Development of the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel (1976-2003)

Cranbrook Railway Museum in 1998
Photo: Robert D. Turner

Cranbrook, British Columbia, is a relatively small community of just under twenty thousand people. That a very specialized railway heritage collection is to be found here rather than in a large city or a national capital may seem surprising, but it shows what can be done by just one person with a vision and dedication who is able to inspire the people around him. The result — a world class historical railway collection in the midst of a mountain town.


It may also be surprising to learn that the story doesn't really begin until the mid 1970's, rather late for locating prime examples of old passenger train equipment. But then, the project was originally going to involve only a car or two—nothing specific, just enough to give the town an added reminder of its railway heritage.

What follows is the story of how the museum has evolved over the years, and how it became one of the premier attractions of the British Columbia Rockies.

  1. Cranbrook, and the Crowsnest Route of the Canadian Pacific Railway
  2. Surviving Railway Infrastructure
  3. The Museum Initiator
  4. The Museum Begins
  5. The Dining Car "Argyle" and the Discovery of the "Trans Canada Limited"
  6. Cranbrook and Tourism
  7. Developing Local Support
  8. The Museum Concept as a Social History Statement
  9. Other Trans-Canada Limited Cars Arrive
  10. Temporary Community Exhibition Gallery in the Baggage Car
  11. Special Gourmet Dinners in the Dining Car
  12. The Restoration Program
  13. The Business Car "British Columbia" Arrives
  14. Visit of the Train to Expo'86 in Vancouver
  15. A Steam Locomotive for the Trans Canada Limited
  16. The 1901 "Elko" Station
  17. The Trans Canada Limited Set Completed 1989
  18. Museum Name Change —1993
  19. Other Train Sets, Interpretive and Cars-Of-State ...
  20. Planned New Museum Site
  21. CPR Wooden Water Tower
  22. Original Cranbrook CPR Station
  23. Original CPR Freight Shed
  24. New Site and Facilities:

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