Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Diesels on Prince Edward Island, Part 5

CN 1754 at Kensington, PEI
CN 1754 by the Kensington station, May 1987

Previously: 44 tonners, 70 tonners, Fairbanks-Morse units, RSC-13 units.

The last type of diesel engine to work on Prince Edward Island was the MLW RSC-14. They arrived in 1975 or 1976 to replace the MLW RSC-13s. Ironically, part of the RSC-13s kept on working on PEI, as most of the RSC-14 units used the six-axle trucks from retired RSC-13 units.

The 38 RSC-14 units were rebuilt by CN from MLW RS-18 units between June 1975 and June 1976. The rebuild consisted of replacing the 4-axle trucks on the RS-18 with 6-axle trucks from retired RSC-13 (1700 series) and RS-24 units (1800 series), as well as reducing the horsepower from 1800 HP to 1400 HP by limiting the generator output. The RSC-14 units were renumbered from 38xx to the series 1750-1787. They were not repainted as part of the modification, so some of the RSC-14s retained the black 1961 paint scheme with the CN noodle, and some had the zebra stripes.
CN 1753 in Charlottetown, by Errol Robertson
CN 1753 outside the Charlottetown shops around 1984. Photo by Errol Robertson.

Errol Robertson mentioned the following when he was at Charlottetown taking that photo: "At that time there were also three or four unmodified 4 axle Alcos stored in the shop. I inquired about them and I was told that they were stored serviceable waiting for a buyer and they had come to PEI as part of a regular freight, but not running. As I recall they were numbered 36??. Unfortunately there was never enough light in the shop to get a good photo."

The MLW RSC-14 units served all through the Maritimes. The lower numbered units worked on PEI, and after abandonment of PEI's railway on December 31, 1989 they went to the mainland. The RSC-14s could be seen on branchlines in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and at least one unit (1787) was the standard-gauge switcher at Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. The last RSC-14, CN 1786, was retired in May 1996.

Of the 38 units, four were sold to ACINOC in Cuba, one was sold to ALCAN Jamaica, three were sold to the CB&CNS railway (since scrapped), two remained in Canada, and the rest were scrapped. One of the two Canadian survivors is CN 1762, on display in Kensington PEI, and the other is former CN 1754, which went to the Salem & Hillsborough Railroad in 1994 after their disastrous fire, and still remains there in operable condition.

CN 1750 and 1754 at Borden PEI
CN 1750 and 1754 at Borden, PEI, July 4, 1986

Some PEI sightings of RSC-14s:
1976/07: CN 1750, 1751, 1752, 1754, 1755, 1756
1977/12/30: CN 1752
1979/07/31: CN 1753, 1756
1980/07: CN 1756
1982/06/10: CN 1751
1982/06/09: CN 1754
1983/08: CN 1756
1983/08/22: CN 1754, 1755
1984/09/04: CN 1752, 1755
1984/09/05: CN 1750, 1751
1984/09/13: CN 1752, 1753
1984/09/14: CN 1751, 1755
1985/10: CN 1754
1988/09: CN 1750
1989/fall: CN 1757
1989/12/28: CN 1750, 1786 - final day of trains on PEI

It's probably no secret to regular blog readers that I am an Alco/MLW fan, and the RS-18 and RSC-14 are my favourite MLW engines. I think I fell in love with them while riding in the New Brunswick Railway Museum's RSC-14, 1754, and their S-12, 8245. Here's a video I did of 1754 pulling the dinner train back in October 2002, two years before the railroad shut down there. This is in Hillsborough, NB.

Reference material

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

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great stuff. Thanks for posting.