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Old Time Trains

CPR Steam Motor Car

Globe June 1, 1908

Globe June 1908

Above two items: Collection of Derek Boles

Motor Car 88 was a unique piece of rolling stock looking almost like an ordinary 75 foot long wooden passenger car but, with the addition of a small steam engine complete with boiler. Weighing just under 70 tons in operating order and seating 56 (including 16 in the smoker section) it was built at Angus Shops early in 1906 it was the first and only such car in Canada. It was able to not only exceed the scheduled speed of a locomotive hauled train but, to do so at great savings which was what the original goal was. It was built for off-peak use in Montreal Vaudreuil commuter service, a 23 mile trip it could make at 50-55 miles per hour in only 38 minutes compared to 50 for the locomotive-hauled train and do it at only about 15-20 cents per mile! Unfortunately, its success fell short of the dependability required for passenger service. One of the problems as with any self-propelled passenger car was maintaining and repairing it since it was both a locomotive and a passenger car it had to be worked on in two distinctly different places.

The Motor Car was tried at other locations looking for a place where it could fit in, only one of which has been recently discovered. A new "Inter-Urban" service between Toronto and Brampton on the Orangeville Branch was announced effective June 1, 1908. Scheduled to operate a number of trips daily however; it is not known how long it lasted. Never-the-less it was one more example of how the CPR pioneered as it sought to cut costs and provide service at the same time.

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