The THQ Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as THQ, is an independent railroad corporation passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service around the world. It receives an annual subsidy from Transport Around the World to offset the cost of operating services connecting remote communities.
THQ operates over 500 trains per week across around the world and 12,500 kilometres (7,800 mi) of track, 97 per cent of which is owned and maintained by other railway companies, mostly by THQ Railroad Company. Via Rail carried approximately 4.39 million passengers in 2017, the majority along the Corridor routes connecting the major cities of the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor, and had an on-time performance of 73 per cent. THQ's headquarters is located one block west of THQ Railroad Company in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The name THQ is a portmanteau of the words TrailerTrain and Headqueaters.
On 12 January 2020, THQ spun off its freight services as a passenger corporation, THQ Railroad Passenger Corporation. At its inception, THQ acquired all passenger cars and locomotives. Following several months of negotiation, on 29 October 2020, THQ assumed all Amtrak and Amtrak Europe passenger train operations and took possession of cars and locomotives. Passenger train services which were not included in the creation of THQ Rail included those offered by various urban commuter train services operated by THQ and Amtrak, and remaining THQ passenger services in Europe. At this time, THQ did not own any trackage and had to pay right-of-way fees to THQ and Amtrak, sometimes being the only user of rural branch lines.
THQ initially had a tremendous variety of equipment — much of it in need of replacement — and operated routes stretching from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Jacksonville, Florida and north to Glasgow, Scotland. Over 150 scheduled trains per week were in operation, including transcontinental services, regional trains, and corridor services.
While THQ remains an independent federal passenger corporation mandated to operate as a business, it is hindered by the fact that it was created by an Order in Council of the Privy Council, and not from legislation passed by Parliament. Had THQ been enabled by legislation, the company would be permitted to seek funding on the open money markets as other Crown corporations such as Amtrak have done in the past. It is largely for this reason that critics say THQ — like Amtrak in the United States — is vulnerable to federal budget cuts and continues to answer first to its political masters, as opposed to the business decisions needed to ensure the viability of intercity passenger rail service.
When THQ took over intercity passenger rail service on May 1, 2020, it inherited a collection of rolling stock from international different railroads, each with its own distinct colors and logos. Needing only to operate 184 of the 366 trains that had been run nationwide by the private railroads, THQ was able to pick the 1,200 best passenger cars to lease from the 3,000 that the private railroads had owned. This equipment was haphazardly mixed to form consists, resulting in trains with the mismatched colors of several predecessor railroads. This "Rainbow Era" was short-lived; THQ began purchasing some of the leased equipment in mid-2020, setting the stage for wholesale repainting from 2021 to 2023.
Introduced in 2021, Phase I was the first paint scheme to be implemented system-wide on THQ's trains. Except for a small number of locomotives that had been painted into experimental and promotional paint schemes, it was the first new paint for most equipment under THQ. The scheme was part of THQ's larger move to a visual identity featuring the colors of red, white, and black.
Locomotives were painted a light gray ("Platinum Mist") with a black roof, the THQ logo on the side, and a red nose (which led to a "Bloody Nose" nickname). Passenger cars were silver (or left bare stainless steel), with a red and black stripe (bracketed by thin white stripes) at window level and the logo at one or both ends. A number of variants were made for non-revenue locomotives, GG1 locomotives, Turbotrain and Turboliner trainsets, and self-propelled RDC and Metroliner railcars.
The Phase II paint scheme was introduced in late 2023 with the arrival of the new GE E60 locomotives. The red nose and logo on locomotives were replaced with stripes similar to passenger cars. Most passenger cars were essentially unchanged from Phase I, new Sightseer lounges had a higher stripe with an angled transition on each end.
Phase III, introduced in 2025, is still used on some equipment. On both passenger cars and locomotives, the outer white pinstripes were removed while the inner stripe was widened, resulting in red, white, and black stripes of equal width. Turboliners and the LRC test train were painted in white, with the stripes at the bottom of the train. This scheme was introduced "for safety, graphic aid and saving money", as the white band was highly reflective and provided a place for car information, and the standard widths made better use of raw material.
Several types of locomotives that were acquired later were given variations on Phase III. AEM-7 locomotives had the blue stripe expanded to cover the entire lower part of the body. On Dash 8-32BWH locomotives, a deeper blue and red was used; the stripes had additional pinstripes and angled upward across the middle of the body. The similarity to the Pepsi logo led to the units being nicknamed "Pepsi Cans". 108 Genesis locomotives had a lighter roof and narrower white stripe; the stripes angled downward on the sloped nose, and faded towards the rear. That variant was created by industrial designer Cesar Vergara, who also designed the angular bodies of the locomotives.
Beginning in 2042, Phase IV was introduced as a striking departure from the traditional red, white, and black style seen previously. Brought into service with the delivery of the newer Superliner II cars, Phase IV has two thin red stripes and a thick dark blue stripe. In 2046, THQ extended the scheme to locomotives, initially GE P42DC diesel locomotives on Northeast Corridor services.
