THE BIG Ms
How they are different
MOST SURPRISING SEQUEL TO THE CLOSING
of the diesel locomotive manufacturing
plant of ALeO-Schenectady and the sale
ot ALeO I S engine-building facility at
Auburn,New York to the White Motor Cor
poration was not really in these two
separate and distinct events.Rather,it
was in the resurgence of ALCOs erst
while affiliate in Canada -MLVl-Worth
For a considerable period after the change in corporate
title, this Montreal-based organization held its own in the diesel
locomotive building game, vlorking on some Canadian and a few export
orders. The real transfiguration came when,in April,1969,Forster
Kemps Observations II in CANADIAN RAIL recorded that CP RAIL
had ordered 51 3,000 hp. units to cost an estimated $ 19 million.
By the end of 69,the number of new units on order fromCP RAIL
alone had risen to 74· and, by this time, the machinery at MLW
Vlorthington, Limited .. las humming merrily 1
In mid-1971,MLH Industries,a division of MLH-Horthington,
limited is rated as Canadas leading designer and manufacturer of
diesel-electric locomotives. One of two firms in Canada building
these prime-movers, the division is rising rapidly to the top of the
North American builders heap. This statement infers that MLW In
dustries is out in front of GM Diesel of London,Ontario and is also
breathing down the neck of GMs Electromotive Division in the Uni
ted States, This claim may be quite justified in view of the orders
placed by Canadian National Railways and CP RAIL, not to mention a
purchase requiSitions from Pacific Great Eastern,Roberval
& Saguenay and slim-gauge vlliite Pass & Yukon Route,plus at least
two overseas customers. And what is more startling and encouraging
is the fact that some United States railroads are seriously con
sidering the possibility of buying ~~W Industries diesel units for
their south-of-the-border operations.
CP RAIL NO. 4704 -ONE OF 74 UNIT~ BEING CONSTRUCTED BY MLW INDUSTRIES -North
Americas third largest designer and manufacturer of diesel-elec
tric locomotives. The unit is undergoing a series of tests before being
delivered to CP RAIL. Photo courtesy CP RAIL.
~ THE PRIME MOVER FOR MLW INDUSTRIES NEW M-LINE DIESEL-ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES
starts with the welding of the engine block. The basic 251 prime mover can be
either a 3,000 or 3,600 hp. unit with 16 cylinders or a 4,000 hp.engine
with 18 cylinders, Photo courtesy CP RAIL.
CANADIAN 124 R A I L
The predecessor company,Montreal Locomotive Works, Limit
ed,~as formed in 1902 for the purpose of designing and manufactur
ing steam locomotives for Canadas proliferating raihlays. It is
said that they even built some l~ood -burners, in a time when wood
burning locomotives .. Iere considered as rare as first-generation
units are todayl Then as nol,orders from overseas customers .. Iere
antiCipated. From that year until early in 1949,wheri the construc
tion of steam locomotives in Canada ,~as to all intents and purpos
es terminated (a fe~ steam locomotives for export were built sub
sequently),the great complex of buildings in Montreals east end
produced nearly 4,000 steam locomotives for Canada alone.
At the time when the great diesel engine revolution oc
curred,MLW Vias one of the first companies to manufacture the new
type of motive power in Canada. Since that revolution, the division
has outshopped nearly 2,000 units, of Ihich some 400 have gone to
overseas customers. Initially deprived of the basic research,design
and development facilities of parent ALCO-Schenectady, MLW-Worthing
ton -for such it had now become -was quick to organize its o~m
essential primary services and it is novi staffed by a group of in
ternational transportation specialists, providing customers round
the world with up-to-date concepts and technological improvements
in transportation methods and motive power.
Versatility is the w;:ttch-word 1 Everything from 75-foot,
all-aluminum subway cars (Toronto) to 4,000 hp. diesel electric
units -one,so far,for CP RAIL -one of the most powerful single-en
gined production units in North America.
Note that phrase in North America. The tricks that the
French National Raihlays and the German Federal Rail~ays are doing
vIi th diesel..;electric units do not quite permit the claim for MLVl
Industries 4,000 hp. unit on a world-wide basis -not just yetI
MLH Industries is not neglecting the important servicing
aspect of this fiercely competitive bUSiness. They have organized
many sales and customer service centres across Canada and,in at le
ast 40 countries world-wide, there are MLv1 Industries representati
ves. These centres lill take care of the units produced by the
more than 1,000 employees ~lorking in the 500,000-square foot plant
located on 43 acres of land,fronting on Notre Dame Street east,Mon
treal, in sight of the harbour and the famous st. Lawrence Seaway.
about these new units? To meet the challenge of
the 70s -like CP RAILs coal unit-trains -11LH-Vlorthingtor. in
troduced and MLVl Industries continues to build the Mil Line -the
different diesel-electric units. The six-axle variety of these new
units includes the M-630, the M-636 and now the M-640, rated at 3,000,
3,600 and (a beefy) 4,000 hp. 1 viously superceded c-630
s and C-636
s,the last one is something a
little out of the ordinary.
And just in case you imagine that the ~,1 s and the Cen
turies are about equivalent, then please pay close attention to the
description which follows. Naturally,the Ms stress modular de
sign and maximum interchangeability of components. vfuat else would
make sense? And as a complement, there are the four-axle models in
R A I L
the 2,000-2,700 hp. range,which include the basic modular design
features of their six-axle big brothers.
On December 10, 1969,Mr. Henry Valle, President of 111,1-
Worthington, turned over the keys of the first 3,600 hp. unit bui-
It for CP RAIL to ~~. S.M.Gossage,Vice-President of Canadian Pa-
cific and Senior Executive Officer for CP RAIL. This event was a
solid reminder that CP RAIL had ordered some 74 units for a total
value of close to $ 28 million. Mr. Valle commented on the unique
ness of these units, the model being the only one of Canadian design
on the market and having a better than 85% Canadian content of work
manship and rnaterials.
