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Field Trip: The Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train

Click on each image for a closer look!
There are only a few regularly scheduled steam train services in Canada. One of the most unusual is the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train operating out of Hull in Quebec. Is has been running since the early 1990's almost without interruption except for one period where severe weather caused enough track washouts that there was some reluctance to repair the track by the governments which owned it.
What is unusual is that the engines and the passenger cars are of Swedish origin. With the completion of the electrification of the Swedish railway system about 1945, over 200 steam engines were carefully mothballed to ensure that Sweden could continue to operate their railways if enemies destroyed their electrical generating capacity. With the ending of the cold war period around 1990, they decided to sell these engines. A steam engine, a diesel engine and a set of passenger cars were bought and shipped to Canada and began operation in 1992.
I personally experienced their dinner train excursion in 1997 on the occasion of my honeymoon。 The caterer at our wedding was also the caterer to the dinner train and he gave us a pair of tickets. It was a delightful trip with entertainers rotating through each car and we enjoyed a fine meal with a great wine. The train travels down a lovely river valley At the end of the journey, the steam engine is turned on an "armstrong" turntable which means that it is manually rotated by the engineer and the fireman.
The attached pictures were taken more recently by Martin van Kuilenburg of Montreal. Martin is a member of the TRHA Simulation Centre team which developed the Toronto Rail Lands of 1954 Simulation which our museum's visitors enjoy operating in TRHC's diesel cab simulator.
For more information about the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train, click here and click here.
Posting by Russ Milland; Pictures by Martin van Kuilenburg

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