Visiting the Toronto Railway Museum

The Toronto Railway Museum is located at the former CPR John Street roundhouse in downtown Toronto. It features an eclectic collection of locomotives, passenger cars and more from the Toronto area, together with interpretive displays explaining their significance.

I visited it in August 2021 and took some photos. Here are a few.

Coaling tower at the Toronto Railway Museum
Coaling tower at the Toronto Railway Museum

The impressive coaling tower at the museum dominates the scene. Several pieces of rolling stock are visible, including CN 9159, a rare Reinhart Vinegars tank car, and CP 7069. You can barely see CN 6213 on the far side.

GO Transit 104 and a flatcar
GO Transit 104 and a flatcar

Cabeese

THB 70 and CNR 79144
THB 70 and CNR 79144

There are two cabeese (cabooses seems wrong) in the collection, Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo 70 and CNR 79144. The THB caboose looks like it is in the midst of restoration.

CNR 6213

CNR 6213 in Toronto
CNR 6213 in Toronto

What should be the star of the show is CNR 6213. This massive steam engine was (is?) owned by the City of Toronto and was displayed at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds and was moved here recently. It was built in August 1942 and served for a mere 17 years before being retired in 1959, and donated to the city in 1960.

It’s located inside a fenced compound and is rather difficult to view and photograph. I’m guessing it is here to keep vandals away but it’s a shame that it’s not more prominently displayed.

CP 7020

CP 7020 in Toronto
CP 7020 in Toronto

Switcher CP 7020 is an Alco S-2, one of 55 built during World War 2 at the American Locomotive Company’s plant in New York for Canadian Pacific. This is the paint scheme it was delivered in.

CP 7069

CP 7069 in Toronto
CP 7069 in Toronto

This locomotive is an interesting one. This is CP 7069, one of 11 “DS4-4-1000” road switchers (7065-7075) purchased from Baldwin in 1948. They operated mostly on Vancouver Island. This particular locomotive is the only one of its kind preserved, acquired by a “D.A. Lister” and eventually moved here. It’s not listed on the TRHA’s roster so it may still be privately owned.

CPR 7069 Baldwin builder's plate
CPR 7069 Baldwin builder’s plate

Other Items

Smokeless locomotive
Smokeless locomotive

There are plenty of other interesting items at the Toronto Railway Museum, including this smokeless Plymouth locomotive. This ran on compressed air and was used at a factory in Welland, Ontario. Locomotives like this used compressed air or steam without having their own boiler onboard, often for fire prevention reasons. They would get “pumped up” then go about their business, returning to a compressor or boiler to get “refilled” for more work.

Don station and more in Toronto
Don station and more in Toronto

There are several buildings on site, including the Don station with the iconic “witches hat” tower that several CPR stations featured.

There are a few passenger cars, including the GO Transit one shown earlier, the “Cape Race” and the “Jackman” which can be seen behind the Don station.

CPR "Cape Race"
CPR “Cape Race”

Summary

I enjoyed my very brief visit to the Toronto Railway Museum. Nothing was open for touring when I was there, so I can’t comment on what you can go inside.

If you’re in the downtown Toronto area, it’s well worth a visit. It’s right beside the CN Tower, Rogers Centre and many other attractions in the area.

Visit the Toronto Railway Museum web site for more information.

4 thoughts on “Visiting the Toronto Railway Museum”

  1. A credit to all involved for securing a central and capacious site for all these items of rolling stock. I, too have wandered around the site, though I much preferred the ‘free-sample’ era over at Steam Whistle brewery!

    The surrounding grass sure looks roached-out. I know there was a dry period summer and your visit must have been in it, Steve. Regardless, thanks for sharing the fortunate fotografic fruits of your visit!

    Reply
    • Hi Eric, the free samples would do nothing for me! It was late August when I was there. I saw it again from the CN Tower a few days ago and it looked great.

      Reply
  2. Hi Steve. I was at the Toronto Railway Museum in 2010. From your pictures, it looks like there have been quite a few changes since then. Their collection has certainly grown.

    They had just moved the CNR U2 to the site in the previous year and were still working on getting it better arranged for display. The 7020 was still in CP’s action red and a couple of volunteers were working on it. They remarked how the paint looked rather rough. I made the observation that the locomotive still had it’s ACI tags, which meant that it was last repainted sometime before 1979, perhaps well before. And, maybe after 30-something years in industrial Toronto, it didn’t look so bad, considering the life that it had. I will say that it does look much better in it’s new paint though. I saw the 7069 when I was there too. It looks much the same as when I saw it — I don’t think that they repainted it (?)

    Reply
    • Hi Brian, I imagine the paint on CP 7020 was rough after so many years of industrial service!

      I think there’s a good story behind CP 7069… hopefully someone writes it!

      Reply

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