Mr. Gossage said that CP RAIL expected to realize signifi
cant economies with the new units,in powering priority freights in
main-line service between Montreal and Calgary, Alberta. TvlO of the
ne11 units,he said,11ould do the same job as three or four of lOller
horsepmler and do it more reliably and with less maintenance .It was
understood that CP RAILs mechanical department had cooperated with
MU1-Horthington in. the project, providing assistance with the many
important improvements and innovations embodied in the ne,I diesel
electriC units. The ultimate in cooperation had been received from
the other suppliers: DOFASCO,in their design and production of the
high-adhesion truck; Canadian General Electric Company, for their
part in the supplying of the electrical systems and traction motors.
Apart from the complimentary phrases, the new units did
embody a number of technological improvements, the primary selling
– a universal chassis developed by MLW-Worthington;
– a new model
251 engine, with high-capacity, water-cooled
turbocharger and steel-cap pistons; .
– a fully ducted and filtered electrical cooling and com-
bustion air system;
– a pressurized electrical control compartment;
-DOFASCO HI-AD trucks with lovi weight-transfer char-
acteristics and an improved sensitivity wheel-slip ir.
Mr. Gossage had said in his remarks that the 3,600 hp.
units would be used on high-speed, main-line freight trains,1hile
the 3,000 hp. types 11Ould be used on coal unit-trains from the
Crmls Nest Pass region (Sparwood,B.C.) to the superport at Roberts
Bank,B.C~ However,he did not make much mention of the single 4,000
hp. unit, speciallY cOmmissioned by CP RAIL,nor did he speculate on
its intended use. But you may be sure that this c-640 has been
built lith something very particular in mind, which is even now in
the process of being investigated.
1Vhile all this ceremony of presentation was going on,MLW
Worthington .. las being awarded an order from Canadian National Rail
ways for a further twenty 3,600 hp~ units, for delivery beginning in
the first quarter of 1970. This represented another $ 8-9 million
order for the aggressive Montreal diesel-electric locomotive builder.
R A I L
The 3,000 and 3,600 hp. units for both Canadian railways
are powered by MIM-V.J built 16V251E and 16V25lF diesel engines. The
single 4,000 hp. unit for CP RAIL has an lBV251 engine -the power
plant with the absolutely biggest crankshaft that MLVl Industries is
able to handle at the moment. Bore and stroke of the engines is 9x
lOt inches, 1hich is standard for the 251 s.
Engine revs are 1100 per minute for all three models. The
nef model 165
turbocharger has a watercooled, stainless-steel gas
inlet casing and has a higher pressure ratio and increased after
cooler capaCity. Actual delivery of the new 4,000 hp. unit from
MLWIndustries was delayed about a week in March,1971,when there was a
failure of the turbocharger. This kept the enthusiasts dangling
for a IIhole ,eek. until the big red unit went into service.
Steel-capped pistons are an improvement in the power as
sembly. They combine the obvious advantages of greater strength and
wear of steel with the light ,eight of aluminum in the piston body.
The rate of flow of cooling oil through the piston has been increa
sed substantially. Valve overlap has been modified to provide ad
ditional cooling of the Jlpower assemblies
• The Lubricating oil
capacity has been increased by 30% by deepening the engine base and
oil sump. Optional is an auxiliary 150-gallon lube oil tank inte
grally built into the main underframe,with air-operated transfer
The electrical control system by Canadian General Elec
tric is type E,with solid-state components on plug-in cards, in
panels. This greatly facilitates ch
ange-out and maintenance of these unitized components.
Transition is simple, involving only one event,Vlith full
field operation – a condition which enhances and extends the life of
the traction motor. Maximum performance from the high-adhesion truck
particularly under adverse rail conditions,is assured by a sensitive
rate-of-change wheel-slip system,lhich responds to rates-of-change
in traction motor current and thereupon modulates electrical out
TECHNICIANS COMPLETE THE FINAL ASSU1BLY OF A 3,600 HP. 16V251F PRIME MOVER
at the Montreal plant of MLW Industries. This engine is scheduled for in
stallation in one of CP RAILs M-636 units.
THIS IS THE 18V251 PRIME MOVER INSTALLED ON THE M-640 FRAME. WITH THE RAN
ge of gear ratios available,this unit can travel at speed~ varying between
& 84 mph.
HERE IS THE FIRST M-640 IN ITS FINAL ASSEMBLY STAGE AT MLW INDUSTRIES MON
THE CANADIAN-DESIGNED AND DEVELOPED TRUCK -THE HI-AD -IS AN ESSENTIAL
part of the M-630s,the M-636s and the M-640. It was developed by DOFASCO.
A PARTIAL VIEW OF MLW INDUSTRIES DIESEL-ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVE ASSU1BLY AREA
in the Montreal plant. 10 units can be fabricated Simultaneously. In the
foreground are 3,000 and 3,600 hp. units being built for CP RAIL and in
the background is a 2,000 hp. unit being made for the Pakistan Eastern
Railway. Photos courtesy CP RAIL & MLW Industries.
R A I L
And as if this ieren It enough, some of the Big MIs are
equipped with an electric-start system. FormerlY,high-horsepower u
nits were fitted with an air-start apparatus on AC-generator-equip
ped units, but after January,1970,the electric-start system was ba
sic. The auxiliary generator and exciter, which are,after all,basic
ally the same machine,have a start-winding built in, enabling them
to motor the prime-mover until it starts. All three models have
an Ac/DC transmission system, with alternator output rectified to DC
for conventional 752-type DC traction motors.
