In my review of In The Shadow of Giants by Norman Helm, I mentioned that when the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway was absorbed into the CPR, some of the TH&B was kept by Canadian Pacific.
The TH&B’s GP7 and GP9 locomotives had their short hoods chopped, and were repainted into red CP Rail colours. GP7 locomotives 72 through 77 were renumbered to CP 1682 through 1687 respectively, while GP9 locomotives 401 to 403 were renumbered to CP 1688 to 1690 respectively.
Most of the TH&B switchers, SW9 and NW2 locomotives, were scrapped, but a couple went on to other lives.
I’ve captured a few of these locomotives in my travels. Here they are.
CP 1683, ex THB 73
CP 1683 seemed to be assigned to Winnipeg for the last years of its life. I first photographed it in 2002 working in the Winnipeg yard.
My next sighting was in 2009 in Winnipeg by the casino.
I saw it in the dead line area in early 2010 and it was definitely in the dead line on September 19, 2015 when I last saw it.
The Canadian Trackside Guide says CP 1683 was retired in April 2015 and went to CANDO Rail Services. I saw a photo of it recently, still in Winnipeg at the Central Manitoba Railway. Rumour has it that it may run again… who knows?
CP 1686, ex TH&B 76
CP 1686 also seemed to be assigned to the west in its latter years, but I think it was assigned to either Moose Jaw or Regina, because I saw it in both places. My first sighting was the above roster shot in Moose Jaw on May 21, 2010.
I next spotted it in downtown Regina on August 8, 2011, hiding behind some old crossing signs and a battered old gondola.
The last time I saw it was back in Moose Jaw, under blue flag protection with leased locomotive CITX 3061, CP 1546 and CP 1251 in the area normally reserved for dead or near-death locomotives. The Trackside Guide says it was retired in May 2012 so it was definitely dead when I saw it later that year.
CP 1689, ex TH&B 402
I only saw CP 1689 (ex TH&B 402) once, buried deep in Alyth yard in Calgary. I was up on the Blackfoot Trail overpass, using my long lens to record as many locomotive numbers as I could. I was really most excited to photograph CP 4106, but 1689 happened to be right there in the next track.
According to the Trackside Guide, it was retired in December 2009. However, CP 1689 wasn’t scrapped. It went to J&L Consulting, a locomotive leasing company, and then on to the Belvidere & Delaware River Railway in New Jersey as BDRV 1889.
I was surprised to learn that I saw this unit again! In its guise as BDRV 1889, it passed through its former home yard in Winnipeg and I grabbed a shot of it.
OSRX 51, ex TH&B 51
TH&B 51 was built by EMD as an NW2 switcher in 1947. CP retired it in 1988 shortly after absorbing the TH&B, but it wasn’t scrapped. In 1992 it went to the Ontario Southland Railway. I don’t know if they ever operated it.
The OSR has a fleet of older locomotives, many painted in a scheme definitely inspired by the cream and maroon of the Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway. You can see several of them in this blog post from 2017, including their famed F units.
Smurfit-Stone 2, ex TH&B 55
TH&B 55 was an EMD SW9 built in 1950. It was retired by CP in 1988 and bounced around a couple of industrial operations before landing at Smurfit-Stone’s mill in Bathurst, NB where I saw it. It was there from 1996 to 2006, after the mill was shut down. The unit was then sold to Falconbridge and went to their smelter in Belledune. I have no idea if it is still operating.
Who knows – maybe I will see one of these ex TH&B units again!
Just One More Thing
I did a little research on other books about the Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway. Here’s what I found… please comment on others that I may have missed.
- In The Shadow of Giants, Norman Helm
- The Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway, Volumes 1 & 2, John Spring (BRMNA books, out of print)
- Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo in Color, Stephen M. Tinko (Morning Sun, out of print)
Also check out the extensive TH&B bibliography at the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway Historical Society. Although their web site looks like it was designed in 2002, it is kept up to date!
8 thoughts on “Former Diesels of the TH&B”
I like reading about the TH&B, MC, CASO and NYC and their operations in southern Ontario. I looked at The Shadow of Giants on amazon, but boy they ain’t given that book away! I’ll keep my eye out for a deal.
Thanks for the info and post Steve.
Hi Sheldon, some of those out of print books are offered for outrageous prices. Hopefully you can find a copy on eBay or in a bookstore.
Did you see my series on a southern Ontario visit I did back in 2017? I took a few photos of the then-abandoned CASO.
I did not see that post Steve, thanks! That Essex station is a treasure!
I like the pictures of the GP7s and GP9s Steve, even with the chopped short hoods. The ex-THB locomotives are visually unique. Unlike all of CP’s other rebuilt GP9s, they don’t have the blanked-out dynamic brake housing.
That’s the spotting feature – the lack of dynamic brakes?
At the risk of being corrected, I believe so. CP’s specifications for all of its bought-new GP9s included dynamic brakes. The TH&B didn’t see the value in buying dynamic brake equipped locomotives.
NW2 Switcher pictures bring back fond memories. As a youngster I lived in Hamilton a block from the TH&B rail crossing on Main Street. We kids in the neighbourhood hung on the fence in the ally running beside the tracks when those monsters, (to us), rolled by a couple of times a day pulling their freight cars. Great moments from the late 1940’s & early 1950’s.
Hi Charlie, thanks for sharing your memories of the TH&B!
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