Unusual Canadian Locomotive Liveries – David Othen

This page contains a variety of pictures taken over the last thirty years, mainly on slide film (I now have a slide scanner) and illustrates locomotives many of which have now been retired and liveries that have gone.

The existence and location of many of these locomotives would have been unknown to me had it not been for the Canadian Trackside Guide published annually by the Bytown Railway Society.

On Canadian Pacific

Both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific used freight B units with their GP and Alco road units.

Here we see CP GP9 8833 in tuscan red with FB7 4476 in Action Red at Skiff Alberta switching the elevator on 1 August 1972. 8833 has been rebuilt to 1692 but 4476 and the elevator are now gone. EDIT BY STEVE: the closest elevator remains but the other two have been demolished.

Canadian Pacific has leased many locomotives over the last 30 years and here we see Bangor & Aroostook GP7# 70 a long way from its New England home at South Edmonton AB with CP GP9 8827 in Spring 1972.

BAR #70, South Edmonton, AB

About this time, units were also leased from PNC and C&O. Here leased PNC 104 (ex QNS&L) and CP F7B 4461 are entering South Edmonton with a train from Winnipeg in June 1972. The second car is a cattle car.

PNC 104 (ex QNSL) and CP 4461 South Edmonton, AB

Two of the F7Bs 4438 & 4459 were painted in a unique maroon livery so that they could accompany Royal Hudson 2860 on its Canadian tour.

CP 4438 and 2860 are seen here in CP’s Calgary station on 5 May 1978.

Canadian Pacific operated a large fleet of dayliners. Originally these had CANADIAN PACIFIC in gold lettering on a maroon (tuscan red) band and striped ends. When the new CP Rail image was introduced the band was painted action red with the “pacman” symbol at one end. The front end design was also changed to the red stylised arrows.

Here we see CP 9050 in a hybrid livery with the red arrows on the ends but on the sides CANADIAN PACIFIC in gold on a tuscan red band. The unit is leaving Halifax for the Dominion Atlantic Railway in July 1979.

On Canadian National

In the late 1960s CN introduced the black and red paint scheme with the noodle. A few locomotives in the earlier green and yellow livery lasted into the 1970s.

Here we see the old and new liveries on SW1200RS 1344 and 1381 outside Calder shops Edmonton in spring 1972.

Green and yellow units were still operating in Newfoundland in 1976 (see pages on Railroading in Newfoundland).

The American Orient Express made three trips in 1999 from Montreal to Halifax and here the train is seen at Moncton on 19 July 1999. The leased Amtrak F40PH # 340 was needed to provide electrical power to the coaches. It broke down on one trip and had to be sent to Halifax on the Ocean. The two leased CN GP40-2LWs 9671 & 9672 are in the short lived CNNA map livery. They also suffered breakdowns and substitutions were made (in this case 9622 has replaced 9671).

American Orient Express train, Moncton, July 19, 1999

Ontario Northland

ONR 1310 at Cochrane, ON, August 8, 1972

Ontario Northland had a smart dark green livery with a yellow band separated by red stripes. Here we see veteran RS3 1310 with two FP7A units (1501 leading) believed to be outside the sheds at Cochrane on 8 August 1972. 1310 is now operates at the York Durham Heritage Railway Museum.

ONR RS10 # 1401 and Abitibi S4 # 80 at the exchange sidings at Iroquois Falls on 10 August 1972.

When the S4 was undergoing maintainence a steam Shay was used.

Ontario Northland provided passenger service to remote parts of the north of the province including the famous Polar Bear Express and the Little Bear mixed train from Cochrane to Moosonee. They also provided daily service between Toronto and Northern Ontario using Trans Europe Express trainsets purchased from Dutch Railways (NS).

Northlander trainset, Spadina, June 11, 1983

Here we see a trainset being serviced in the Spadina coach yards on 11 June 1983. By this time the TEE engine unit had been replaced by a semi-permanently coupled FP7Am (at the opposite end of the three coaches in this picture). Recently one unit was sent back to Holland for preservation.