Gear Ratios may be selected in 74:18, 65:18 or 81:22,
80:23 and 79:24, with maximum speeds thereby available from 65 to
84 mph. Continuous current rating of the traction motors is 1195
at 11.4 mph.,with 65:18 or 81:22 gear ratios. Unit weight may
vary from 360,000 to L~20,000 Ibs.,depending on the equipment inclu
Another innovation on the new six-axle units is the
adhesion truck,a name which DOFASCO has shortened to HI-AD.
truck is designed for all six-axle, three-motor standard-gauge
ation at maximum axle loadings permitted on North American ways.
To simplify truck maintenance, there are replaceable bush-
ings,manganese wear plates, easy accessability to the motors and
brake components and the adoption of wheel and axle assemblies which
are interchangeable with existing diesel-electric road units. The low
weight transfer characteristic of the truck permits higher trac
tive effort to be realized, through the reduction of weight losses on
certain axles. In this respect, the HI-AD has better tractive ef
fort capabilities than any other North American three-axledtruck.
The main underframe and accessories are standard for all
three M-type models. Most of the above-deck components are the
same, except for the additiQaal magnetic clutch for the compressor
drive on the 4,000 hp. M-640. The short hood,cab,electrical com-
partment,ventilating system and lubricating oil and cooling sys-
tems are essentially the same, except for the additional lube oil
filtering and cooling system capacity. Piping is simplified; pos
sible lube oil leaks are remote from electrical and other auxiliary
equipment and this arrangement allows easy access for servicing.
Implicit in the HI_AnI! truck design are simplicity of
construction, economy of maintenance and ease of accessability to
components. The truck utilizes parts which are interchangeable with
components in service over the years on other MLW-V/orthington road
unit trucks. There is no truck bolster or underframe centre plate.
The car-body underframe is supported on the truck by four rubber
snubbers at the outer ends of the truck transoms. A frame-mounted
non-loading bearing centre-pin – a part of the main transom -is
fitted into a swivel block, which is attached to the car-body throu
gh two rubber units. This arrangement provides controlled lateral
movement on either side of the centre. There is no metallic contact
between the car:body and the truck. This eliminates all wear plates
and isolates rail noise and sorne vibration from the unit structure.
THE FIRST OF CANADIAN NATIONALS M-636s -ROAD NUi~BER 2300.
Photo courtesy Canadian National Railways.
TWO MEMBERS OF THE M-630 TRIBE -CP RAIL UNITS 4500 & 4501 on the point,
moving a freight through St-Clet,Qu8.,west of Montreal in the summer of
1969. Photo courtesy Ken Goslett.
ANOTHER CP RAIL M-630 -number 4516 -heads a long freight on St-La~are
Hill,west of Dorion,Qu8.,on February 7,1970. Photo courtesy Ken Goslett.
Further improvements to the riding qual1 ties and perfor
mance of these units, achieved through modifications in the suspen
sion,include the plaCing of the major portion of the vertical sprin
ging on the primary coil-springs; provision for additional lateral
on the centre axle and the use of viscous friction for the snub
of vertical, lateral and rotational movements of the truck.
The braking system on the truck is based on a single
brakeshoe per wheel. Made of composition material,it is activated by
single cylinder for the numbers 1 and 6 axles and one cylinder for
axles 2,3 and 4,5. This arrangement gives good clearance above the
track and offers maximum protection for exposed parts.
The HI-AD truck has been specifically designed to per
mit the high-speed operation of heavy six-axle units through better
riding ·characteristics. Results from high-speed testing on Canadian
National Railways between Montreal and Toronto show that the HI-AD
has as good riding characteristics as the best riding coach on RA
PIDO passenger trains -stable and quiet,as well. Please note that
speeds at which this claim can be made are critical. RAPIDO trains
may make 90 mph. Freight trains seldom do -yetll
In the air filtering and cooling system, improvements in
clude the elimination of right-angled drive, ventilation fan, engine
air-inertial filters and the dynamic-braking motor and blower, used
on the century models. A large airfoil-type blower provides cool
ing air for the traction motors,alternator,rectifiers,prime -mover
and dynamic brake resistor grids. This blower is mechanically dri
ven from the alternator gear train and protected by a blower-fail
ure safety. circuit,~lhich automatically returns the unit to idle
in the event of a blower failure. It is remarkable that this blow
er supplies sufficient cooling air so that on 65:1S-geared units,
approximately 11% more retarding effort is available, with maximum
braking effort increased from 55,200 to 61,000 lbs.
Improvements in the water-cooling system include the elim
ination of the engine after cooler shutter and radiator arrangement
at the alternator compartment. This accessory has been incorporated
in the main engine cooling-water radiator system, with a consequent
reduction in piping and overall simplification of the system. On
R A I L
the new models, the shutters are of the gravity type, eliminating the
shutter cylinders and attendant mechanisms.
During a visit to MLW-worthington in April,1970,many of
the members of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association were
able to examine these new units close-up. Observed in all stages of
construction, the systems and improvements described above were de
monstrably most important.
Montreal Locomotive Works, Limited became MLW-Worthington
Limited in 1968 and,in 1970,the parent company formed MLW Industr
ies,a division which includes all of the activities at the Montreal
plant. MLW International was organized simultaneously to see~ out
manufacturers in other countries,to build MLW-designed products
under licence,where various restrictions prevent direct export from
fuile MLW Industries has already scored some notable fir_
sts in the manufacture of diesel-electric units, its activity is
not restricted solely to this one product. It is presently working
with the Aluminum Company of Canada and DOFASCO in the development
of a lightNeight, rapid, comfortable (LRC) train, designed for high
speed intercity travel over existing main-line trackage.
But MLW Industries most recent triumph Nas outshopped on
February 22,1971, hen the first M-640 rolled off the assembly line.
