Manitoba’s Lake Line Railroad is Interlake's new short line running between Selkirk, MB and Gimli, MB after purchasing the CP’s Winnipeg Beach sub.  Mark Perry shot GMTX 98 (EMD SW-1001 ex Prairie Coal 84160 at Coronach SK  B/N 788054-1 B/D 11-78)  at Selkirk, MB on August 6th.  The primary industry is Hudson Cement in Selkirk and the Diageo Distillery plant in Gimli, MB. 

On August 24th, GMTX GP15-1 426 arrived on the Lake Line Railroad and  was photographed by Darren Doss at Fulton, KY on August 15th.  This locomotive was originally Conrail 1602 (f/n 787249-3, built 7-1979) and later renumbered CSXT 1527.

The Long Creek Railroad, Saskatchewan’s newest shortline is now running between Estevan, SK and Tribune, SK, after purchasing the CP’s Bromhead Sub. The 40-mile long line serves grain elevators. They are utilizing GMTX GP15-1 427, ex-CSXT 1528, nee-CR-1603 which came all the way from VMV.

Jesse Acorn caught Alberta Prairie (APXX) SW1200RS 1259, in Stettler, AB on July 20th, as it was backing into its train for the day's excursion.

On July 28th, Jesse took a trip to Saskatchewan and railfanned the Great Sandhills Railway.  In Leader, SK he snapped DLCX SD40-3 6930, sidelined with a broken headlight, and noted GMTX GP38-2 2683 there as well for maintenance.   

In Lancer, SK Jesse caught an 18-car train that had come off the Burstall Sub and was heading South towards Swift Current. The consist was GMTX 2674 (GP38-2), DLCX 6051 (SD40-3), DMVW 6327 (GP35R) and LLPX 2267 (GP38-2), certainly a nice colorful consist! As usual, speed was restricted to 5mph, and I included a shot of the train coming along the beautiful track that warrants that kind of restriction.  DMVW GP35R  6327 will soon be heading to Provident Grain in Gaudin, AB on CN.

Jeff Keddy submitted the following shots he took on his August 12th visit to the Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SK.  Later that day I also stopped by the Great Western Railway yard in Assiniboia, SK, and bagged Parrish & Heimbecker S-3 8454 in Moose Jaw (previously used on the Prairie Dog Central).


Six HELM SD40-2’s are currently leased to Hudson Bay Railway (HBRY):  HLCX 6296, 6298, 7193, 7204,7233 and 8163 . 


Boundary Trail Railway's newest locomotive is ex-Grand Trunk GP9RB 4625. Bryan Buhler shot her August 16th in Manitou, MB.

Mark Perry caught (Cando Contracting owned)  CEMR GP9u 4000 and CCGX SW1200RS 1005  mu’ed together in Winnipeg  on August 16th.



On July 9th Mark Perry snapped CEMR GP9RM 4000 and SD40 5232 on train #525 near the perimeter highway on the outskirts of Winnipeg, MB.

Last month we reported SRY was testing their newly leased CITX SD40-2 3032.  Well it appears the bugs have been worked out as she continues to be utilized on the SRY FraserValley Sub. On August f1rst Greg Shevchenko snapped this SRY set waiting for CN to clear the track in New Westminster.

On August  8th, the SRY power arrived in New Westminster, BC  with SRY 384 and  382 with HLCX 3032 in between. They proceeded to build a long train of grain cars and then departed the yard an hour later.

A $15 million commitment from senior levels of government translates into 10 years worth of passenger rail service from Courtenay to Victoria, BC, says Island Corridor Foundation COO Graham Bruce. Appearing Tuesday before the Comox Valley Regional District board, Bruce said matching $7.5M contributions from the province and federal government enables the ICF to move forward incrementally. The E&N Railway operator will be able to replace one in four rail ties on the decaying line from Victoria to Courtenay, which is sufficient to build out freight, excursion and tourist rail. A repaired line also enables the hauling of aggregate across the Malahat.

 Bruce said there are other pieces to the project, such as a rail trail along the line conducive to hiking or biking from Courtenay to Victoria. The hub will be in Nanaimo with an early- morning southbound train to Victoria, later heading to Courtenay and returning to Nanaimo. At the end of 10 years, Bruce said the board "as owners" might need to make another decision if further improvements are needed. In response to a question from Courtenay director Manno Theos, Bruce said the biggest challenge is dealing with a multi-million- dollar replacement value of 48 structures outlined in a bridge and trestle report, and a train service agreement with VIA Rail. Along with the $15M, another $5M needs to be raised possibly through the Island Coastal Economic Trust or Vancouver Island Foundation to help restore the E&N Railway service.

