General Motors Diesel Ltd.
Typical GMD builders plate (mounted on wall panel).
GMD These well-known initials represent the most
interesting industry on the C.P.R.'s London Division;
Aerial view of the 208 acre site on Oxford Street.
Before this plant was built diesel units (locomotives) had to be imported from the United States and duty paid. General Motors supplied their early model EMD yard diesels to Canada. Once a sufficient market was identified for diesels it was decided to build a plant in Canada to avoid customs duties. For more than half of a century, General Motors has built diesel locomotives here, with several plant expansions and additions over the years. In 1961 transit buses and suburban coaches were first built here before being relocated to another plant. In 1965 the Terex brand of heavy earthmoving equipment was added. Originally diesel locomotives were built for both domestic and export but, in later years for the U.S. market as well, eventually closing of the EMD plant near Chicago in 1991.
40th Anniversary Open House
EMC 103 FT 1030A 3/1939 with display B unit shell. Neither operated.
This pair of units had been restored for the EMD 50th
anniversary September 1989 of a
Units later sold to CNO&TP. 103 was dissplayed at
National Museum of Transportation in
The future is here. GM 754 A-B-A F3 diesels on CNR sit
beside CPR 2810 in Ottawa Union Station.
The Electromotive Division of General Motors delivered three
F3 A-B-A demonstrator diesel-electric locomotives to Canadian National's
Bonaventure Station in Montreal May 27, 1947.
Train of Tomorrow
The turquoise coloured Train of Tomorrow hauled by an EMD E7 passenger diesel began its 65,000 mile tour on May 26, 1947 in the U.S.A.. It was to show the public a modern way of train travel in this post World War II era. The railroads were all in need of renewal of worn over-used equipment and many large orders began.
GM 765 leads the Train of Tomorrow as an Extra West. Likely Aug. or Sept. 1949 Brockville
Train of Tomorrow was present at the sod turning
ceremony for the plant in September 1949.
GM Train of Tomorrow advertisement Life magazine June 16, 1947
GM Train of Tomorrow one page article Popular Mechanics Augsut 1947
GM Train of Tomorrow small fold out pamphlet. Old Time Trains Archives
Promotional movie for GM Train of Tomorrow passenger train that toured the USA and Canada 1947-1949.
EMD E9A diagram (similar to CPR E8A 1800's).
Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo 71, one of four GP7 model road switchers was the first diesel unit (A-117) completed in August 1950, although it was actually the fourth order, C-104. It cost $191,712.24.
The first order (C-100) was for ten model FP7A units, CPR 4028-4037. The first unit is shown near Leaside with Dynamometer Car 62 westbound on train 903, September 1950. 4028 and 4029 were delivered to the CPR on September 14,1950. W.H.N.Rossiter
Diesels were big news in 1950, especially these sleek new road units. It was covered on November 7, 1950 by the London Free Press with several photographs in a large article, and by radio station CFPL, whose representatives travelled with the train. The last two units of the first order, 4036 and 4037 pull out of the passing track at Bothwell with 53 cars and 2600 tons, after a meet with a passenger train. These units were destined for the rugged Algoma Division in Northern Ontario following trial runs. Note the extra caboose next to the engines used to accommodate "passengers" which included; GMD technicians Herold Shepard, Charles Browning and I.E.McIntosh along with GMD PR person Emmett Kelleher. Also present were CPR General Inspector of Diesel Equipment, J.A.Chisholm and for Public Relations, Jack Berry. Traveling Engineer J.J. (Jack) Young accompanied engineer W.J.(Bill) Mc.Millan, a man of 34 years seniority, fireman Frank Fitzmaurice and brakeman J.W.(Jack) Smith in the cab. The conductor and brakeman in the caboose were forgotten about!
Brand new CPR 1407_1904 FP9a and F9B passenger units breaking-in on freight, destined for brand new passenger train The Canadian.
PRR debut by GM
Aerotrain was a futuristic design of lightweight passenger train built using GM 40-seat bus bodies on two axles with air suspension. The locomotive was 1200hp. diesel-electric. It was an attempt to get new business since dieselization was nearing completion throughout North America. Two trainsets were built in the US and debuted with much fanfare as a low-cost solution to passenger service. Tried by different railroads they failed to catch on. The very lightweight and short length coaches provided a poor ride. Both were sold off in 1957 to the Rock Island for Chicago commuter service and were both retired in 1966.
Aerotrain comes to Canada. London 1957 Clayton Langstaff Collection
Aerotrain on display to the public. CNR Bathurst Street
express shed west of Union Station.
Note row of automobiles in the background. These are on top level of multilevel open rack flatcars.
February 1, 1969 General Motors Diesel Ltd. became the Diesel Division of General Motors of Canada Ltd. This new logo was not introduced until October 1975.
DDGM-style builders plate. Collection of Al Howlett
Order C-430 was for 75 SD40-2 units (5950-6024) for CPRail.
(Note the chalk marked #13 on the nose of one unit. This should be A-3969,
the 5962 delivered October 31,1980. At a cost of $1 Million each!
CN flat cars assigned for loading export diesels with buffers.
Two photos: London 8/08/1978 J.W.Booth
SJ T42 Litsnäset, Sweden 6/16/2016
The T42 was built in 1953 in London with a 567B engine.
Builder's number A558 12/1953
GMD 521 E-M Test Car 909.
EFVM 521 Vitoria Minas, Brazil. (Estrada de Ferro Vitoria
a Minas) . B12 GMD A430 7/1953.
Note: Eastern Bengal Railway also ordered 40 metre gauge B12 units. See below.
Bangladesh Railway 2039 (Formerly, Eastern Bengal Railway).
GMD 801-800 at Lambton shop track. April 1961. R.L.Kennedy
Small diesel-hydraulic units were tried by GMD but, they
were unable to develop a market for them.
Pair of DG5 units for Algeria on test track, June 10, 1976. Al Howlett
Corporate Changes and Closure
General Motors sold the locomotive business to new
investors (a partnership of Greenbriar Equity Group
Aerial photo showing property for sale. General Dynamics
property to left.