CLC Vignettes

(By Bruce Chapman)

Bruce’s buddy Thom Cholowski contributed this little tidbit. This blank CLC builder's plate is one of the more interesting artifacts his personal collection. I purchased it in 2011 from a former CNR diesel mechanic apprentice.  As with everything in my collection it is documented and authenticated (and not for sale). I asked the seller to write me a letter of provenance, which I've reproduced here for your enjoyment. His fascinating, and well written story and is below:  

Provenance of the Blank Canadian Locomotive Company Nameplate: 

“It was my least favourite work shift, the dreaded night shift, 11:00 pm, to 7:00 am, at the diesel locomotive shop of the large bustling Montreal Yards. It was a still and warm dark night when this equally dark brooding monster of a locomotive, rudely but gently, plunged through the open door of the diesel turn-around shop. It announced its arrival by belching copious volumes of cumulus acrid smoke into the otherwise pleasant diesel shop atmosphere.  'Turn the roof fans on', 'turn the damned roof fans on' shouted the shop foreman who was being frantically echoed just as loudly by the nearby mechanics including me. Someone quickly turned the fans on but the smoke hovered unmoved on that warm night seemingly challenging us to do something about it.  I was about 21 years of age and in the fourth year of my five year machinist/diesel mechanic apprenticeship with the CNR, that warm night in 1963. I loved the industrial beauty, the strength and, I must admit, the distinctive deep throbbing noise of the mighty diesel locomotive. I get chills just describing it to you.

 That dark intruding locomotive was the mighty H-24-66 Train Master powered by a Fairbanks 2400 HP opposed-piston diesel engine and built by CLC of Kingston, Ontario. At the time, the Train Master was the most powerful of the CNR diesel fleet.  It eased its almost 400,000 pounds rather daintily into its chosen service bay where it was to be checked over to determine why it was more smokey than usual for a Fairbanks locomotive.

Obviously, said my experienced mate, an injector is gone or maybe a bad piston. Let's hope it's an upper piston he said and upon reflection with a deep groan he said let's hope it's not. I was observing for my first time, and was fascinated with, the apparent respectful dislike for this particular locomotive.

 The smoky Train Master was idled long enough in its service bay for the experienced mechanics to agree, with a great amount of reluctance, that one of its upper pistons had to be changed.  A conversation ensued between the Montreal Yards diesel shop management and the main shop at Point St. Charles about whether to deadhead the locomotive to the main shops for the piston replacement or to do it at the turn-around shop at the Montreal Yards. The main shop won the discussion and it was to be replaced where it was, the turn-around shop. I was about to get a very broadening experience.

We had to remove the roof, and many of the side panels from the locomotive revealing a very large and strange looking two-stroke cycle diesel engine. 12 upright water cooled cylinders in which were pistons opposing each other were connected to two crankshafts. One crankshaft was at the top of the engine and one at the conventional position, the bottom.  Removing the mighty heavy drive chain that connected the two crankshafts, and the upper crankshaft required a herculean effort working within the confined space of the locomotive.  Leaking injectors had contaminated the oil in the crankcase which had to be drained, cleaned and fresh oil put in. I assisted on that job in addition to assisting on the drive chain and upper crankshaft removal to get at the defective piston.

Upon draining and inspecting the crankcase, I noticed a diamond-shaped plate that did not look as if it belonged there. I stretched my arm to its limit to reach the object and removed it from the black oily depths of the crankcase. After wiping the plate with my cloth, I realized that I was looking at an original unused CLC nameplate. Nervous and excited, I immediately looked around to see if anybody was looking. The coast was clear so I surreptitiously placed the nameplate in my tool chest drawer.

Somehow, this unused nameplate landed in an inaccessible part of the locomotive engine at the time of the manufacture of the 2400 HP Train Master at CLC and remained there until the engine was taken apart

that warm summer night in 1963.  That is how the nameplate came into my hands and it has remained in my possession until Mr. Thom Cholowski acquired the nameplate from me in December of 2011.


