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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Une Visite à Montréal - 3: Exporail

The highlight of my trip to Montreal wasn't actually in Montreal at all, but rather in the nearby town of Saint-Constant, home of Exporail: The Canadian Railway Museum.

I honestly didn't know what to expect, but their website didn't even come close to doing the museum justice.  It is a sprawling complex of both indoor and outdoor displays covering all eras of Canadian railway history.  Sadly, my trip was rushed as AMT's last train back to Montreal is at 1.30 in the afteroon, affording only a three hour visit to Exporail, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was a spectacular day weather-wise and there were hardly any visitors, meaning that the staff were happy to chat and give me a personal tour of some of the artefacts.  I tried to see as much of the museum as possible, but it would really take several days to see the collection properly.

Here are a few highlights from my trip:

VIA 6309, an iconic F unit, once the workhorse of VIA's fleet:


Inside the Angus Pavilion (the main indoor exhibit space) was a quirky take on the hi-rail inspection vehicle:


Of course, the highlight of my trip was bound to be Ontario Northland 1400, looking a little shabby, but still gleaming in the sun:


If you haven't visited this museum, I highly recommend it as it shows that, not only does Canada have a railway history, but that there are some people working to preserve it for future generations in a world-class railway museum.

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