TEE Story

Once upon a time, the Netherlands and Switzerland bought a train together. Actually, the Netherlands bought three and Switzerland bought two. The engines were made in the Netherlands and the coaches in Switzerland. With those trains they operated a service between Amsterdam and Zurich from 1957 until 1974.

In 1971 one of the trains crashed in Germany and was scrapped. These trains were diesel trains, and in time as the tracks in Europe were electrified, they became obsolete and were discontinued in 1974. In 1977 the four remaining trains were sold to Canada, where they operated as the Ontario Northlander.

Shortly after arriving in Canada, the numbers on the motorcoaches were changed, it seems CN already had engines with those numbers.

These were nice trains, but the engines could not stand up to the Canadian winters. In 1979 the Dutch motorcoaches were scrapped and replaced by the North American FP7Am and continued in service until 1992.

One of the trains crashed in Canada. In 1992 five of the leftover cars went back to Europe. They are being restored in the Netherlands to full former glory in the original colours.

By 1975 most of the TEE trains in Europe were electrically powered, but with expansion of high-speed rail lines they were eventually replaced by high-speed trains that now cross Europe. The last TEE service was in 1995.

Meanwhile back in Ontario the Northlander (Toronto to Cochrane), using North American rolling stock, continued until 2012 and was then replaced with a bus service. Passenger service in Northern Ontario continues with the Polar Bear Express (Cochrane to Moosonee) with essentially the same equipment the Northlander used.