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CANDO Rail Services

Formerly, CANDO Contracting Ltd.
(renamed 2013)

by R.L.Kennedy



CANDO, based in Brandon, Manitoba, began business in 1978 dismantling trackage. It also does track maintenance for large industries as well as contract switching and has branched out into Ontario.
It has expanded into operating shortline railways in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.

First noticed in Ontario when it dismantled the CNR Beachburg Subdivision which ran through Algonquin Provincial Park. This line between Pembroke and North Bay, Ontario was built by the Canadian Northern Railway and opened on November 23,1915. Canadian National ended operations November 24, 1995 and abandoned the line April 18,1996 after a failed attempt to create a joint operation across Northern Ontario
with Canadian Pacific whereby the later's line being abandoned.

CCGX 1000 original appearance, Barrie, February 10, 1998. Gordon Strathdee

One of two units used on CANDO work trains was a GP9 originally built for the Quebec North Shore & Labrador as their number 157. It was later one of five units bought in 1981 by Metro Canada Ltd. of Kingston for a still-born commuter train operation between Vancouver and Coquitlam, British Columbia. These units were stored for some time at the CPR's John Street shop before going to the ONR at North Bay and eventually sold off to Andrew Merrilees Ltd. (Dealer). Acquired in August 2001, it became CCGX 1000, later going to Barrie-Collingwood Ry. and eventually wound up operating on the Orangeville-Brampton Ry.

Note: When QNS&L disposed of most of their GP's beginning in 1970, many went to a new leasing outfit (said to be some CPR officials) named Canadian Bellequip Ltd. which in turn leased them to the C.P.R. A few months later they were all sold to Precision National Corp. a U.S. locomotive leasing company.


Brandt Roadrailer unit.


Athabasca Northern


Central Manitoba


Contract Switching


United States

Georgia-Pacific paper mill, Highway 82, Crossett, Arkansas
Formerly, 1962, Crossett Lumber established 1899.

Note: First contract in USA using locomotives.

GMTX 309 (ex GATX 309, ex CP 1447 nee KCC 121)
EMD MP15AC 776128-2 12/1978 E. St.Louis, IL 3/30/2019

GMTX 386 MP15AC ex UPY 1438 nee SP 2709
EMD 756064-8 8/1975 East St.Louis, IL 5/01/2019

British Columbia

Cando Rail Terminal

4016 acq.2013 (ex LDSX/CN 4143) GMD A1649 2/1959
Kamloops Rail Terminal March 2, 2019


West Fraser Ltd. Hinton Pulp Div. contract switching.
Hinton, AB

CCGX 5305 acq. 6/2017 (ex CP 5847) SD40-2 GMD A3511 12/1977.
CCGX 5202 acq. 2015 (ex RTEX 200 ex WGN 200, ex DMIR 200 nee BLE 865)
SD38AC EMD 37704 7/1971. Hinton, AB December 18, 2018

CEFX 6056_CEFX_6057 with outbound loads to be set out for CN to lift.
Hinton, AB March 12, 2017

Leased 9/2015 SD38-2 EMD 786142-1, -8 10/1978 nee Reserve Mining 1237, 1244

Imperial Oil


The newest (2004) switching contract is the Imperial Oil refinery in Edmonton.

CCGX 1004 and 1005 (ex CP 1209 nee 8118 and ex 1207 nee 8121 acq. 2004) SW1200RS
East Edmonton April 4, 2008 Tim Stevens



CCGX_5308 (ex CEFX 3105 SD40-2, nee CN 5160 SD40 A2419 1/1971)
CCGX_5309 acq. 3/2016 (ex CP 5407 nee QNSL 215 SD40) GMD A2552 6/1971
Mosiac, Esterhazy, SK

CCGX 5307 acq. 5/2016 (ex CEFX 3130 ex SP 7507 SD45R nee SP 8610 SD45) EMD 32001 8/1966
CCGX 5311 acq. 7/2014 (ex DESX 5311 nee CN 5311) SD40-2 GMD A3563 9/1978
Waiting at Mile 19.7 CP Yarbo Sub. to switch Mosaic Potash, Yarbo, SK September 10, 2018.

Co-op Refinery Complex

Contract switching includes Victoria Plains storage yard (255 cars)
and interchange with CN.

CCGX 4203 acq. 2015 GP38-3 (ex LLPX 2202 ex NS 2733, nee SOU 2733 GP38)
Freshly painted right after arrival! See below. 9/29/2015 Winnipeg Matt Walker

CCGX 4204 GP38AC-3 acq. 2015 (ex LLPX 2222, ex GTW 6220 nee DT&I GP38AC 220)
9/29/2015 Winnipeg Matt Walker

Note: Above two units sent to Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina to replace
leased CEFX 1503 (MPC GP15D) and CCGX 4017 (GP9R).



