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It is not the purpose of this study to deal in depth with the history of the railroads whose locomotives are in the Steamtown collection, but a brief characterization of the two principal Canadian railroad systems whose locomotives are numbered among those in Scranton is appropriate.

The Canadian Pacific Railway was incorporated on February 17, 188110 take over a scheme of the Dominion government to build Canada's first transcontinental railroad, connecting the seaboard of British Columbia with the system of railways that already existed in eastern Canada. As was typical of major systems, the Canadian Pacific not only built much new trackage, but also bought up and eventually absorbed various existing railways. The Canadian Pacific received a subsidy of $25 million from the government and obtained exemption from taxation for all time. The Canadian Pacific completed extremely difficult construction across the Laurentian Shield north of the Great Lakes and the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk Ranges to the Pacific Coast in 1886, and by 1920 had grown to a system of 8,355.9 miles of wholly owned trackage. The main line of the Canadian Pacific extended 2,894.7 miles from Montreal to Vancouver, essentially from the Atlantic to the Pacific. No single American railroad stretched similarly from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Coast. The Canadian Pacific became one of the world's great railroad systems. Despite its government subsidy and exemption from taxation, it has always been essentially a private company.

The Canadian National Railways, in contrast, is a transcontinental railway system operating in many places in competition with the Canadian Pacific, but is a government-owned corporation, in effect a nationalized railway system. While a more recent system than that of the Canadian Pacific, its origins are nevertheless older. From the beginning, railways in Canada's Atlantic provinces had been sponsored and funded by provincial governments. On July 1, 1867. the new government of the Dominion of Canada inherited a collection of comparatively small railways from the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Subsequently the government sponsored and funded a new railway, the Intercolonial, to connect the railways of these maritime provinces with the privately owned railways of Quebec and Ontario. From time to time the government acquired additional railways, and operated them under the title Canadian Government Railways. Meanwhile, around the end of the 19th century, private capital again had undertaken new railway construction, in this case the Canadian Northern Railway built to serve the prairie provinces northwest of the Great Lakes. By 1914, the Dominion government again had a foot in the door, having acquired a considerable block of Canadian Northern common stock in exchange for loans advanced to the Canadian Northern. Again in financial difficulties in 1916, the Canadian Northern passed into the hands of government control, total acquisition being achieved in 1918. On December 20, 1918, the Dominion government established Canadian National Railways, a crown corporation, to place the Canadian Government Railways and the Canadian Northern railway system under a single management.

Another railway system in Canada that had an early start was that of the Grand Trunk Railway, incorporated in 1853 by British investors, and for many years the largest privately owned railway system in Canada. In 1903, the Grand Trunk worked out an agreement with the government of Canada to build a second transcontinental link between the east and the Pacific Coast. The Grand Trunk Railway established a subsidiary, the Grand Trunk Pacific, to build from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert, while the government undertook to build a subsidiary, the National Transcontinental, east from Winnipeg, which, when the Grand Trunk management declined to take over operation of the National Transcontinental, the government assigned to the Canadian Government Railways to operate. In 1919 the Grand Trunk Railway defaulted on Grand Trunk Pacific Railway securities, and it entered a government-managed receivership. Meanwhile, on March 31, 1919, work had begun on consolidating the Canadian Northern with the Canadian Government Railways, and the government legally amalgamated these two lines under Canadian National Railways effective January 20, 1923. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway legally joined Canadian National Railways on January 30, 1923. Already, in July 1922, the government had included the 3,000 miles of the bankrupt Grand Trunk Railway in the new Canadian National Railways System.

One might suppose that this narrative has nothing to do with United States history, and that the locomotives of Canadian railways, especially a government-owned Canadian railway, and locomotives built in Canada, have no place in an American railroad museum operated by the United States National Park Service. However, a number of historic factors undercut any such assumption.

Perhaps least significant, many Americans involved themselves in the building and operating of Canadian railroads. William Cornelius Van Home, who built the Canadian Pacific across the great Pacific Coast mountain ranges, is only one example of an American in Canadian employ, though perhaps the most notable one. Michael Heney, who became a distinguished railroad engineer, was another American who worked on the Canadian Pacific.

