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


Read the full release about our acquisition of 3216 here

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

3216 is in need of restoration work, and the GHRA is planning a full restoration. Our plans include  removing the seating, replacing the floor, re-upholstery, an interior redesign, some exterior body work and paint. This will be an extensive and costly restoration. Work will begin as the COVID-19 pandemic eases and local restrictions allow. If you would like to get involved and support our work, consider purchasing a membership to our organization or donating to us. We are also seeking volunteers who can help us with this restoration. Anyone with, or would like to learn, carpentry, upholstery welding and other skills are invited to join our group.

Our immediate plan is to begin the restoration and replacement of the floor and windows of 3216. To achieve this we will need plywood, insulation, screws, carpeting, windows and frames. As the restoration progresses, we will also need paint, sheet steel, fabric for upholstery, and more. Sponsoring our group by providing some of these materials would dramatically reduce the time and cost to restore this coach. If you would like to contribute and become a sponsor, please contact us.

As our work begins we will be sharing regular updates on our website and our Facebook page, so make sure to follow us there!

Once completed, we intend this coach to be part of our historic collection the people of Guelph can see, touch and experience firsthand.

3216, then numbered 5472, circa 1976, wearing the 1960s 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.