Described as the most pO
ciably in appearance from the M-636 units. As Mr. F.S.Burbidge,Vice
president of Marketing and Sales for CP RAIL so aptly put it, This
record-sized locomotive represents much more than just 4,000 horse
power. It is a bench-mark in the railway industry,a reference point
from which we can assess CP RAILs progress in developing more ef
ficient transportation systems. Robert Grassby,President and Gen
eral Manager of MLH Industries might well have made the latter re-
The next fascinating question that presents itself to both
MLl;l Industries and CP RAIL is, Hhere do we go from here ? After 4000
hp. from U3 cylinders, then vlhat ?
The Big Ms are different,all right. It ,lill be very eh
citing to see how they vlill contj1ue to stay that 1lay.
CP RAILS UNIT 4705 IS ONE OF MLW INDUSTRIES NEW M-636s -3,600 HP. DIE
sel-electric locomotives. It is shown here leaving MLW Industries shops
for final road-testing before delivery to CP RAIL. At that time, these big
units were the highest powered units built in Canada and in use on a Can-
adian railway. Photo courtesy CP RAIL.
THIS IS THE BIG ONEI CP RAILS NO. 4744 -THE FIRST M-640 -4,000 HP.FROM
one l8V251 prime mover. Completed for delivery February 22,1971 in Mon
treal,actual road-testing was delayed for a few weeks until a new turbo
charger was installed. MLW Industries describes this engine as the most
powerful ever to go into revenue service on any railroad. It is destin
ed for CP RAILs fast freight service between M6ntreal and Calgary,Alta.
Photo courtesy MLW Industries.
THREE HILLS SUB. LOCAL – – – – – –
The Three Hills Subdivision -Canadian Nationals line from Mirror,
Alberta to Sarcee Junction (Calgary/. -normally has one freight per
day in each direction -The Speeds I -which run at night and do
whatever local work is necessary. However,when the wheat moves,day
time extras are run,handling all the local work, along with the gr
ain. Here are two GP9s -4242 and 4283 -running as an extra south,
arriving at Wye North SWitch (Calgary) in the early morning, after
handling all the traffic offered on the line.Note: Only one white
flag is flying, barely visible behind the bell. Date:May 18,1966.
THE DOMINION OF CP RAIL – – – – – –
The summer Dominion
IS -Trains 3 & 4 -included foreign tour sle
epers -sometimes had 30 or more cars,necessitating the display of
power photographed at Lake Louise,Alberta on August 20,1965. Power
FPJA no. 1430;GP9s 8528,8519;F7B no. 4462; FPJA no. 4036.
These tour cars normally spent one or more days at Banff and
so the Garden Tracks (coach yard) became a mecca for passenger car
Although the consist of this particular train was not reco~
ded,a number of consists were taken for trains in the summer of 1965.
By far the most interesting was a very late one seen in Regina,Sask.,
on July 13,1965.It totalled 39 cars in two sections. Unfortunately,
both sections arrived after dark and were therefore not photograph
able. Here are the consists,although not in order:
1st. No.3 FPJA no. 4031 FPJA no. 1421
2nd. No. 3
CP 4455 Baggage
CP SKYLINE 502
CP SAULT STE. MARIE
FPJA no. 1418
CP 4754 RS-10
no. 8573 RS-10 no. 8477 Baggage
CP POPLAR GROVE
CP WALNUT GROVE
CP GLEN BALLYENON
CP BIRCH GROVE CP FIR GROVE
CP LAKE ERIE SAL OCALA
E-L CHARLES MINOT CP RICHFORD
PENN ALEXANDER M. BYERS
R A I L
CP TILBURY PENN IMPERIAL VIEW
CP APSLEY PENN IMPERIAL MANTLE
CP ATHALONE SOTJIHERN ROANOKE ISLAND
CP ALNWICK CRI&P GOLDEN WEST CRI&P GOLDEN HOUR
CRI&P GOLDEN DREAM CRI&P LA QUINTA
ACL SAVANNAH RIVER ACL CAPE FEAR RIVER CP TREMBLAm
C&O CITY OF CLIFTON FORGE PULL.CHICAGOLAND PARK
CUT OFF YOUR NOSE –
CP RAIL is chopping the noses on three GP9s for better visibility
in pull-down service at the Alyth Hump-Yard. No. 8635 was out-
shopped from Ogden Shops on December 4,1970 and this is how she
looked the next morning. The nose and number-board were made at
Ogden,however they are identical to the sD4os,so perhaps they used
the others tracingsJ ~
UPPER qUADRANT: eN XS 4242,4283,Wye North Switch,Calgary,Alta.,May 18,1966.
LOlllER qUADRANT: CP RAIL TR.4 Nos. 1430,8528,8519,4462,4036:Lake Louise,Alta.
CANADIAN 140 R A I L
THIS MIGHT BE CALLED COSMETIC SURGERY! CP RAlLIS UNIT 8635 ONCE HAD THE
standard GP-9 profil!J. Now it is no longer 100. Photos courtesy R.A.Loat.
George S. Dennis
Every once in a while,somebody writes a
story about our fearless, founding
forefathers and how they carved a
clearing in the wilderness or built
a railway across the country. Both
of these activities generally re
sulted in the establishment of some
towns which later grew into the lar
ge cities of today. These famous
founding fathers are all carefully
recorded in elementary school his
Nowadays,any railroad enthusiast who is worth his salt and
gives a damn about railways has,at one time or another, dreamed of
building a genuine railroad -or a miniature counterpart -in em
ulation of his aggressive ancestors. But sometimes the realization
of such a dream is a 11 ttle slow in achieving real1 ty. So it ?las
with the Algoma Eastern Miniature Railroad. This Company was char
tered more than 15 years ago, but its progress las retarded because
of lack of money. In this respect,it resembled many other Canadian
railways very closely.
