Was there a more scenic stretch of railroad to ride or to chase than Canadian National’s bucolic line along the coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula?
  • Crew Change and a surprise at Matapedia:
I was pleased enough to have arrived at Matapedia ahead of the eastbound Chaleur. As # 16 snaked into the station I was somewhat curious to notice an FP9 had been added to the consist. I was downright excited to spot a polished red PV on the rear! It turned out to be the Lehigh Valley 353, Black Diamond. Two days of enjoyable railfanning followed.

VIA # 16 Chaleur
Matapedia, Quebec
Sunday, July 1, 1990
  • Lehigh Valley 353 Black Diamond on VIA # 16, the Chaleur.

Note that the flag is out on the left.

Matapedia, Quebec.
Sunday, July 1, 1990.
  • VIA # 16, the eastbound Chaleur, rejoins the coastline of the Gaspé Peninsula at Coin-du-Banc, Quebec. Around ten miles of the line were laid well inland to avoid the rough terrain surrounding Percé. 

This photo was taken during a period when the Chaleur ran as a separate train three days a week between Montreal and the town of Gaspé. 

Coin-du-Banc, Quebec
Sunday, June 30, 1991
  • VIA # 17, the westbound Chaleur, is recorded from a bluff at Cap-d'Espoir, Quebec. 

The train left Gaspé at 15:25 in the afternoon and is scheduled to complete its overnight journey to Montreal at 08:15 the following morning. In the meantime, the passengers can enjoy the many spectacular views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Chaleur Bay and the forests and villages along the Gaspé Peninsula.

Cap-d'Espoir, Quebec.
Monday, July 1, 1991
  • VIA # 17, the westbound Chaleur, swings around a long curve at Newport-Ouest before ducking under Route 132 on the Gaspé Peninsula.

Newport-Ouest, Quebec.
Monday, July 1, 1991
  • VIA # 17, the westbound Chaleur, slows for its station stop at Port-Daniel. The long days of early summer often played well when chasing and photographing trains along the Gaspé Peninsula.

Port-Daniel, Quebec.
Monday, July 1, 1991
  • Crew Change at New Carlisle:
As well as being a station stop for the Chaleur, New Carlisle was also a crew change point.  Situated as it is midway between the towns of Matapedia (near Campbellton, NB) and Gaspé, New Carlisle was the perfect base of operations for CN's freight service along the Gaspé Peninsula. This helps to explain the presence of a freight yard and the CN 3500s.

VIA # 17 Chaleur
New Carlisle, Quebec.
Monday, July 1, 1991
  • New Carlisle, Quebec.
Monday, July 1, 1991
  • A pair of Canadian National "Big Alcos" lead a short train 592 towards Chandler with cars for the Abititbi Price paper mill located there.

Canadian National train # 592.
2326 (M-636) + 2004 (C-630M)
L'Anse-aux-Gascons, Quebec.
Thursday, July 5, 1990.
  • Canadian National train # 592.
2326 (M-636) + 2004 (C-630M).
Port-Daniel, Quebec.
Thursday, July 5, 1990.
  • A flagman protected the diamond crossing of Abitibi Price's private tracks with Canadian National's Chandler Sub to Gaspè. He was there, hard at work, every time I stopped by.

It appears that a section foreman will be heading out to patrol his territory once train # 592 has completed its work and is headed back to New Carlisle as train # 593.

Chandler, Quebec.
Thursday, July 5, 1990
  • I visited the Gaspè four times: 1989 (by train), 1990, 1991 and 1995. In the summer of 1989 the freight assignments were held down by 3500s. The same was true when I returned in '91 and '95. But for my visit in the early summer of 1990 CN had assigned a handful of their Big Alcos for freights and work extras out of New Carlisle. Here are two of them returning home from the Abitibi Price paper mill at Chandler. 

Canadian National train # 593.
2004 (C-630M) + 2326 (M-636).
L'Anse-aux-Gascons, Quebec.
Thursday, July 5, 1990.
  • CN Bigs on the Gaspé:
Canadian National train # 593 on its way back to New Carlisle from Chandler.

2004 (C-630M) + 2326 (M-636).
Newport-Ouest, Quebec.
Thursday, July 5, 1990.
  • Staying with my track maintenance theme for just a bit longer...

