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.
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
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.
|GTW 5938||Active||CN||Between 2015 and 2017|
|GTW 5939||Retired 2011, became QGRY 3347|
|GTW 5940||Active||CN||Summer of 2014|
|GTW 5941||Active||CN||Between 2013 and 2019|
|GTW 5943||Active||CN||Between 2013 and 2017|
|GTW 5944||Active||CN||Fall of 2014|
|GTW 5945||Active||CN||Between 2014 and 2017|
|GTW 5946||Active||CN||Between 2013 and 2017|
|GTW 5949||Active||CN||Late 2012 or early 2013|
|GTW 5950||Active||Grey||No CN logo|
|GTW 5952||Active||CN||Between 2015 and 2020|
|GTW 5956||Retired 2011, became BPRR 3346|
Here are a few specific sightings I’ve had.
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.
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.
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 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.
David Othen’s 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:
- Grand Trunk Western in Color Vol. I (1941-1961), Jerry A. Pinkepank
- The Grand Trunk Western Railroad – A Canadian National Railway, Patrick C. Dorin
- The Railfan Chronicles, GTW Book 4, Byron Babbish
- Grand Trunk Western Railroad: Carferries of the Great Lakes, Byron Babbish
(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)