 Russell Etienne

Kingston, Ontario

National Railway Equipment

Watch this former Canadian-built CN GP9RM get stripped, gutted, and cut apart at the National Railway Equipment Shop, for remanufacturing into a brand new NRE genset for Gulf Coast Rail Service.

CADRAIL / RB Recycling

CAD Railway Services (Lachine, QC) are continuing their contract to overhaul 26 SOO SD60’s and four SD60M’s to Tier 0+ compliance, equip them with AESS (Locomotive Automatic Engine Start/Stop) to conserve fuel, and repaint and renumber to CP 6200-series. The entire rebuilt SD60 fleet will receive (PTC) Positive Train Control modifications at the CP St-Luc Diesel Shop.


In Service:

 CP SD60 6231 (ex-SOO 6031) released January 20th, 2013

CP SD60 6249 (ex-SOO 6049) released December 21st , 2012

CP SD60 6238 (ex-SO 6038) released on December 4th, 2012

CP SD60 6256 (ex-SOO 6056) released November 29, 2012

CP SD60 6246 (ex-SOO 6046) released November 20th, 2012

CP SD60 6230 (ex-SOO 6030) released November 1st, 2012

CP SD60 6236 (ex-SOO 6036) released October 26th, 2012

CP SD60 6221 (ex-SOO 6021) released October 6th, 2012.

CP SD60 6223 (ex-SOO 6023) released September 20th, 2012

CP SD60 6257 (ex-SOO 6057) released August 31st. 2012

CP SD60 6234 (ex-SOO 6034) released August 15th, 2012

CP SD60 6252 (ex-SOO 6052) released July 25th, 2012

CP SD60 6255 (ex-SOO 6055) released June 21st, 2012

CP SD60 6229 (ex-SOO 6029) released June 5th, 2012

CP SD60 6243 (ex-SOO 6043) released April 20th 2012

CP SD60 6254 (ex-SOO 6054) released March 29th 2012

CP SD60 6245 (ex-SOO 6045) released March 6th 2012

CP SD60 6242 (ex-SOO 6042) released March 1st 2012

CP SD60M 6260 (ex-SOO 6060) released January 13th 2012

CP SD60 6228 (ex-SOO 6028) released December 16th 2011

CP SD60 6225 (ex-SOO 6025) released December 1st 2011

CP SD60 6241 (ex-SOO 6041) released November 2011

CP SD60 6240 (ex-SOO 6040) released October 2011

CP SD60 6250 (ex-SOO 6050) released October 2011


At Cadrail:

SOO SD60 6039, arrived at St-Luc December 21st

SOO SD60M  6058 arrived at St-Luc December 21st   

SOO SD60M 6059 arrived at St-Luc December 21st.

SOO SD60 6047 arrived in Montreal January 17th

SOO SD60 6048 arrived in Montreal January 17th

SOO SD60M 6062 arrived  in Montreal January 18th


The following locomotives were released from CADRAIL:  


CEFX 2017 and 2026


At Smiths Falls, ON march 3rd, Bob Heathorn noted across from the yard office on track west 8 were two EMD/MPI GP20D's.  CEFX 2017 and 2026 both released in late February from CADRAIL, now sporting large CIT logos on their flanks, with new green pin stripes   They were built between June 2000 and August 2001 based on designs similar to Boise Locomotive's MK1200's.  The prime mover is a Caterpillar "B" series 3516 diesel engine with Kato electrical gear.  Forty of the these locomotives were built along with 10 GP15D's that are 1,500 hp and non dynamic brake. 



Locomotives noted at CADRAIL in March:     

CP  GP38-2 3027  for complete overhaul and repaint.   