(Comox Valley Record 120802)

Western Vignettes

At the BNSF New Westminster Yard, on February 8th. 2012, Andy Cassidy snapped two COPR (Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad), GP38-3’s 3805 and 3807 that received upgrades with Microprocessor Controls.  The pair are seen here waiting to move to the CP Port Coquitlam Yard where they got re-stenciled to CEFX and then leased to CP. CP is currently leasing 4 CEFX GP38-3’s.


“Oh Canada” Enjoy this 5 minute cab ride on BC RAIL shot from inside the cab of a BCOL C44-9W 4652 two other units and a freight train descending the 2.2% grade with heavy dynamic braking and air brakes applied, on the former BC Rail in the Cheakamus canyon on the Squamish sub in British Columbia Canada. (From Randy Zarowny)



“The Northlander”


The end of an era:  On August 16th, an official media release sent from the Ontario Government to the general public stated that Ontario

Northland's Cochrane to Toronto Northlander service will be cancelled September 28th. As stated in the release, citizens requiring to travel from Cochrane to points south will be forced to utilize Ontario Northland's existing bus service. Unions, Mayors, and Special interest Groups all focused on saving the Ontario Northland were totally blindsided by this announcement due to a previous promise made by the Ontario Government stating that no drastic changes would be made to Ontario Northland until some point in 2013. The media release also stated that the Government will be going ahead with the selling process of Ontario Northland's telecommunication arm which operates under the name "Ontera", and will be proceeding with transferring all operations of the Moosonee to Moose Factory car ferry service to Owen Sound Transportation.

Mike Robin captured the southbound 422 Northlander at Mile 24 of the Devonshire Subdivision August 17th.


ONR 1809 makes a pretty reflection in a pond just south of Martins, Mile 141 CN Newmarket Sub, 2012-07-15.  When on CN trackage as it is here, the Northlander is numbered 697 (if Northbound) and 698 (if Southbound).    (Photos  by Wayne Shaw)


ONR 1802 leading ONR 697 northbound pauses at Huntsville to let off some passengers (including the photographer) and pick up a few more 2012-08-13.

 Engineman Sykes waves adios as he pulls ONR 697 out of Huntsville 2012-08-13.

Wayne D. Shaw clicked ONR  GP38-2 1802 leads 698 south through Martins with the Mother Parker’s “Pacific” observation car in tow.

 ONR 1802 leads 698 south through Martins with the Mother Parker’s “Pacific” observation car in tow, although it is hardly evident in this view as it it partway around the bend.

Michael and Paul Higgins Jr. enjoy the view from their family’s private car, the Mother Parker’s “Pacific” as they wave at railfans all down the line. The car was tacked on to the end of Tuesday’s northbound Northlander from Toronto to Cochrane, hitched a ride on the Polar Bear Express to Moosonee and back on Wednesday and today is returning to Toronto on 698, the southbound Northlander.

Ottawa Valley Railway (OVR) GP38 2002 and Goderich – Exeter (GEXR) GP40 4019 (located on the OVR), are moving dead to Altoona, PA for conversion to RP20BD gensets.  The 4019 will be going to the Dallas Garland and North Eastern, in Texas through a locomotive broker.

Ontario Southland Railway (OSRX) has purchased CP SW1200RS’s 1210, 1245, and 1249 and FP9Au’s GEXR 1400 and 1401 (ex-VIA 6539, and  6523) and West Coast Railway Association FP9Au 6508, which has been stored for 13 years at VIA TMC and is ex-VIA 6305, nee-CN 6508.





We Tour the Port of Montreal

Diesel Shop


On August 3rd, Jody More and your Editor got an exclusive tour of the Port of Montreal POM facility. With permission of POM staff, we were able to photograph much of the roster including:

POM 8403 (EMD MP15AC)

POM 2008 (Slug, ex-GTW GP9 4137)

POM 8405 (EMD MP15AC)

POM 8406 (EMD MP15AC)

POM 2007 (Slug ex-GTW GP9 4434)

POM 1001 (Railpower RP20BD)

POM 1004 (Railpower RP20BD)


Inside the shop, we found MP15AC number 8403 coupled to slug number 2008, both receiving some attention. Outside, the Port’s other two MP15’s – 8405 and 8406 – were waiting between runs.

Port of Montreal is in the middle of adding four Railpower RP20BD gensets to its fleet. POM 1001 was the first to be ordered, and was received in Oct. 2010. Earlier this summer, the next genset, POM 1004, was shipped to the Port, arriving in June 2012.

The more recent RP20BD gensets are being built as slug mothers capable of being mated to one of the Port’s three yard slugs. When we toured the facility, we found that the 1004 had not yet been commissioned. However, after delivery, the 1001 had been modified as a slug mother as well, making it the first such locomotive to be built by Railpower. As it was the first set in North America, the pair are keenly being observed by Railpower and railways who own gensets! Our guide mentioned some tweaks to improve the locomotive performance – specifically modifications to the locomotive’s automatic shutdown – are needed.

