CP 1834

I love images like this. There are so many little details. The white extra flags on the distant unit. The little red box on the crewman’s belt – what’s that for? The switch stand – electrically locked? The whistle sign indicating a nearby crossing. The line of telegraph poles with a new cable strung across the top. The overgrown track in the foreground. There’s a lot to look at.

CP 1834, QNSL 202, CP 4200, and another 4200 unit at Guelph Junction, ON, Nov 15, 1987. Photographer unknown, slide from my collection.

Fourteen and a half years later, I encountered 1834 leading a train out of the port of Miramichi, New Brunswick on March 20, 2002.

It looked pretty much the same except that the “CP” on the side was replaced with “NBEC”.

History of CP / NBEC 1834

This locomotive started its life in 1958, built by the Montreal Locomotive Works (MLW) as an RS-18 with serial number 82457. Canadian Pacific numbered it CP 8776, in class DRS-18 (Diesel Road Switcher-1800 horsepower).

Locomotive CP 8776 in McAdam, New Brunswick. Photo by Greg Brewer.
CP 8776 and 8784 in McAdam, NB, July 3 1981. Slide by Greg Brewer, from my collection.

After working for CP for over 25 years, it was rebuilt in 1985 as an RS-18u (“u” for upgrade) and became CP 1834 with a “chop nose” (low short hood).

13 years later, it was one of many RS-18u units sold to the Quebec Railway Corporation and became NBEC 1834 by painting over the “CP” on the side with “NBEC”. It kept its large multimark and striped ends.

Locomotives NBEC 1868 and 1834 in Campbellton, New Brunswick, October 2003
NBEC 1868, 1834 in Campbellton, NB, October 2003

I saw the unit a couple of times in 2003, in Miramichi and Campbellton, but I didn’t see it again after that. Only recently I learned that it had been reassigned to another Quebec Railway Corporation property, the Ottawa Central railway. Bill Linley caught it on a train at mile 5.5 of the Renfrew subdivision near Arnprior, ON in the morning of May 5, 2004.

CN purchased the Quebec Railway Corporation assets in late 2008 (my blog post). CN had little use for ancient MLW locomotives, and ex NBEC 1834 was sold to J&L Consulting in mid 2009 and went to SIE Demolition in Illinois to be scrapped.

I fell in love with MLWs / Alcos because of the New Brunswick East Coast Railway and its fleet of MLW products – RS18s and C424s. I miss 1834, but fortunately it is still possible to see a few ex NBEC units on the Gaspe railway. Someday I hope to get back there.

4 thoughts on “CP 1834”

  1. My one major regret as a railfan is that I never photographed any OCR MLW units, including those beautiful old RS-18s, which were the main power in Ottawa for years. Nice to see this unit in its various points of revenue operation. People here still talk about the OCR fondly. The years since the shortline disappeared have not been nearly as fun, I’m told.

  2. I never got 1834 but I railfanned the line from Ottawa to Nepean to Arnprior many times. CN bought/took the line back and although this service still exists it is not as interesting as it was, and the crews are not nearly as receptive to railfans. OCR was a great little shortline, the employees seemed to love to work there.
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2023 !

    • Hi Steve, I’m glad you were able to railfan the Arnprior line! I see photos today and they are interesting but the OCR power would have been great to see. Happy new year!

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