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The Rexall Train

R.L.Kennedy

Another visitor to Fez City was "The Rexall Train" which visited Toronto in 1936 as part of its 29,000 mile tour of the U.S. and Canada. This specially painted blue and white 12 car (9 for displays) train was hauled by New York Central 2873 a streamlined 4-8-2 (converted to oil for ease of re-fueling). This very unique train was operated by United Drug Company to show off its wares nationwide. Rexall drug stores once blanketed Canada and the United States.

My grandfather was called to watch the engine overnight at Fez City. The next morning, the NYC travelling engineer told my grandfather that this was the first time he had slept the night through as usually the oil fire went out and the coal-trained firemen in the northeast couldn't get it lit again! Due to being laid off by the C.P.R. during the Great Depression, my grandfather had sought work in the U.S. where he gained oil firing experience.


In August 1936 as a lad of fourteen, I remember visiting the famous Rexall train then touring the U.S.A. and Canada. This long blue and white drug exhibit train was on display in Toronto at "Fez City", a small yard near the waterfront. This odd name was acquired when a number of Shriner special trains were parked there during the great Shriner convention held in the city in the summer of 1930. With departure time for the Rexall train only minutes away, a C.P.R. 0-8-0 of the 6900 series (I forget the exact number) backed down and coupled onto the open observation car which graced the tail end of the exhibition train. Its purpose was to give the long heavy train a boost up the slight incline to the main line in Bathurst Street Yards. Among several people sitting on the observation platform was Louis K. Liggett, President of the giant drug firm, who seemed to be interested in the 0-8-0's efforts to help the NYC oil burning 4-8-2 back up the train. On reaching the main line, the 6900 locomotive cut off and the streamlined NYC No. 2873 proceeded east towards Montreal. Newton Rossiter.

The Fez City Story.

 

 

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