We visited the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel in Cranbrook
Cranbrook Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
January 14th, 2009 – by: oriel
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.
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.
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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