August 24, 2012

The HEP Family: Park Cars and a Pilot Project

Welcome to the final article in our HEP Family series. These stainless steel cars, from Manors to Diners comprise The Canadian, our cross country train that runs from Toronto to Vancouver.  

In this third and last article, you’ll get the inside scoop on the Park car transformation and a sneak peek at our latest pilot project. At VIA, we are always working to improve your travel experience, and our HEP cars are no exception. So let’s have a look at the last in the series of refurbishments, our well-known Park cars, also known as the “dome” cars.

Our Park (and Skyline) cars are the ones which feature the distinctive domed second floor, giving travellers a 360 degree view of the amazing landscape, which can present everything from wildlife (like moose and bears!) to the majestic Rockies, depending on which part of the country it is crossing.

In order to improve the comfort of the ride, both types of cars have been refurbished. You can read about the Skyline overhaul in our previously-published article, “The Skyline Shines” and about the Park Car overhaul right here!

To give these dome cars new life, a lot of action happened within its stainless steel shell, including:

  • old wallpaper removed and replaced with a modern wall “film”, which is easier to maintain, clean and replace
  • new carpets and wall paint
  • new flooring in entrances and washrooms
  • new window treatments (featuring a new colour scheme)
  • seats completely rebuilt with new foam on seats, upholstered with new modern materials, including some sections of “eco-friendly” leather
  • new moulding and trimmings

Under the car much work was also done. The water and air systems, climate control system (HVAC) system, couplers and draftgear, and heat tracing system were all upgraded or renewed.

In short, the car has been redone inside and out with improvements you can both see and feel. For a more visual look, check out the HEP image gallery with before and after shots of the HEP interiors.

And now onto the pilot project!

Though this project is still in its infancy, we are too excited to keep it to ourselves. Along with all the other upgrades and improvements described in this series of articles, come the Manor car’s new vanities.

So far only one “prototype” Manor car has been equipped with these new vanities, and sent out for testing on the rails. It is always important to run lots of tests with new projects, and VIA staff and passengers have been extremely helpful in providing valuable feedback that will ensure that the final product will work beautifully both aesthetically and functionally.

The big changes to the vanities include a beautiful real wood veneer, new (more flattering) lighting, and a new pharmacy (with complementary amenities) located behind the mirror.

For a few images of the new clean-lined and modern vanity, please click here.

That concludes our HEP family article series! For more information about other VIA train overhauls, have a look at the Train Projects page, found here.

These improvements are all thanks to the Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, which is the funding behind VIA Rail’s Billion-Dollar Transformation.