Somewhat more important, although Canada established an efficient locomotive-building industry of its own, its locomotive works tended to follow American practice so that most Canadian-built locomotives were similar in appearance to American-built locomotives, in vivid contrast to the extreme physical differences between American and Canadian locomotives on the one hand and European locomotives on the other. Furthermore, while the Canadian government and the Canadian Pacific owned some American railroads, for many years the American Locomotive Company owned and controlled the Montreal Locomotive Works. In more than one sense, then, the Canadian locomotive-building industry was an extension of the American locomotive-building industry.

Of much greater importance in establishing a connection between Canadian and American railroads historically, is a fact that would surprise most Americans: a significant part of the American railroad system has historically been owned or controlled by the two great Canadian railway systems. The original Grand Trunk Railway included lines in New England, the ultimate consequence of which was that the Canadian National Railways owned and controlled the Central Vermont Railway. Furthermore, Canadian National Railways owned and controlled another major American railroad, the Grand Trunk Western Railroad in Michigan and Illinois, which not only connected Chicago and Detroit but provided Detroit with its only commuter service. How many commuters riding behind Grand Trunk Western Locomotive No. 6038, a sister to the 6039 at Steamtown, realized that the company carrying them was owned by the government of Canada? Not only did the Canadian National Railways own railroads incorporated and operating in the United States, so did the Canadian Pacific Railway. Many Americans have heard of the "Soo Line," the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Saint Marie Railway operating across North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, mostly west of the Great Lakes on the prairies. Few of them probably ever realized that the "Soo was owned and controlled by Canada's great private railway system, the Canadian Pacific. The Canadian Pacific also owned and controlled the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway, operating mostly in Michigan between Duluth, Minnesota, and Sault Saint Marie. Thus the two great Canadian railway systems are inextricably linked with the history of a number of railroads in the United States.

While the trains of these Canadian-owned American railroads carried their own names and employed locomotives and cars built in the United States, it is also true that a section of main line of the Canadian National Railways (formerly Canadian Northern) crosses roughly 25 miles of the northeast

corner of Minnesota, over which Canadian National locomotives operated, and to get from Montreal to Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canadian Pacific locomotives had to cross the state of Maine. Not only did Canadian locomotives operate over these lines, they regularly crossed the border into the United States in New England in interchange service, although customs regulations required that once a Canadian locomotive was uncoupled from its train at the end of a trip, the next train to which it was coupled it had to lead back into Canada. It is therefore necessary to recognize that Canadian Pacific and Canadian National locomotives, lettered for those lines, regularly operated within the United States. Additionally, Canadian Pacific kept certain locomotives in the United States for switching and short runs. Canadian Pacific even acquired and operated a former Boston & Maine shop at Lyndonville, Vermont.

The following chapters discuss the various Canadian locomotives in the Steamtown collection.

route map
Canadian National Railways route map
(click on the above for an enlargement in a new window)


Arrey, K.J., and W.G. Blevins. "Canadian Rolling Stock Developments," Chapter 7 in Railway Mechanical Engineering, A Century of Progress, Car and Locomotive Design. New York: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Rail Transportation Division, 1979: 171-183.

Barnes, Michael. Link with a Lonely Land: The Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. Erin: The Boston Mills Press, 1985.

Berton, Pierre. The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, Ltd., 1970.

__________. The Last Spike: the Great Railway, 1881-1885. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, Ltd., 1971.

__________. The Great Railway Illustrated. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, Ltd., 1972.

Booth, J. Derek. Railways of Southern Quebec, Vols. 1 and 2. Toronto: Railfare Enterprise: Ltd., 1982, 1985.

Bowers, Peter. Two Divisions to Bluewater: The Story of the CNR to the Bruce. Erin: The Boston Mills Press, 1983.

Canadian Rail, Journal of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association.

Clegg, Anthony, and Ray Corley. Canadian National Steam Power. Montreal: Trains & Trolleys, 1969.

Corey, Raymond F. Preserved Canadian Railway Equipment. Montreal: Railfare Enterprises, Inc., n.d.

Cruise, David, and Alison Griffiths. Lords of the Line. New York: Viking Penguin, Inc., 1988.

