulling armchair wilderness warriors around.

So it was that they came to purchase dedicated tour power from the scrap yard of Canadian passenger operator VIA, seven FP9s and four B-units. The stage was set for stupidity, this had to be done!

Day 1 : 21st September 1996
Day 2 : 22nd September 1996
Day 3 : 23rd September 1996
Day 4 : 24th September 1996
Day 5 : 25th September 1996
Day 6 : 26th September 1996

Day 7 : 27th September 1996
Day 8 : 28th September 1996
Day 9 : 29th September 1996
Day 10 : 30th September 1996
Day 11 : 1st October 1996
Day 12 : 2nd October 1996
Day 13 : 3rd October 1996
Day 14 : 4th October 1996
Day 15 : 5th October 1996

'Bista'.

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