You are correct on all your points. I actually thought they had run a test of a short LRC consist in Alberta when they first arrived. The government throwing VIA "bones" to Quebec firms is nothing new - hence the surprise of the recent Siemens contract. We'll see what happens to that with the post-Covid budget. Service cuts and more refurbs wouldn't be a shock.We had 2x daily - almost - Dayliner service between Edmonton and Calgary on what at one time were the fastest trains in the Commonwealth. In the 1980's first CP and then VIA set their minds to getting rid of them and did all of the classic things to accomplish that goal. In relation to Quebec politics, when cross-examination in the Red Deer hearing started to reveal that a "use it or lose it" ad campaign was being run through a Montreal agency that had not even hired a temp in the West to polish their English, the chairman of the hearing-- a retired Liberal MP -- cut off the line of questioning.
Further, when a set of Bombardier Superliners was successfully tested on the Panorama, we thought that it was good news -- we could get Canadian-built cars with minimal design and test costs and compatibility with Amtrak cars in the West. Then nothing happened and the rumour mill around VIA was that Quebec engineering firms wanted the design work to be done there from scratch. Eventually related to this it turned out in the newspapers that VIA Rail was being used to launder money from the Federal government to use back then to fight Separatisme and later to fund the Liberal party in Quebec.
When the LRC's were ordered, there were public statements that two trainsets would be allocated to the Prairies. Mentioned was the Edmonton - Calgary service or the idea of a daylight train between Edmonton and Winnipeg (today CN wouldn't be able to handle that). We're still waiting.
American Patrick Henry only had one life to give to his country. The Prairie province rail service gave its life for election results.
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