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Vintage Canadian Rail History, Near Montreal

The Canadian Railway Historical Association (CRHA) founded the museum back in 1961, but I remember visiting their collection as a teenager in the 1950's - most items were stored outdoors in the weather then. Fund-raising and enormous contributions from volunteers over the following 60 years has created a fabulous collection with 140 immaculately restored pieces of Canadian railway heritage, including a large collection of Montreal streetcars dating from the horse-drawn era of the 1860's to the end of service in 1959.

The museum operates a heritage streetcar line around the grounds as well as a heritage railway which pulls a small passenger train on a former freight spur to Montée des Bouleaux. The streetcar operates daily during the spring, summer and fall while the railway operates every Sunday during the same period. The museum is located on the south side of the St. Lawrence River at St. Constant, Quebec, south of the City of Montreal. Use your GPS -- the site is hard to find, even though there is a large locomotive on a pedestal by the parking lot.

Montreal Tramways #1 "Gold Car" open-air observation streetcar at ExpoRail Museum, near MontrealThe best part of this visit for me was the ride on the "Gold Car", an open-air sightseeing streetcar that used to run in summer in Montreal. This was our favorite outing when we were kids in the 1940's and 50's. The ride, and the tour of the Museum, was escorted by Steve Cheasley, the museum President, who generously provided a personalized commentary on the background and significance of each exhibit. It was a wonderful  re-visit to the railways of my youth, all the way back to my grandparents early days, with some of the best restorations in the world on display. This is a "must see" railway venue.

These photos were taken by Sonja in 2012.


CPR 4-4-0 #144

CPR Colonist Coach #1554

CPR 4-6-4 #2850 "Royal Hudson". Note the crown on the running board skirt.

CPR Rail Diesel Car #9850 (Budd RDC-3 used on Dominion Atlantic Railway)

CPR Rail Diesel Car #9850 (Budd RDC-3)

CPR Railcar M235

CNR #49

CNR #77 First Canadian Diesel Switcher

CNR #9400 First Canadian -built freight diesel (FA-1)

ViaRail "Park" class dome observation car (ex CPR "Canadian") first streamline train in Canada 1955. We slept three nights in her sister "Banff Park" on the trip home from this visit to ExpoRail.


Montreal Tramways "Gold Car" #1 at work in the 1950's on Park Avenue in Montreal

Montreal Tramways "Gold Car" #1 at work at ExpoRail in 2012

Montreal Tramways "Gold Car" #1 front end says it all: 50 cents was a lot of money in 1950, about $7.50 today.

Montreal Tramways "Gold Car" #3 at work  in 1950's

Closeup  of the fancy scrollwork on Montreal Tramways "Gold Car" #3

Montreal Tramways "Gold Car" #3 at ExpoRail in 2012

Montreal City Passenger Car Company horse drawn streetcar #20. more than 1000 horses were on staff in the 1870's.

Montreal City Passenger Railway horse drawn streetcar. #7

Montreal City Passenger Railway horse drawn streetcar. #7

Montreal Street Railway #Y-6 yard switcher

Montreal Street Railway #274

Montreal Street Railway #350, nicknamed the "Rocket"

Montreal Street Railway #350, nicknamed the "Rocket"

Montreal Tramways Rail Grinder - I watched this car, welding cars, snow sweepers, and overhead repair cars on a regular basis when I was a boy in Montreal.

Montreal Tramways #997

Montreal Tramways #1046

Montreal Tramways #1959. I rode this one and her sisters when a teenager going to McGill University; the fare was 10 cents in 1957.

Montreal Tramways #1959

Montreal Tramways #2222

Montreal Tramways "Presidents Conference Car" #3517. I rode this one and her sisters going to grade school in the late 1940's. Children's tickets were 3 for 5 cents. Imagine 1-2/3 cents per trip!

An MTC children's ticket circa 1949 -- 1-2/3 cent each (3 for 5 cents)

Montreal and Southern Counties interurban car #611 -- I rode on this one or one of her sisters in the late 1940's.

First Montreal Metro subway car. Rubber tires with metal guide wheels. These cars never saw daylight so were not built to withstand weather.