The Prairie Dog Central is a tourist railway operating out of Inkster Junction in northwest Winnipeg out to Warren, Manitoba. The PDC operates both steam and diesel powered tourist trains.
The PDC is owned by The Vintage Locomotive Society Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to operating the PDC.
The Prairie Dog Central operates a tourist train once daily on most Saturdays and Sundays during the summer. Please visit the Prairie Dog Central’s web site for complete information.
The train begins its journey at the station at Inkster Junction and proceeds to Grosse Isle, Manitoba. There is a station stop there to allow passengers to disembark, sample local vendors’ wares, and use the restrooms. In most cases the train then proceeds to Warren for another station stop. The engine is turned or run around at either Grosse Isle or Warren. The return trip is generally a straight run back to Inkster Junction with no further stops.
The PDC’s first run was on July 11, 1970. For the first four years, they operated out of Charleswood along Wilkes Boulevard in Winnipeg, on the former CN Cabot subdivision. In 1975 they began operating from the old St. James station, immediately west of Polo Park on the CN Oak Point subdivision. The train was stored and maintained in the CN Transcona shops. In 1996 CN advised that the Oak Point subdivision was to be abandoned and the train had to move.
The PDC ceased operation for two years and began fundraising to move the train to its present location off Inkster Boulevard in northwest Winnipeg. They now operate on a portion of CN’s Oak Point subdivision, and own the remainder of the track to Warren, Manitoba.
The Prairie Dog Central owns five locomotives:
- Vintage 4-4-0 steam locomotive #3
- Former Burlington Northern & Santa Fe GP9 #1685
- Grand Trunk Western GP9 #4138
- Ex CN SD40 #5232
- Ex Manitoba Hydro 35 tonne GE locomotive #864
Steam engine #3 was built by Dubs & Company in Glasgow, Scotland in 1882 and holds the distinction of being the oldest operating coal-fired locomotive in North America.
4138 was built by Electro-Motive Diesel in 1958.
The train typically has five passenger cars, four coaches and one combination baggage-coach built in 1908. The four coaches were built between 1901 and 1913. The train usually has a wooden caboose, ex-CP 436192 built in 1912 and acquired in 1971.
Their passenger cars are:
- Pullman combine #103 “Gordon Younger”, built May 1908
- Crossen coach #104, built August 1906
- Coach #105, built in 1901
- CP-Angus coach #106, built December 1912
- CP-Angus coach #107, built July 1911
- Canadian Car and Foundry bunk car #110, built December 1911