Dean, Murray W., and David B. Hanna. Canadian Pacific Diesel Locomotives. Toronto: Railfare Enterprises, Ltd., 1981.

Dempsey, Hugh A. The CPR West: The Iron Road and the Making of a Nation. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, Ltd., 1984.

Dorm, Patrick. Canadian Pacific Railway: Motive Power, Rolling Stock, Capsule History. Seattle: Superior Publishing Company, 1974.

__________. The Canadian National Railway's Story. Seattle: Superior Publishing Company, 1975.

__________. The Grand Trunk Western Railroad: A Canadian National Railway. Seattle: Superior Publishing Company, 1977.

__________. The Soo Line. Seattle: Superior Publishing Company, 1979.

Eagleson, Michael A. "The Last Years of Canadian Pacific Steam." Railroad Magazine, Vol. 85, No. 6, 1969: 18-27.

Gibbon, John Murray. The Romantic History of the Canadian Pacific: The Northwest Passage of Today. New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1937.

Hart, E.J. The Selling of Canada: The CPR and the Beginnings of Canadian Tourism. Banff: Altitude Publishing, Ltd., 1983.

Holt, Jeff. The Grand Trunk in New England. Toronto: Railfare Enterprises, Ltd., 1986.

Gilbert, Heather. The Life of Lord Mount Stephen. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1977.

Hungry-Wolf (Gutohrlein), Adolf. Rails in the Canadian Rockies. Invermere: Good Medicine Books, 1979.

Innis, Harold A. A History of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971.

Lamb, W. Kaye. History of the Canadian Pacific Railway. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc., 1977.

Lavallee, Omer. Van Horne's Road: An Illustrated Account of the Construction and First Years of Operation of the Canadian Pacific Transcontinental Railway. Toronto: Railfare Enterprises, Ltd., 1974.

__________. Canadian Pacific Steam Locomotives. Toronto: Railfare Enterprises, Ltd., 1985. [This is one of the best histories of the motive power of a particular railway company ever published if not the best.]

__________, and Robert Brown. "Locomotives of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company," Railway & Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, No. 83 (July 1951): 7-93.

Legget, Robert F. Railways of Canada. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, Ltd., 1987.

MacKay, Donald. The Asian Dream: The Pacific Rim and Canada's National Railway. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, Ltd., 1986.

MacKay, Niall. By Steam Boat and Steam Train: The Story of the Huntsville and Lake of Bays Railway and Navigation Companies. Erin: The Boston Mills Press, 1982.

Mackenzie, Keith, ed. A History of the Canadian National. London: Bison Books, 1988. McDougall, J. Lome. Canadian Pacific. Montreal: McGill University Press, 1968.

McKee, Bill, and Georgeen Klassen. Trail of Iron: The CPR and the Birth of the West, 1880-1930. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, Ltd., with the Glenbow-Alberta Institute, 1983.

Mika, Nick, Helma Mika, and Donald Wilson. Illustrated History of Canadian Railways. Belleville: Mika Publishing Company, 1986.

Morgan, David P., ed. Canadian Steam. Milwaukee: Kalmbach Books, 1975.

Riegger, Hal. The Kettle Valley and its Railways. Edmonds: Pacific Fast Mail Publications, n.d.

Stevens, G.R. Canadian National Railways, Vol. I: Sixty Years of Trial and Error, 1836-1896. Vancouver: Clarke, Irwin & Company, Ltd., 1960.

__________. Canadian National Railways, Vol. II: Towards the Inevitable, 1896-1922. Vancouver: Clarke, Irwin & Company, Ltd., 1962.

_________. History of the Canadian National Railways. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1973.

Turner, Robert D. West of the Great Divide: An Illustrated History of the Canadian Pacific Railway in British Columbia, 1886-1986. Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1987.


(It should be noted that since the publication of this document, some of these locomotives may no longer be located at Steamtown NHS.)

a. Canadian National Railways No. 47
b. Canadian National Railways No. 3254
c. Canadian National Railways No. 3377
d. Canadian National Railways No. 5288
e. Canadian Pacific Railway No. 1293
f. Canadian Pacific Railway No. 2317
g. Canadian Pacific Railway No. 2816
h. Canadian Pacific Railway No. 2929

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Last Updated: 14-Feb-2002