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Remember the Flexliner IC3 - Ontario 1996

Going through some old schedules  I came across the interesting time in 1996 when the Danish built IC3 Intercity 3 diesel multiple-unit trainsets (DMU) ran in Ontario on a trial by VIA Rail.

The trainsets were built by ABB Scandian (aka Adrtranz, now Bombardier). The Israel Railways had purchased some units and had loaned the trainsets to Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada.

FlexlinerOn our line running from Stratford, Kitchener into Toronto, it was a dream come true. Local passenger rail advocates had tried unsuccessfully to get VIA Rail and the federal government to see the opportunities on our line. Now we were getting more train frequencies on our line. Good times!

They had an open house down at the Kitchener Ontario VIA Rail Station where you could come and see the Flexliner train. The photo is of my son posing in front of the train.

Sadly the optimism was short lived. After the trial the trainsets were returned to Israel. Why? The trainsets were too light? The trainset would not survive a crash at a level crossing? The federal government then, as now, were not going to invest in passenger rail in Canada? CN Rail would not allow the Flexliner to run on the line permamently?

Approximately 180 of these DMU trainsets run in the world today. Here is a link to video footage of the Flexliner in Ontario in 1997.

Oh yeah it only took 93 minutes to get into Toronto from Kitchener.