CN Commuter

CN operated commuter trains on many pieces of their network. Over time, some were cancelled, some became VIA trains while others remain commuter trains and are parts of the AMT and GO networks. I really enjoy the subject of Canadian commuter rail during the 1960’s and 1970’s time period and thought I’d start this page to harbour some details on CN’s commuter train operations in Toronto and Montreal.


The September 2012 issue of Branchline includes a fantastic article by John Read
on CN’s passenger GMD1’s includes some detailed information on these units being
used on CN commuter trains. In 1963-64: “Units 1913-1915 from Quebec City went
to Toronto for use on the two Toronto-Hamilton commuter runs, releasing
3100-series RS-18 units. Two GMD1s handled 12-car commuter trains 921-920, while
a single 1900 handled three-car trains 923-922 (consisting of one working
baggage car 9166 of steam excursion fame, and two commuter coaches).” According
to the article, more members of the 1900-series GMD1’s were re-assigned to the
Toronto pool: “giving Toronto 1904-1917 inclusive.” Also according to the
article these units remained in commuter service until 1971 when they were moved
to services further west.

I found a reference on the Canadian Railway Observations website:

Paul Cordingley photographed CN 987, a Guelph commuter train from 1970. The
Guelph run, the Stouffville commuter, and the Niagara Falls trains were
regularly hauled by GMD-1 power in the late 1960’s.

I was starting to get really excited when I read that photo caption. The photo
itself shows 1912 leading 1915. The train is comprised is heavyweight coaches in
a fun mix of green and black with later grey and black paint schemes. Cool! That
shot was from 1970 and I found a shot of a similar train from 1968 that actually
was the final photograph on the Pacific Western Rail Systems web page announcing
the Rapido Trains model. In this shot 1915 is leading 1906. The coaches are
green but there’s a steam generator between the locos. I thought the 1900’s
still had their boilers during this period but I could be wrong. Either way the
photograph is excellent:

Finally are these really cool photos from Paul Cordingly showing CN commuter
trains, pre-GO:\

Shows GP9 #4104 on the Guelph train\

Shows the GMD1’s on the Stouffville train.


Units assigned to the South Shore commuter service:

In Montreal, the remaining commuter service to the South Shore had been handled by steam generator-equipped RS-3s 3900 and 3901 until the retirement of 3901 in August 1968. Unit 3901 was replaced by FPA-2 6750. Until 3900 was retired in November 1973, followed by the retirement of 6750 in July 1975, after which the train was handled by one or two 3100-series RS-18s. But because steam generator cars were in such short supply, a pair of the four boiler-equipped 1900s from Neebing/Symington was brought to Montreal each winter for use on this commuter train.

RS-3 #3900 until November 1973

Bill Linley photo of RS-3 #3900 at Delson in commuter service on April 20, 1969:

R.R.Wallin photo of #3900 on the Deux Montagnes line, in commuter service, in July 1962:

RS-3 #3901 until August 1968

I haven’t found any photos of this unit in commuter service yet.

FPA-2 #6750 until July 1975 (replaced #3900)

Photos of sister units from the superb cnrphotos website:

RS-18’s from the 3100 series

Not sure which units, exactly, from this series worked in Montreal commuter service or if any units were “dedicated” to this service specifically.

GMD1’s 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903

See photos in the Toronto section above.


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