The Waterloo Central Railway

The Waterloo Central Railway is a tourist railway that runs between St. Jacobs and Elmira, Ontario. The WC is owned by the Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society (SOLRS), a charitable organization dedicated to preserving and operating vintage railway equipment.

Because of COVID-19, they haven’t run any excursions this year and the status of the rest of the trips for 2020 is uncertain. Their primary source of revenue is train rides, so they are hurting a bit, like most museums this year. Please consider donating to the SOLRS to support their preservation efforts.

Since they aren’t running trains, their focus this year is on maintenance and preservation. Here are a few projects they have “on the go”.

Repainting The Diesels

Waterloo Central 6593 and 1001
Waterloo Central 6593 and 1001

The Waterloo Central has three diesel locomotives – #1001 (an MLW S-13 that worked on the PG&E, BC Rail and the GWWD), #1002 (another MLW S-13 that worked on the PG&E, BC Rail and Ontario Southland), and #6593 (an MLW S3 that was owned by CP).

They are being repainted into classic Canadian Pacific-inspired colours.

Restoring the Midway

Coach "Midway" stripped
Coach “Midway” stripped

The Waterloo Central has a fleet of passenger cars, including five coaches, an RDC (used as a coach) and a business car. They are doing extensive restoration work on coach #1437 “Midway”, built in 1923 by Canadian Car & Foundry. As you can see from the photo above, the interior has been stripped and it will be getting a new ceiling, floor, windows and lighting. This work is necessary but expensive and time-consuming.

Rebuilding Number 9

Waterloo Central #9 stripped to the boiler
Waterloo Central #9 stripped to the boiler

Steam engine #9 is a jewel in the Waterloo Central’s collection. It was built in 1923 by Montreal Locomotive Works and served on the Essex Terminal Railway in the Windsor, ON area until 1960. It was leased to the SOLRS in 1986 and was worked on for a decade before being steamed up again in late 1997.

It is undergoing some repairs, as you can see from the photo above.

The photos above were supplied by the Waterloo Central… they aren’t mine.

My Encounter With the Waterloo Central

Waterloo Central 1556 in Waterloo
Waterloo Central 1556 in Waterloo

In late 2013 I was visiting my son in Waterloo and we stumbled across a train parked at the station in town. I believe it was a Santa Train parked overnight. The station and the train were decorated for the season. I believe #1556 is privately owned and leased by the Waterloo Central. It was decorated in a style inspired by the early CN switcher colours.

Cabooses in Waterloo
Cabooses in Waterloo

The train had a few cabooses and passenger cars. One of the passenger cars was #15000, “Lord Elgin”.

Help Them Out

I believe railfans have a duty to help museums and tourist railways to preserve our railway heritage. You can help with time or money, or just by spreading the word.

Donate: Visit this link to donate

Time: Volunteer! Visit this link

Spread the word: Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and share their posts!

Thanks for helping.

Visit the Waterloo Central online to learn more.

9 thoughts on “The Waterloo Central Railway”

  1. I’m one of the Engineers in the WCR. It’s nice to see a review like this. Thanks Steve! Hope you come back to see us when all is well again.


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