CPR #1201 is a 4-6-2 Class G5a Pacific-type, and the last of the CPR home-built locomotives. CPR #1201 rolled out of Angus Shops in Montreal in June 1944, and was used in passenger service to Smiths Falls, ON, Perth, ON and Farnham, QC  based out of (Montreal, QC)  Glen Yard. 

When retired from CPR in 1960, she was stored at the Angus Shop Yard.  In 1966 CPR H1d 4-6-4 Royal Hudson #2858, CPR G5a 4-6-2 Pacific #1201 were restored cosmetically at Angus for the Museum of Science & Technology, and were moved to Ottawa in early 1967.  In 1966 CPR K1a 4-8-4 Northern #3100 was moved to Ottawa from Winnipeg on a CP freight. This engine was not cosmetically restored  as it still had a very good paint job, CPR #1201 was removed from the museum in 1973  and restored to operating condition by retired CP employees, and volunteers at Toronto John Street Roundhouse.    

In June 1976, CPR #1201 was sent to Ottawa to replace CPR #1057 a D10h 4-6-0 which was returned to the Ontario Rail Association.  CP #1201 was used for excursions to Wakefield, QC on the Gatineau River,(25 trips per year), to Maxville, ON for the annual Scottish Highland Games, and Pembroke, ON and once to Saint John, NB to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the last spike on CPRMontreal to Saint John route.  In December 1988 a small celebration took place using VIA RDC1 6128 at the location of the last spike.  In June 1989, CPR 1201 made its trip and back, Iu had the following diesel for portions of the route:  CP 1831 from Ottawa to St-Luc (failed enroute), CP 1844 Montreal to McAdam, NB, and CP 4220 from McAdam to Ottawa, ON.  

The steam engine is still around, owned by the Bytown Railway Society but in need of expensive boiler work and stored out of view at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, ON.  Claude Langlois clicked CPR #1201 during the EXPO ’86 Steam Parade in Vancouver., BC. May 23rd, 1986. 

100 years of trains in Winnipeg, MB (youtube)

(via John Brydle) 


The TITANIC and Canadian railway magnate Charles Melville Hays

Shortly before retiring to his first-class cabin on the RMS Titanic on the night of April 14, 1912, Charles Melville Hays offered a fellow passenger a chillingly timely prophecy about the intense trans-Atlantic steamship rivalry then under way between the White Star, Cunard and Hamburg-American lines. "The time will come soon," Hays told Col. Archibald Gracie, "when this will be checked by some appalling disaster."  An hour later the Titanic hit an iceberg, and within three hours, the 55-year-old Hays and 1,513 other souls were dead. As an Ottawa Journal headline indelicately put it a day after the sinking: "Men of international fame perished like rats in a trap."

Hays, an American by birth, was perhaps the best known of the 82 Canada-bound passengers who lost their lives on the Titanic's maiden voyage (48 others survived). He was president of the Grand Trunk Railway, builder of Ottawa's Chateau Laurier Hotel and the city's new central train station, and the driving force behind the country's second transcontinental rail line, then under construction.

Though a resident of Montreal, Hays was a familiar figure in Ottawa, travelling there often for meetings with Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier. During his 15 years as a Grand Trunk Railway executive, Hays often crossed the Atlantic for meetings with the London-based company's board. In a February 1904 letter to Hays, his predecessor as Grand Trunk president, Sir Charles Rivers Wilson, commended

him for the "zeal and courage which brings you across the Atlantic in this inclement season at the call of duty."  It was business that brought him to England in March 1912, accompanied by his wife, Clara, their second daughter, Orion, 28, and Orion's husband, Thornton Davidson, a 32-year-old stockbroker and former hockey player with the Montreal Victorias. He'd also brought his wife's maid, Anne Perreault, and his 23-year-old personal secretary, Vivian Payne. 

After a month abroad, Hays and his party were invited to return on the Titanic as guests of J. Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line, which owned the mammoth ship. Ottawa lawyer Gavin Murphy, a Titanic buff and author of a book about Hays, Ottawa's Titanic Connection, says Hays and Ismay were hoping to strike a deal that would see White Star encourage immigrants to travel across Canada on Grand Trunk trains and the railway promote White Star as the preferred ocean line. Hays had other reasons to return when he did. One of his daughters, Louise, was dealing with a difficult pregnancy in Montreal. And his jewel, the Chateau Laurier, was scheduled to open in Ottawa on April 26. The ship sailed April 10, 1912, with Hays' party booked into four first-class cabins on the promenade deck. For four days, they enjoyed the Titanic's sumptuous comforts. The iceberg ended that abruptly at 11:40 p.m. on April 14.

