Midway was built in 1923 by the Canadian Car and Foundry as part of Lot # 559 and was later finished by the Canadian Pacific Railroad in December of 1923. It was assigned the number 1437. Midway was built as a First Class smoking room coach with a small section sectioned off for smoking. In that area was 2 oil burning stoves for heating as well as the oil tanks. The coach remained in this configuration until it was retired from active service in March of 1970.
When retired from service Midway was assigned work train service. All the seats and baggage racks were removed to instead house tools. The coach was renumbered to 411723.
In 1975, the Dominion Atlantic Railway which was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and operated in the province of Nova Scotia, was in need of a coach to replace the aging coach 1303 for use on the Windsor – Truro mixed service trains numbered 21 and 22. A mixed service is where a train carries both passenger and freight cars. 411723 was pulled from work service and overhauled to be put back into passenger service. Since it was the dying days of passenger service on the DAR, bus seats were installed as they were more cost effective. A new number, 1720, was given to the coach and it began service on the Windsor – Truro mixed train on June 11, 1975.
The coach was used on the mixed service until October 28, 1979, when the mixed service ended. It was seen leaving the DAR on a freight through Moncton, NB on April 3, 1980. It most likely then sat in the out of service line in Toronto until 1981, when the National Museum of Science and Technology purchased the coach for use on excursion trains behind ex-CP number 1201, a 4-6-2 steam engine.
The car was then again refurbished, replacing the bus seats with railroad seats. The smoking room was converted into a ‘Railfan Room’ by cutting the windows to a standing height, allowing people to stand up and look out the side of the coach. The NMST renumbered the coach back to 1437 and dedicated it after the Kettle Valley Railroad; another railroad owned by CP, by painting Kettle Valley along the top and giving it the name of Midway. The Bytown Railroad society did some of the refurbishment and also serviced the coach for its life throughout the NMST. The coach last saw service with the NMST in October of 1990. SOLRS purchased Midway in April of 2000.
Coach sitting in Windsor, NS on the mixed train, date unknown. Matthew Keoughan collection, Gary Hadfeild collection.
CP SW1200RS # 8139 switching 1720 in Windsor, NS in the late 70’s. David Othen photo.
Interior after the coach was refurbished for use on the DAR, 1975. Note the bus seats. Chuck Conway collection, John A. Macintosh photo.