CN’s ex Alstom GTW SD40-3 Locomotives

The Grand Trunk Western railroad started as the American arm of the Grand Trunk Railway. It became a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railways when the GTR was combined with the former Canadian Northern, the Intercolonial Railway and others by the Canadian government. In 1971 CN formed an American corporation, the Grand Trunk Corporation, to try to bring its American lines into profitability.

For 20 years the GTW had its own corporate image, with a CN flavour, best seen with its bright blue locomotives with the GT lettering on the side, using the same font as CN did for its lettering. In 1991 CN brought out its “CN North America” branding and the GTW lost most of its unique look and identity over time.

There are still locomotives and rolling stock with GTW reporting marks, and in this post I want to discuss some of the surviving GTW SD40-3 locomotives.

GTW 5948 in Winnipeg, Oct 2012.
GTW 5948 in Winnipeg, Oct 2012.

Original Grand Trunk Western SD40s

According to The Diesel Shop, the GTW had a total of 30 SD40 locomotives (5900-5929) and 8 SD40-2 locomotives (5930-5937) prior to 1982. The 8 SD40-2 locomotives were originally Missouri Pacific locos, which became Union Pacific locos. According to this site, the GTW purchased them from Helm Financial in 1990 and ran in UP colours with a GT patch for a few years before being repainted.

Ex KCS SD40s

After that, another 19 “SD40 type” locomotives were added to the GTW roster, 5938-5956. These locomotives have an interesting history. They were originally CN SD40 locomotives, part of a batch of well over a hundred locomotives sold to Alstom, who rebuilt them and leased them to CN and other railways. Alstom is a very large multinational company, based in France, who manufacture locomotives, rolling stock, passenger equipment, signaling equipment and much more. For a time they were known was GEC Alsthom but the silent “h” was dropped in 1998.

Alstom plated over the class lights and added dynamic brakes to the locomotives.

The GTW units numbered 5938 and up were first leased to the Kansas City Southern, and that’s why they are in gray with the yellow striped short hood. They had a large red KCS on the side of the long hood – an example is KCS 6620 in 2007, which became GTW 5938.

CN Gray (!)

When they were leased by CN, they all received a white “CN” noodle on the side of the long hood where the “KCS” was, and they received GTW lettering under the cab windows. The yellow stripes on the noses remained.

Most have been repainted into CN colours, but are still lettered for the GTW under the cab windows. Some alterations were done during the repainting process, including:

  • Replacing the bell with an electronic bell
  • Adding remote control receivers for hump / belt pack operation

Status

In 2011, 14 of the 19 locomotives were retired, and two of those were sold to other railways. However, in 2012 the remainder were “unretired” and returned to service.

This is the current status of the 19 locomotives as far as I know.

NumberStatusLiveryWhen Repainted
GTW 5938ActiveCNBetween 2015 and 2017
GTW 5939Retired 2011, became QGRY 3347
GTW 5940ActiveCNSummer of 2014
GTW 5941ActiveCNBetween 2013 and 2019
GTW 5942ActiveGrey?
GTW 5943ActiveCNBetween 2013 and 2017
GTW 5944ActiveCNFall of 2014
GTW 5945ActiveCNBetween 2014 and 2017
GTW 5946ActiveCNBetween 2013 and 2017
GTW 5947ActiveGrey?
GTW 5948ActiveGrey
GTW 5949ActiveCNLate 2012 or early 2013
GTW 5950ActiveGreyNo CN logo
GTW 5951Active?Grey
GTW 5952ActiveCNBetween 2015 and 2020
GTW 5953Active?
GTW 5954ActiveGrey
GTW 5955Active?
GTW 5956Retired 2011, became BPRR 3346

Here are a few specific sightings I’ve had.

GTW 5945

GTW 5945 in Calgary, AB, October 2012
GTW 5945 in Calgary, AB, October 2012

When I first saw GTW 5945 – in Calgary in October 2012 – it was still in KCS grey with giant numbers under the cab windows and with the “Owned by Alstom / P.B.M. By Alstom” lettering, and the “KCS” painted out.

By December 2017 she was in CN colours, seen here with GTW sisters 5946 and 5949 in hump duty at Symington Yard in Winnipeg.

GTW 5945, 5946 and 5949 in Symington Yard in Winnipeg, Dec 2017
GTW 5945, 5946 and 5949 in Symington Yard in Winnipeg, Dec 2017

GTW 5951

GTW 5951 in Kamloops, BC, August 2013
GTW 5951 in Kamloops, BC, August 2013

I’ve only seen GTW 5951 once, in Kamloops, British Columbia in August 2013. At the time it was in KCS grey. It does say “GTW” under the cab windows but it is very faded.

A CN logo was added to the long hood in late 2015 or early 2016.

GTW 5946

GTW 5946 in Moncton, NB, Sep 2006. Copyright by Luc Doiron, used with permission.
GTW 5946 in Moncton, NB, Sep 2006. Copyright by Luc Doiron, used with permission.

Luc Doiron captured GTW 5946 outside Gordon Yard in Moncton in September 2006, in grey with a large CN logo on the hood. GTW 5946 has since been repainted into CN colours.

GTW 5946 in Winnipeg, September 2018
GTW 5946 in Winnipeg, September 2018

GTW 5949

GTW 5949 in Winnipeg, Jan 2019
GTW 5949 in Winnipeg, Jan 2019

GTW 5949 is in CN colours like most of the rest of the GTW SD40-3 fleet, but the “GTW” lettering under the cab windows is quite small compared to the others, and it includes the class number GF-630e that the others do not have.

GF-630e for GTW 5949
GF-630e for GTW 5949

David Othen’s Video

David Othen’s GTW SD40-3 video

David Othen published a great video called CN’s SD40 rebuilds part 3.

Just One More Thing

This blog post originated with a blog post suggestion from Anders N. – back in early 2019! It’s been sitting in draft mode since then, and I finally dusted it off and fleshed it out. Thanks for the suggestion and sorry for the delay!

For more Grand Trunk Western goodness, may I recommend one of these books:

(my Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you if you buy something using these links)

2 thoughts on “CN’s ex Alstom GTW SD40-3 Locomotives”

    • Hi Drew, thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. I’m glad you were able to document the rail removal in Drumheller – thanks for sharing that with everyone. I was fortunate to stay in the Drumheller area in 2013 so I saw some rusty rails before they were removed. 5943 looked good on that train!

      Reply

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