A variety of steam engines are
still operated by private, public and volunteer groups across Canada
who are striving to provide the sights, sounds and smells of working
steam engines to people who have never experienced (or have forgotten)
their use as a major mode of transportation for both people and freight.
here for an mp3 sound clip recorded on the
ex-CN 4-6-0 # 1009 as it crossed Dawson Road on the Salem &
Hillsborough Railroad in New Brunswick on 8 October 1989 (fall foliage
train). If the mp3 file does not play your browser does not support mp3
More information about tourist railroads can be found in the Canadian
Passenger Tourist Excursions Directory . The annual Canadian
Trackside Guide published by Bytown Railway Society, Ottawa has
information on all locomotives in Canada both operational and static.
Rail's Royal Hudson.
2860 - a former Canadian Pacific locomotive was operated by BC Rail on
its main line, usually between
North Vancouver and Squamish. Here we see the locomotive on a
cross-Canada tour at Red Deer, Alberta late on the night of 4 May 1978.
It sounded wonderful coming down into the Red Deer river
here for an mp3
sound clip of its whistle recorded by Dr.
J.S. Grossert on a later occasion from the train as it approached North
Below we see
the next day at the CP Rail station in Calgary.
now at the West Coast Railway Association's Heritage Park,
Forest Museum (now BC Forest Discovery Centre).
Discovery Centre and Museum at Duncan has an excellent series of indoor
and outdoor displays showing how the logging industry has developed on
Vancouver Island. An operating three foot railway, Cowichan Valley
Railway, takes visitors around the site. For further information visit
One of the
locomotives that they have used to carry visitors around the site is
narrow gauge Vulcan 0-4-0ST (saddle tank)
#25. Here we see three photos taken in 1997 during its rebuilding at
the museum. Left is the saddle tank and right are the boiler and safety
valve cover; below are the frames and cylinders.
On the left
is the locomotive prior to the 2001 season and on the right and below,
courtesy of the BC Forest Discovery Centre, are pictures of it
operating in an earlier season.
gauge (3 foot) oil-fired Shay locomotive number 1 has
also been used to haul trains of visitors
around a 1.5 mile circuit at the
museum. Some of the grades are as steep as 4% so these provide a good
demonstration of the abilities of a Shay.
Shays have vertical cylinders (usually three)
on the right-hand side of the
locomotive. The pistons are connected to a horizontal shaft. As the
pistons move up and down the shaft is rotated and drives each axle
through gears. Because the cylinders are on one side, the boiler must
be situated off centre and this gives the locomotives a unique
appearance as seen in the pictures. This geared locomotive was
specifically designed to haul heavy loads at slow speeds on steeply
graded, light-weight track.
originally used by Hillcrest Lumber Company in the Lake Cowichan
On the left
we see volunteer engineer Brian Nicol oiling the connecting rods of the
three vertical cylinders of the Shay and on the right we see engineer
Bob Symington at the controls of the narrow gauge Shay.
CPR 3716 was
moved to the Kettle Valley Railway from BC Rail and is now their
operating steam locomotive.
Prior to its
arrival they used Shay #3 which at the time was the second
operating Shay locomotive in BC and also comes from Vancouver Island.
was originally owned by the Mayo Lumber Company and was their #3. It
was rebuilt by the staff at the BC Forest Museum before going to the
restored Kettle Valley Railway
Here the locomotive is being rebuilt at the British Columbia
Forest Museum on 5 June 1995. Unlike the BCFM Shay this locomotive
operates on standard gauge track. The vertical cylinders, drive shaft
and gears can be clearly seen.
The Kettle Valley
Railway was originally part of a route for CP passenger and freight
trains from Vancouver to Lethbridge and served many communities in
between. The route was very indirect because it had to go around
numerous lakes and cross several mountain ranges. This necessitated the
building of many tunnels and trestles and operating costs were high
partly because of heavy snowfalls in the winter. Some of the trestles
have been rebuilt as part of a hiking trail.
restored Kettle Valley Railway at Summerland in Southeastern BC is the
only section of the original line that remains. For more information, visit
Here we see the Shay near Prairie Valley station on 5 June 1999 and
below we see the driver and fireman on the same day.
Alberni Valley Museum.
Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society operates, a standard gauge
1929 2-8-2 Baldwin tank engine #7 that spent its working life on
Vancouver Island in the logging industry. There is also an ex CP RS3
diesel that is sometimes used by the neighbouring pulp mill. For more
information visit their site
In June 2001
the steam locomotive began a five mile operation daily (except Tuesdays
and Wednesdays) from the historic station in downtown Port Alberni to
the McLean Mill (an operating steam sawmill that is now a national
Below we see
photos of the train at the station prior to its second public trip and
en-route to the mill.
