The Museum's Location in Cranbrook  
  The Museum site seen from southwest approach on Van Horne St. S. (Hwy 3/95)  

The museum has a distinguished address : 57 Van Horne Street (Highways 3 & 95) a prestigious address for any Railway Museum, since William Cornelius Van Horne was the person responsible for completing the mainline of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the first transcontinental in Canada, in 1885.

In 1898, when the strategic Crowsnest Pass route of the CPR was completed, Van Horne visited the new community of Cranbrook which had been made the important "Divisional Centre" for the Crowsnest route. The main street paralleling the railway on the south-western approach to the City was named Van Horne in his honour. Later it became Highway 3/95, one of the most important routes in the Pacific northwest of North America, and a major international highway with a major link to Banff & Jasper National Parks from the USA.

The Canadian Museum of Rail Travel therefore has "location-location-location" with an historic name to give it an edge in visibility to the traveling public.

  • The old Museum site, about 1.5 blocks to the north-east of the new site was at 1 Van Horne St. S from 1976 until the Museum relocated in 2002. This old site is now being transformed to become the restored "Canadian Pacific Railway Garden."
  • The new Museum site is over 1 kilometre (about 1/2 mile) long. It took the City of Cranbrook 12 years to assemble the land between 1987 and 1999. This large tract of strategic land is called the "Museum Development Zone" of the City, and is one of the largest single blocks of land along highway 3 through the city. The 4 1/2 star "Prestige Hotel" built on the south-west end of this Zone as a major anchor in 1999, and has spurred development along with the Museum growth.
  • A segment of the Cranbrook Pathways/Trans-Canada Trail runs along the front of the Zone and the new museum facilities, and links to the Prestige and the downtown area. "Van Horne Park" between the Hotel and the Museum was created as a railway legacy project for the Railway Centennial in 1998.
  • Several trails have been developed outside of the city of Cranbrook using abandoned railway right-of-ways. This includes
    • the Isadore Canyon route, the former railway to the east (Wardner) a gravel surface route, and links to the city system at its north-east end.
    • a more recent route (2010) the paved entire abandoned line to Kimberley (approx. 32 km). This route is a very popular trail for people of all abilities and links services at both ends, as well as Marysville, a major feature of which is the large steel bridge over the St. Mary's river.
      • Link to Rails to Trails Map of Cranbrook (this includes other dedicated walking and cycling trails in the city) - future link.

    Cranbrook Map (see Google)

    Explore Historic Cranbrook Heritage Map (large PDF download)

    Railway Museum Developement Zone of the City (1.2km long)

    Museum facilities and railcar floor plan details (buildings and railcars are .4km long)