We visited the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel in Cranbrook

Cranbrook Travel Blog

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some of the antique railway passenger cars rescued and renovated by the Cranbrook Museum of Rail Travel and opened to public tours.
Our primary reason for a mid-winter trip to Cranbrook was to visit members of my wife's family who live there so we didn't do our regular intensive tourist routine. 

However, one of the highlights of Cranbrook which shouldn't be missed is the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel. It has a collection of old railway passenger cars in various stages of reconditioning that demonstrate the luxury of rail travel at various periods in Canadian history.

The rail cars are assembled on three tracks and are connected into trains of different periods. One set of cars forms the Trans-Canada Limited dating from the roaring 20's and advertised as the 'fastest train across North America' and a 'Deluxe Hotel on Wheels.'  The cars were definitely elegantly appointed with Inlaid Honduran Mahogany walls and ceilings, lushly upholstered seats and thickly-carpeted floors.
Tiffany-style stained glass -'Curzon'
Needless to say, only First-class passengers rode on these trains and paid a premium for the privilege.

A second train in this category is the "Soo-Spokane Train Deluxe" that operated during the Edwardian era (1907) between Minneapolis and Spokane but used Canadian routes through Crowsnest Pass and Cranbrook.  An example of this train is the car named 'Curzon' again finished in dark Honduran mahogany with decorative marquetry inlays all designed and built by Canadian craftsmen. Another feature of the Curzon is the Tiffany-style art nouveau stained glass over the windows and lighting fixtures.

Another display representing the luxurious amenities of rail travel in the early twentieth century is the Royal Alexandra Ballroom.
from the trans canada limited - fastest train across the continent
The room was reassembled from materials saved when the Canadian Pacific Railway's Lady Alexandra Hotel in Winnipeg was demolished in 1971. The building materials were stored in semi-trailers for almost a quarter of a century until they were acquired by the Cranbrook museum and rebuilt as a ballroom which is now rented for civic and private events to help raise money for the museum.

Tours at the museum are quite expensive and are conducted by museum guides - necessary to steer patrons around safety hazards and to prevent damage to delicate finishes and artwork - but also to provide information about railway passenger travel which played such an important part in the creation and growth of Canada.
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some of the antique railway passen…
some of the antique railway passe…
Tiffany-style stained glass -Curz…
Tiffany-style stained glass -'Cur…
from the trans canada limited - fa…
from the trans canada limited - f…
reassembled from components stored…
reassembled from components store…
Curzon luxury rail car in Cranbroo…
Curzon luxury rail car in Cranbro…
honduran mahogony marquetry on upp…
honduran mahogony marquetry on up…
Cranbrook
photo by: oriel