Honoring Canadian Railroads

Canadian Railroads have always attracted special interest due in part to their expansiveness and diversity of routes and services within. Commanding scenery and scores of specialized and well-maintained locomotives and cars brought color, drama and financial success to that great stage of transportation.

The first railway in Canada was the Champlain and Saint Lawrence Railroad. It went from La Prairie to St. Johns.  It opened in 1836. It was soon followed by the Albion Mines Railway. This railway was in Nova Scotia. Then, in 1847, the Montreal and Lachine Railroad was built. Eventually the Grand Trunk Railway (GTW) evolved as Canada’s longest railway line. It went from Montreal to Sarnia.

Canada became a nation in 1867 but a serious problem remained in that the Parties and British Columbia were not yet part of Canada. The answer to annex those regions was the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), the first Canadian transcontinental railroad.  CPR was completed in 1885 and materially advanced the completion of the Confederation. The value of the railroad was not lost on Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier who believed another transcontinental railroad was needed. Several independent railroads were built but collectively the transcontinental railroads lost money and continually asked the government for additional funding. By 1917 the government lost patience with this cycle and recommended that all the railroads, except the CPR, be nationalized. That effort produced the Canadian National Railways (CNR).

The US saw tangible evidence of much progress to the north when the B&O RR invited both the CNR and CPR to send examples of their latest motive power to the storied Fair of the Iron Horse in 1927. At that event, thousands of visitors were favorably impressed with the beauty and craftmanship of CNR #6100, a large 4-8-4 locomotive and CPR #2360, a handsome 4-6-2 locomotive for passenger service. That forward movement advanced in 1929 when the CPR inaugurated the most luxurious train in Canada, the Trans-Canada Limited, (briefly known as the “Millionaires Train”) positioned to tap the high-end vacation trade. Alas, the Stock Market Crash several months later and resulting Great Depression signaled a sudden end to that noble experiment in long-distance passenger luxury.

The trio of Canadian railroads kept moving and in the next generation, field many successful steam designs that are recalled by their clean lines and immaculate maintenance, enhanced by the legendary colors and graphics of their proud owners. CNR, as a vassal of the government, was traditionally more conservative compared to the GTW and CPR. That distinction was readily apparent when the CPR inaugurated the pace-setting Canadian train in 1955. Nothing since the short-lived Trans-Canada Limited of 1929 approached the Canadian’s beauty and luxury. From the handsome gray and maroon diesel locomotives extending the length of the gleaming stainless steel consist to the round-end, dome observation car, the Canadian represented passenger service at its highest peak.  In 1960 the privatized CNR captured nearly the same media attention when the new single-line CN logo replaced the traditional CNR maple leaf logo. That design was supported by a simplified and equally futuristic livery on all locomotives and rolling stock.

The Canadian railroads have kept pace with technology and have emerged as rock-solid financial performers as evidenced by the recent CPR-KCS merger; CNR eventually absorbed a greatly expanded GTW but is well-positioned for another, strategic merger. High-adhesion, high horsepower locomotives characterize both Canadian giants, now with significant US presence, so the great journey continues.


Canadian model railroaders now have widest range of quality models ever, all with the latest technology and laser-sharp detailing.   We celebrate all that heritage now by offering the best of that market, at competitive prices facilitated by a dedicated staff remains ready to serve you. For those seeking Canadian flavor we highlight our current selection during this sale of Canadian railroad locomotives and rolling stock that will enhance your model railroad journey. Steam, diesel, and all classes of passenger rolling stock, all made viable with our Rewards Program and for a limited time, 15% off Canadian roadnames with promo code 15CANADA

FAW, MBK, Inc.