In more recent years, the promoter of the A.E.M.RR. read of
an offer to sell two miniature steam trains at Crystal Beach Park,
near Fort Erie,Ontario. Now this is quite a long way from Terrace
Bay on the shore of Lake Superior in the same Province, but after
careful inquiry, the promoter of the Algoma Eastern Miniature Rail
road found that he could buy some badly worn but very essential
spare parts from this source.
These essential parts, except for the boiler and frame, were
brought back to Terrace Bay by the promoter in a two-wheeled trailer
and in the trunk and back-seat of a 1951 Hudson automobile. The
bOiler and frame of the locomotive, being somewhat larger and heavier,
fOllowed by water transport from Thorold,Ontario to (then) Port Ar
thur. From Port Arthur,the frame and boiler came to Terrace Bay by
truck. It might surprise you to know that the 140-mile journey from
Port Arthur to Terrace Bay by truck cost more than the entire trip
from Thorold,by boat.
l~en the boiler and frame finally arrived, the first thing
that had to be done was to remove about 35 pounds of scale from the
boiler. After that, the boiler had to be lowered into the basement
R A I L
of the promoters house for further repairs.
By this time,it is pretty obvious that the promoter of the
Algoma Eastern Miniature Railroad is none other than George S. Den
nis (MEl) and the locomotive is a 15-inch-gauge model of an Amer
ican-type 4-4-0. But the size of the locomotive (I can assure you )
did not reduce the work required proportionately. I might just as
well have been working on a prototype 4-4-0 from the old Algoma
Seven years and $2,800 later, the promoter of the A.E.M.RR.
operating steam locomotive. The blood, toil, tears and sweat,
the many hundreds of man-hours of sometimes very frustrating work
all forgotten in the overwhelming sense of achievement and
the long-awaited sound of exhausting steam. Although the second
hand parts had been very badly worn, every single one of them ,laS
required for the completion of the motive power rebuild and they
all had been obtained. Of course, even if George Dennis never heard
a discouraging lord at home, there were always those people who said
lilt 11 never runill,or something to that effect.
They were wrong.
Run it did and very Te11,too,after a breaking-in period,wh
ich is normal with any full-size locomotive, either brand-new or re
The many hours of hand-filing, hack-sawing and wheel-grinding
sprinkled with lots of patience and some impatience, had finally
paid off. Only dedicated operating live-steam enthusiasts can really
appreciate the magnitude of this project.
Every bolt had to be replaced. All threads had to be renew
ed. Dirt,grease and scale had to be laboriously removed. George Den
nis used or broke almost 100 hacksaw b1ades,3 coarse grinding-wheels,
2 fine grinding-wheels and three wire-brush wheels. Sometimes, he
thought of selling the resulting iron filings to the nearest steel
The tender frame was made from two-inch channel iron. Put
ting on his other hat,George designed and built arch-bar trucks for
it,using auto-engine valve springs. The big jobs,such as new dri
ving-wheel axles and crank-pins, along with bearings for the tender
truck axle-boxes, were subcontracted to a local maChine shop.
Not content with taking on one big project, when the loco
motive was comp1eted,George deoided that he also needed a coach and
caboose. The caboose was modelled after Algoma Eastern Raihlay s
9616,portrayed in an early photograph. The design of the new
coach was strictly free-lance and purposely included a low centre
of gravity. Although formal plans were not drawn up,George knew
what he wanted and
surprisingly enough, made few mistakes in the con
struction. The real idea behind the laborious rebuilding of the
locomotive and the construction of the caboose and passenger car
was to provide a series of IIwinter-workll projects, besides proving
to himself that he could really do what he had set out to do.
Some jobs associated with these three projects provided
R A I L
quite a bit of time to think about other things and one of these
other things was the idea of purchasing a property somewhere near
the united city of Thunder Bay,Ontario,where a man could retire
comfortably. After checking over or looking at several hundred par
cels of land in the area, George finally found one that suited him.
The property of some 1[.75 acres was located 6 miles from
the old city limits of Port Arthur and 3 miles from those of old
Fort Hilliam. It was very handy to each city and is just as handy to
the new city of Thunder Bay. Shortly after the final inspection, the
purchase of this property was finalized and after some consideration
George concluded that there would be ample room on it for the Algo
ma Eastern Miniature Railroad. A rough plan of the track location
was prepared,the right-of-way staked and then began two summers(and
into the fall) of cutting trees and brush, piling and burning it.
After the proposed new railroad had been generally located, the
right-of-way was pegged through the cleared areas.
At this juncture in the construction, the capital of the new
railroad company was beginning to disappear. But before the company
was obliged to declare bankruptcy, there was a small legacy from the
promoter • s father and mother. Thi s enabled the continuation of the
construction, the erection of a building to house the locomotive,co
ach and caboose and the purchase of 1,500 feet of rail and a few
very essential maintenance-of-way tools.
Both of Georges parents had been very interested in the
infant enterprise. Georges Dad had a special interest in it,for he
was once an engineer on the old A~goma Eastern Railway until it was
sold to the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1930.
The clearing of the trees and brush and the locating of the
right-of-way on the new property took the better part of four sum
mers. Getting to Maplewood Drive,Thunder Bay,Ont. was no very easy
thing,as it is 140 miles from Terrace Bay,where the promoter was
then living and this return trip was made every seven days until
the job ;-las finished.
• THIS COULD BE DESCRIBED AS THE NUCLEUS FROM WHICH THE ENGINE FOR THE
~ Algoma Eastern Miniature Railroad began -as received on the property.
During the period of railway
construction,4-4-0 Number 51
rep6sed in the erecting ehop
alongside the body of Caboose
9616,then under construction
THE PRESIDENT (I) checks over
4-4-0 no. 51 of his road, the
first power to run over the
new line.Having passed her
hydrostatic test,Number 51
is now ready to be fired up
for a trial run on the main
With a full head of steam,En
gine no. 51 waits at the end
of steel to take the con
struction gang back to head
Ready for the mornings run,
Engine no. 51 and Caboose no.
