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Old Time Trains


Algoma Central Locomotives


Operations began with 4 second-hand 4-6-0's built for the Lehigh Valley and bought in September 1899 through James D. Gardner, a Chicago equipment dealer for $2800 each. Seven second hand 0-4-0's owned by the CB&Q were also purchased.

In 1900 Baldwin supplied the first new locomotives, four 2-8-0's, one of which was a compound. The first Canadian built locomotives were two 0-6-0's from Canadian Locomotive Company in Kingston.

Two secondhand 4-8-0's were acquired in 1907 from a near-by US iron-hauling railroad. They were the only engines in Canada of this unusual wheel arrangement.

Ten new 2-8-0's came in 1911 from Montreal Locomotive Works, followed in 1913 by five near-identical engines from CLC in Kingston. In between, in 1912, five 4-6-0's came from CLC for passenger service, with 63" diameter drivers these were the highest AC was to have. These 20 engines lasted until dieselization.

During World War II 17 used 2-8-2 locomotives came to the ACR from various US railroads. These were the largest steam engines (except for the two 2-10-2's) and were the only 2-8-2's rostered.

The all-time roster of steam locomotives totalled just 60 engines, less than half of which were acquired new.

1 (ex LV) 4-6-0 Soo c.1908 Algoma Central
Collection of W.V.B

19 0-6-0 CLC/ Queen's University Archives

33 2-8-0 Soo Sub.

38 2-8-0
National Archives of Canada PA-203687

40 2-8-0 Soo 1937
Harold K. Vollrath
Collection of W.V.B.

50 2-10-2 Soo 1937
Harold K. Vollrath
Collection of W.V.B.

60 (ex WAB 2426)
2-8-2 Soo 1937
Harold K. Vollrath
Collection of W.V.B.

80 (ex M&St.L 602)
2-8-2 Soo 1946
Harold K. Vollrath
Collection of W.V.B.


C-2 class 2-8-0 (28-37 ten engines) MLW April 1911
Cyl. 22 1/2" x 36" Drv. 56" Press. 180 lbs. t.e. 38,800 lbs.

29 out of service 1949 Howard Davis/Bud Laws Collection


37 last of ten engine order.

50 (2 engine order) 2-10-2 Cyl. 24" x 28" Drv. 57" Press. 250 lbs. t.e. 60,250 CLC 1858 7/1929

C Class 4-6-0 100-104 CLC April 1912
Cyl. 22 1/2" x 28" Drv. 63" Press. 180 lbs. t.e. 34,400 lbs.

104 last of five Ten-Wheelers. MLW 49861 4/1911



In February 1950 General Motors sent two of their three demonstrator diesel A & B road units along with a CPR dynamometer car for a winter test on the ACR. In June 1950 the CPR provided two MLW RS-2's 8405, 8406 for testing as well. These were the only demo units needed to see that steam was obsolete. Dieselization came quickly when 39 steam locomotives were replaced by just 21 diesels. Delivered in January 1951 were 5 GMD GP7 road switchers geared for only 55 mph (same as TH&B), followed in September by 14 more plus 2 SW8 yard switchers. A further 2 GP7's delivered in January 1953 finished off steam and in April, ACR became the first railway in Canada to be dieselized. Increased traffic resulted in 2 GP9's being delivered in August 1963, these were geared for the more normal 65 mph.

SD40-2 188 and GP9 167 sitting on shop track at sanding tower. Soo ca.1973Wolf Kirchmeir

140 switching passenger train in front of station. Sault Ste. Marie, June 1979

Yard engine 141 about to pull empty equipment off the Agawa Canyon train.
Note the footboard lights! 1974 Tom Farance

Both switchers were sold off by CN. 140 became WC 900 then ILSX_900

101 GP7 (r/b 156 GMD 6/78) Soo, June 19,1979

140 SW8 built 12/51 Soo, July 1971

141 SW8 built 4/52
Soo, Oct. 27/72
Note spark arrestor.

163 GP7 built 12/51
Soo, July 5, 1975

164 & SG 74, only GP7 with plow pilot. Note zebra handrails. May 1969

182 SD40 built 10/71
Soo, May 20, 1974

187 SD40-2 built 10/73
Soo, July 8, 1975

200 GP38-2 built 4/81
Soo, May 1981

157 April 1991 Paul McGrane

One GP7 unit could handle 1250 tons north from the SOO and 2950 beyond Hawk Junction to Hearst. Southbound it was 3100 tons from Hearst and 1440 from Hawk Jct. Clearly, the difference in territory operated over is evident by these tonnage ratings. The steepest grade on the mainline is a 12-mile stretch of 1.8% southbound out of Frater, but there are many grades in both directions.

This was the very last GP9 built in North America, long after production ended. GMD A2019 8/63
Note the GP20 style frame and fuel tanks on this and 171. Steelton, May 27, 1974. Ted Ellis

In 1972 another big step was taken when three heavy six-axle SD40's came to the ACR. These powerful units began to change things all over again as they did on other railways and just as the original diesels had done over steam locomotives. They were followed in 1973 by six SD40-2 units 183-188.

183 (also 184-188) on 12 month lease effective 1/12/1987 to CP Rail.
DD_GM A2869 8/1973

SD40-2 186 with two other SD's at Hawk Junction. 7/17/1975 Sam Beck Collection

There was still a need for smaller power and this brought about the rebuild in 1978 by GMD of five GP7's which were renumbered 100-104. Then CN rebuilt a further four GP7's; these were not renumbered. Rather than continue this rebuilding, in 1981 six modern GP38-2 units were acquired.

202 one of six GP38-2. GMD A4069 4/1981
Hawk Junction May 1, 1983 Chuck Schwesinger

Subsequent owners

Many old diesels (and passenger rolling stock) after being retired went on to another life.

PREX_1752_1761_2003_1750 westbound on Keokuk Junction, Peoria, IL 12/22/2017

1761, 1754 retired 11/2001. 1750, 1751, 1752, 1755 retired 6/2012.
All sold 2003 to Pioneer Rail Corp.

Keota-Washington Transportation Co. 150_151
Iowa Falls, IA 7/10/1982

Retired and sold 1981 through D.A.Wilson (D).
150 Resold 1988 Meridian Aggregates 150, Mill Creek, OK.

ATTX 151 Attebury Grain in Saginaw, TX 10/28/2012 Roberto Alaniz
GP7 151 GMD A171 1/1951
It was resold to Agri Leasing and went to Agri Industries 151, Amarillio, Texas.
Later to Continental Grain, then Cargill and finally Attebury Grain by 1/2007.

ATTX 204 EMD GP9 with 151 still in need of a paint job! 10/14/2011 Craig Walker

204 is ex-Yadkin Valley Railroad 204, ex-Southern Pacific 2877, ex-SP 3589, nee-SP 5748.

102:2 acq. 4/1986 (ex ACR 172) GMD A2019 8/1963 (last GP9 built).
Windsor July 23, 1986 Dave Parker

Note: Unit had been retired 1984 and cannibalized by ACR. Chop nosed by ETR
Sold 2016 to OSR after being stored indoors unserviceable for several years.





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