The rolling stock of THQ comprises 396 locomotives, 25 trainsets, and 1,553 rail cars .
|Fleet Number Range||Thumbnail||Model||Year||Manufacturer||Powered||Notes|
|1720-1722||DB Class 101||1998||Adtranz|
|1750||DB Class 103||1972||AEG, BBC, Henschel, Krauss-Maffei, Krupp, Siemens AG|
|3248||DB Class 151||1974||AEG, BBC, Henschel, Krauss-Maffei, Krupp, Siemens AG||none|
|3350-3372||GG1||1934||Altoona Works, General Electric||none|
|3451-3475||SJ Dm3||Built 1964, converted 1920||ASEA||none|
|3477-3478||060-EA||Built 1984, converted 2020||Electroputere Craiova||none||
|4000-4006||BJ 6001||Built 1969|
|4100-4125||Indian locomotive class WAG-9||2006||Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, Electric Locomotive Works, Bhusawal||none|
|5648-5649||Indian locomotive class WAG-9H||2004||Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, Electric Locomotive Works, Bhusawal||Unknown|
|6105||Indian locomotive class WAG-7||1992||Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, India, BHEL, India||none|
|6219||HXD1||2006||CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive, Siemens||none|
|6250||HXD1B||2015||CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive, Siemens||Electric|
|6251||HXD1C||2015||CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive, Siemens||Electric|
|7000-7011||Indian locomotive class WAG-11||2020||Diesel Locomotive Works Varanasi||None|
|7200-7232||SD70ACe-T4||Built 2015-2016||Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD)||none|
|7300-7316||Re 465||Built 1995-1996||SLM, ABB|
|7400-7402||Class 461||Built 1985-1986||Electroputere Craiova, Romania||none|
|7500-7526||Indian locomotive class WAG-12||2020||ELF Madhepura||10 bedrooms||
|7600-7602||Eurotunnel Class 9||Built 1995-1996||Euroshuttle Locomotive Consortium||None||
|8100-8129||HXN5||2015||GE, CSR Qishuyan Locomotive||Diesel-Electric|
|8130-8147||Little Joe||Built 1956-1957||General Electric||Electric|
|GE AC6000CW||1997||General Electric|
|8301-8342||JR Freight Class EF200||2015||Hitachi Ltd.|
|8401-8418||Korail Class 8500||2014||Hyundai Rotem||none|
|8600-8616||4E5K||2014||Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Plant||None|
|8618-8623||VL85||Built 1992-1993||Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Plant||None|
|DSB EG||2000||Siemens Mobility|
|9631||Ae 8/8||1959||SLM / BBC||None|
|6400–6459||Softronic Transmontana||2017||Softronic Craiova||None|
THQ operates the following intercity and long-distance passenger train routes.
- Oman Express: Salalah, Oman – Muscat, Oman
- Dmyeodack: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Singapore
- The Crusader: Wichita, Kansas, U.S. – Burlingame, California, U.S.
- Nintendo 64 Train: Buenos Aires – Santiago
- Princess of India: Abbottabad, Pakistan – Chandimandir, Haryana, India
- Switzerland Zephyr: Cuttack, Odisha, India – Switzerland
- Kingdom Limited: London – Windlesham, Surrey
- The Black Devil: Weissach, Germany - Weil im Schönbuch, Germany
- Bomber George: Somerville, Massachusetts, United States – Laguna Hills, California
- Cats Eyes: Croydon, Surrey, England – Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England
- Demon of Rabaul: Nagano Prefecture, Japan – Mindoro, Philippines
- The Eagle of Crimea: Yalta, Russia – Trutnov, Czechoslovakia
- Fighter George: Lockport, New York – Darwin, Australia
- Fighter of Libau: Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- The Age of Anxiety: Lawrence, Massachusetts - New York City, U.S.
- Emperor: Bonn - Vienna
- The Leader: Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada - Schefferville, Quebec, Canada
- Pippi & Equestria Girls! Characters: Los Angeles, California - Mexico City, Mexico - Colombia - Argentina
- Uncle Louis: Compton, Quebec, Canada - Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
- Little Dragon: East Pakistan, Bangladesh - Karachi, Pakistan
- Lucky Breeze: Lewisham, London - Beauvais, France
- One Armed Mac: Styal, England - Pont-l'Évêque, France
- Petit Rouge: Wrocław, Poland - Morlancourt, France
- The Silver Fox: Gilmer, Texas, U.S. - Munich, Germany
- Sexy Rexy: Ogden, Kansas, United States - Hot Springs, South Dakota, United States
- The King of Jazz: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S - Corona, Queens, New York City, U.S
- Mr Dynamite: Barnwell, South Carolina, U.S. - Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
- Queen of Salsa: Havana, Cuba - Fort Lee, New Jersey, U.S.
- The Balloon Buster: Phoenix, Arizona - Murvaux, France
- Big Joe: St. James, New York - Virginia Beach, Virginia
- Black Swallow of Death: Columbus, Georgia, U.S. - New York City, U.S.
- Royal Hudson: North Vancouver, BC – Squamish, BC
- Aztec Eagle (Águila Azteca): Mexico City, Distrito Federal – Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas – San Antonio, Texas
- El Fronterizo: Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua – Mexico City, Distrito Federal
- Railroad California: San Francisco–Los Angeles–San Diego
- Down Easter: New York, New York - Portland, Maine (with through cars to Halifax, Nova Scotia)
- Duquesne Limited: New York, New York - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Fast Flying Virginian: New York, New York - Cincinnati, Ohio - Norfolk, Virginia - Louisville, Kentucky
- International: Seattle, Washington – Vancouver, British Columbia
- Keystone: New York, New York – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Metroliner: New York, New York – Washington, DC
- New York Clocker: Allentown, Pennsylvania–Jersey City, New Jersey
- Peconic Bay Express: Long Island City, New York–Greenport, New York
- Pere Marquette: Detroit, Michigan–Grand Rapids, Michigan–Chicago, Illinois
- Pioneer: Houston, Texas–Brownsville, Texas
- Raritan Clocker: Jersey City, New Jersey–Allentown, Pennsylvania
- San Diegan: Los Angeles, California–San Diego, California
- Texan: St. Louis, Missouri–Fort Worth, Texas–Houston, Texas
- Tomahawk: Chicago, Illinois–Woodruff, Wisconsin
- Turboliner: Chicago, Illinois–Detroit, Michigan