I’ll See Your Pair of GMD1s

Back in March I decided that I hadn’t seen the Central Manitoba Railway (CEMR) in a while, so I drove up to their yard off Day Street in northeast Winnipeg, aka North Transcona. They have a shop here that does a lot of repair work for the Cando fleet, so sometimes there are some interesting locomotives around. The shop is not very accessible for photography from the road, and of course trespassing is out of the question.

I was fortunate to see CEMR’s two operational GMD1 locomotives paired together, shuffling cars around in their large yard. As I watched, the pair of ex CN units pulled out of the shops area and started shunting rail cars.

CCGX 1010 at CEMR's yard in North Transcona
CCGX 1010 at CEMR’s yard in North Transcona

After a bit, they came rolling past me and across Day Street, leading a string of rail cars. They then reversed direction and shoved a string of cars back into the yard. I didn’t linger too long, but I took the opportunity to get some photos of both units and some video.

CCGX 1010 in Winnipeg
CCGX 1010 in Winnipeg

I’m not sure how popular these units are with the crews, but I know railfans love the GMD1s. These Canada-only locomotives are a vanishing breed of switcher / light branchline engines.

You might remember that I’ve seen CCGX 1010 once before.

CCGX 1009 in Winnipeg
CCGX 1009 in Winnipeg

Kudos to Cando for acquiring these locomotives and putting them to work. They’ve applied their attractive black “swoosh” scheme to these units and I hope they get many years of work out of them.

Here’s the video.

Video of a pair of Cando GMD1s switching

Just One More Thing

I just finished reading Narrow Gauge Railways of Canada by Omer Lavallee. First off, I can’t believe that I’ve never read this before. Clearly I am slacking in my Canadian railway reading! Someday I’ll write a post on Omer’s contribution to Canadian railway history, when I feel I’m qualified to do so, but for now let’s just say that (in my opinion) he ranks amongst the foremost Canadian railway historians of all time.

This book catalogs each of the narrow gauge railways that existed in Canada. Only railways that carried the public were considered, so that excludes most industrial track – but not all. There were quite a few that I’d never heard of before. Omer covered the period that they were narrow gauge, so for example he wrote about the Prince Edward Island railway until it was finally all converted to standard gauge in 1930.

This Amazon link points to the revised version, with additional material supplied by another noted Canadian railway historian, Ron Ritchie. I have the original 1972 version, minus the dust jacket, purchased at Ware House Hobbies here in Winnipeg.

When I was searching for narrow gauge railways on Amazon, I was surprised to see how many books there are on the subject! Many of the books cover English railways, but there are other books covering Taiwan, France, Portugal, Spain… and of course the narrow gauge railways of the USA like the Denver and Rio Grande and Maine’s two foot railways.

Now I’m back to the BRMNA books – currently reading about CP 8000, Canadian Pacific’s experimental multipressure steam locomotive!

Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase something using those links.

7 thoughts on “I’ll See Your Pair of GMD1s”

  1. Hi Steve.  I like the video, but did something go wrong in your You Tube upload? I can only view it in 480p. Your other ones I can view in 1080p. Keep up the good work!

  2. Nice pictures Steve. I kind of miss the old CEMR logo with the buffalo but at least the replacement paint scheme looks good.

  3. Thanks so much for the video and stills. They look very well maintained and are so distinctive. I still think they look best in the green and gold. (I have one N gauge from Rapido). I never saw one in real life and this switching video is my rail fix for the week. Haven’t had rails up where I live for many years. I particularly liked the shot of the first pass over the crossing – the light was perfect to show the bulging sides of the old gondola – the “finger” for the switching. Great!


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