Northern Alberta Railways

Northern Alberta Railways (owned equally by CN & CP) initially dieselised with GP7s and then purchased the uniquely Canadian GMD1s. Subsequently, they purchased four SD38-2s (the only such units sold in Canada) mainly for hauling heavy trains up the long and steep grade out of the Peace River Valley to McLennan.

Originally they had planned to use all four units coupled together but tests showed that with all four units there was a risk of pulling couplers out and so only three units were used on each train.

Three NAR SD38-2 locomotives at McLellan, AB, May 19, 1978

Here we see two of the uiniquely Canadian GMD1s on 10 May 1978 preparing to haul empty grain cars north from Dunveygan yards, Edmonton to the Peace River district.

NAR 302, Edmonton, May 10, 1978

When CN bought out CP, the locomotives passed into CN ownership. The GP9s and GMD1s which had run short hood forward (CP’s practice) had to be changed to long hood forward operation. 211 underwent the change twice because NAR had purchased it from CN!

Recently CN has been using the SD38-2s in the Okanagan Valley and all the GMD1s and GP9s have been rebuilt.

Recently Formed Railroads

The very successful, luxury train “The Rocky Mountaineer” runs between Vancouver and Calgary or Jasper. Initially leased Santa Fe B36-7s in blue with a white cab and labelled Great Canadian Railtour Company were used (see Railroading in BC).

After these were sold to BC Rail (see BC Rail liveries), GP40-3s 800, 801 & 803 to 805, were leased from Helm and painted in a livery that matched the coaches and labelled Rocky Mountaineer Railtours. Here 801 & 800 are approaching Field after travelling through the Spiral tunnels on 13 June 1999.

Great Canadian Railtour 801, 800 near Field BC, June 13, 1999

The Okanagan Valley Railway owned by OmniTrax operates out of Vernon BC with three GP10s in this eye-catching red, white and blue livery.

1064 & 1038 head a freight across a wooden trestle at Kalamalka Lake Beach on 9 June 1999.

Rail Service Equipment

Several different companies are contracted to monitor and grind track across Canada.

Pandrol Jackson

Speno (now Pandrol
Jackson) RSA 1 (Rail Surface Analyser) seen at Dartmouth NS on CN tracks in August 1988.

Here we see 0511 one of the two power units of the Pandrol Jackson Rail Grinding machine RMS5 at Red Deer AB on 21 May 1999 working on CP tracks. Mike Schatti informs me that this unit was built from a GP38 using F40 carbodies. It was originally owned by Speno.

Pandrol Jackson 0511, Red Deer, AB, May 21, 1999

This self propelled unit (J5) is a switch and crossing grinding unit owned at the time by Jackson Jordan and is seen on 8 June 1989 at Prince George on CN tracks.

Jackson Jordan J5, Prince George, June 8, 1989

Later the company became Pandrol Jackson and the relettered unit is seen working at Banff on 13 June 1999 on CP tracks. Currently it is lettered for RailWorks RailServices and stored in the Fairview yards, Halifax NS.

Pandrol Jackson J5, Banff, June 13, 1999

Sperry Rail Services

SRS 127, Nanaimo BC, June 14, 1997

Here Sperry Rail Services track inspection unit # 127 is seen near Nanaimo BC on 14 June 1997. This unit was originally an EMC gas electric car and is ex B&M and is working here on CP Rail trackage.

Back to David Othen’s Canadian Train Photos

Material on this page copyright 2000-2002 by Pat and David Othen. Reproduced with permission of David’s widow Pat.

2 thoughts on “Unusual Canadian Locomotive Liveries – David Othen”

  1. Hi Steve.

    The first photo at Skiff, AB needs the caption updated. The red elevator in the photo is still standing. It was repainted in P&H yellow when it was purchased in 1975. You and I stopped there in the fall of 2016 when you were in the area. The two elevators behind this one were demolished though.

    • All text on this page is as David wrote it. I know there is a lot to update but I want to preserve what he wrote and not overwrite it with my own words. I will add a note.


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