The Model and the Prototype

CPR Passenger Service Cars


Overview

Passenger service cars may contain private passenger accomodation however their prime purpose is to provide for other passenger needs such as meals, refreshments or meeting space. They include meal service cars such as dining cars and cafe cars, or lounge cars which may have an observation or solarium. These cars were often the signature cars for an individual train; often acquired specifically to meet it's needs.

We have selected four cars to model that cover a wide range of trains operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

  • Cafe (Buffet) Parlor Car Series 6550 - 6555 (6484 - 6487)
  • 4 Compt 1 DR "Lake" Series Lounge
  • 3 Compt 1 DR "Mount" Series Solarium Lounge
  • "A" series Dining Car

    The Cafe (Buffet) Parlor Car Series 6550 - 6555 (6484 - 6487)


    Photo courtesy of The Patterson George Collection

    CPR Cafe Parlor 6553 - Photo courtesy The Patterson George Collection



    The Café Parlor was a multi purpose first class passenger car intended for light density routes where the use of full dining, parlor or lounge cars was not warranted. The kitchen was able to prepare and serve a near dining car menu with a small staff. On day trains, the parlor section could accommodate the few first class passengers. On long distances trains, the car provided accommodation for short distance first class passengers. It would also provide lounge seating for sleeping car passengers.

    Canadian Pacific had a significant inventory of Café Parlor cars. There were two groups totaling ten cars built in 1902 and 1906 together with ten cars converted from other cars between 1910 and 1917. All of these cars were out of service by 1939. The first group of heavyweight all steel Café Parlor cars was built in 1923. There were six cars in this group (series 6550 – 6555). This was followed by five more in 1928 (series 6556 – 6560) and two more in 1929 (series 6561 – 6562). Three heavyweight sleeping cars were converted to Café Parlor cars in 1942 and a further nine were converted in 1949.

    The series in which we are interested, the group (6550 – 6555) was built in 1923. In 1945 it was remodeled and equipped with ice system airconditioning. Four of the cars were further remodeled and re-designated Buffet Parlor in 1952. The two remaining Café Parlors were converted to work service in 1958. The Buffet Parlors remained in service until 1965.

    The cars were built with a vestibule at the parlor end and the kitchen was at the blind end. The dining room had three tables seating four passengers on one side of the aisle and three tables seating two on the other side for a total capacity of 18 people. There were 12 large rotating chairs in the parlor; six on each side of the aisle.

    The rotating chairs were removed and replaced by 14 arm chairs facing the center of the car when the cars were remodeled in 1945

    An additional 2 arm chairs were placed in the parlor when the cars were re-designated Buffet Parlor cars in 1952. At the same time all the tables in the dining room were removed. The two large tables and two small tables closest to the kitchen were replaced by four intermediate sized tables each seating four. Four arm chairs, two on each side of the aisle, were placed in the space previously occupied by the remaining two tables. The capacity of the car was sixteen at dining tables and twenty in arm chairs.

    When the cars were built, the interior panels were made of hardwoods such as mahogany or walnut and were finished with stain and varnish.. During the remodeling of 1945, the hardwood interior paneling was painted over in pale pastel shades. Carpets and upholstery were darker shades.

    The exterior of the car was painted CPR's standard red colour often called "Tuscan" but also "maroon" or "burgundy". When built the exterior lettering was in a Block Gothic font using gold leaf. After 1926, the lettering was replaced with a Roman style font again in gold leaf. Current research suggests CPR began to use Dulux gold paint to letter passenger cars beginning in 1950. A choice of Roman font gold leaf and Dulux gold is offered is offered. The gold leaf would be appropriate for the Café Parlor prior to 1952 while the Dulux would be appropriate for the Buffet Parlor and the remaining Café Parlor cars after 1952.

    The application of air conditioning required substantial change in the arrangement of mechanical equipment below the floor. The brake system, initially a schedule LN brake system with a single brake cylinder, was converted to a schedule UC system with two brake cylinders to increase braking capacity. The existing air brake cylinder was replaced with one closer to the end of the car and a second cylinder was added in a diametrically opposite location. Additional air tanks were installed. The belt driven generator located under “A” end of the car was replaced with a gear driven generator under the “B” end. Iceboxes and piping for the air conditioning system were installed underfloor and the A/C water pump was installed on the centersill under the “A” end.