4015 switching at Adity Birta (formerly, Kimberly-Clark) pulp mill Terrace Bay, ON. August 20, 2018
Recently transferred from Orangeville-Brampton shortline previously operated by CANDO.
Ex CCGX_4118. Ex CN 4118 GMD A652 3/1955 Raymond S. Farand

Domtar Dryden Mill

1 Duke Street, Dryden

CCGX 1008 leased 6/2014 (ex LDSX 1251, ex Gerdeau Ameristeel 1251,
ex AMF 1251 nee CN 1251). GMD A1023 11/1958

Resolute Forest Products
Formerly, Abitibi-Bowater
Thunder Bay

Additional units
4009 (shown on OBRY 3/2012)
4014 (shown on OBRY 8/2016)

4011 GMD A1333 1/1958 Thunder Bay 7/13/2012

Abitibi-Bowater two units transferred from CEMR.

4012 GMD A1336 1/1958 Thunder Bay 7/13/2012

Note: All 4 units show at Resolute in 2019.


Remote control SW1200 (nee Missouri Pacific 1110) in St.Thomas yard,
displayed during Iron Horse Festival, August 1999. Peter's Trains

Formet Industries, a Magna International plant opened in 1998 in St.Thomas, Ontario makes truck frames, including those for GM in Oshawa which are delivered by a dedicated, scheduled CPR train ("frame train") operating 6 days a week. Prior to its opening it was estimated that 11,500 loads would be shipped annually to
six GM plants, 70% via CN. This facility with its 140 car yard is another contract switching operation of CANDO.

CCGX_1329 (nee CN 1329 Windsor 8/1991) SW1200RS GMD A1566 11/1958 St.Thomas 5/22/2006

Aerials views July 2, 2005 David Graham

Coco Paving


1004 (ex CP 1209 nee 8118) Acq. 2004 GMD A1498 9/1958.
East Edmonton 7/27/2010 Steve Arnot

Note: 1004 transferred 3/2015 to Millhaven ON to switch Coco Paving.

KoSa Canada

Formerly Celanese Canada Inc.

A large chemical factory in Millhaven, ON near Kingston,
Mile 186.6 CN Kingston Sub. on CN Millhaven Spur. (link).
It was a contract switching operation with a 260 car yard.

Plant closed April 2000 and demolished 2013.

78 an SW8m ex-Lehigh Valley 271 still with Andrew Merrilees Ltd. logo on cab.
Switching Celanese on December 21, 1997 Eric Gagnon

1002 (sold 1/2010) National Research Council, Uplands, Ottawa 1/27/2010 Ian McCord

KoSa Canada, Two switchers are used here: CCGX 1002 and CCGX 1003 an SW1200 ex-PRR 7921.
April 30, 2004 Chris Blaschuk


Car mover

Ontario Hydro


Ontario Hydro's Lennox Generating Station at Bath, Ont.
in early 1998 became a contract operation handling unit oil trains.
Photos wanted



STEELCARE Plant 6, a new steel rail-truck transfer facility in CPR's former TH&B Aberdeen Yard in Hamilton, Ontario is another contract switching operation using a Car Mover.





Athabasca Northern

ANY 4004-4006 (ex CNR 4113, 4120) at Lac la Biche, AB. October 24,2001. Tim Green

Owned and operated by CANDO, this 202 mile long line between Boyle and Fort Mc.Murray in northern Alberta was acquired in October 2000 from Canadian National for dismantlingof its mostly 85 lb. rail. CANDO then decided to try operating it instead. It had been operated by Lakeland & Waterways (Rail America) which gave it up due to low traffic volume. Acquired by RaiLink from CN it was once part of the Northern Alberta Railways and was originally built as the Alberta & Great Waterways. Three upgraded GP's are used, including 4005 (ex CN 4103) to haul pipe north for pipelines and petroleum coke southbound from the oil sands.


Article about the Alpac log trains.

ANY Gallery

Note: Athabasca Northern was sold in December 2007 back to Canadian National for $25 Million!


CCGX 1000 Pride of Barrie & Collingwood still lettered for Barrie-Collingwood Ry.
Shown at Snelgrove on OBRY, March 2000. Snowplow pilot from its QNS&L days comes in handy!
Bryan Passifiume

This new shortline began January 26,1998 following acquisition of the CNR's trackage between Barrie and Collingwood by the Town of Collingwood and the City of Barrie seeking to preserve rail service to their industries. It included 31 miles of track between the two points as well as 5 small spurs in and around Barrie where the largest amount of freight is handled. Customers include, in Collingwood; Pilkington Libbey-Owens-Ford (automobile glass), Canadian Mist (distillers) and Nacan (starch). In Barrie, Tarpin Lumber, Bemis Manufacturing (fomerly Moldex) and Comet Chemicals. Closing of the Molson brewery soon after the takeover by CANDO cost them 25% of their traffic.

Due to the abandonment of the CNR between Orillia and Toronto, the line was isolated from the CNR system and a new interchange with the CPR's MacTier Sub. (Mile 58.0) was established at Utopia, Mile 7.5 Meaford Spur.