While poking around between trains for photo locations along the Gaspé line I bumped into this CN crane outfit parked on the siding at Marcil, which is a bit west of Port-Daniel. I was able to take advantage of a fresh pile of ballast to gain some elevation. Meanwhile, a section foreman stopped by in his speeder, completing the scene for me.

Marcil, Quebec.
Thursday, July 5, 1990.
  • VIA # 17 Chaleur
Pabos, Quebec
Monday, July 2, 1990
  • VIA # 17 Chaleur
Lehigh Valley 353 on rear
Pabos, Quebec
Monday, July 2, 1990
  • A heavy train off the Gaspé:
Canadian National train # 595 is closing in on Matapedia on a beautiful summer day in 1991. Apparently it's been a productive week along the Gaspé line given that four 3500s have been assigned for the run to Campbellton.  

Restigouche, Quebec
Saturday, July 6, 1991
  • Boy, do I miss this: 
A friendly wave from the van as I'm giving them a highball.

Canadian National Van # 79694 on train # 595
Nouvelle, Quebec
Saturday, July 6, 1991
  • Tunnel just east of Port-Daniel on CN's Gaspé line. 

I took this photo from the rear coach of VIA # 16 "Chaleur" in August 1989. At this time # 16 was combined with # 14 "Ocean" from Montreal to Matapedia. At Matapedia the two trains were split before continuing to their respective destinations, the Ocean to Moncton and the Chaleur to Gaspé. After the infamous cuts of January 1990 the two trains ran on alternate days from Montreal to their respective destinations, six days a week.

Port-Daniel, Quebec
Tuesday, August 8, 1989
  • VIA # 16, the eastbound "Chaleur," exits the short tunnel just east of Port-Daniel. The train will terminate its run at Gaspé, which is located  at the end of Canadian National's line along the Baie des Chaleurs.

This photo was taken in my younger days when climbing a tree to "get the shot" was a doable proposition.


VIA # 16 "Chaleur"
Tuesday, July 3, 1990.
  • Gaspesia Paper Pulpwood Yard and Sidings

I took this photo from the rear of VIA # 16, the eastbound Chaleur, as we approached the station stop at Chandler, QC. As both a modeler and a railfan I find scenes like this endlessly fascinating. In another life I would have a layout based on CN's Gaspé line during this era.

Chandler, Quebec
Tuesday, August 8, 1989
  • A view of the VIA station and Gaspesia Pulp and Paper mill complex taken from the rear of VIA # 16, the eastbound Chaleur, as we departed the station at Chandler, QC. 

Chandler, Quebec
Tuesday, August 8, 1989
  • Just east of  VIA's station at Chandler, Gaspesia Paper's industrial trackage crossed CN's Gaspé line at grade. This diamond crossing was protected by a flagman who I assume was employed by the mill. Here is a view of the diamond crossing scene taken from the rear of VIA # 16, the eastbound Chaleur, as we departed the station at Chandler. 

Chandler, Quebec
Tuesday, August 8, 1989
  • A year after riding Canadian National's Gaspé line on the Chaleur, I returned to railfan it for a week on the ground. One location I returned to multiple times was Chandler. On this particular visit I caught VIA # 16 getting a highball from the crossing flagman at  the Gaspesia Pulp and Paper diamond crossing.

VIA # 16 Chaleur
Chandler, Quebec
Tuesday, July 3, 1990
  • The neat and tidy VIA station at Chandler, Quebec (on the left) was tucked in alongside the sprawling Gaspesia Pulp and Paper mill. The mill was serviced by the industrial locomotive seen here on the right. According to the 1989 edition of the Canadian Trackside Guide this is Abitibi Price # 05801, a General Electric 80-tonner built in April of 1952 (the same as me!). At this time Abitibi Price held a controlling interest in Gaspesia.

Chandler, Quebec
Thursday, July 5, 1990
  • According to the 1989 edition of the Canadian Trackside Guide this is Abitibi Price # 05801, a General Electric 80-tonner built in April of 1952.

Gaspesia Pulp and Paper
Chandler, Quebec
Thursday, July 5, 1990
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