    The six wheel trucks used under the car had cast steel frames with bolt on pedestals and drop equalizers. When built the trucks had journal bearings, which were converted to roller bearings beginning in the early 1950s. Initially they were fitted with bearings all from the same supplier. While in service the bearings were replaced with those of different suppliers.

    The following table provides a list of Café Parlor cars built in 1923 with their final disposition

    Café Parlor Car No.
    Buffet Parlor Car No.
    Disposition
    6550
    6484
    Retired 5/69
    6551
    -
    to work car 12/58
    6552
    6485
    to work car 5/61
    6553
    -
    to work car 12/58
    6554
    6486
    to work car 12/60
    6555
    6487
    Retired 10/65

    The following table provides a sampling of Café Parlor assignments for selected years

    Year
    1937
    1944
    1949
    1950
    1955
    Assignment
    Train #
    Train #
    Train #
    Train #
    Train #
    Chalk River / Sudbury
    1 - 2
    -
    -
    -
    -
    Fort William / Calgary
    1 - 2
    1 - 2
    1 - 2
    1 - 2
    -
    Kenora / Calgary
    -
    -
    1 - 2
    1 - 2
    -
    Kenora / Moose Jaw
    -
    -
    -
    -
    17 - 18
    Calgary / Vancouver
    -
    -
    -
    1 - 2
    17 - 18
    Quebec - Sherbrooke
    6 - 1
    -
    -
    -
    -
    Mattawamkeag / Saint John
    -
    -
    41 - 42
    41 - 42
    41 - 42
    Montreal / Megantic
    39 – 40
    39 – 40
    39 – 40
    39 – 40
    39 – 40
    Montreal / Megantic
    204
    -
    -
    -
    -
    Montreal / Saint Johnsbury
    -
    -
    211 - 212
    211 - 212
    -
    Toronto / London
    37 – 20
    37 – 20
    37 – 20
    37 – 20
    -
    Toronto / Detroit
    -
    -
    -
    37 – 38
    37 – 38
    Toronto / Hamilton
    721
    -
    -
    -
    -
    Toronto / Buffalo
    741 - 832
    721 - 832
    721 - 832
    721 - 832
    721 - 832
    Sudbury / Sault Marie
    27 - 28
    27 - 28
    27 - 28
    17 - 28
    37 - 28
    Emerson / Winnipeg
    109 - 110
    -
    -
    -
    -
    Bredenbury / Wilkie
    51 - 52
    -
    -
    51 - 52
    -
    North Portal / Moose Jaw
    -
    3-4 / 13-14
    13-14
    -
    -
    Calgary / Penticton
    -
    11 - 12
    11 - 12
    11 - 12
    -
    Cranbrook / Vancouver
    -
    -
    -
    -
    67 - 68
    Calgary / Edmonton
    -
    324 - 325
    -
    721 - 722
    527 - 528


    Photo courtesy of The Patterson George Collection

    CPR Buffet Parlor 6485 - Photo courtesy The Patterson George Collection



    The 4 Compt 1 DR "Lake" Series Lounge


    In 1928, Canadian Pacific Railway built five compartment lounge cars. The cars were used primarily on short length overnight runs. The cars featured four compartments, one drawing room and buffet lounge. The car would be used to provide lounge and refreshment facilities to first class passengers in the evening and to provide a light breakfast service in the morning.

    CPR also owned nine cars with similar accommodation built between 1911 and 1913. A further four cars were rebuilt from “P” series sleepers in 1950. While all of the 1928 and 1950 cars were air conditioned, only two of the 1911 – 1913 cars were air conditioned. It is believed that one of the compelling features of these cars is that they did not have to be turned at the end of their runs thus simplifying operations

    A survey of passenger train timetables has shown that the cars operated in overnight trains between Montreal and Saint John, Montreal and Toronto, Montreal and Hamilton, Ottawa and Toronto and between Vancouver and Penticton.

    T The only “Lake” series car we know to be preserved is the LAKE CHAMCOOK which is located in the West Coast Railway heritage park in Squamish BC.

