August 2011




Mark Perry submitted these shots of former BNSF GP9 1685 on the Prairie Dog Central on June 29th and 30th working freight cars  between Lilyfield (Outskirts of Winnipeg) and Grosse Isle, Manitoba.  The historic Canadian-built GP9 was donated by BNSF last year.

On July 2nd Jesse Acorn photographed Alberta Prarie's steam engine #41 back in service near Stettler, AB after being sidelined for all of last year's season.

Mark Forseille submitted these fine shots of Southern Railway of British Columbia (Railink) GP9`s photographed in New Westminster, BC June 12th.  Mother unit SRY 135 is paired with the cab control unit (Slug) SRY 121.

 The newest arrival and wearing fresh paint in July, SRY GP9u 128, (Former CP 1583) is seen working the yard in New Westminster, BC paired with SRY 122.

The first week of July, Mark Forseille clicked former CP SD40-2 5696, now (J&L Consulting) JLCX 5696 in New Westminster, BC.  Repainted in a SOO-like red with white handrails, she will be lettered  JLCX 5696.  As well, ex-CP GP9u 1689 is now Black River 1889, and was inside the SRY shop in mid-July


Walter caught OSR 378 and 383, a pair of ex SOO GP7’s switching out some hopper cars in Beachville Ont on a hot 38C day, July 21, 2011

On July 15th OSRX GP7 383, 378 and 182 RS18u arrive in Woodstock Ontario with their version of an ethanol train, 20 tank cars from Tillsonburg.

After much hard work and many long hours a team of dedicated volunteers at the Hunstville and Lake of Bays Railway managed to get HLBR 0-4-0T #2 back in steam and hauling passengers on Canada Day as per schedule, missing only the first run of the day due to a balky compressor.  Wayne D. Shaw submitted his photo of the Portage Flyer approaching Fairy Lake Station on its second day of operations in three years. The coaches were both built in 1894 as horse-drawn trolleys before being acquired by the Huntsville and Lake of Bays Railway which opened in 1904 as the final link in a steamboat operation linking the North Muskoka Lakes - Vernon, Mary, Fairy, Peninsula and Lake of Bays. The lakes could be navigated by water with locks between Fairy and Mary Lakes and a canal between Fairy and Peninsula, but a high ridge of rocks between Peninsula and Lake of Bays necessitated the building of this short 1 & 1/8th mile line that included a switchback and an average gradient of 3% with one section of a whopping 7%. Before this 21-ton MLW 0-4-0T and it's 17-ton sister (both built in 1926) were obtained the grueling job was handled by 2 little wood-burning Porters that could barely make the grades, and it wasn't unheard of for passengers to have to detrain and help push the train over the hill!  Wayne Shaw also did a 4 hour stint as fireman on her and joked, “No air conditioning except for the warm 10MPH-breeze while in motion.  Thankfully the locomotive was converted from coal to oil-burning, so it’s not too bad a job at all!”   This may be the only operating steam locomotive in Ontario at this point in time.

ONR news: Nipissing MPP, the Honourable Monique Smith, was joined by Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) Chair Ted Hargreaves along with President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Goulet to advise the ONTC staff of the approval of funding for the refurbishment of the Polar Bear Express.   The refurbishment will dramatically improve the travelling experience for residents and visitors.   The project involves the complete refurbishment of the Polar Bear Express cars, and is worth approximately $10 million dollars. The project will result in the existing workforce having work for approximately four months.  Refurbishment of 10 coaches will involve the removal of four coaches at a time from service for a complete overhaul. They will be replaced in-service by leased coaches. The coaches currently in use are 45 years old and have deteriorated significantly. The project will begin in September.   The Polar Bear Express is a vital link connecting Moosonee and Moose factory and James Bay communities with Cochrane and destinations south.  The province is providing $10 million over two years to support this initiative and the refurbished coaches will have an expected life of 15 years.   (Mike Robin – CRO ONR News Editor)


Brian Marsh of Overland Models took this great shot. QNS&L SD70ACe 504 and 505 test on the Y just outside the plant. Overland Models Inc will produce these beautiful locomotives as OMI #AA-1610.


 Bound for Montreal, CSX SD50`s 8634 - 8198 lead train CN326/CSXQ621 across the Beauhanois Canal (St. Lawrence Seaway) at Valleyfield, QC on  April 13th, 2010 (Frank Jolin).

At CN Belleville, Ontario July 19th, Ron Visockis caught CEFX GP20D 2013 that was soon to head eastbound with sibling 2016 via CN to Montreal.  Both are destined for interchange from QNSL to the Arnaud Railway at Sept Iles, QC to join the four others already there.   

Denis Fortier caught Charlevoix Railway RS-18u 1868 in Clermont, Québec one of two which will be used on the tourist train to Le Massif.  RS18u 1821 and 1868 are now both in work train service to prepare the former CN line for new tourist service in the Fall, 

A new CSX intermodal bid is now seeking federal approval. (See link)


 On July 5th, Michael Berry caught HLCX GP38-3 906 and 911 (ex-Union Pacific) trailing CN 5659 and 8821 as the CN eastbound had stopped for a crew change at St-Henri, Quebec on the Montreal Sub. These units are destined for interchange to New Brunswick Southern (NBSR) for lease to the NBR for service on Maine Northern Railway Company.  HLCX 913 and 917 are still to come.   As of July 11th, HLCX GP38-3 906 and 911 had arrived on the New Brunswick Southern Railway, and both are now in service.


© CRO Aug 2011