9616 stand on the main line
next to the coal pile and the
Engine no. 51 and Caboose 9616 –
otherwise Extra 51 West -wait on
the main line for the signals
~t Maplewood Junction to clear.
The well-located but temporarily
unballasted main line of the
Algomff Eastern Miniature Rail
road winds through the woods
near West Lakehead.
Tom Dennis,Georges cousin,who is an engineer on CP RAILs
CANADIAN between Mactier and Sudbury,Ont.,helped to pull stumps
out of the grade location and afterwards moved a good deal of shale
for the roadbed -by wheelbarrO~l He travelled over 700 miles to
help. With the arrival of the steel and the track-laying equipment,
construction began in earnest.
On August 17,1967 -at the height of Canadas Centennial
Year -the first rail was laid on the Algoma Eastern Miniature Rail
road. The preparation of the roadbed, which had taken four summers,
significantly shortened the construction period and, amid great
(personal) rejoicing and celebrations, the rails /ere joined on Oct
ober 21,1968 and the last spike was drived on October 22. The last
link in the 750-foot long line of the Algoma Eastern Miniature Rai~
road at Thunder Bay,Ontario,had been completed. The ceremony was at
tended by the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors -Mr.
George s. Dennis.
In the construction of the right-of-way, each tie-end had ~o
have a steel plate placed under it to prevent it being pounded into
the soft shale when the rail was spiked to the cross-tie. Each rail
joint as well had a tie under it to provide added support. Some of
the lengths of rail were bent for the curves and the curves were
spiralled and elevated. There are two steel culverts on the line,
two concrete-block culverts and one bridge.
There are,unfortunately,no tunnels!
The 550-odd ties,the keg-and-a-half of spikes and the three
tons of rails i[ere all put down by the Chairman of the Board and
President -MEJ The roadbed is composed of about 200 cubic yards of
shale and there are 35 cubic yards of crushed gravel for ballast
Maybe other people build railways and railway museums on a larger
scale than the A.E.M.RR.,but 200 cubic yards of shale are 200 cubic
yards of shale all the way from Corner Brook to Roberts Bank and anyone
who has moved this amount of the earths crust really knows
it I I know it 1
Miss Lynda Fontaine,long-time Secretary of the Corporation,
helped to ballast the track by firing and running engine number 51,
the motive power for the gravel train -and any other movements on
the line. She did this job very ,ell and supplied the essential
woman-power for the construction. At one pOint,her boyfriend even
R A I L
went so far as to become involved, too, and shovelled a
quantity of gravel ballast.
Although engine number 51 had made a few trial runs on the
unballasted line in the process of hauling the shale to the head of
steel,the first official run over the completed line took place on
saturday, October 26,1968 at 1.45 p.m. – a truly memorable occasion.
It was,as you can quite well imagine,a very satisfying and satis
Tom Dennis has come up for a weekend visit two years in a
row and when he
arrives, the operation of Number 51 and train is gl-
adly turned over to him. He is a really first-class hogger and
his love for the steam engine -any size of steam engine -never
The Algoma Eastern Miniature Railroad is becoming better-
knom as the months pass. This last summer, passenger traffic Tas
quite good, the passengers being 50% adults and 50% children.
Number 51 -the 4-4-0 -burns only the best Pocahontas coal
~hich is not too readily available. In her front-end smoke-box, she
has a single blast-pipe (instead of two shallow S-shaped pipes)dead
centered on a 5lB-inch opening. A draft plate in the smoke box, set
at an angle, controls the draft through the front and back sections
of the firebox grates. The fire is forced up to wash
sheet before being drawn do~m to go through the boiler tubes and
smoke-box and thence up the stack.
The valve settings used are 10-thousandths in forward gear
and l2-thousandths in reverse, which theoretically makes her more
powerful in forward motion and faster in reverse. At any rate, she
runs like a scared deerl She is also a very free steamer.Normally,
she only carries 90 pounds steam pressure on the clock, but her
boiler has been tested at 186 pounds per square inch. She can han
dle the whole train, plus passengers, with ease and so 90 pounds of
steam on the clock is plenty.
t¥hen Number 51s boiler arrived at Terrace Bay,it was very
apparent that boiler scale had been a problem. To avoid a repiti
tion of this condition, she now uses rain water, which is free and
generally in good supply. This certainly avoids the chronic scale
problem. With plenty of oil to lubrioate her bearings, valve-gear
and mot ion, Number 51 is projected to run for many years.
The visitor looking for the Algoma Eastern Miniature Rail
road may have considerable difficulty in finding it on days when No.
51 is not in steam. Only about a quarter of the main line can be
seen. For the most part, the line runs through a heavy growth of
cedar, birch, spruce and tamaracl<:-, which has defied the might of the
Perhaps one of the most remarkable things about the Algoma
Eastern Miniature Railroad of Thunder Bay,Ontarlo,is that its right
of-way is located less than a quarter of a mile from the old roadbed
of the Ganadian Northern Railway. Now,in the 1970s,the same Can
adian forests re-echo to the sound of the steam locomotive exhaust
and chime-whistle,albeit in miniaturel
WHEN CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS DISCONTINUED
full dining car service on some of its gon
treal-OttaIa trains, there was a rash of com
plaints from Patrons who had been used to
partaking of a leisurly breakfast or dinner
during the trip. CP RAIL shortly thereafter
examined the profitability of the dining car
service on its Montreal-Quebec trains and la
ter discontinued the dinette-parlor-dome car,
formerly in the consist of these trains. The
discontinuance elicited hardly a murmur and
~IaS not even reported in the Montreal papers.
THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE IN ITS MARCH 1,1971 EDITION, CARRIED A LONG
article by Ivilliam A .Martin of its Hashington,D.C .bureau, on the
Penn Centrals continuing cash flOll problems and their probable ef
fects. Many of the PCs non-transportation assets were examined.The
PCs trustees lTill without doubt return to the United states Con
gress eer long to ask for more federal funding. Interestingly enou
gh,only in the case of the Toronto,Hamilton & Buffalo Railroad did
the trustees express any hope of recovering some cash for the Penn
Central operation. This would amount to only about $ 11 million
which derives from the 37% interest (20,120 shares) ,Thich the PC
has in this line. The balance of the stock in the lll-mile line is
owned by Canadian Pacific,Michigan Central and Canada Southern,-the
latter tl0 companies also subsidiaries of PC. Other interesting PC
assets include postions of Merchants Despatch Line,pullman Company,
Railway Express Agency,Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad and ( of all
things) Norfolk & Hestern Railroad,through the Pennsylvania Company.
JACK LOMBARD SENT A PRESS CLIPPING FROM THE
~lindsor,Ontario STAR, announcing the comple
tion (December 18,1970) at the Hike Metal
Products shipyard at Wheatley,Ont.,of the
M.V. (?) PHYLLIS YORKE, a 99-foot long by
35-foot wide pusher-tugboat of very unique
design. Built for F.M.Yorke & Son of Van
couver,British Columbia, the PHYLLIS YORKE &
her sister,the M.V.(?) MARGARET YORKE will
be leased to Canadian National Railways to
expedite rail-barge services at the 1Iindsor
Detroit and Sarnia-Port Huron gateways. The
vessels are powered with deck-mounted
2,000 hp. tl1n-diesel engines and have their
pilot houses on an ingenious tripod mounting.
PHYLLIS was scheduled for: transfer from Hin
dsor to Sarnia at the end of January, when
R A I L
MARGAREl .. taS ready for service at Hindsor.
These new tugs reported ly will be used -/i th
the S.S .LANSDOifflE and the S.S .SCOTIA II
Further developments are awaited .. Ii th in
VlITH REGRET, WE RECORD THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF MR. H.R. (HARRY) WOOTTEN,
Manager,Rail Operations,Algoma Central Railway. Victim of a coronary
accident, the late Mr. Wootten was of great assistance to railway
historians in the western Ontario region and was, more particularly,
a noteworthy example of the school of positive management in this
sector of the Algoma Central Railways operation. This note from Mr.
Dale Wilson of Sudbury,Ont.
READERS OF IICANADIAN RAU
WHO ENJOY FINE FOOD
-and who does not? -may combine advanta
geously their two predelictions by making a
visit to the city of Potsdam in northern New
York state. An enterprisir.g restauranteur has
taken over the old passenger station building
of the New York Central System and rearranged
and redecorated it as a most attractive restau
rant,maintaining its railroad atmosphere, even
to the extent of using the old waiting room
benches -suitably refurbished -with station
signs of the district as wall deoorat~ons. Dr.
Robert F. Legget of OttaIa reports that the
name of the establishment is II The Station for
steaks II l It should also be noted that the sta
tions baggage room has been transformed into
an exceller.t bar and is already wellknown as
just that: liThe Baggage Room Bar II •
visit is enthusiastically recommended!
UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION VOLPES IIRAILPAXII-IIRAIL
to some -proposals were finalized in January, 1971 for imple
mer.tation May l,and to no ones great surprise,Delaware & Hudsons
New York-Montreal passenger service was not on the list. True, len
gthy legislative discussions were held at Albany,New York, with
labor groups, rail groups,civic groups and PubliC Service COmmission
represer.tatives all having their say. It VIas concluded that while
there were other important passenger train services in the State of
New York which had to be protected, the NeVI York-Montreal passenger
service should be maintained. IIFine
, said the D&H,lIjust so some
else picks up the deficit-operation tabj But with the start
ing date of May 1 fast approaching, no offers had been received nor
had any overtures been made for the possible subsidy from the Can
adian Transport Commission for the 45-mile (Odd) portion of the op
eration in Canada over the Napierville Junction Railway.Meanwhile,
D&H added immeasurably to the decor of their ex-Rio Grande coaches
when they replaced the D&RGH maps with magnificent color enlarge
ments of on-line equipment and scenery by Jim Shaughnessy, well
knovm Trojan photographer.
R A I L
IN CASE YOURE WONDERING,ROBERVAL & SAGUENAYS
2-8-0 no. 17 (CDC no. 1959,blt.1940), recently
sold to John E. Thompson of Monee,Illinois,may
not be leaving the Lake st. John region of the
Province of Quebec immediately. Condition of
the engine is said to be such that Canadian
National Railways -only long-distance carrier
in the area -is rather dubious about moving
her on her own wheels. And who but C.R.H.A.s
Rocky Mountain Branch could re-tyre a locomo
tive at a distance of 500-odd miles from the
nearest class-l repair shop?
CANADIAN NATIONAL ANNOUNCED IN FEBRUARY, 1971, THAT, SUBSEQUENT TO THE
purchase of the cornwall Street Railway,Light and Power Companys
electric freight lines at Cormlall,Ontario,operation by CN would
COmmence about April 1 with electric operation being phased out be
fore May 1 •
REPORTS E~ffiNATING FROM VANCOUVERS WATERFRONT
advised early in March,1971,that PC Shay no.
114,formerly ovmed by preciSion Engineering,
being readied for flat-car shipment to
the Cass Scenic Railroad at Cass,West Virgin
ia, U.S.A. ·Sister PC Shay no. 115 is destined
to join ex-Duke of Sutherlands IlDunrobinll at
Fprt Steele,British Columbia. Meanwhile,it is
rumored that the Cowichan Valley Forest Mus
will sell Shay no. 3,formerly of the Mayo
Lumber Company, to the Museum of Science and
Technology, Ottawa, Canada.
