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The Canadian

Related subjects Railway transport

Old (red) and new (blue) route maps of The Canadian
Old (red) and new (blue) route maps of The Canadian

The Canadian is a Canadian transcontinental passenger train originally operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway. It is currently operated by VIA Rail Canada (as the Canadian) with service between Union Station in Toronto, Ontario and Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, British Columbia. Before the current transcontinental service, the name "The Canadian" had been used on CPR's overnight Montreal / Chicago trains.

Canadian Pacific

Dining car interior on The Canadian (2005)
Dining car interior on The Canadian (2005)
Via Rail – The Canadian route
Legend
Distance Station
KBFa
0 Toronto, Ontario ( Union Station)
HST
143 km (89 mi) Washago 1
HST
241 km (150 mi) Parry Sound ( CP station)
HST
422 km (262 mi) Sudbury Junction
BHF
444 km (276 mi) Capreol
HST
493 km (306 mi) Laforest
HST
494 km (307 mi) McKee's Camp
HST
521 km (324 mi) Felix
HST
527 km (327 mi) Ruel
HST
547 km (340 mi) Westree
HST
583 km (362 mi) Gogama
HST
683 km (424 mi) Foleyet
HST
739 km (459 mi) Elsas
HST
859 km (534 mi) Oba
BHF
921 km (572 mi) Hornepayne
HST
989 km (615 mi) Hillsport
HST
1,046 km (650 mi) Caramat
HST
1,084 km (674 mi) Longlac
HST
1,133 km (704 mi) Nakina
HST
1,222 km (759 mi) Auden
HST
1,265 km (786 mi) Ferland
HST
1,273 km (791 mi) Mud River
HST
1,314 km (816 mi) Armstrong
HST
1,348 km (838 mi) Collins
HST
1,401 km (871 mi) Allanwater Bridge
HST
1,421 km (883 mi) Flindt Landing
HST
1,440 km (895 mi) Savant Lake
BHF
1,537 km (955 mi) Sioux Lookout
HST
1,621 km (1,007 mi) Richan
HST
1,652 km (1,027 mi) Red Lake Road
HST
1,682 km (1,045 mi) Canyon
HST
1,720 km (1,069 mi) Farlane
HST
1,735 km (1,078 mi) Redditt
HST
1,758 km (1,092 mi) Minaki
HST
1,780 km (1,106 mi) Ottermere
HST
1,784 km (1,109 mi) Malachi
HST
1,788 km (1,111 mi) Copeland's Landing
HST
1,796 km (1,116 mi) Rice Lake, Ontario
eGRENZE
Ontario/ Manitoba border
HST
1,801 km (1,119 mi) Winnitoba, Manitoba
HST
1,806 km (1,122 mi) Ophir
HST
1,826 km (1,135 mi) Brereton Lake
HST
1,854 km (1,152 mi) Elma
BHF
1,943 km (1,207 mi) Winnipeg ( Union Station)
HST
2,032 km (1,263 mi) Portage la Prairie
HST
2,150 km (1,336 mi) Brandon North
HST
2,173 km (1,350 mi) Rivers, Manitoba
eGRENZE
Manitoba/ Saskatchewan border
HST
2,394 km (1,488 mi) Melville, Saskatchewan
HST
2,602 km (1,617 mi) Watrous, Saskatechewan
BHF
2,702 km (1,679 mi) Saskatoon
HST
2,792 km (1,735 mi) Biggar
HST
2,885 km (1,793 mi) Unity, Saskatchewan
eGRENZE
Saskatchewan/ Alberta border
HST
3,017 km (1,875 mi) Wainwright, Alberta
HST
3,089 km (1,919 mi) Viking
BHF
3,221 km (2,001 mi) Edmonton
HST
3,331 km (2,070 mi) Evansburg
HST
3,430 km (2,131 mi) Edson
HST
3,518 km (2,186 mi) Hinton
BHF
3,600 km (2,237 mi) Jasper, Alberta
eGRENZE
Alberta/ British Columbia border
HST
3,721 km (2,312 mi) Valemount, British Columbia
HST
3,814 km (2,370 mi) Blue River
HST
3,923 km (2,438 mi) Clearwater
BHF
4,038 km (2,509 mi) Kamloops North
HST
4,117 km (2,558 mi) Ashcroft
HST
4,240 km (2,635 mi) Boston Bar
HST
4,305 km (2,675 mi) Hope
HST
4,355 km (2,706 mi) Chilliwack
HST
4,380 km (2,722 mi) Abbotsford
KBFe
4,466 km (2,775 mi) Vancouver ( Pacific Central Station)

