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Old Time Trains


Canadian Pacific Railway

Alternate Roster


Alco PA-1 2000 HP steam generator equipped, geared 100 mph.

Digital colour courtesy of Gordon Kennedy.



A likely situation in early dieselization could have been an order for three pairs of ALCO PA-1 diesels for fast passenger service between Montreal-Toronto-Windsor. Numbered 2000-2005 due to series created for horsepower rating.

Train number 21 left Windsor Station Montreal at 11.00 p.m. daily arriving at Union Station in Toronto at 7.30 a.m. leaving there at 8.30 a.m. and arriving in Windsor at 2. 20 p.m. Taking 15 hours, 20 minutes. The train carried on to Detroit and Chicago via New York Central.

Through service on NYC from Chicago to Detroit continued as CPR train number 22 leaving Windsor daily at 4.40 p.m. arriving in Toronto at 10.20 p.m. departing at 11.10 p.m. and arriving in Montreal at 7.45 a.m. Taking 15 hours, 5 minutes.

This schedule was for steam powered trains. Diesels would be able to reduce this time by 1 hour, 20 minutes or more. However, overnight speed would take into consideration passenger comfort and convenient arrival times.

High utilization was critical since diesels were expensive and needed to be kept working. However, it would require three sets of diesels to handle the service. A little over 8 hours layover in Montreal could be used by Glen roundhouse to maintain the units. Longer work would require a third set of diesels. If not required they could be dispatched on a shorter cycle such as the Frontenac Montreal-Quebec City back in time to go out on #21 after a 5 hour layover for servicing. Steam would protect the Frontenac as well as 21-22 Toronto-Windsor and return.

Newer model 2250 HP PA-2's might well have followed in 1950-51-52 for additional Montreal-Toronto-Windsor (and Toronto-Buffalo) trains as well as Montreal-Quebec City and Montreal-Ottawa.

E9 2400 HP

Newer model following E8 1800-1802 might have been another choice besides Alco PA-1 or newer PA-2.

Enlarge image


Early Yard Switchers

Following the one-of-a-kind 7000 a 600 HP yard switcher built by National Steel Car and powered by a Harland and Wolf ship type diesel. Yes, the same Harland and Wolff shipyard that built the Titanic! It was equipped with a unusual control system that allowed only two speeds; slow and slower!



Esquimalt and Naniamo

In the "What if "category comes a number of things. First, the CPR had decided to "standardize" (something it rigorously followed) small road switchers for all work on the E&N, passenger, freight and yard. Five units were equipped with steam generators for passenger service. Only three were actually required but for the sake of better utilization (something essential considering the high cost of diesels) five were so equipped. It considered adding m.u. controls but in a typical CPR move this cost was cut. Multiple unit controls of a non-standard 21 pin type were finally added in the 1960's!

Even more interesting is the fact that two or three units were considered to be equipped with A-1-A trucks with six wheels,
four traction motor to allow a higher speed (60 mph) on the light 65 pound rail of the Victoria Subdivision between Parksville and Courtenay. Again, in the interests of standardization it was decided to live with the lower 20 mph speed restriction until heavier rail could be laid.

Another interesting "What If?" concerns the make of diesel chosen. The CPR was in a hurry to get the diesels and choose Baldwin over Alco as both Alco and EMD were backed up with orders. These were the first road units as the CPR had only bought Alco S-2 1000HP yard switchers to this point. Had Alco been able to deliver the units sooner RS-1's would have been acquired instead. MLW was just beginning to build Alco design S-2 switchers, so it is possible they could have built the RS-1's themselves. The CPR did later modify some MLW S-4's with auxiliary fuel tanks to give longer range for road use as they had small tanks. They were over-worked (another typical CPR method) in this capacity and had to be replaced with proper road switchers of much higher horsepower.

What the RS-1's might have looked like:

Note: E&N assigned diesels were not lettered for this subsidiary as were some steam engines.

Here is what might have been. RS-1 lettered for E&N (above) or CP (below)
Prepared especially for Old Time Trains by Roland Ruesch
Many diesel drawings are at Engine Shop


Not considered was dynamic brakes. Perhaps not well understood in practical operating terms at the time such brakes would have been of great advantage on the many steep grades on the E&N. Diesels reduced the fires set by steam locomotives (even oil-fired) but fires continued never-the-less. These fires were due to brakeshoe use controlling speed down grades. When the old Baldwin's were finally retired in 1976 and replaced by GMD GP38's with DB it was suddenly "discovered" fires were greatly reduced. No doubt the cost of equiping the Baldwins with dynamic braking and their maintenance costs would have been saved many times over in brakeshoe and wheel wear and in reducing firefighting costs over a period of a quarter of a century.

Otherwise, if EMD had been able to supply the CPR's needs it is likely NW5 1000HP road switchers would have been built for the E&N service instead.

Alternate Roster Steam Locomotives








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