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Acquisition of the West Toronto Schedule Boards- Part 2 of 2

The West Toronto schedule boards outside the rear entrance to the museum, December 2014.

(Continued from Part 1)

The information on the two boards dates from the summer of 1971. Years earlier, the boards would have been filled with numerous trains, but by this time there were only four trains a day stopping at West Toronto: The Canadian and the Budd Dayliners to and from Windsor Ontario.

The board on the left shows the schedule for outbound Train 11, The Canadian, which departed Union Station fifteen minutes earlier at 1715. Following the departure from West Toronto, passengers had another 67 hours and 40 minutes before the train arrived in Vancouver. At Sudbury, 259.7 miles north of Toronto, No. 11 was combined with No. 1, which had departed Montreal at 1355. Although the Canadian (only CP insisted on capitalizing the article) still operates on VIA Rail, it no longer runs on CP tracks and doesn’t stop at most of the stations listed on the board.

Whoever painted the name of the train on the board made some attempt to duplicate the elaborate script font used by CP to promote The Canadian in its earlier years. The connections to Sault Ste. Marie were Trains 427 and 428, CP Dayliners that connected at Sudbury. Traveling to the “Soo” from Toronto by train must have made for a long night since westbound 427 departed at 0015 and arrived at 0400. The connection to Edmonton was at Calgary on Dayliners 301 and 302. The bottom train listed on the board is the inbound No. 12 from Vancouver at 1600.

The board on the right also lists the principal stations on the route of The Canadian, with the additional information of what time the train was scheduled to arrive, although some of the times were days apart. Also listed is westbound Train 337, the Dayliner for Windsor, departing at 1740. Although not listed on the board, eastbound No. 338 arrived at 1100.

Both boards clearly indicate Eastern Standard Time since railways did not alter their schedules twice a year when almost everyone else changed to and from Eastern Daylight Time, long a cause of frustration for passengers who did not take note of the shift.

It is the intention of the Toronto Railway Museum to use these schedule boards to anchor a new interpretive display of  The Canadian, the most famous train to operate out of John Street from 1955 to 1982, the year that West Toronto station was demolished.

Anyone interested in a more complete history of CPR’s operations at West Toronto are invited to download my 2004 article in Canadian Rail:

Click here to return to Part 1 of this series of TRHA News postings

Posting by Derek Boles, Toronto Railway Museum Historian

Click on each image for a closer look!

Canadian Pacific No. 12, the Toronto section of The Canadian pulls into West Toronto Station in the late summer of 1965. A CP freight train has just rumbled by in the same direction while a Canadian National track crewman pauses to observe the action. This Larry David painting is available as a print through Heritage Art Editions.
West Toronto Station boarded up and awaiting demolition in 1982. Today, the site is an industrial yard, although several trains pass by here, including the GO service on the Milton line. Nearby is the massive GO Transit West Toronto Diamond Grade Separation now nearing completion.
The cover of the CP Rail system timetable corresponding to the times listed on the schedule boards. For many years, the railways generally issued two new passenger timetables annually, corresponding to the shifts to and from Daylight Savings Time. In the summer of 1971, the only remaining CP passenger trains operating out of Toronto were The Canadian and the Rail Diesel Cars to Windsor, Havelock and Buffalo.
The summer 1971 schedule for The Canadian. Although the train continues today to operate over Canadian National tracks using the same passenger cars ordered new by CP in the 1950s, the Canadian no longer stops at most of the important stations listed here except for Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

The summer 1971 schedule for the daily trains to Windsor. Until 1967, these trains ran through the Detroit River Tunnel to the now-abandoned Michigan Central Station. The completion of Highway 401 in the 1960s doomed most CP passenger trains between Toronto and Southwestern Ontario. The two remaining Windsor trains seen here disappeared by the time the next CP timetable was issued in October 1971.

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