Canadian Pacific 1953 Timetable

In addition to train schedules, this Canadian Pacific timetable includes steamship schedules: the Empresses of Scotland, France, and Australia providing service between Montreal and Liverpool are on the inside front cover, while pages 24 through 27 list various British Columbia coast steamship or lake steamer schedules. The timetable also mentions air service but does not include detailed schedules.

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In 1953, before introduction of the streamlined Canadian, CP’s main trains were the Dominion, which was actually three separate trains: numbers 3 & 4 between Toronto and Vancouver; numbers 7 & 8 between Montreal and Vancouver; and number 9 & 10 between Montreal and Sudbury. East of Sudbury, numbers 7 & 8 were sleeping cars only, while 9 & 10 was coaches and parlor cars and operated about one to two hours apart from 7 & 8.

The railway’s other transcontinentals included the Soo-Dominion, which operated 10 months of the year from St. Paul and merged with trains 7 & 8 at Moose Jaw; the Mountaineer, trains 13 & 14, which operates the other two months (June 30 through August 28) as its own independent train; and unnamed trains 1 & 2, a local service that connected Vancouver with both Toronto and Montreal. During July and August, the three named trains operated about an hour apart from one another, first 14, then 8, then 4 eastbound, and similarly 13, 3, and 7 westbound.

Trains 1 & 2 left their end points about an hour after the Dominion, but by the time they made it to the other end of their trip, they were anywhere from 12 to 24 hours behind the more exclusive train. Canadian railroads often had a policy of letting passengers on or off anywhere they wanted, and not just at specified stations. This allowed backcountry residents and sportsmen to reach places not accessed by roads. I suspect trains 1 & 2 served this purpose, allowing the Dominion and Mountaineer to stay on predictable schedules.

The timetable specifies that the eastbound Dominion required 79-1/2 hours to get from Vancouver to Toronto and 82-3/4 hours to get to Montreal. Westbound to Vancouver the journey was even longer, 83-1/2 hours from Toronto and 87-1/2 hours from Montreal. The westbound times are probably stretched out to allow the trains to depart and arrive at major cities during waking hours.

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