Rapido (train)

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A CN Rapido service at Pickering, Ontario in July 1968.

Rapido was the name of the Canadian National Railway's express passenger train service on the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. The service was introduced on October 31, 1965, on the Montreal-Toronto route. In 1966, service was extended to the Montreal-Quebec City route and later, to other city pairs, including Toronto-Windsor/Sarnia and Toronto-Ottawa.

In the 1980s, in addition to being branded as Rapido, each express train was also given a name related to the route's particular geographical or historical context. Some names included Frontenac (after the Château Frontenac in Quebec City), Rideau (after the Rideau Canal in Ottawa) and Ville-Marie (the original name of Montreal).

For a period in the 1960s and 1970s, a "Bistro" car was part of the Rapido set. Piano-based entertainment and alcoholic beverages were offered in an specially outfitted car lit with red bulbs to create a party atmosphere on the trip between Toronto, Kingston, and Montreal.

The brand was used on advertising material and timetables until the 1990s, surviving for many years the reorganization of the train schedules under the new Via Rail brand. Today, Via Rail no longer uses the Rapido brand and route maps simply refer to this section as the Corridor. Additionally, the dedicated train names were dropped and trains are currently identified by number only, contrary to the rest of the route system.

Today, the "Rapido" brand name has been adopted by a company, Rapido Trains, started by a life-long fan of Via Rail, dedicated to producing and selling model trains including those used in Rapido service. The proprietor of Rapido Trains has even gone so far as to as to acquire ex-VIA Rail/Canadian National equipment once employed in Rapido service for the purpose of constructing a replica of a Rapido train car in his basement.[1]