Canadian Museum of Rail Travel

The Canadian Museum of Rail Travel is a collection of 28 railway cars of which 17 are currently available for tours to the public. Highlights of the collection include the 7 cars of the 1929 “Trans-Canada Limited” (a classic “Jazz Era Art Deco” design), 2 cars of the 1907 “Soo-Spokane Train” (a deluxe example of “Edwardian Art Nouveau Elegance”), and the 1927 executive night car “Strathcona” which has housed many VIP guests during its time in service, including Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Winston Churchill.

The current collection of rail travel cars, the largest in North America, is in a process of continued restoration that will take decades to complete. Because of the fragile nature of this irreplaceable collection, an immediate priority is providing a permanent covered roof to ensure these ‘deluxe hotels on wheels’ are preserved for future visitors and historians alike.

~Unfortunately the historic train tours are not wheelchair accessible~

Admission / Schedules

Please Click on links above for more information OR call the Cranbrook History Centre at 250-489-3918 or contact us.

Read More About the Canadian Museum Of Rail Travel

While the importance of the railway in the history of Canada is common knowledge, the specific details of how people traveled across the country to new territory and then back again is largely forgotten. While early explorers spent months and years discovering the vast expanse of Western Canada, by the turn of the 20th century the country could be crossed in a matter of days. Though the essential resources this country was built on were indifferent to the harsh extremes of weather, travelers (rich and poor alike) needed ‘rolling accommodations’ to make that journey. Our collection captures and preserves this experience and allows you to understand how people made their way across the widest country in the world in an era without highways and cross-country flights.

Since 1977 when the first car arrived in Cranbrook, the museum has steadily grown. In the early days of collection, development operations were ‘conducted’ out of the nearby Elko Station; however, as the collection grew larger, a permanent home was required. By 2004 the current facility was complete and the entirety of the collection was moved to this location.

The current collection of rail travel cars, the largest in North America, is in a process of continued restoration that will take decades to complete. Because of the fragile nature of this irreplaceable collection, an immediate priority is providing a permanent covered roof to ensure these ‘deluxe hotels on wheels’ are preserved for future visitors and historians alike.

Without the dedication of Garry Anderson, OC, this collection would not exist. For over 30 years Garry scoured the continent to expand the collection and carefully restored these artifacts to their former beauty. With the support of the City of Cranbrook, the BC Arts Council, the Columbia Basin Trust, and many other organizations and individuals who recognized the importance of this preservation work, Garry created a unique legacy to capture this essential part of Canadian history.