    The following table provides a list of "Lake series Compartment Lounge cars built in 1928 with their final disposition

    Car Name
    Renamed
    Date
    Disposition
    Date
    LAKE HURON
    --
    --
    Official car
    6/62
    LAKE NIPISSING
    --
    --
    Official car
    5/62
    LAKE ONTARIO
    --
    --
    Official car
    4/62
    LAKE WINDERMERE
    --
    --
    Scrapped
    1/61
    LAKE WINNIPEG
    LAKE CHAMCOOK
    10/44
    Official car
    7/62


    The 3 Compt 1 DR "Mount" Series Solarium Lounge


    In 1926, CPR built eleven compartment observation lounge cars. The cars were used primarily on the transcontinental trains; “The Dominion”. The cars featured three compartments, one drawing room, buffet lounge and an open platform observation. The car would be used to provide lounge and refreshment facilities to first class passengers throughout the journey.

    The cars were air conditioned in 1936 – 1938. In 1945 the cars were substantially rebuilt by enclosing the rear observation platform to form a solarium. This followed a general trend of modernization where it was felt that observation platforms were perhaps unsafe but certainly dirty and particularly in the Canadian climate cold in the winter. During the rebuilding, the compartments and drawing room had their paired windows removed and replaced with large picture windows. The car interiors were originally finished in varnished natural woods. During the rebuilding and as part of the modernization, the interior wood surfaces were painted.

    This is our twenty ninth kit; the CPR “Mount” series solarium lounge sleeping car of 1926. This is the third car in our CPR service car series made up of meal service and lounge cars. We began the series with kit #27, the “6550” series Café Parlor car, which was introduced in 2006 and continued with the “Lake” series lounge car. The “Mount” series car we are modeling was used primarily on the transcontinental service “The Dominion”. These cars for many years were the rear car on the Toronto section of the train. The only “Mount” series car we know to be preserved is the MOUNT AVALANCHE which is located in the Alberta Central railway Museum in Wetaskiwin Alberta.

    The following table provides a list of "Mount" Series Solarium Lounge built in 1926 with their final disposition.

    Car Name
    Disposition
    Date
    MOUNT AVALANCHE
    Work Car
    8/58
    MOUNT BLUEBELL
    Work Car
    8/62
    MOUNT BURGESS
    Work Car
    12/58
    MOUNT CROWSNEST
    Work Car
    7/62
    MOUNT FAIRVIEW
    Scrapped
    3/64
    MOUNT GIROUARD
    Work Car
    8/62
    MOUNT KOKANEE
    Scrapped
    3/64
    MOUNT MACDOUGALL
    Work Car
    8/62
    MOUNT MCKAY
    Work Car
    12/62
    MOUNT NORQUAY
    Work Car
    9/62
    MOUNT PYRAMID
    Destroyed
    4/50


    The "A" series Dining Car


    In 1931, the CPR built eight 36 seat dining cars. These cars followed fifteen “A” series diners built in 1929 and twelve all steel diners in the “W” series built in 1920 – 21. The main spotting difference between the two series of “A” diners is the number of “half height” windows in the kitchen / pantry area. The additional “half height” windows, instead of the full height windows in the earlier series of cars, were necessitated by a reconfiguration of the pantry.

    The cars were air conditioned in 1937. Initially the car interiors were finished in varnished natural woods with inlaid panels. This finish was over painted when the cars were modernized in the early 1950s.

    The “A” series dining cars were, we understand, used to provide meal service on Canadian Pacific’s premier trains, most notably The Dominion, until the arrival of the stainless steel diners of 1955. The only “A” series car that we know to be preserved is the ARGYLE which is located in the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel in Cranbrooke BC.

    The following table provides a list of "A" series Dining Cars built in 1931 with their final disposition

    Car Name
    Disposition
    Date
    ABERGELDIE
    scrapped
    8/68
    ALTHORP
    scrapped
    2/69
    APSLEY
    sold
    6/70
    ARBUTHNOTT
    scrapped
    11/68
    ARDENCAPLE
    sold
    2/62
    ARTORNISH
    destroyed
    9/41
    ASHBY
    work car
    11/60
    AUDLEY
    scrapped
    11/68


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