CCGX 1001 GP9
(ex B & O 6594)
Barrie, September 1998.
Gordon Strathdee

Spirit of Collingwood.

Mile 12 Meaford Sub.


CCGX 1755 GP10 and 1808 GP18 ex RLK Southern Ontario 5/25/2013.
Neither unit put into service. 2015 sent to CEMR Winnipeg.

Central Manitoba

Serious track work is underway on the Pine Falls Sub, as evidenced by ballast hoppers. 5/31/2017

CEMR 4000 at dusk. Curt Wakeman

CEMR 4002 GP9 (ex CN 4026 acq.1999) Curt Wakeman

Central Manitoba Gallery

This shortline in Manitoba consists of the former CNR Pine Falls Sub. 67.5 miles between Winnipeg and Pine Falls as well as the former CNR Carman Sub. 50.5 miles between Winnipeg and Graysville. It is owned and operated by CANDO effective May 2, 1999 (Pine Falls) and June 6, 1999 (Carman). Running rights over CNR trackage is utilized to get between the two Subdivisions.

Traffic on the Carman Subdivision includes grain, fertilizer and lumber. Pine Falls Sub. customers includes Pine Falls Paper in Pine Falls, Manitoba Hydro in East Selkirk (100 car unit coal trains off BN), Agrico (grain) in Libau and Griffin Wheel in Winnipeg. Two upgraded GP9's and 15 employees handle about 10,000 carloads annually.

Another branch line Central Manitoba is trying to acquire is the CPR Winnipeg Beach Sub. running 58 miles from Winnipeg through Selkirk (Mile 21.0) and Winnipeg Beach (M. 47.1 to Gimli at mile 56.5. Customers include Mandak Metal and other steel industries in Selkirk, and a distillery in Gimli. It has been delayed by legal matters concerning existing labour agreements.

The latest happenings were announced in December 2002 with CANDO buying or leasing 32 acres of the CPR North Transcona Yard. Here they will relocate their operation from the CNR Symington Yard, building a shop and office (13,000 square feet, $75,000). A 1000 foot connecting track has been built between the CN Pine Falls Sub. and CPR Keewatin Sub. at Norcran. CEMR will take control of a short track between the mainline and North Transcona. A transload centre will also be built here. CEMR now serves the Imperial Oil refinery in Bird's Hill for CPR traffic taking it to North Transcona for furtherance.



OBRY 1000 southbound with usual biweekly freight passing site of former CPR Brampton station.
June 2006 Dan Dell'Unto

Brampton Diamond

Another new Ontario shortline was created through municipal efforts by the Town of Orangeville and key industries to preserve freight service through the Orangeville Railway Development Corp. a body of the
Town of Orangeville and Orangeville-Brampton Rail Access Group for industries, came together to create the Orangeville-Brampton Ry. which in turn was contracted to CANDO for operation under their Barrie-Collingwood Railway.

Customers include OBRAG members Clorox of Canada (Glad brand garbage bags) 35.6%, Poly One Canada (Geon) 33.4 %, and Symplastics Ltd.5.5%, Performance packaging 4.4%, all handling plastic pellets, Holmes Agro in Fraxa 3.3%, and Vulsay Industries in Brampton, blending and packaging of liquids, 17.8%. Non-members include Brampton Brick in Brampton. Note: Traffic figures (see above %) are as of August 2001.

Orangeville Industrial spurs in the north end have always been owned by the Town, one 3,130 feet long since November 1, 1964, to serve Greening-Donald Wire, United Extrusions and Carlew Chemicals; and one since May 1,1979 to serve Martin Brower (Mc.Donald's), and Canada Wire. This latter plant became a truck trailer manufacturer, Manac, that does not use rail. An extention served Johnson Controls.

OBRY consists of 34 miles of the former CPR Owen Sound Subdivision (originally Orangeville Sub.) between mile 2.4 (near Streetsville) and Orangeville, Mile 36.7. The sale finally took place September 29, 2000 after six years of determined effort by Orangeville and incredible patience on the part of Canadian Pacific's St.Lawrence & Hudson subsidiary which existed at that time.

CCGX 1000 re-lettered for OBRY.

CCGX 200001 at Orangeville.

OBRY train at Orangeville

CCGX 200001
ex CN 79843 Transferred from BCRY to OBRY August 2001.

Above four photographs: Walter E. Pfefferle

Aerial view Orangeville July 2007
Passenger train in front of new station.

CCGX 4009 (ex CN 4127:2nd) GMD A1688 6/1959, at Mile 7.8 Brampton 3/03/2012

CCGX 4014 (ex CN 4001:2nd) GMD A1303 11/1957 Orangeville 8/10/2016

Note: CANDO ended their contract to operate OBRY. Operation taken over by Trillium Ry. July 1, 2018.
Passenger service abruptly ended early 2018 and coaches quickly sold off prior to new operator take over.


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