British Columbia Heritage Park near Cranbrook has a standard gauge
railway called the East Kootenay Railway. Periodically locomotives are
steamed including 115 - a 3 truck Shay and 1077 - a 1923 MLW 2-6-2
weekends a narrow gauge (2 foot)
wood-burning 0-4-0T is operated by the local museum in Fort George
locomotive was built by Davenport in September 1912 but has been
rebuilt many times.
Revelstoke Railway Museum
museum at Revelstoke and the national historic site at Craigellachie
have many items of railroad interest. Canadian Pacific 2-8-2 5468 built
by MLW in 1948 is on static display but there is usually a retired
railroader on hand to describe its operation and make it come alive for
you. For this reason I have included it with the operating locomotives.
Here we see
5468 on its way to the museum (photo courtesy of the Revelstoke Railway
Museum and Studio 83) and then a view inside its cab.
narrow-gauge WPYR runs from Skagway in Alaska up the White Pass to
Bennett, British Columbia and then on to Whitehorse, Yukon. In 1982 the
opening of an all weather highway to Skagway and the closure of the
Faro mine resulted in the closure of the railroad. It has now been
reopened as a summer tourist railroad with trains running from Skagway
to the BC border and a 'speeder" service to Bennett. The line beyond
Lake Bennett to Carcross is been used for some excursions but the
section from Carcross to Whitehorse is currently closed. For more
information see Boerries
Burkhardt's home page. or the WPYR
The WPYR still has an operating Baldwin 2-8-2 number 73 which is now
mainly used to pull tourist trains out of Skagway before diesel
locomotives take over for the climb up the White Pass.
Here # 73 is
about to depart from Skagway, Alaska early on 19
September 1982. Engineer J.D.True is talking to a passenger.
The climb up
the White Pass is spectacular. The track bed has been carved out of
solid rock and there are many trestles and several tunnels.
the train seen here is not steam hauled (it is hauled by three MLW
DL535E diesels) we get a view of the terrain as the train runs along a
narrow ledge before crossing a high wooden trestle and entering a
tunnel. The sheer rock faces can be clearly seen and the river is about
a thousand feet below! The photo was taken from the cupola of the
combine coach of the northbound mixed train from Skagway to Whitehorse
on 19 September 1982. This was just prior to the closure and the tank
cars are full of aviation fuel being taken to Whitehorse Airport. We
certainly did not want a derailment!
Heritage Railway Society operates an ex CN 2-8-0 Light Consolidation #
2141 "Spirit of Kamloops" during the summer. The locomotive was built
in 1912 and restored between 1994 and 2002 .
it began operating in June 2002., it has pulled over
45,000 passengers and covered 6,249 kms (by February
2006) . Thanks to David Meridew and Andy Philpot for
information on the longest regularly scheduled steam excursion in
Canada and on their theme railtours, visit
Prairie Steam Tours.
Prairie Steam Tours were begun by Central Western Railway (later
- Central Western) as a tourist passenger operation but have now been
sold to other investors. Generally excursions last about 6 hours and
generally run from Stettler, Alberta to Big Valley. Most trips include
a meal in the community hall and there is often a train robbery. Many
of the stations are former Canadian Northern Railway
stations and several are being preserved by a historical society. Big
Valley station is now the home of the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame.
Here we see Alberta Prairie 41 - a 2-8-0 built by Baldwin in December
1920 for the Johnsboro, Lake City & Eastern railway in the US.
It is hauling a passenger train past the grain elevator at Rowley,
Alberta on 22 May 1993. Subsequently, the elevator and this part of the
railway were closed.
4-8-2 built for Canadian National in 1944 and subsequently known as
"The Spirit Of Alberta", is owned by the Rocky Mountain Rail
Society. In November of 1998, 6060 was moved from the Alberta
Railway Museum in Edmonton to Stettler, Alberta where it operates on
track owned by the East Central Alberta Heritage Society or Railink in
collaboration with Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions.
Here we see
the driver's controls inside the cab of 6060 and a group of admirers
inspecting the outside. For further information: visit the
RMRS web site
museum is located just outside Edmonton and has several operating steam
engines including 1392 - a 4-6-0 built in 1913 for the Canadian
Northern Railway. The society has about a mile of track on which these
engines can run but they have also toured across the country for
special events including Steam Expo in 1986 at Vancouver.
Here we see
ex Canadian National 4-6-0 #1392 inside the workshops at the Alberta
Railway Museum on 28 May 1993.