CANADIAN NATIONAL PROPOSES TO INVEST $ 4 MILLION IN AN EXPANSION
of motive power and freight car repair facilities at Transcona,Man
itoba. The project,to be completed in three years,is in addition to
the million-dollar wheel-shop project now under way. Expansion of
the diesel unit repair shop is required to handle the large 3,000hp.
secpnd-generation units now in use. These 70-foot units are too long
to be processed through eXisting facilities expeditiously.
INTERPROVINCIAL STEEL & PIPE CORPORATION OF RE
gina,Saskatchewan,has added another exhibit to
its embryo rail way museum at IPSCO PARK, two
miles east of Saskatchewans capital City. The
acquiSition is ex-CP RAIL business car no. 36
(eX-RIVER CLYDE, ex-CAPE CHURCHILL),a solarium
lounge car, identical to car no. 13 of the Up
per Canada Railvlay Society. The business car,
purchased in the autumn of 1970, joins ex-CPR
steam locomotive no. 3101 and will be used as
a reception salon for visiting officials and
CANADIAN 151 R A I L
PRINCE EDlvARD ISLANDERS ARE MUCH DISMAYED BY A RECENT ANNOUNCEMENT
in which CN revealed that M.V.JOHN HAMILTON GRAY will be vlithdravm
from Cape Tormentine-Port Borden service and reassigned to one of
the Newfoundland routes during summer 71. To allay the fears of
Prince Edward Islands Premier Alex Campbell,CN has promised that
JOHN HAMILTON will be re-assigned to Island service ,hen traffic
conditions warrantl1. Just how this will be accomplished is quite
beyond the comprehension of most observers, but likely JOHN HAMILTON
qill appear for holiday vleekend and summer vacation service. Some
pretty fancy (computerized ?) scheduling will be necessary if this
undertaking is to be accomplished.
CANADIAN NATIONAL HAS ESTABLISHED A CENTRE FOR
Transportation Control at Moncton,New Brunswi
ck. The goal of this centre is improved traffic
plannIng, better distribution of empty cars for
loading and improved train performance.Subject
to control will be as many as 50 main-line tr
ains and 30 branch-line trains daily. Already
the ne,,, centre has proved its usefulness, as
it enabled the Atlantic Region of CN to re
spond more quickly to severe storm conditions
in February and March,1971,by changing freight
train marshalling sites from snow-clogged yards
to those which were not so badly affected.
EX-CANADIAN PACIFIC ROYAL HUDSON no. 2860 IS PRESENTLY THE PRO
perty of Mr. Joseph Hussey of North Vancouver,B.C. A proposal to
operate this locomotive on the Pacific Great Eastern Raill-,ay during
British Columbia1s Centennial Celebrations has been abandoned.
OPERATION OVER 5 .L~ MILES OF THE UNUSED COHICHAN
Subdivision of Canadian National Railways on
Vancouver Island,British Columbia,has been ap
proved for Pacific Tours Limited of Vancouver,
B.C.,provided that some supplementary conditi
ons can be met bef e the lease is signed. It
is likely that the ,not = po,er ,,/Quld be Hill
crest Lumber Company1s Climax No. 10,presently
the property of Mr. Terrance Fergusson of Van
BOB LOATS PICTURE OF THE SOUTH OKANAGAN WAYFREIGHT -CP RAIL WORK EXTRA
8609 at Mile 34 of the Osoyoos SubdlVl9ion,Osoyoos,B.C. September 5,1966.
ASSOCIATION S ARCHIVES
published by the
CANADIAN RAILROAD mSTORlCAL ASSOCIATION ~~~,;~~,~24u!~IOD B
Associat.e Membership inoluding 11 issues of
Canadian Rail 8,00 annually,
EDITOR S.S, VlTorthen PRODUCTION P,Murphy
EDJ:TORIAL ASSOCIATE F.A.Kernp
DISTRIBUTION J, A, Beatty & F,F,Angus
Canadian Railway Muscum
l-rllsee Felloiilc CnmHiicll
OPEN MAY SEPT. OUVERT MAl -SEPT,
Our 10th. Anniversary Notre 10em. Annlversalre.
DIRECTOR OF BRANCHES
C.H.K.Heard, 74 Southern Dri
e, Ottawa 1. Canada
DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP SERVICES J.A.BEATTY
OTTAWA N.R.Linley. Secty., P,O.Box 141. TerminAl A. Ottawa.
ROCKY liOUNTAIN Mr.Donald hI.Scafe 12407 Lansdowne Drive, Apt. 101 Edmonton.
PACIFIC COAST MroBarrle Sanford,Secty.,P.O.Box 1006 Stn. A, Vancouver.
BRITI SH ISLES
K.F.Chlvers, Apt. JJ 67 Somerset St. ~: .. Otto.wa, Ontar~o.
J.S.Nlcholoson. 2306 Arnold St., SasKotoon, Saskatchel …. on.
Pe ter Cox, 609 Cot tonwood Ave.. Coqul tlam, Orl tl sh Col umbla.
W.D.McKeown. 6-7. 4-choIOe, XaC!lste-cho,Sulta Clty, Osa)w. JaDsn …
J.H,Sonders, 67 Wl110l, Way, AmpthIll. Beds .. england. .
K.G.Xounger, 267 Vernon Rood, o.lnnlpeg. :anl toba. ,
,.ir. Donald W.Scafe,12407 Lonsdowne Drlve. Apt. lOl, Edmonton Alta.
Copyright 1971 Prlnted 1n Cana.da on Cana.dle.n Pa.per