A Famous Train of the Canadian National Railways
ONCE again those travelling bags of yours are to be requisitioned this month. We are about to make a trip over the largest railway in the whole world, and this makes it necessary for us to cross the Atlantic and set foot on the Continent that lays claim to one-
Controlling as they do no less than 22,675 route miles of line, the Canadian National management are responsible for an aggregate mileage only less by a mere one thousand miles than the total length of all the railways in Great Britain, A very large proportion of the territory served by the Canadian National Railways is thinly populated, however, so that most of the Canadian National mileage is only single-
Starting from Sydney, on the Atlantic coast in the extreme east of Cape Breton Island, from which the passage across to the mainland of Nova Scotia is made by train-
At the same time the Canadian National authorities have vital interests in the United States. Most important, probably, and busiest of their main lines, is the one travelling south-
Dividing the bulk of the Canadian National system from the lines in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and a part of Quebec, is the wide waterway of the River St. Lawrence, Below Montreal this is bridged at one point only. For many years there was no railway communication across the river east of the great Victoria Bridge at Montreal, over which passes the main flow of the traffic between the Maritime Provinces and the mainland of Canada. But of later years, in order to give direct access from Quebec to New Brunswick and the Atlantic seaboard, the more remarkable Quebec Bridge has come into being. The history of this structure is one of the great romances of modern engineering.
The latest type of CNR Compartment Sleeping Car. The size and luxurious fittings of these cars may be judged by comparing this compartment with the best available on English trains.
Meanwhile it is high time that we began to think about the train by which we are to travel. As we have already crossed the Continent by means of the “Trans-
Connecting trains, such as the famous “Acadian” and the “Ocean Limited”, have brought their through passengers from the Maritime Provinces; at Montreal they must change into the “'Inter-
We are struck, first of all, by the difference between the station and the type of station to which we are accustomed in Great Britain. With the temperature well below freezing point, as it certainly is at this present moment, and possibly even below zero, no Canadian passengers want to wait for their trains on exposed platforms. The platforms themselves, therefore, are little more than pathways to the trains, raised very slightly above the tracks; but the interior of the station, designed on very palatial lines, would, we shall agree, put not a few of our British terminals in the shade.
The first effect of the low platform is to emphasise the size of the rolling stock used in America. Certain of the coaches in our train are of all-
In America, by the way, the term “coach” has a definite significance. It indicates the lowest grade of passenger travel, such as the British third class. But the best trains are composed almost exclusively of Pullman cars of various types, and against some of them we read in the timetables the singular note “no coaches”. This does not indicate a kind of “Ghost Train”, but merely that on this particular service no carriages of the ordinary type are run, and that extra fare must be paid by every
passenger for the use of Pullman accommodation.
Our “International Limited” is composed entirely of Pullman and first-
But it is the engine that is by far the most impressive feature of the turn-
There are differences innumerable to be noticed between American and British locomotive practice. Starting at the front end, there is the feed-
Looking behind the wheels, we notice that the main frames of the engine are formed by an assemblage of steel bars, now usually composed of various sections of steel castings firmly bolted together. The “bar” frame is the American alternative to the British plate frame. All the wheels are exposed to view by the high level of the “running-
The rear pair of bogie wheels under the firebox of the engine are provided with driving power of their own. A small two-
It has been tried in Great Britain, and is fitted to “Atlantic” No. 4419 and the two large “Mikado” (2-
The tender of the “Confederation” is in itself a study. It is carried on 12 wheels, and we see that for the most part it resembles a vast steel barrel. This is the water-
As we board our car, we are welcomed pleasantly by a conductor. We may have reserved a sleeping car berth, of which as yet we can see no signs; or a “drawing room”, which is a separate compartment at the end of the car, with four berths; or, yet again, a single-
The fastest running of the “International Limited” is made over the 334 miles between Montreal and Toronto. Here the country is level, and the Canadian Pacific also run a service between the two cities, the trains by the competing routes being actually within sight of each other over certain sections of their journeys, with results that can be imagined! We need not expect any non-
We may be surprised, on going to look at the engine in the 20 minutes’ wait allowed at Toronto, to find at the head of the train the same engine that pulled us out of Montreal. And not only so, but to our astonishment it is not being detached even yet. One engine of the “Confederation” type works the “International Limited” right through without change over the 511 miles from Montreal to Sarnia, at the Canadian frontier, the complete trip taking 10 minutes under 13 hours. The return journey is made on the following day. Needless to say, the same engine-
After leaving Toronto, before or after dinner, we very likely gravitate to the observation car, where we find an attendant manipulating a fine radio set up in one corner, and each armchair equipped with head-
The radio operator at work on the “International Limited” Express. As explained in the article, the CNR are the only system in the world to control their own extensive radio service.
Of the eight stops between Toronto and Sarnia, the most important is at London, where through day coaches and parlor cars are detached for Detroit, and are replaced by sleeping cars from Detroit for Chicago, 20 minutes being allowed for the marshalling. Sarnia is reached at 10.50 p.m, and here at last our hard-
By now all the sleeping berths will have been made up by our conductor. In the ordinary sleeping cars they are all long-
The “International Limited” at full speed.
[From The Meccano Magazine, January 1929]
You can read about “Canada’s Streamlined Engines” in Wonders of World Engineering.