In the years following World War II, passenger trains on the CPR consisted of a mixture of prewar heavyweight and pre- and post-war lightweight cars, even on their flagship transcontinental The Dominion and its eastern extension, The Atlantic Limited. While these cars were serviceable, American trains of the early 1950s, such as the California Zephyr, had already adopted streamlined all- stainless steel consists featuring domed observation cars. Following an evaluation in 1949 of the dome cars featured on the General Motors / Pullman Standard demonstrator Train of Tomorrow, CPR management, including then Vice-president Norris Crump resolved to upgrade their rolling stock. In 1953 CPR placed an order for 155 stainless steel cars with the Budd Company of Philadelphia that included 18 rear-end dome cars (Park series), 18 Skyline mid-train dome cars, 30 coaches, 18 dining cars and 71 sleeping cars (Manor and Chateau series). A subsequent order for 18 baggage-crew dormitory cars brought the final to total to 173 cars, sufficient for establishing an entirely new transcontinental service and partially re-equippiping The Dominion. The interior design of these new cars was contracted to the Philadelphia architectural firm Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson (a company known for its industrial designs on other prominent passenger trains such as the Pioneer Zephyr), and the resulting furnishings and pastel-shaded colour schemes were widely acclaimed. After deciding to name the Park series dome cars after famous Canadian parks, leading Canadian artists, including members of the Group of Seven, were commissioned to paint suitable murals for these cars. When the decision was made to add budget sleeping cars, the Budd order was supplemented by 22 existing heavyweight sleepers that CPR refurbished in its own Angus Shops, each fitted out with Budd-style stainless steel cladding. To complement the new rolling stock, the CPR ordered General Motors Diesel FP9 locomotives to supplement an existing fleet of FP7s. Although these F-units remained the preferred power for the train, it was occasionally pulled by a variety of motive power, including Montreal Locomotive Works FPA-2s, and, as late as 1959, Steam locomotives.

CPR christened their new flagship train The Canadian and service began on April 24, 1955. Although CPR competitor Canadian National Railways began its own new transcontinental service, the Super Continental, on the same day, CPR was able to boast honestly that The Canadian was "The first and only all-stainless steel 'dome' stream-liner in Canada" — it was not until 1964 that the CNR acquired dome cars. CPR operated the train in two sections east of Sudbury, Ontario. The section operating between Montreal and Vancouver (also serving Ottawa) was known as train 1 westbound and train 2 eastbound, with a connecting section to or from Toronto splitting or joining at Sudbury (this section was known as train 11 westbound, and train 12 eastbound). Matching its streamlined appearance, The Canadian's 71 hour westbound schedule was 16 hours faster than that of The Dominion.

Although initially successful, passenger train ridership began to decline in Canada during the 1960s. Facing competition from airlines and increased automobile usage following construction of the Trans-Canada Highway, the CPR cancelled The Dominion in 1966, and petitioned the government to discontinue The Canadian in 1970. Although this petition was denied, CPR during the 1970s attempted to remove itself from the passenger service market. The Canadian was operated at reduced levels, with the government subsidizing 80 percent of its losses.

VIA Rail

The Canadian picking up a canoeist in central Ontario
The Canadian picking up a canoeist in central Ontario

The federal Crown corporation VIA Rail Canada formally assumed responsibility for CPR's passenger services on October 29, 1978, although the VIA identity wasn't assumed by the trains themselves until the following summer. Following the takeover by VIA, the Canadian became the company's premier transcontinental train, and initially operated over its old CPR route. It was supplemented by the former CN Super Continental, which operated over the parallel, but more northerly, CN route. The Canadian continued to be operated in two sections east of Sudbury and provided daily service west to Vancouver and east to Toronto and Montreal.

In the aftermath of the deep budget cuts made to VIA Rail on January 15, 1990, the Super Continental service was abolished and the Canadian was moved from the CPR route to the Super Continental's CN route. This maintained transcontinental service and allowed VIA to operate its government-mandated service to small communities along the line. The CN route is widely acknowledged to be less scenic, particularly in the sections through the Rocky Mountains and north of Lake Superior. Service was also reduced to 3 days per week. Today, VIA Rail continues to operate the Canadian using the CN route with rebuilt ex-CPR Budd passenger equipment.

While some rail travel and heritage purists no longer consider this to be the true Canadian, VIA retains the name, train numbers, and equipment of the original.

Retrieved from " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Canadian"