Technical Specs
Builder Canada Car & Foundry
Date Built 1954
Date Acquired 2021
Model Coach
Original Number 5742
Current Number 3216
85ft 4 1/2in


History of 3216

3216 was built in 1954 for the Canadian National Railway for use on the Super Continental, a trans Canada train that ran from Toronto to Vancouver. When built it was a first class car, and one of the best of the Canadian National fleet. In 1965 it was rebuilt into a Cafe/Snack bar coach as part of CN’s modernization efforts. As a result of this rebuilt, two washrooms on the vestibule end were removed, and one bank of seats was removed to make way for the snack counter. The original snack counter had a coffee maker, pop fountains, refrigerator and two hot plates.

In 1978, CN sold the coach to the newly formed VIA Rail. It was rebuilt to VIA Rail interior specifications in 1978 and then renumbered to 3216. Remnants from the VIA rail era in the coach indicate it was used all over Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax. This coach or many like it were daily visitors to the Guelph area on trains to/from London/Windsor, Palmerston, Hamilton and Toronto. In 1993 VIA retired 3216 and sold it back to CN, where it became part of their work train fleet.

3216 was saved from scrap in 2003, when Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society (SOLRS) acquired it from CN. It was used on tourist and steam excursion trains around St. Thomas and Southern Ontario, including a steam train excursion through Guelph in 2003 that the GHRA helped organize with SOLRS. In 2007 it was moved to Waterloo, where it became part of the Waterloo Central Railway’s Fleet. After being declared surplus by SOLRS/WCR, 3216 was donated to the GHRA. 

Restoration Work of 3216

Our restoration efforts have begun! The GHRA will be restoring 3216 to its CN 1961 modernization look, which the coach, then 5472 wore from 1964 until 1978. This is not just a repaint, but a full ground up restoration of the interior as well. The CN 1960s era was full of bold vibrant colours, much different than the dark reds and browns of VIA Rail, which came afterward. We feel this era of CN has so far been under-preserved and under-represented in Canadian Railway preservation.This is an opportunity to restore a coach to an important but unique era of Canadian passenger rail history.

 We will be fully removing the floor and installing a brand new floor, new walls, seats, snack bar, washrooms and more! This restoration will be completed solely by donations. To see our plans, progress and to get involved and donate, check out our 3216 Restoration page!

3216, then numbered 5472, circa 1976, wearing the 1961 modern CN scheme. Photo MBernero

3216, then numbered 5472, in Smiths Falls, Ontario circa 1957. Photograph from the Mattingly Collection of the Canadian Science & Technology Museum.