The Frankenloco

You might ask what the heck that locomotive is. Clearly this locomotive has its origins in CSX… but what’s with the partial Canadian Pacific portion? And the bright red, freshly painted section?

I’d like to be able to answer those questions, but I’ve only uncovered some more questions and more mysteries. Hopefully more details will come to light.

CSX 445

CSX 445 in September 2009 by JP Mueller, license here

Locomotive CSX 445 was built by GE as an AC4400CW in August 2000. After a relatively short career on CSX, it was retired and was one of 4-6 like units (including CSX 326 and 518) purchased by CP for parts for their own fleet of AC4400 locomotives.

According to photos in RRPictureArchives, it was in Minneapolis in 2019.

I saw a photo of this unit as part of train CP 119 rolling through Ontario. I didn’t think about catching it at all, but fortunately I happened to see it.

CP 119

Ex CSX 445 and CP 9655 as part of CP 119
Ex CSX 445 and CP 9655 as part of CP 119

In the evening of July 21, I went up to the CP yard to see if any interesting locomotives or trains were around. There were no locomotives at the east end, and the shops didn’t yield anything new or unusual. There was a string of containers partially blocking my view of the Weston shops from the reservoir / McPhillips Athletic Field, and I noted they were starting to move west. I decided to head west to see what was on the head end of the train… hoping for a CP heritage unit.

As I drove west along Logan Avenue, I saw the head end on the overpass over Keewatin Street and immediately recognized 445. I had to get a shot!

There’s a little back alley behind the 7-11 on the corner of Keewatin and Logan that gets pretty close to the overpass and the tracks. I drove in there and grabbed a couple of quick shots with my cell phone. The engineer rang the bell and started moving west, so I quickly turned around and headed west, hoping to cut them off at Brookside Boulevard by the airport. Since they were just starting to move again, I figured I would be able to do it.

In fact I had lots of time, as they stopped short of the boulevard to wait for a signal to proceed, and for a truck to arrive with people to do a rollby inspection as they departed the city. This location is called “Woodman” by CP. I parked nearby and was set up to record with my telephoto lens and my cell phone camera.

Departing Woodman

Here they are starting to move. I’ve blurred the crew person on the ground for their privacy. Note the car scanners between the tracks on the right side of the photo.

CP 119 starting to depart Winnipeg
CP 119 starting to depart Winnipeg

As the train approached, I used my cell phone to get wide angle shots of 445.

CSX or CP 445? Who knows?
CSX or CP 445? Who knows?

This ex CSX unit is missing a lot of parts. No traction motors, no tail lights, no air conditioning, a hood section from a burned CP unit as well as a freshly painted hood section… I called it a “frankenloco” after Frankenstein’s monster.

Some parts missing
Some parts missing

I don’t even think it had ditch lights on the front any more.

Heading out at WOODMAN
Heading out at WOODMAN

I decided to give chase one more time, as again they were just starting up and I should have time to get ahead of them. I wanted to get them in sunlight! There was the promise of the sunset to the west but at Woodman the sun was behind a giant dark cloud.

I got ahead of them before the Makwa siding but there was no sun – in fact, it was raining a bit. I elected to press on and passed through Rosser to find sunshine on the west side of the town. My next thought was to find a canola field to really enhance the scene.

Meadows Siding

CP 119 near Meadows, Manitoba
CP 119 near Meadows, Manitoba

I set up at an unsignaled crossing.. I quickly slapped together my video camera and tripod to record, then waited to take a series of stills as the train rolled past. It wasn’t going as fast as I had expected it would be.

Ex CSX 445 near Meadows, MB
Ex CSX 445 near Meadows, MB

The train was definitely slowing down as it continued past me. The photo below shows why.

Ex CSX 445 approaching Meadows siding
Ex CSX 445 approaching Meadows siding

The signal at far left is showing red / yellow / red, Canadian Rail Operating Rules # 427, “medium to stop”. They were entering the siding to meet an eastbound train.

At this point I was out of time and had to head home. I had already photographed both sides of 445 so I didn’t see much point in photographing it any more.

The Video

Video at Meadows

So What Is It Known As?

There is a lot of debate about whether this is still CSX 445, or maybe CP 445, or some other number. I personally doubt it is known as CSX 445 as it was sold to CP some time ago.

I’m told by people who know that the consist for this CP 119 didn’t show 445 at all… .just the lead and third locomotive. Mysterious!

Also, neither CSX 445 nor CP 445 shows up in CP’s system.

So what number is it now?

Where Is It Going?

Another good question!

Several people have suggested that it will be rebuilt into the CP 8200 series (AC4400CWM), which is what the former CP 8500 series (AC4400CW) are being rebuilt into. This work will likely be done at GE’s plant in Fort Worth, Texas, so perhaps this unit is heading west and then south. The rebuilds for the CP 8000 and 8100 series into AC4400CWM locomotives have involved a refurbished diesel engine, new cabs, inverters, Positive Train Control (PTC) and new paint. 445 could use some new paint!

Hopefully we will get some updates as 445 moves around the railway system. Please leave a comment if you have any information on this unit!

5 thoughts on “The Frankenloco”

  1. 445 came back in this morning about 11:30 on what I assume was 298? It’s center section was most likely removed to replace the brunt out section on a CP unit but that doesn’t account for the freshly painted section immediately in front.
    Also on another note 9023 was back in town.

    Reply
  2. Hi Steve,
    I e-mailed Earl Roberts about this unit. His response (and for your records I’ll forward his response) was the unit was/is going to Weston for scrapping. Now
    I can’t say why it’s running west of Winnipeg???

    Reply
  3. Hi Steve,
    I can’t send you Earl Robert’s response as I don’t have a valid e-mail address for you. I tried SteveBoyko and train geek.ca but they aren’t valid.

    Reply

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