A Virtual Tour of the Trans-Canada Limited of 1929 (4)

Car #3 of the Trans-Canada Limited

The Dining Car Argyle

Dining Car  
Photograph of an "A" Series Dining Car when built

This was the first car to arrive at the museum in 1977. It was purchased for its scrap metal price of $5,000, and transported gratis by the CPR. When found by the museum, it was only weeks away from being sent to the scrapyard.

Wood Inlays  
Woodwork an inlays in the Argyle after restoration

Its panelling is unusual in that it is black walnut panelling with rose and crown inlays is a favourite with visitors. Your attendant will also point out another special feature of the woods, which is the "figuring" or "book-match burls" found between the inlay pin-striping. Some of these are double, while others are quadruple burls. This is an expensive but subtle feature which can also be found in a few of our other cars.

The tables are arranged for two and four persons along each side for a total of 36. This arrangement allowed a more spacious first class dining experience than the more common arrangement of tables for 4 along each side.

So far, 24 original walnut framed chairs have been found, so we must make do with some modern chairs for the tea-room service. When they arrived, they were painted grey-green with an orange vinyl. As funds permit, we hope to have all the chairs covered in the original blue calfskin leather.

We are known for our famous scones, with tea or coffee, and other light refreshments. When the dining car is open, grand tour ticket holders are offered a complimentary beverage so please check your ticket. To sit in a dining car was one of the highlights of any rail trip.

The centrepiece sideboard, at the end of the car, was located after several years of searching. It was found in the chicken coop of a farm near Vancouver. It was donated by the owners, and after restoration it was placed back into the car.

The carpet is a high quality wool "Axminster," which is similar to the original in terms of colour and quality.

Set Table
Tables are set in the restored Argyle
Also on display in this room is the largest public collection of Canadian Pacific Railway china, silverware, and glassware in the country. Several china patterns of different ages are portrayed here, including the plain crest, the Alexandra band, the blue maple leaf pattern, and perhaps the most valuable—the brown maple leaf pattern. This pattern is fine commercial china weight, and carries such renowned maker names as English "Minton" and French "Limoges." Canadian Pacific always tried to supply the best available, including the monogrammed quadruple "Elkington plate" silverware. Catalogues on this collection are on view when the tea-room is open.

The Argyle and some of the other cars are often used for private rental functions, as well as for special museum gala dinners.

This is the only surviving car of its type.


On to the Sleeping Car Somerset