TIMELINE of RHODES CURRY CAR “ALEXANDRA”
1877 Nathaniel Curry and Nelson Admiral Rhodes establish a construction company at Amherst, Nova Scotia. Rhodes was the public face of the company as it grew from a woodworking plant to one of the leading producers of railcars in Canada.
1888 Rhodes Curry build all the stations on the railway line between Pictou and Oxford. The contract was worth $45,000 and included buildings at Scotsburn, River John, Tatamagouche, Malagash, Wallace, Pugwash, Oxford and Oxford Junction. The Tatamagouche and Pugwash stations are the only buildings to survive.
1888 Rhodes Curry is awarded the contract to complete the construction of Halifax’s city hall.
1892 Rhodes Curry supplied the wheels for the massive carriage of the Chignecto Ship Railway and begins building hundreds of cars for the Intercolonial Railway. More than 350 people were employed at the Amherst factory, and in two years (1893-1895) the firm built 1200 freight cars and 15 passenger cars.
1905 Alexandra built by Rhodes Curry for Governor General Lord Grey (1904-1911) Over the course of its service it becomes the official carriage of prime ministers Laurier, Borden, Meighen and King. The car is named in honour of the new queen, the consort of King Edward VII.
1909 Rhodes Curry amalgamates with Canada Car Company of Turcot, Quebec and Dominion Car & Foundry Company, of Montreal to create Canadian Car & Foundry (CC&F) Nathaniel Curry becomes first president of the new company that later becomes part of the Hawker-Siddley empire.
1910 King Edward dies.
1919 Alexandra is renovated into an executive car for the Government of Canada.
1925 Queen Alexandra dies of a heart attack at Sandringham UK.
1929 Alexandra becomes a Canadian National Railways executive car assigned to Montreal.
1932 Alexandra’s wooden exterior is covered with steel plating.
1942 Alexandra is reassigned to service out of Winnipeg.
1949 Alexandra is reassigned to service out of Vancouver
1960 Alexandra is assigned to Saskatoon, and then to Winnipeg.
1977 Alexandra is retired from service
1979 Modified for use on the Discovery Train, Alexandra becomes the VIP car as the train travels across Canada.
1981 Alexandra is acquired by the Museum of Science and Technology at Ottawa.
1986 The last train operates through Tatamagouche on the Oxford shortline.
1989 Alexandra is donated to the Town of Amherst as part of the town’s centennial celebration. The car was placed on track near the town’s railway station and then became the Town’s tourist bureau on Highway 6. When the Trans Canada Highway was twinned it was moved to Fort Lawrence
April 2006 The Town of Amherst declares Alexandra surplus to its needs
September 2006 Alexandra is sold by the Town of Amherst for $100 to the Nova Scotia Railway Heritage Society
October 2006 Preparations begin to move the car to the Tatamagouche train station. The station also built by Rhodes Curry is now the Train Station Inn and has ten cabooses and other pieces of rolling stock many of which have been converted into tourist accommodations. The station also contains an extensive collection of railroad memorabilia.