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Industry Achievement
Montréal, Quebec (2002)
The city of Montréal has been at the heart of Canada’s railway industry throughout its history. It is the home of the headquarters of Canadian National, Canada’s largest railway and now a top-performing North American railway system. Montréal is also headquarters for Via Rail Canada Inc., Canada’s intercity passenger railway, and regional railway networks Chemins de fer du Québec (Quebec Railway Corporation), and Genesee-Rail One Canada.

Central Station, Montreal, QCHistorically, Canadian Pacific Railway was also headquartered in Montréal. Historic Windsor Station, headquarters of the CPR for many years and one of the most imposing railway stations in Canada, continues to serve key segments of Montréal’s commuter train system as the downtown terminal. Central Station, located next to CN’s headquarters building, serves both Montréal commuters and Via Rail Canada’s intercity network and is one of Canada’s busiest passenger railway terminals.

The Turcot RoundhouseIn the early days of Canada’s railways, the city of Montréal was home to Montreal Locomotive Works — a company that built steam locomotives for Canada’s railways, and later first-generation diesels. Some of Canada’s famous steam locomotives, such as CPR’s Empress Number 2816, were built in the MLW shops.

Railway equipment was also built and repaired at large shop facilities in the Montréal districts of Pointe-Saint-Charles (CN) and Angus (CPR). Third-party suppliers of specialized locomotive and car repair services continue to operate and thrive in the city today.

Montréal remains a strategic and important point for Canada’s railway industry. The port of Montréal is extensively used for intermodal operations that connect North America and world markets, and feed the mainline networks of CN and CPR. Today’s railway network provides vital infrastructure to alleviate highway congestion and pollution in the Montréal area by providing routes for commuter and intercity passenger service together with freight operations.

South of the famous Victoria Bridge, built to provide a rail link from the Island of Montréal with the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, historians can learn about Canada’s railway history at the Canadian Railway Museum in nearby Saint-Constant, home of the largest collection of vintage railway equipment in Canada.

The city of Montréal’s historical role as the administrative and financial centre of the Canadian railway industry, and its continued economic role in the success of the industry has been recognized through its selection as one of four communities inducted into the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2002.

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