The Restoration of Coach 3216 has Started!

Since its construction in 1954, our passenger coach 3216 (Read about its history here!) has seen constant use hauling people across Canada. With almost 70 years of service, it’s time 3216 gets a well deserved, complete ground up overhaul. After much consideration, the GHRA has decided to restore 3216 to CN’s 1961 modernization look. 3216, then 5472, carried this look from 1964 to 1978, and we feel that this era of Canadian railway history has been so far overlooked and under-preserved. 

CN’s modernization in 1961 was a complete ground up overhaul of CN’s identity, covering all aspects of its operations. For passenger cars this included a new, modern interior full of vibrant colours, with a simple yet distinct and memorable exterior. Our goal in 3216’s restoration is to recreate this era, and to as close as possible bring 3216 back to its former look.

On this page you’ll be able to see our plans and how the restoration is progressing, we will be sharing regular updates of our work on both our Facebook and Instagram accounts, along with regular work updates on our website here. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up to date with our work!

Saying Goodbye to VIA

It’s time to say goodbye to the worn out 1980s VIA rail carpet and dark colours and usher in a new, yet older, design. 

The dark reds and browns of VIA Rail are easily recognizable for many who have been on tourist trains in Canada, as many of these coaches have never been refurbished or changed to a new design since being retired by VIA Rail in the 1990s. At the GHRA, we want 3216 to be different and have a design not seen elsewhere in preservation. Below are some current photos of 3216, and some photos from CN’s passenger department showing how coaches like 3216 used to look. Soon we will be proud to compare those photos to our craftsmanship.

Get Involved in the Restoration!

The best way to get involved is by donating to our organization. CanadaHelps is our main online donation platform, use the form below to donate today!

If you would prefer to donate using PayPal, click on the button below!

Additionally, we are interested in donations of parts, supplies, tools or materials like wood and insulation. If you would like to donate materials, or sponsor our restoration, contact us!

Soon we will be launching our Donate-A-Seat campaign, to cover the costs of the re-upholstery of our coach. Each seat donated will have a plaque saying who the donator is, or who it is dedicated too. Once we begin our fundraiser, more information on donating a seat will be posted here.

Coming Soon!

For everyone who donates 50 dollars and up will receive their name posted here, as recognition of their contribution to our restoration.

Restoration Updates and Plans

Our first goal, or “Phase 1” in restoring 3216 is to complete the smoking section and the snack counter area. The barriers between the smoking and non-smoking area present a good starting point where we can complete up to and have a completed area to show off our work, and what the finished coach will look like. Phase 1 will include new floors, walls, seats, snack bar, refrigerator and more.

The area covered by our phase 1 of the restoration is highlighted in red on this floor plan of CNs snack bar coaches. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Work in Progress and Completed

For a quick overview of our work as we progress, the lists below show what we are currently working on and what we’ve completed so far. If you’d like to read more about our work, check out our restoration blog below where we show more in depth photographs and stories as we work.

  • New electrical system controllers and circuitry INSTALLED!
  • Rare parts such as the smoking section glass partitions Acquired!
  • Phase 1, re-upholstery of 20 seats to CN’s design and blue colour… Fabric ordered and sent to upholsterer!
  • Removal of old flooring, plywood and insulation… In Progress!
  • Removal of VIA Rail era snack counter to be rebuilt to CN specifications… In Progress!
  • Resealing of windows and replacing walls… In Progress!

Restoration Blog

We’ll be sharing our restoration as we work via blog posts, which you can read below.

Over the years, 3216 has seen a number of electrical changes and modifications. These suited what was needed at the time, but …

Finding sources for parts. An important aspect of our restoration is sourcing missing parts from the coach. One of the main, distinct …