Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Diesels on Prince Edward Island, Part 2

Previously I wrote about the two 44-ton diesels that were the first diesel engines on PEI.

CN tried several 75-ton diesels, a Whitcomb design built by the Canadian Locomotive Company (CLC), in 1948. They proved unsatisfactory and were sent back.

Shortly thereafter CN purchased 18 GE 70-ton units that were to prove much more successful. The engines arrived in 1950. Later that year, the last steam engine, 1149, left PEI on September 23, 1950. The 70-tonners were initially numbered 7800 - 7817. They were renumbered in 1954 to 1526-1543 and again in 1956 to 26-43.

The 70-ton units originally wore the original green and yellow CN switcher paint and evolved over time to the CN black and red paint starting in 1961. I have not seen any photos of the 70-ton units in the "sergeant stripe" livery.

These engines appear to have been the mainstay of the island fleet for about 15 years. There are quite a few photos showing two of them pulling mainline trains on PEI.

At least a few of the 70-tonners lasted into the 1970s before being retired. A few of them went to the Thurso and Nation Valley Railway (TNVR), a logging railway in western Quebec.

Here is a partial list of where the locomotives went.
CN 26: built May 1950, to TNVR for parts April 1970
CN 27: retired April 1969, scrapped in Moncton 1972.
CN 28: built March 1950, wrecked Feb 27 1965, retired April 1965
CN 29: built March 1950, to TNVR as #11 April 1970
CN 30: retired October 1983, to Canadian Railway Museum in 1984
CN 31: built March 1950, retired Dec 1967, scrapped in Moncton 1972
CN 32: retired Nov 1969, scrapped in Moncton 1971
CN 33: to St. Lawrence Iron & Metal #33 in October 1969
CN 34: retired and scrapped in Moncton Sep 1969
CN 35: retired Oct 1983, scrapped in Moncton 1984
CN 36: built May 1950, to TNVR as #12 April 1970
CN 37: wrecked Dec 1963, scrapped in Moncton 1964
CN 38: retired Sep 1969, scrapped in Moncton 1969
CN 39: retired Oct 1968
CN 40: retired Feb 1980, scrapped in Moncton 1984
CN 41: retired Oct 1980, scrapped in Moncton 1984
CN 42: built May 1950, retired December 1967
CN 43: to Acadia Coal #43 in May 1962, now in Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum

Next, the Fairbanks-Morse units.

EDIT: I found an excellent article by Wendell Lemon on the 70 tonners in the September 2008 Branchline magazine. Wendell as usual has a lot of good detail and photos there. Link to PDF

NOTE: The information in this blog post series has been collected and expanded upon to make an eBook:
click for more information

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