A Visit to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park - What You Will See

Colonist Car (CPR #2514)

Built in 1905 it is one of a very few surviving Colonist sleeper cars. They were built to carry settlers (mostly from Europe) to settle in western Canada. The last mainline service these cars saw was carrying troops during WWll.

Since 1887, when the Transcontinental Railway was finished, the Canadian government wanted people to settle in the empty land west of Ontario. They advertised free land to people who would come here to make Canada their home.

Because land in Europe was mostly all owned by the rich, ordinary poorer people (especially farmers) were willing to come here so they could have their own land. The colonist cars had hard wooden slat seats and there were enough seats for 50 people but they usually carried many more (up to 100). There were coal stoves at each end for heat and for passengers to cook their food. The people would have to bring their own food and cooking utensils. There were some pull down sleeping berths but they had to supply their own bedding. There were washrooms at either end of the coach, one end for women and the other for men. There was also a smoking area as well. The cars were not very comfortable and were often overcrowded; people often had to stand up or sit on the floor. The people would spend 4 or 5 long days in the car.

This car was retired in the early 1950’s and put into work service. It was last used in work services at Victoria on Vancouver Island in 1989. It is now an exhibit honoring all immigrants to Canada. The north end is currently being restored to the original design of the era.


Colonist Car (CPR #2514) Colonist Car (CPR #2514)


prev: Snowplows
next: No. 722 PGE Troop Sleeper


The West Coast Railway Association is a charitable organization
committed to preserving British Columbia's railway heritage.

West Coast Railway Association
PO Box 2790 Stn. Term.
Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X2

Charitable business number: 119292480 RR0001