Friday, 3 March 2017

Footnotes from the "Department of Useless Information"

CP Rail's Train 40

In my younger years my father used to call me, "The Department of Useless Information" because I could recite details from CP Rail's timetables that no one would ever need or want to know. Admittedly at the time that moniker would rankle me but in hindsight his remark probably reflected an element of fact. 

This posting will do the same; provide useless details that no one needs or wants to know.

For summer 1973 (and subsequent summer seasons in the mid 70's) CP Rail dug Train 40 out of their archives to number The Atlantic Limited, as detailed in the following frame.

Train 40's schedule from CP Rail's April 1974 public timetable

A photo fresh from the internet: this train was identified only as the Atlantic Limited. The recognizable location was Windsor Station in Montreal and given the bright time of day this was likely Train 40 rather than 42.

The original Train 40's schedule as published in CPR's September 1950 public timetable. Unlike in 1973, during the early 1950's, Trains 40 and 42 operated concurrently rather than alternatively.

Not too long ago while looking through an old book, this piece torn from an envelope unexpectedly slipped out from the pages (which eventually prompted this post). The following undated scrap recorded the consist of Train 40 in summer 1973 when I made an after-work Friday evening trip from Montreal to Scotstown.

Recorded during the journey.

Missing from the list: the baggage car and the locomotive unit assigned to haul the train; perhaps one of the two usual E-8's had been given the task but today one can only speculate.

Surprisingly and more than 40 years later, the four former CP Rail stainless steel cars listed above remain in active service on Via Rail's trains today. 2249, the exception, was an Angus-built coach.

This view inside the glass attic was captured by Donald Haskel on CP Rail’s Train 40 when "The Atlantic Limited" was operating on its summer schedule. The scene above was recorded in Montreal on July 07, 1977, just moments prior to the 18:05 departure from Windsor Station. Thank you Mr. Haskel for taking the photograph and sharing it with us.

This July 1971 image records Train 41, the westbound "Atlantic Limited" crossing the St. Lawrence River and minutes away from the first of its three Montreal stops. The Train 40 consist recorded on that paper scrap would have been an almost identical match to this scene illustrated here. (Stan J Smaill photo)

Occasionally CP Rail would issue me a pass using this older Canadian Pacific form.

In June '76 I made my only trip on CP Rail's "Atlantic Limited" as a CP employee; the train was operating on its Train 40 summer schedule. By this time, CP Rail had dropped their train's name from the public timetable.

The Department of Useless Information
a.k.a. The Oddblock Station Agent


  1. I've heard in a lot of cases that the 40/41 train carried more employees than paying passengers...