Rail Train: 1997

Here are two slides I purchased from an online auction site, showing an empty CN rail train at Bayview Ontario in 1997.

CN 3572 and 3575 were M420W locomotives, built by the Montreal Locomotive Works in the early 1970s. The “W” in the model number refers to the “Wide” cab on these units, a new addition that has since become the standard for locomotives.

When they were built, they were numbered in the 2500-2579 series. Around 1986-1987 they were renumbered to the 3500 series. Changes were made to reduce fuel and sand capacity so they were lighter and better able to operate on branch lines. Read more about these units at Rapido’s site.

When this photo was taken on May 5, 1997 at Bayview near Hamilton, Ontario, these locomotives were very close to retirement. CN was retiring its MLW fleet and most if not all of the M420Ws were retired in 1998. Some were leased or sold to other railways. The Great Western Railway in Saskatchewan had five of them!

The tail end is quite interesting to me.

Boxcars and other rail work equipment on a train

Note fuel tank car CN 990985 in the foreground with the bold “DIESEL FUEL ONLY” lettering on it. It was followed by two CN boxcars, no doubt containing tools and other equipment rather than freight.

The tail end of the train has the rail unloading equipment. It’s odd that it is on the tail end and not next to the cars that hold the ribbon rail. I guess it didn’t matter much since the train was empty.

I hope you like this little glimpse into the past, 26 years ago!

Just One More Thing

CN rail train

I wrote a long post about rail trains back in 2020… maybe you’d like to read it? 🙂

1 thought on “Rail Train: 1997”

  1. Thanks for the link to the older post. Good info. Not living near any mainline track – any rail at all format makes attempts – just the abandoned CP line to Owen Sound – it is nice to see what big time railroading is up to. Driving to Barrie a few years ago now, I did see a rail train and saw the rail lying beside the tracks in preparation for replacement. Would love to have seen it happening. I noticed the rail was all made in Japan!

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