CNR School on Wheels Museum

The CNR School on Wheels Museum is a unique little museum located at 76 Victoria Terrace, Clinton, Ontario in Sloman Memorial Park. It is a provincial treasure of historic, educational, and railway significance.

CNR School on Wheels Museum is part of the Northern Ontario's unique railcar school system history which spanned from 1926-1967.

Please enjoy the information and unique opportunity to learn about an interesting part of history.


In 1926, Clinton locals, teacher Fred Sloman and his wife, Cela, set off on a new school railcar program, designed to bring education to remote northern families. During this time period most northern children received little to no formal education.

A CNR railcar was changed into a classroom with living quarters in the back half to house the Slomans and their 5 children. The Sloman railcar became 1 of 7 school cars used in the north over a 41 year period (1926-1967).

The CN trains travelling the 240 kilometers between Capreol and Foleyet would move the School Car from location to location, allowing Fred Sloman to teach and bring the outside world to the remote children of the north.  This included those of newly immigrated railway section workers living along the line, woodsmen, hunters, trappers, and Indigenous.

The School Car would stay for a week at a time, before being moved to the next location where some students would travel many miles by canoe, dog team, or snowshoe for classes. Mr. Sloman would teach any number of students of varying ages, then leave homework with them until his return visit about a month later. There are many Canadians who have loving memories of both the Slomans and their time at the School Car.

In 1965, after 39 years, the Slomans retired to live in Clinton. The school car was also retired from the school railcar program. Over time, changes on the railway led to a huge decrease in railway workers and more permanent schools were built. This resulted in a reduced school car student population and eventually in the program's closure.

In 1982, the school car, damaged by fire and vandalism, was located by the Slomans who asked the Town of Clinton to purchase it. The railcar arrived in Clinton that Fall to its new home, in the Sloman Memorial Park, where it was restored to its original state through the efforts of dedicated volunteers.

Fred Sloman Retirement Bell

In 2022, the retirement bell given to Fred Sloman will be permanently installed in the Sloman park and the following dedication was provided by Fredda (Toby) Sloman. "This bell is dedicated to the memory of our father, Fred Sloman, who taught for 39 years on Canadian National Railway School on Wheels #1, aided by his wife, Cela.  In 1954, ten years before his retirement, he asked the CNR if it would donate a bell from a railway engine to the School Car, still traveling its Capreol West Route in Northern Ontario.

His request was granted, but there is no record of how or when the bell's destination was changed from Capreol to the Sloman family's summer home in Clinton, where it remained for many years. It wasn't until 2019 that a committee of volunteers was formed to have the bell moved to its rightful home in Sloman Park, more than 50 years after it began its long journey. 

Over the years, Dad devised a number of teaching strategies to enhance his system, but above all, he knew that teaching a child to read, and guiding them to the right tools, was the key to enabling them to create lives of their own, full of wonder and new experiences.  He taught more than 1000 children to read, and his biggest problem was to get them to go home after school."

Widely acclaimed as an excellent educator, he followed the required school curriculum in his teaching, but tailored it to the unique situation of his classes. In his 1926 report to the Board of Education he wrote:

                             "My ... method is to fit in as far as possible with any scheme

                                      of teaching that an interested parent could follow."

Visiting us

We would love to have you experience the CNR School on Wheels Museum. Our hours of operation are as follows:

May (Saturday of Victoria Day Weekend) until September (Last Sunday in September)

Thursday to Sunday including Holiday Mondays

11:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Last guided tour at 3:30 PM


Admission is by donation only.

Group tours

We are glad to offer group tours and they must be booked in advance. We welcome bus tours, school groups and can accommodate adult tours as well. If you would like to book a tour that is not within our hours of operation, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to arrange a visit.


We want everyone to be able to enjoy our museum and although the School Car is not fully accessible we will try to provide accommodations to assist in the experience. The entrance to the School Car is by wooden ramp and the following are the door dimensions:

  • Width of exterior doors: 52cm (26”)
  • Width of interior doors: 53.5cm (21”)


The operation of the CNR School on Wheels Museum is always open to donations. Donations are appreciated in a variety of ways including monetary, volunteering, artifacts and modern items. If you would like to donate please feel free to contact us.

Contact us


By Phone

Administration/Promotion/School Tours - 519-525-1187

To Book Off Hour Private Tours/Group Tours - 519-525-1187

Town Hall - 519-482-3997

By Mail

CNR School on Wheels Museum

Sloman Memorial Park

76 Victoria Terrace

PO Box 400

Clinton, Ontario

N0M 1L0