The Scotian (train)

The Scotian was a named Canadian passenger train service that ran between Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was operated by Canadian National Railways and later Via Rail Canada.[1][2][3][4] The Scotian's inaugural run was 16 March 1941.[5]

The Scotian in 1970 (34741780386).jpg
The Scotian in 1970 heading to Halifax at Truro, Nova Scotia
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleQuebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Canada
First serviceMarch 16, 1941
Last serviceOctober 27, 1979
SuccessorAtlantic, Saint-Laurent, Campbellton–Moncton
Current operator(s)Via Rail (1978–1979)
Former operator(s)CN (1941–1978)
StartMontreal, Quebec
EndHalifax, Nova Scotia
Distance travelled1,346 km (836 mi)
Service frequencydaily
Train number(s)Canadian National Railways 59, 60
Canadian National Railways/Via Rail Canada 11, 12
On-board services
Class(es)Coach, Dayniter and Sleeper class
Seating arrangementsReserved Economy seating
Catering facilitiesDining car, Service car (takeout counter)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)

Whereas the Ocean Limited, which ran the same route, was an express train with few stops (as the "limited" name suggested) the Scotian serviced many more communities between the two cities.[6][7]



In 1978, Via Rail took control of CN passenger service and began negotiations with Canadian Pacific Railway to obtain their passenger service. The takeover was complete by the summer of 1979. The decision was made to discontinue the Scotian and replace it with the Atlantic which Canadian Pacific routed through the United States. The Atlantic used the original train numbers (11 and 12) of the Scotian.

Via Rail also added two new trains to supplement the Ocean with local service on parts of the Scotian's former route. Le Saint-Laurent (trains 18 and 19) ran between Montreal and Mont-Joli, Quebec, while an unnamed service (trains 617 and 618) ran between Campbellton and Moncton, New Brunswick.[8]


  1. ^ Canadian National Railways System Timetable 31 October 1971
  2. ^ "Canadian National Railway (CN): "The People's Railway"". Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  3. ^ "CN Annual Report 1963" (PDF). Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Changes in schedule announced by C.N.R." Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  5. ^ "New Passenger Train Put Into Operation Halifax to/from Montreal". Intercolonial Railway History. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  6. ^ Underwood, Jay. "History Follows the Ocean to the Ocean" (PDF). Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  7. ^ "The Scotian". Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  8. ^ "National Timetable". Via Rail. 28 October 1979. p. 7. Retrieved 22 August 2021.

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