You will also note the major differences with POM 1001 and the newest arrival 1004. Railpower had made several design changes, most notable is the nose area, with an almost a flat cab front save for the front sand boxes and cab steps. Unlike the MP15’s, which have the hood end designated the F-end, the flat end of the 1004 is designated the F-end or front. This means when configured with a slug trailing, the engineer is on the opposite side of the cab from where he would be on the older units.



CRO would like to thank Mr. Vick Monteforte for offering Jody and your editor such a thorough and fascinating tour of the POM facility.

 The first two of three Railpower RP20BD locomotives were delivered to the Port of Montreal from TMS during the month of July. POM 1004, which moved as RPRX 1004, and POM 1003 which was released from TMS for movement to Montreal in late July as RPRX 1003. Only one other locomotive remains to be delivered in the order, expected to be POM 1002, and coming from Relco in Albia, IA.

Richard Marchi posted these photos of the 1004 at St-Luc Diesel Shop awaiting delivery to the Port of Montreal. Note the new style “flat” nose.




The newest POM RB20BD RPRX 1003 was enroute to Montreal during our tour. It was delivered to the Port on Aug. 10th. Bruce Kerr snapped the unit at Enola, PA August 7th, 2012

Mike Garza caught Quebec - Gatineau (QGRY) GP39-2C 2300 and 2303 on CN 503 at South Holland, IL July 31st.  QGRY numbers 2300-2303, are ex-VRE (Virginia Express Railway) RP39-2C V04, V06, V08 and V10, and are originally Chessie GP40’s.


August 14th Genesee & Wyoming announced that GWI and a newly formed GWI subsidiary, KeRail have entered into a long-term agreement with Tata Steel Minerals Canada for KeRail to provide rail transportation services to the 4.2 million tons per annum direct shipping iron ore mine TSMC is developing near Schefferville, QC in the Labrador Trough. In addition, KeRail will construct an approximately 21-kilometer rail line that will connect TSMC's mine to the Tshiuetin Rail Transportation interchange point in Schefferville. Operated as part of GWI's Canada Region, KeRail will haul unit trains of iron ore from its rail connection with the Mine that will then travel over three privately owned railways to the Port of Sept-Iles for export primarily to Tata Steel's European operations.  The agreement and construction is contingent on certain conditions being met, including the receipt of necessary governmental permits and approvals. Once the track construction has commenced, which is anticipated in the third or fourth quarter of 2012, the Rail Line is expected to be completed three to six months thereafter. The new contract with TSMC will further expand GWI's operating presence in the Labrador Trough where GWI subsidiary Western Labrador Rail Services currently provides rail services to both Cliffs Natural Resources and Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Limited.

A contractor has relayed the QGRY tracks to the Ottawa Bridge including the rail bed in front of the Casino that is part of the (ex-CP) QGRY Lachute subdivision. Some would say strange as almost of all QGRY customers have either shut down temporarily or permanently as a result of the crisis affecting the pulp and paper industry.  The track runs all the way south to end at Boul Alexandre-Taché, the last major southern-most street in Hull, QC,  just before the tracks enter the Prince of Wales Bridge to Ottawa.  This portion of the QGRY has been out of service since it was cut from the rest of the network to allow for track replacement. At this point, tracks go south to Ottawa, or go west to the Waltham subdivision Aylmer and beyond, or east to pulp and papers mills. The eastern spur is currently fenced off. We should have more on this next month.

On August 17th, David Sandor snapped QGRY train 739 at Boisbriand, QC, lead by slug “ Mother” QGRY GP40-3M 3801.

On August 29th, Richard Marchi and your Editor were lucky to catch FLNX FL9 484 arriving at CN Taschereau Yard.  The CN train from Coteau stalled on the grade into the yard giving us a chance to shoot it.  (Thank you Railfan Gods!).until a CN GP9RM/slug came to its rescue. The former New Haven FL9 was fixed up and painted at the former GATX Rail Canada Corp. shop in Coteau, QC for the “Orford Express” train, and is in transit to the Sherbrooke, Quebec based tourist railroad.

On July 18th, Vermont Rail System (VRS)  in cooperation with the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority teamed up to move five CIT-owned SD9043MACs (CITX 105, 110, 114, 119, and 136), which will be leased to the QCM (Arcelor-Mittal) and delivered on the BBC Chartering  ship for export to Port Cartier, Quebec. The units were loaded in the hull for shipment north.  These units are needed until their new EMD SD70ACe’s (to be numbered 50-54) arrive later this year.   These photos are courtesy of Kevin Burkholder.  