Hays and Davidson wrapped their wives in furs, led them to the second-last lifeboat and saw them off. According to Alan Hustak's 1998 book, Titanic, The Canadian Story, Hays told his daughter Orion not to worry. "This ship is good for eight hours, and long before then help will arrive."  It appears Hays truly believed that. In its April 19 edition, the Ottawa Journal reported that Maj. Arthur Peuchen, a wealthy resident of Toronto and fellow passenger who survived the sinking, had said Hays "expressed no fear that he would be lost by remaining on board the ship." Hustak writes that Hays planned to go back to their staterooms to condense their belongings into a few bags that he  wanted to transfer to the anticipated rescue vessel. His daughter Orion was so reassured by his demeanour, he reports, she didn't even think about kissing her father or husband goodbye.  In fact, the ship went down at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, less than three hours after striking the iceberg. Clara Hays, Orion Davidson and Anne Perreault were rescued by the Cunard Line's RMS Carpathia, but Hays, Davidson and Payne were among the many who went down with the ship.

Initially, though, newspapers reported that Hays had been saved. But by noon on April 16, the Journal informed its readers that Grand Trunk officials appeared to have given up hope. "No message of any kind had been received from their president, Mr. Hays, and it was felt that if he were alive, he would communicate with them," the newspaper reported.  The tragedy postponed the opening of the Chateau Laurier and Ottawa train station for five weeks. When the two buildings finally opened on June 1, 1912, it was without ceremony. At 6 a.m. on April 26, the S.S. Minia, a Nova Scotia cable ship chartered by White Star to search for victims, recovered Hays' body.

The day before, in tribute to its lost leader, the entire Grand Trunk system had fallen silent for five minutes. At the Grand Trunk Central Station in Ottawa - draped, like the Chateau Laurier, in purple and black - "engines stopped dead on the tracks punctually at the given time," the Journal reported. "Gangs of men working on the building, working in the yards, silently laid down their tools and sat down. Telegraph instruments ceased their incessant chatter. No typewriters clicked in the offices. The army of men employed in the Chateau Laurier and on the contracts on the plaza paused to pay tribute to the great chief."  Hays is buried at Montreal's Mount Royal Cemetery. His tombstone reads: "We are a different people and we are a better people because this man lived, and worked, and loved, and died."

(The Ottawa Citizen)

(It is interesting to note that when the GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY was building the line from Winnipeg to Edmonton, they named Melville, SK in honour of the late Charles Melville Hays. – Ed)

NEW Exporail (CRHA) Homepage!


May 5 to 13: Exporail will be open Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 AM to 17:00 (5:00 PM).

May 19 onward: Exporail will be open daily 10:00 AM to 17:00 (5:00 PM).

Museum day: Sunday, May 27 is Museum day, free admission all day.

May 5, 6, 12 and 13: Charles M. Hays, President of the Grand Trunk Railway, a passenger on the “Titanic” who lost his life. Visit his car “Canada” which was his private office on wheels. 

The day also includes Railroad Careers, an activity for children, try your hand at being a motorman, brakeman, track-man,and  Special Delivery, to see the inner workings of a railway mail car, mail an Exporail postcard from our mail car.

From May 26: View a water-color exhibition by artist Alice Macredie, she paints in memory of her father, who was a railway bridge engineer in western Canada. This exhibition combines history, art and engineering!

Dominion of Canada: Negotiations are going well with the National Railway Museum in York, UK regarding the loan of our A4 class 4-6-2 locomotive Dominion of Canada. The intent is to loan the locomotive to them to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of Mallard's (a sister engine) record setting steam speed record of  125.88 mph on July 3, 1938. If all goes according to plan, all 6 A4s will be reunited in the UK next summer as part of the celebrations. The Dominion of Canada is unique as it has a 'walk through tender', one of the very few still surviving!


Canadian Rail, March - April

The March - April issue of Canadian Rail is devoted to the Pacific Great Eastern Railway and the British Columbia Railway, an all British Columbia issue. Canadian Rail is mailed to CRHA members and is available at better hobby shops.

