For those tracking the progress of the Union Pearson Express, mid-August was an exciting time, marking the arrival of the first UP Express train in Toronto!
The train’s 20,000 kilometre journey home was a long one. Built in Nagoya, Japan by Nippon Sharyo, the train, comprised of two vehicles, travelled by boat across the Pacific, through the Panama Canal, and into the Savannah, Georgia arrival port where it was loaded onto its flatbed escort bound for Rochelle, Illinois for testing and final assembly. By February of next year, the full seven train fleet will make the same journey—and undergo similar testing—before riding under its own power into Toronto.
For UP Express employees, the arrival of the train on August 16th signaled a major milestone. “Our train coming home was a pivotal moment for us. It made everything real,” said Digital & Marketing Program Manager, Jannine Krish.
Similarly, for rail enthusiasts, the arrival presented a unique opportunity to be among the first to photograph and videotape the train, and to share the footage on Facebook and YouTube. Some fans even adopted the #trackthetrains hashtag on Twitter, helping to further spread the word about the train’s arrival in the city.
All Dressed UP
As the vehicles moved along the tracks and into VIA Rail’s Toronto Maintenance Center, their unique colour palette, chosen as a reflection of Ontario’s vibrant landscape and changing seasons, made them impossible to miss. But something was missing: the UP logo. UP Express Director of Operations Robert Fuller explained, “During the design and building phase, some elements were ready before others. In this case, the vehicles were ready first, so they were sent to Toronto in order to stick to our important schedule. We were, however, able to install the decals before we did any mainline testing. Our future trains will come already decaled, so keep an eye out for them!”
Within a week of coming home, the train was outfitted with its distinctive finishing touches: three UP Express logo decals applied by skilled workers with care and precision. The trio of identifying markers signaled the end of a long journey, bringing the Union Pearson Express one big step closer to our start of service in spring 2015.