CP SD60 6242 for warranty repairs

CP 9725 AC4400CW for repairs

CP 9750 AC4400CW (with her stack capped she is one of several GE’s coming to CAD for work.   (See list below)

CP GP9u 8219 (SUS at St-Luc Yard since July 31st 2012)   

CITX SD9043MAC 105, 118, 119, 133, 136 repainted in blue scheme with CIT Logo.  CITX SD9043MAC 105 was the last of these to wear the older “CEFX” maroon and grey livery.  We believe these may be earmarked to return to Port Cartier,  QC. Two of these have departed CAD and were in CN Taschereau in Mid-March.  

CEFX AC4400CW 1037 and 1029 for repairs 

RBRX F59PH 18554 18537, and 18538 stored outside for several months, became parts sources and are being scrapped.


The following CP AC4400CW’s are earmarked for CAD, and will arrive as space to do the work becomes available:   CP 9554, 9556, 9558, 9649 , 9560, 9521, 9523, 9803, 8639, 9725,  9750, 9751, 9810, 8520, 9517, 9524, 9825, 9831, 8624,  9735,  9822,  9622, and  9527.   Two of these, CP 9725 and 9750 had arrived at the CAD facility in March along with leased CEFX AC4400CW 1037 and 1029.

Michael Berry snapped these CP AC4400CW’s at CADRAIL March 24th: 9777, 9726, 9752, 9774, 9717, and 9755


Outside the CADRAIL Shop in Lachine March 2nd were CIT SD9043-MACs 105 119 133 136 in fresh blue paint, and CP AC4400CW 9725. 




VIA sleeper 8328 “Grant Manor” is at CAD for repairs. It incurred sideswipe damage from CN SD70M-2 8904 at the VIA station in Jasper, Alberta back on July 6th, 2010. .

CLN Industries - Charny, QC

CLN INDUSTRIES continues to refurbish the interiors of the two VIA “Park” cars  and four “Chateau” sleepers .  The Budd-built stainless steel cars are:  VIA  8206 (Chateau Denonville), 8213 (Chateau Lauzon) and 8709 (Laurentide Park). VIA 8207 (Chateau Dollard), 8226, (Chateau Salaberry), and 8708 (Kootenay Park).  CLN and Services Ferroviaires Julien have been contracted to complete the interior refurbishment, but the all the car exterior work will be done at another repair shop.  

Diesel Electric Services (DESX) Sudbury, Ontario

Units stored on DESX property include:  (DESX) SD40-2W 5308, 5310, 5311, 5312, 5313, and SD40-2 5391.

NRE/Alco Locomotive Shop Sudbury, Ontario


CN  8866 arrived at the facility in March and James Lalande snapped her with the external electrical panel open for her repairs.  Reports suggest the Roberval - Saguenay GP38-3 (RS #62) is still at the shop incomplete. Motive power stored at the shop in December included ex-CP SD40-2 NREX 5771 (purchased from CP in 2006) and eleven stored NREX units; (NREX) GP9 208, RS3 307, GMD1m 1141, 1149, GP9 1602, 1684, GMD1 1911, SD40-2 5567, 5619, 5620, 5644, and 5771.



Lambton Diesel Services (LDSX) Sarnia, Ontario


Almost one year ago Lambton Diesel Services (LDSX) purchased CN SW1200RS 1375, IC SW14 1501, and SW1200RSu 7316 from CN’s Auction Sale and  former GMDD/Caterpillar Shop Switcher EMDX  SW1001 #1.


LDSX SW1200RS 1359 was renumbered Cando Contracting (CCGX) 1006 and was moved from CP to CN in London and is going to be leased to a Pulp and Paper company in  Northern Ontario.   These shots were taken by Jay Butler over one year ago when the ETR switcher was getting an engine change out.   At that time, the future looked bleak for ex-CN 1359, but she now has new life!   



Former Central Vermont Sw1200 1511 is also at the LDS shops in Sarnia. The current shabby white and yellow paint came from her time working for the Kodak Eastman Company after CV. Unit was refurbished, repainted and sold to VIP (Vidal Street Industrial Park) of Sarnia to become their very first unit VIPX 1511

©CRO April 2013