In Edmonton a 1919 Baldwin 2-6-2 carries
visitors around the site which has several heritage buildings. The
locomotive is lettered for the Edmonton, Yukon and Pacific Railroad but
actually came from Louisiana. The photo was taken on 2 June 1989.
trams transport visitors from the entrance.
There are two 0-6-0 locomotives that carry
passengers around the park past several heritage buildings. 2023 was
built by Alco in 1942 and 2024 by Lima in 1944. Here we see 2024 (at
the time numbered 6269) on 28 July 1972. It was lettered and painted
Canadian Pacific but was actually built for the US Army.
6) CPR 2816
CP Rail has
restored the CPR Empress - Hudson 2816 and now operates it on
excursions and charters. For more information visit
the CPR website.
Development Museum - Moose Jaw
Steam & Rail Association operate 101- a 36" gauge Vulcan 0-4-0
Model C-S built in 1914 on weekends from mid May to Labour Day.
Locomotive Society has relocated the St James station to Inkster
Boulevard, Winnipeg and purchased 17 miles of the Canadian National Oak
Point Subdivision. A new shop, storage building and water tank have
been built adjacent to the station. Visit the VLS site
for more information.
trains are hauled by this 4-4-0 which was built by Dubs in Scotland in
1882 for Canadian Pacific and later sold to the City of Winnipeg Light
& Power (later City of Winnipeg Hydro). In 1883 the CPR
constructed several similar locomotives at its Angus shops in Montreal.
Two still exist - one on the South Simcoe Railway and one outside the
CPR headquarters in Calgary.
The South Simcoe Railway is located north of
Toronto and runs steam excursions using either former CP 4-4-0 # 136
(similar to Prairie Dog #3) or ex-CP 4-6-0 #1057. For more information visit
their web site.
2) Muskoka Heritage Place,
Portage Flyer runs from the Pioneer Village
to the Lake. In this photo we see diesel locomotive #3 and MLW 0-4-0 #1
built in 1926 together with the two open air coaches - Algonquin and
Iroquois on July 1 1999.
The Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration
Society leases MLW 0-6-0 #9 from the Essex Terminal Railway and has it
on display in the former Michigan Central shops. It is currently being
rebuilt but the society hopes to operate it in 2012 although regular
trains are diesel hauled. For more information visit
their web site.
built in 1923, retired in 1963 and then operated again first on Oct 2
1997. It is steamed on special occasions and is seen in the summer of
2001 at the"BX" interlocking Tower which used to service the diamond of
the Canada Southern Railway and the London and Port Stanley Railway.
courtesy of Rob Sterne.
Ottawa - Canada Science & Technology Museum
The museum has a display of Canadian locomotives in the locomotive
pavilion and in the museum yard. More information is available on the
museum's website at http://www.sciencetech.technomuses.ca
Shay logging locomotive Merrill & Ring Lumber Co. No.
3 built in 1925 is normally operated on Wednesdays and Sundays between
Canada Day and Labour Day. More information on this locomotive may be
courtesy of John Bryant
a 1919 steam operated Industrial Works crane that worked on the Central
Vermont Railway is fully operational and is steamed from time to time.
The crane is owned by the Bytown Railway Society and more information
can be found here.
courtesy of John Bryant
Railroad Museum (Exporail), Delson
Railroad Historical Association operates this museum just outside
Montreal. There are numerous static exhibits and on some occasions the
John Molson (a replica of an 1840s 2-2-2 locomotive) is steamed.
operate but a wide variety of equipment is on display.
railroad used to operate in picturesque south eastern New Brunswick in
its later years using diesel traction. Three steam engines have
operated on this tourist railroad . Sydney & Louisburg 42 has
now been moved to the Museum of Industry in Stellarton, Nova Scotia and
ex CP 4-4-0 #29 is now outside the CP headquarters in Calgary. However
ex CN #1009 - a 4-6-0 built by MLW in 1912 for O'Brien, McDougall
& O'Gorman - the contractors building the National
Transcontinental Railway (Canada's third national railway which was
subsequently absorbed into Canadian National) - is still on display at
the museum. Click
an mp3 sound clip of 1009 made on the footplate on 8 October 1989.
Here we see
ex CN #1009 & ex-CP #29 leaving the sheds on 7
September 1987. The workshops were destroyed in a fire of suspicious
origin in September 1994. #29 was damaged in this fire and was
subsequently cosmetically restored by Canadian Pacific for display
outside their new headquarters in Calgary.
about the New Brunswick Railway Museum may be obtained
from their home