The following article is excerpted from The Ocean Limited:
"Late in 1915 the Canadian Government Railways (CGR) ordered twelve 10 section 2 drawing room all-steel sleeping cars for use on the Ocean Limited and Maritime Express. The wooden sleeping cars in use on those trains were to be cascaded onto the Halifax-Saint John and Halifax-Sydney overnight trains while the sleeping cars on those trains would be converted into colonist cars for use on immigrant trains. Four of the new sleeping cars were ordered from the Preston Car Company at Preston, Ontario and the remaining eight from National Steel Car at Hamilton, Ontario.
"The first car, the Val Brilliant, arrived in Moncton on May 13, 1916. To cope with cold winter weather temperatures, the car had two-inch-thick pressed cork insulation placed between its exterior and interior steel panels. The exterior was painted in the standard ICR olive green while the interior walls were faux painted to simulate wood. The main compartment finish was vermilion, the smoking room koko; one drawing room was done in English oak and the other in mahogany, and the ladies' washroom in white enamel and vermilion.
"All of the "V" series cars were delivered by September 1916. Most of them were removed from revenue passenger service in the 1950s after CN took delivery of its new streamlined passenger cars. The car Ville Marie was converted to rule instruction car 15039 in 1956. Acquired by the Alberta Pioneer Railway Association, it is the only pioneer all-steel Canadian built passenger car to be preserved.
"One popular new feature was the system of electric lights powered from the car axle. These were the first sleeping cars to have individual lights installed in the berths. The Moncton Daily Times commented that this feature added greatly to the convenience of retiring and make possible enjoyable reading in bed.
"Disaster struck the cars at Preston when a large part of the company's factory complex was destroyed in a disastrous fire the night of January 7, 1917. Lost in the destruction of the erecting shop were three CGR sleeping cars the Islet, Louisbourg andLunenburg. The PrestonProgress reported that one car had been only several days away from completion, while the other two had only a few weeks of work. Though Preston did rebuild its factory, the builder completed only one car of the order theLevis. Delivered in October 1917, this car was to have a long career. In 1941, it was air-conditioned and converted to a buffet sleeping car with kitchen facilities installed in the space formerly occupied by one drawing room. In 1963, it was rebuilt as a track recorder car for CN's Research and Development Department and numbered 15016. It was retired in 1971
The CGR ordered fourteen more steel 10 section- 2 drawing room cars from Pullman in 1918. Three cars were named for the ill-fated cars destroyed at Preston. Reflecting wartime inflation, Pullman's price of $35,890 per car was 26% higher than Preston's 1916 price.
"There were several other differences between the two orders. Unlike the steel cars purchased in 1916, the Pullman cars had mahogany interiors. One can only speculate that the change was made because of problems insulating the all-steel cars from the deep cold of Canadian winters. These cars used electricity as their primary means of illumination, but gas was provided as an auxiliary system. Six of the fourteen cars, including the second Louisbourg andLunenburg, remained in revenue passenger service until the end of the 1960s.
"The car was taken onto the roster of the Canadian National Railways in January 1920, and converted into Colonist Car #2928 in December, 1943."
(Excerpt from "The Ocean Limited: A Centennial Tribute", Douglas NW Smith, Trackside Canada, 2004. p. 50.)
In 1956 "VILLE MARIE" was made into a Rule Instruction Car - a mobile classroom for railway employees. One end of the car served as the living quarters for the instructor who traveled with the car from point to point along the railway. The car contained the instructor's living room and kitchen along with a bedroom complete with nickel plated sink and stainless steel shower. Usually there was only one instructor per car, but an extra bed was added for the rare times that two instructors were needed.
Rule Instruction Car # 15029 was sent to various stations in Western Canada, and railway employees would gather in the classroom section of the car to be taught and tested in their knowledge of the rule book and various aspects of railway operation. The car originally had desks and chairs with a much larger desk for the instructor and a blackboard on the wall behind the desk. The desks were removed in the mid 1960s and replaced with the current seats. Rule Instruction Car # 15029 served until 1974, so quite a few of the railway employees still working for CN were taught in this car. The carpet in the hallway and instructor's bedroom carries the black and white CN logo.
Donated by CN in 1979 and funded by a grant from the Alberta Museums Association and supported by the Inmate Work Program of Alberta Solicitor General, the Rule Instruction car was repainted in 1997.
About Rule Instruction Car 15029
Robert Killin was Acting Superintendent at Capreol. His experience dates back to 1972. Robert gives the following information on another preserved rule instruction car.
"The 'Bruce Kearney' rules car has been preserved for the York Durham Heritage Railway Association, and is named after the longest serving rules instructor in the Great Lakes Region of CN. Bruce is also serving as superintendent of the Heritage Railway, as well as an active member of the CNRA. In 1972, Bruce was the rules instructor who signed my 'B' card after attending rules training in the Capreol rules car - temporarily at Macmillan Yard. I saw Bruce last year [in 1999] and he is still thriving. Boy, this brings me back... the smoke-filled rules car (only on the breaks though); desks up both sides with an aisle down the middle; two to a desk; one 'teacher's' desk up front (to one side - or was that at the back?); chalk boards at both ends; flip charts; old desks with ink wells; benches instead of chairs (I think one of the cars used the old chairs instead, but it has been a long 30 years); I think we also used movable chalk boards. It had windows that opened; I think one of the older ones also had an old pot-bellied stove for heat at one end (which is where the heat always stayed). Drafty and stuffy at the same time; smelling like chalk, diesel and cigarette smoke. From dead silence, to one deep male voice talking - droning on for an hour - then out of no where the loud laughing of a dozen male voices, banging of hands on wooden desks - laughing at some joke that the instructor had devised to keep everyone awake, or some morbid humour to illustrate some point about the consequence of rules non-compliance. Paper and number 2 pencils (no pens, thank you very much); brown and later burgundy rules books; blue and white timetables; test rules questions; the 'B' book; flash cards for ABS, CTC and 'speed' signals; somber, serious faces, earnestly listening and trying to absorb every word and understanding; questioning over and over; the rules instructor questioning over and over; remembering by rote; the whistle to recall flagman from the north; rule 104B; rule G... Yes, I remember."
- Robert Killin SRB 851749-3
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