Montreal Railway Terminals
by Michael Leduc
A number of railways operated in Montreal since 1847 and through mergers and acquisitions they became either Canadian National or Canadian Pacific constituent companies. This is a history of how they evolved and eventually operated into one of the two remaining railway terminals in Montreal.
Both Canada's major railways developed large tracts of land within Montreal's downtown core devoted to rail passenger travel, for intercity and the erstwhile commuter. Canadian National and Canadian Pacific relinquished intercity passenger services to VIA Rail Canada in 1978. Their commuter services were taken over by a regional authority in 1982. All passenger cars and locomotives became property of the new organizations, yet the railways continue to operate them over their respective lines.
What changed in 2007 was the decision taken by both railways with respect to the future ownership of their terminal facilities, specifically Canadian Pacific's Windsor Station and Canadian National's Central Station Complex. Headlines of their news releases read:
Montreal, 18 May 2007
CN Plans sale of Central Station Complex in Montreal, leaseback of headquarters building and rail station's passenger facilities
Montreal, 1 August 2007
Canadian Pacific launches process for sale of Windsor Station
The railways selling these two great centres may potentially change their spirit from railway properties to cold investments. It is this perspective that has led to the latest in the series on Montreal's railway history.
Montreal Railway Terminals is a look at the convergence of the various railway terminals in the Montreal area into the two main centres: Central Station Complex and the Windsor Station.