Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Steam Coming Home

The railfan community has been all abuzz about the return of two Canadian Pacific steam engines to Canada. CP 1238 and CP 1286, 4-6-2 G5 class steam locomotives, were owned by Jack Showalter and operated on the Virginia Central and the Allegheny Central/Western Maryland Scenic. I understand they haven't operated since 1990 and were in storage at the Shenandoah Valley Railroad / Mountain Rail Adventures.

Jack Showalter passed away last year. The two steam engines have been purchased by an unknown person or organization (rumoured to be from Alberta) and are destined for storage at the Prairie Dog Central Railway here in Winnipeg. They started their journey in early August and arrived in Winnipeg yesterday (September 13).

Jeff Keddy was ready to capture them south of Winnipeg as they came up the CP Emerson subdivision. He first caught them south of Grande Pointe, with the engines behind CP 8841.
CP 8841 and steam engines

The tenders were together on one flatcar.
Virginia Central tenders
CP 1286 - unlabeled - came next. CP 1286 was built by the Canadian Locomotive Company (CLC) in May 1948 and is a class G5d locomotive.
CP 1286
The little red label on the lead end of the locomotive says "PRIVATE PROPERTY NO TRESPASSING".

Next was CP 1238... built by MLW in June 1946 as a class G5c locomotive.
CP 1238
Jeff shot them approaching Winnipeg (lead photo) and then crossing the Floodway.

Jeff was able to catch them twice more. Here they are along Archibald Street passing the Central Grain facility.
CP 8841 passing Central Grain

Right after that, they crossed Mission Street and went under the CN Redditt subdivision aka "the high line".

They ended up parked in the Winnipeg yard, on the north side along Jarvis Avenue.
CP steam engines in Winnipeg
The Prairie Dog is tight-lipped about who the owner is, citing confidentiality agreements. We will have to wait and see.

Thanks should go to Jeff Keddy for sharing his great photos with everyone!

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Karl A. said...

I had forgotten about these until a friend of mine sent pics of these going through St.Paul, MN. It will be cool to see them hit the rails again.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Karl, I'm not sure when they will hit the rails again. I don't imagine it will be soon. My guess is that the steam crew at the Prairie Dog will look them over and provide recommendations to the owner about their condition and what needs to be done to return them to service, given that they have been sitting for more than a decade. I am sure Mr. Showalter took very good care of them during their inactivity, though.

Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

Wow, some old steamers repatriated! Nice. I'm sure curious to see what will happen.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Me too, Chris!

Ron M. said...

Thank you for posting the photos on the return of these two locos to Canada. I had lost track of them over the years.
After leaving Covington, VA, one loco made a fall foliage run from Staunton, VA to Charlottesville, VA on Chessie tracks. That was the last time I saw either loco in action.
Jack Showalter’s daughter tried to secure an agreement to make more runs but an Amtrak accident caused Chessie to demand unrealistic insurance coverage.
My youngest son rode behind one of the steamers in Covington at 6 weeks of age. I guess it made an impression as he is an engineer with Norfolk Southern today.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Ron, glad you found those locos - online. They are still in place at the Prairie Dog Central and unlikely to move for a while.

I hear that steam gets in your blood!