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Business Use of Retired Railway Equipment and Stations

Railways often leased or sold unused stations with some being moved off railway property and others in situ. In many cases especially on abandoned lines these stations became residences. In other cases businesses took them over sometimes with addition of retired passenger train rolling stock. In still other cases only rolling stock, mostly passenger cars were used by themselves. The most common non-residential use was for restaurants although almost entirely independently owned as opposed to franchised locations. These are particularly risky with a high failure rate.

One exception to the latter was McDonald's which had a caboose at many locations for children's birthday parties. These were wooden, many fell into disuse and were scrapped.

One large restaurant chain based out of San Francisco with 100 locations in US and Canada was Victoria Station with locations at 190 Queens Quay East on the Toronto waterfront (long before the area became filled with high rise condos!),
and in Montreal. These all utilized new construction with a caboose for entrance and five box cars. These 1970's steakhouses were all decorated with British Railway artifacts. The chain went into decline and finally went bankrupt in 1986.

Other uses for cabooses included tourist information booths, B&B's etc. Many became private cottages or guest houses.

Non-business uses include railway museums, displays at heritage villages, public displays in parks, private uses including collections not open to the public. There are thousands of pieces of motive power and rolling stock all across Canada plus, tourist railways that both operate and display equipment. Sadly, a lot of this equipment in various catagories is neglected or poorly maintained often winding up being scrapped. In fact, decades ago the poor condition of cabooses still bearing the corporate identity of the donor caused the president of the CPR to prohibit any further donations.

We will have a look at some here. Former stations have also been used, mostly as restaurants.

If you have any photos of these sorts of places both business and private, stations or cars, Please CONTACT US.

A&W "CNR 9" Maybe "Engine, engine number 9" of children's song fame.
Definately not the Roger Miller song version because it was diesel!
Can't see the builder's plate but this 0-4-0 is made of wood!

Little people like it! This is at 333 Gregg Avenue on the Yellowhead Highway in Hinton.

CN 78881 is now The Loose Caboose a fast food place now open 365 days a year.
35 Marlborough Street North, Cornwall, ON. 7/21/2014 John Mayell

Food Cabooses Gallery

Reused stations for residences, restaurants, other business etc.

Tourist Information Booths

Rolling stock_ Other non-business uses
including; Tourist railways, Museums,
Private collections, Private ownership, etc.

CPR Ontario District

CPR Algoma District

Sudbury Division

Parry Sound 1983 Note the VIA sign for Canadian. Jeff Henricks
The Town of Parry Sound acquired the station and land in 1997.
Restoration began, and in 2001 it opened as the
Parry Sound Station Gallery, containing art studios and galleries.

CPR New Brunswick District



Clearview Station Bed and Breakfast
Creemore, ON
(ONR caboose)

Musquodoboit Harbour Railway Museum
and Nova Scotia Tourist Bureau

Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia.

Ossawippi Express Dining Cars
(several passanger cars)
Orillia, ON

Premium Lunch
Ex CNER TSR station
(no rolling stock)

Puddicombe Estate Farms and Winery
includes B&B caboose, station
Winona, Ontario

Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre
CNR station, tourist info caboose,
CNR 2616 2-8-0 on display.
Haliburton, Ontario

Tatamagouche Train Station Inn
(ex ICR station, several vans, cars)
Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

The Depot
Ex CNR station
(no rolling stock)
Craigleith, Ontario

The Old Spaghetti Factory
Gastown, Vancouver

The Smokin' Buddha
Ex CNR/NS&T station
Port Colborne, Ontario

Tuscan Club
Leaside, Toronto

Vegreville Train Station
Restaurant Ex CNR
Vegreville, AB

Village Depot
Ex CNR & GWR stns
Grimsby, Ontario new
(2 stns. and rolling stock)


Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Center
Big Sky Garden Railway
Nanton, AB





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