Regional Montreal Maine and Atlantic (MMA) are acquiring ten locomotives due to increased traffic, (new oil trains from CP, etc).  

As a new helper service is now required at Sherbrooke, QC MMA has acquired two F40PH’s that had been in Montreal Commuter service; ex-AMT (SLC) F40PH 270 and F40PHR 293.  The other locomotives acquired by MMA are: Ex-New Hope & Ivyland (NHRR) C39-8 8202, 8207, and 8208. ex-NS same numbers, nee-CR 6004, 6012, 6014. They are currently at Derby being prepared for service. Ex-CN SD40-2 5364, and 5374 owned by MMA will return to service.  As well MMA will lease CP units as needed.  At Farnham QC August 23rd, Marc Caya caught MMA number 2  about to leave for the USA with MMA SD40-2 758 (ex-BCOL 758) leading, then caboose VB-1, CP SD40-2 6049, ex-AMT 293 and 270.

On August 6th, Michaël Lussier caught CN GP38-2 4713 switching the MMA GP7u #23, (ex-BAR, nee-ATSF), at the Yard in St-Hyacinthe, QC  and is expected to be assigned to Ste-Rosalie, Jct.  The engine will be needed as MMA must do a switch back move on CN to get access to both sides of the (ex-CP) St-Guillaume sub at Ste-Rosalie Jct.  See Diagram  below:

New Brunswick Southern Railway (NBSR) have leased GMTX GP38-2 2639, 2645, and 2666 all on the property and GMTX GP38-2 2644 which is still enroute. Also new, HLCX SD40-2’s 6304, 6319, 6332, and 6340 will join four other HLCX SD40-2’s 6200, 6315, 6318,and   8144, already on the property. They also have been leasing four HLCX GP38-3’s 906, 911, 913, and 917, and two switchers GMTX SW1500 203 and 204.  Gerald McCoy snapped the newest arrival; HLCX SD40-2’s 6304.and 6332.

GMTX GP38-2 2639, leased to parent company New Brunswick Southern, is working on the Maine Northern in this photo shot July 24, 2012 at Houlton, Maine.  The unit is tied down for crew lunch at the former Bangor and Aroostook track machine maintenance building.  The BAR turntable, thought not functioning, is still visible in the left background.  This is the Oakfield - Houlton, Maine turn that regularly works the large Louisiana Pacific building products mill just west of Houlton in New Limerick, Maine.


Pan Am Railways power rolls off New Brunswick Southern Railway/Eastern Maine Railway's Mattawamkeag River bridge at Mattawamkeag, ME, July 24th.  The Mattawamkeag - Waterville Maine train has both regular eastbound traffic and a large cut of empty oil tank cars returning from J.D. Irving's St. John, NB refinery to North Dakota.  When Pan Am's power does not run through from St. John, units stored at Mattawamkeag back across the river on EMRY/NBSR to pick up their train.  Since oil trains are arriving at Mattawamkeag on both Pan Am and EMRY/NBSR, depending on whether they come from North Dakota or Saskatchewan, it's a great place to see and photograph power from both roads and a variety of leasers laying over in the yard.

 Eastern Maine Railway work extra 2612 returns to Mattawamkeag, Maine on July 29th, after completing its assignment.  Daytime maintenance availabilities mean most regular movements are happening at night.  EMRY has been doing extensive track work this summer on its former Canadian Pacific line from Vanceboro to Brownville Junction, Maine using leased track equipment.  New ties and ballast are going down at many places along the line.

 New Brunswick Southern Railway/Eastern Maine Railway's westbound St. John, NB - Brownville Junction, ME manifest rounds the curve at Bancroft, ME, on August 14, 2012, trailing two Canadian Pacific SD40-2's (5926 and 5928) leased to Montreal, Maine and Atlantic.  MM&A is leasing units to offset a large number of out of service units at its Derby, ME shop.  The new crude oil trains rolling across MM&A, delivered from Canadian Pacific in Montreal and headed for JD Irving's St. John, NB refinery, have created a serious power shortage on MM&A

 Eastern Maine Railway/New Brunswick Southern eastbound manifest waits for a new crew at the border crossing point of Vanceboro, ME, August 2, 2012.  Trains as large as 125 cars are rolling across EMRY/NBSR these days, and motive power painted for  HLCX, GATX, Canadian Pacific, Montreal, Maine and Atlantic, Pan Am Railways and Guilford Rail System can all be photographed on the line.  

Helm SD40-2 6304 (originally Union Pacific SD40 3201) trails two other Helm units and NBSR GP38-3 9801 as Eastern Maine Railway/New Brunswick Southern Railway train 9801 East for Saint John, passes Siding Road in Reed, Maine, on August 24, 2012.  6304 is from the second batch of HLCX SD40-2's recently leased to NBSR.

©CRO September 2012