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Old Time Trains


Canadian Pacific Railway

Trains 5-6 Toronto - Vancouver
and 9-10 Montreal - Sudbury

Douglas R. Phillips


Use of the trains changed constantly from the years 1950 to 1965, with every season being a little different,

No. 9 and No. 10 carried mail and express between Montreal and Sudbury to connect with trains for/from the west.
The Montreal mail car on No 9 went through to Sault St Marie and return. Later it was The Dominion that carried that traffic to Sudbury. It’s all too complicated to explain in simple words as the make up of trains changed with each change of time. At times 5-6 only ran between Winnipeg and Calgary and in some years ran only one way east of Winnipeg.

Until the late 1960’s passenger trains were restricted to 26 cars (with exceptions to a max 28) for air brake purposes. Once a train was around 22 cars the company policy was they would look to running a second section if additional traffic was on hand. One standard was if a train was broken into two or more sections the mail car was to go on the first section. Policy was not to break and run The Canadian in sections. Periodically when the train was more than 12 hours late it would run as an extra. If more than 24 hours late would run as a section of the train on the following day. The Canadian between 1955 and 1960 was restricted to a make up of 14 cars with one additional car in the two summer months. All overflow traffic was handled by The Dominion.

The trains that carried the mail and express would usually have a rider coach for the crew and local, passengers. These trains would also be used to handle deadhead coaches, sleepers and dining cars.

“These trains were not required for passengers. They were operated for the purpose of handling express and mail traffic. Only one passenger day coach was carried on these trains which by 1959 was not required by the Passenger Department. The passenger revenue from these trains was considered negligible.

At this time it was considered that the mail traffic then being handled on trains 5-6 and 9-10 should be handled on the ‘Dominion’. It was felt this would increase the revenue position of the ‘Dominion’ by approximately $3 million per year. When seasonal traffic conditions permitted, express traffic, to the extent that it can be accommodated, was also handled on the ‘Dominion’, with other arrangements made to handle any overflow, a very possibly was in freight “piggyback” service. From a passenger standpoint, it was felt trains 5-6 and 9-10 could be eliminated entirely.”

September 27th ,1959 was the actual last day of operation for these trains 5 & 6 Toronto-Vancouver and 9 & 10 Montreal-Sudbury . The above is from official CPR documentation on requesting the train’s discontinuance dated April 20th 1959 for the fall change of timecard. The January notice would have been for temporary discontinuance or annulment until the summer season started again in April 1959 and would have been east of Winnipeg only. But these trains were on again April 26, 1959. Likely, if no or very little express traffic express was put on the Dominion and the other trains annulled that day.

The ‘Dominion’ ran as 3 & 4 Toronto Sudbury and 7 & 8 Montreal-Vancouver connecting with 3 & 4 at Sudbury. Overflow traffic would result in the trains running in more than one section to accommodate any of that extra traffic.

Then the big changes came to the ‘Dominion’ in the fall of 1960 when the sleepers and dining cars were removed for most of the route during the off seasons.

The purpose of the ‘Dominion’ after April 1955 was to handle overflow passenger traffic off the ‘Canadian’ as well as local passengers, military traffic and immigration traffic to allow the faster schedule for trains 1-2 and 11-12.

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