The Trans-Canada Limited (1929)

The Trans-Canada Limited was considered as one of the world's finest trains in its time. The concept of this train was that of a de luxe ‘Hotel-on-Wheels.' It was the world's longest-distance all-first-class sleeper train, with the fastest time across the North American continent from one ocean to the other. The Trans-Canada Limited was operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was inaugurated in 1919, just after World War I, and lasted until 1930. As a result of the economic depression following the great Stock Market Crash of October 1929, it was cancelled in 1931. As with any other CPR passenger train, the equipment was the very best available, yet in June of 1929 the whole train was completely re-outfitted with 10 brand new sets of cars - each set costing in excess of one million dollars (including the locomotives).

The only surviving set of the Trans Canada Limited in existence has been re-assembled at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel and is on display for the public. It is of national and international signifiance.


This section of the website provides a more detailed examination of the Trans-Canada Limited, car by car, and documents the provenance of the cars, their condition and restoration, as well as the work yet to be done. The text is complemented by both archival images as well as photographs of the train in its present condition. The museum's set contains 7 cars representing each type of car used on the Trans-Canada Limited. These are listed here in their usual sequence behind the locomotive:

1. a combination baggage-crew-dormitory car, #4489;
2. a short distance day-parlour car #6751 (used only between Montreal & Ottawa, usually 2 of these cars would be used);
3. an A-series dining car, the Argyle;
4. an S-series first class 12-1 sleeping car, the Somerset; (usually two of these cars would be used);
5. an R-series first class 8-2-1 sleeping car, the Rutherglen, (usually 2 of these cars would be used);
6. a Glen-series first class 10-compartment sleeping car, the Glen Cassie;
7. a River-series solarium-lounge car (the tail-end car), the River Rouge.
8. (Former combination baggage car, #4481 is an example of a conversion to a full baggage car.)

Between Calgary and Kamloops, an open-topped viewing car, called a 'hayrack' or Mountain Observation Car, would be used behind the solarium car).

In this section of the website, the following format is used for each car:
• original floor plans and interior description;
• brief history of the car before its arrival at the museum;
• work done on the car after its arrival;
• work yet to done (as of 1999); and
• other significant notes.





Trans Canada Limited