Montreal electrics in 1989 video

Just a superb video of one of my favourite subjects anywhere.

I highly recommend subscribing to fmnut, he’s posting some really amazing video footage and it’s a real treat just picking things off at random from his channel. Lots to inspire here.

1988 and yes, that’s an RS18 leading that commuter train!

This photo appeared on the Canadian Railway Observations Facebook page this evening and I was really excited to see it. I have seen RS18’s on the point of Montreal commuter trains before, well photos anyway, but this might be the most “modern” one I’ve ever seen. I have had the pleasure of standing on that platform though.

Here’s a link to the photos on

Out of curiousity I took a quick look around the web to see if I could find anything else on that engine and I found this photo of it in maroon and grey colours on the CPR Diesel Roster website:

CP Commuter trains in Montreal – operations

Good evening. It feels like with the house move and a busy summer that I’ve really been neglecting this space and I’m keen to back into my usual threads. Now that we’re easing our way into fall I’m excited to share something that I really want to learn more about: Montreal commuter operations during in the era just before MUCTC.

My focal point here is the CP Lakeshore operations from Windsor Station (Lucien l’Allier) and westward.

There have been some exciting examples of rolling stock operated on this line and I’ve been buying up prints and slides as they become available. I’ve been bookmarking websites and similar content online for future reference. During the CP years it’s remarkable that while the coach fleet remained relatively homogeneous the motive power was anything but. The classic units on these trains would appear to be CP’s FP7’s. That said I have a nice slide of a maroon and grey RS18 leading a train of gallery cars and I’ve seen shots of sw1200’s, an FPA4 and RS10’s. While later than I’m concerning myself with I’ve also heard of chop-nosed GP-9’s borrowed from CP and LRC engines in AMT service.

The RDC’s. I’m really fascinated with the RDC’s that seem to have been the predominant feature of these services during the late 1950’s and throughout the 1960’s. I guess most commuter trains were RDC operations. The 800-series lightweight cars would have been around too. I wonder what hauled those trains? FP7’s? I don’t know. Maybe you’re readying this and you do. I’d love to learn more and to hear from you.

How did they turn locomotive-hauled trains before push-pull operations started? Trains of 800-series coaches would have been locomotive-hauled but were not run in push-pull operation. With that in mind I’d like to know what happened with them when they needed to reverse at the end of their run. On arrival at Windsor did a switcher pull the coaches and move them onto a new line where a replacement engine would lead the train outbound? Did the entire consist back out of the station carefully to a wye and the entire lot get turned? I remember reading about the Grand Trunk operations into their Bush Street, Detroit station in the seventies. In that example one train pulled into the station. Once it was empty a spare engine coupled to the back of the train and that new engine would be the power for the next train out. Once that train had left the engine that it had arrived with (the old one) became the spare that would cycle onto the next inbound train. Neat system. Did CP try the same gig at Windsor? I imagine that most of CP’s trains were FP7-led so this wouldn’t work. What do you think?

Next steps. I have some timetables and am starting to put together some consist data. I’m thinking about creating some timelines to document what types of motive power were recorded on what trains. As a modeller’s aid this might be really handy when trying to justify the purchase of a neat model.

I’m excited about this and getting back into some commuter rail research.

Here we go!

CN ETT #3 for October 29, 1972

Today’s mail brought my latest commuter paper addition in the form of CN Employee Timetable #3 for October 29, 1972. It’s cool that it’s dated for my birthday (if for the wrong year though) and neater still in that it incudes a lot of really great detail on CN’s electric operations in Montreal. I’ve only just had a few minutes to look through it but it’s been a great investment.

I purchased it from Dean Ogle. He has an absoloutely awesome collection of railroad paperwork for sale and I strongly encourage a vist to his website:

Excellent service and very reasonable prices. He really knows the hobby and is a pleasure to deal with.

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.