Windsor bound

Not much time for model making lately outside of the work I have been doing on the topographic models but in the wee hours I have been digging deeper into the period in Montreal’s history just before commuter trains in that city became part of the responsibility of AMT and it’s predecessor STCUM.

I came across some pictures of CP Rail operations that I really liked and thought I’d share here.

CP Rail FP-7's on layover in Dorval yard

…and this was too great to ignore

As well I think I came a little closer to solving a mystery I’ve been curious about for a very long time. Here goes…

When I was little, I think in grade one or two my class went on a field trip to the Hershey factory in Smith’s Falls just outside Ottawa. We took school buses to the train station and Via Rail from Ottawa to Smith’s Falls. As our bus pulled in Ottawa’s train station I could have sworn that waiting in the platform was a CP Rail cab unit pulling a string of bi-level coaches. It was a really exciting sight for me. My Dad is a big CP fan and it was so exciting to see real trains just like the N scale ones he had on his model railway at home. That image stuck with me.

As I got older and more and more interested in commuter railway operations I kept thinking about that sighting and how I saw what I saw. By that time (1980-ish) there were no commuter trains to Ottawa at all. Montreal did have them and their train sets were just as I described, typically an FP-7 pulling a string of corrugated bi-level coaches. Knowing that what I saw wasn’t commuter equipment I guess I always explained that memory away as either not remember exactly what I saw (maybe they were just single-level coaches?) or maybe that day’s Ottawa to Montreal train had borrowed equipment from STCUM?

I’m not at home where the URL is for the site where I read this detail but I was reading more about STCUM’s early experimenting with new, to them, commuter rail equipment. Early on STCUM borrowed a train set from GO consisting of a GP40w and Hawker-Siddley single-level coaches. In turn they sent an STCUM set consisting of an FP-7 and Vickers bi-level coaches to Toronto. Well, Montreal to Ottawa just to get to Toronto is far from the most direct route but could it have been that which I saw on that school field trip over twenty-five years ago?

Boy I wish I had a time machine for moments like this one.


  1. Hey Chris, great shots.

    I can provide some additional info: In the top photo, the two trains are not on layover in the yard, they’re passing one another on the CP double track mainline curve slightly east of CP’s Dorval station. The FP7-led Series 800 cars on the left are about to pass beneath the signal gantry, which was removed earlier this summer, replaced by a new one slightly further along the line. The freight car on the right IS on the north freight track or the station siding.

    The bottom photo captures a northerly view, from Autoroute 20, of a CP Rail Montreal Lakeshore line commuter train at Lachine station, situated at the time at the north end of the 40th Avenue pedestrian overpass. The SW1200 switcher is providing the power to the double-decker Gallery Cars. When the CTCUM assumed control of the line in late 1982, this station was closed, and Grovehill station, the adjacent stop further west at 48th Avenue, was renamed Lachine. The pedestrian overpass was not demolished until the turn of the century, and for many years sat with metal barriers installed at each end to prevent access. The sloping concrete barrier in the lower right foreground protects the western end of the access ramp lane from Autoroute 13 south to Autoroute 20 west. Hope this helps. Tim.

    1. Thanks for the great extra bits. I really wish I had been able to see the line when it was still being operated by CP, during the seventies.

      Great stuff. Thanks.

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