As mentioned above, plans are in the works to repatriate British Railway Gresley A4 Pacifics “Dwight D. Eisenhower” In Green Bay, WI and “Dominion of Canada” at ExpoRail in Montreal back to the UK. Should the funding come to fruition, the plan is to ship both to the NRM in England for two years UK for cosmetic restoration and a reunion of the surviving A4’s! 


Southern Prairie Railway
Ogema Heritage Railway Association


Canadian Railroad Historical Association E&N Division


Huntsville and Lake of Bays Railway Society


York-Durham Heritage Railway (YDHR)


Back on June 18th 1997, Tom Peters, snapped two VIA coaches on the YDHR, certainly something very rare on this historical railway!  Matt Erwood  and Wayne Shaw believe these were leased from VIA and visiting YDHR for the movie shoot “Universal Soldier 2 - Brothers in Arms”, released in 1998.

Twenty years ago, YDHR purchased former VIA  smooth side Blue Fleet coaches VIA 3209, 3232 and VIA baggage car 9636.  Twe of these can be seem on their Movie Shoot page:  HERE

Guelph Historical Railway Association (GHRA)


CNR Northern 4-8-4 #6167 Guelph, ON Restoration Update

It appears the restoration of Guelph's historic steam locomotive is no longer in danger of being delayed to 2015, or running out of steam altogether.  "We were dead on the tracks and now we're alive," said Bruce Lowe, a member of the restoration committee set up by city council in 2002. It's now expected the restoration will be completed this year. Intervention by local MP Frank Valeriote led railway authorities to change their mind about refusing the city access to downtown railway land to finish the restoration work on one side of Canadian National Railways steam locomotive 6167, about one month's worth of work by the city's contractor is needed to finish the restoration, and he said he understands all trains, (passenger and

Freight), will use the north tracks during the restoration work. The rail land is owned by CN and leased by other railway companies, such as Goderich-Exeter Railway (GEXR), which carries freight, and the operators of VIA and GO passenger trains.  MORE HERE WITH PHOTO

West Coast Railway Association (WCRA)


Thanks to the generosity of several WCRA Members replacement of the HEP cables on the 4 units of the Operating Trainset is underway. In addition to replacing the cables, conduit is being installed to make any future attempted thefts more difficult.

VICTORIA DAY WEEKEND:  Join us for entertainment and cake on May 20th at the Locomotive 374 Pavilion (Noon to 4pm) as we celebrate the arrival of the first Passenger train into Vancouver in 1887 and the Official Opening of the restored CPR Turntable. The Locomotive will be “steamed” - details on page 20.

A DAY OUT WITH THOMAS: Mystery on the Rails Tour 2012 – stops in Squamish June 2/3 and 9/10. For those wishing to stay overnight in conjunction with the Thomas event The Sandman Hotel Squamish is offering a special $89 rate (including Continental Breakfast)

Thomas tickets are now on sale. See Page 12 for details and Hotel booking code;

PGE &/or BC Rail Alumni?  The PGE 100 CENTENARY CONVENTION is being held on July 13, 14 & 15,  2012 in the CN Roundhouse and Conference Centre at the Heritage Park.

Bridge Line Historical Society - Delaware and Hudson RR



Click Here To Visit The Website

Retired from CNR in 1967, in April 2012 former CNR 44-Tonner #4 was donated by Camrose Pipe (Formerly Stelco Pipe) in Camrose, AB to the Alberta Railway Museum Northeast of Edmonton, AB. Only six of these were  on the CNR roster, nos. 1-6.   CNR #4 was built by GE in 1956, and sold to Stelco in 1967.   (Photo by RD Webster taken in 1964)

Museums Listing



West Coast Railway Association:

Roundhouse Museum Project:

Kamloops Railway Historical Society:

Revelstoke Railway Museum:



Alberta Railway Museum:

Galt Historic Railway Park

Rocky Mountain Railway Society:

The Alberta 2005 Centennial Railway Museum Society:



Winnipeg Railway Museum:



Waterloo Central Railway

York Durham Heritage Railway.

Canadian Museum of Science &Technology (Ottawa)

Chatham Railway Museum

Bytown Railway Society:

Elgin County Railway Museum:

Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society:

Toronto Railway Historical Association:

Halton County Railway Museum:

Huntsville and Lake of Bays Railway Society

Guelph Historical Railway Assoc (GRHA)

Northern Ontario Railway Museum:

Friends of 6218:





Montreal Railway Modeller’s Association:




Monticello Railway Museum



Lake Shore Railway Historical Society

Steamtown National Historic Site:

© CRO May 2012