“Sunset Of CNR Steam”

Video courtesy of DungeonStudio via YouTube.

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Canadian Corner: “End of the Line”

This month’s Canadian Corner post is a documentation video describing the end of steam operations in Canada.  This video features interviews with railroad personnel reflecting on the change from steam to diesel and how it impacted their jobs:

Video courtesy of NFB via YouTube.

Rock on Trains © 2021, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

My Train Recollections: Richard Leonard

Thank you for sharing your fond memories with us, Richard!

My Railfan Story Richard C. Leonard, Ph.D.

I was born to be a railroad fan. My grandfather, Don M. Leonard, was an official of the Boston & Albany in the early twentieth century, and my father, Richard D. Leonard, grew up with a regular exposure to trains and railroads. It was inevitable that he should pass the interest along to me and my younger brother, David. While other dads took their sons camping, or to baseball games, our dad took us trackside to watch trains. I will never forget, for example, watching beside the busy New York Central main line west of Toledo and seeing the stream of high-speed limiteds hauled by the Central’s famous Hudsons – whistle wailing, rods flailing, smoke trailing as they rushed by our vantage point. Of course the New York Central, which leased the Boston & Albany, was my father’s favorite railroad. (He despised the rival Pennsylvania!)

But until I became a teenager, I was dependent on my father to take us to places where we could observe the world of railroading — for example, to the Michigan Central’s shops in Jackson, Michigan, where I had my first cab ride in a steam locomotive, the NYC’s class H-10 2-8-2 No. 2345. That changed in 1951, when my father transitioned from college teaching at Adrian, Michigan, to become pastor of the Methodist church in the small town of Bellevue, just northeast of Battle Creek on the Grand Trunk Western main line — at that time all steam-powered except for some EMD F7 “A” units on manifest freights. Dad had never been a regular photographer of rail subjects, but seizing the opportunity to record the passage of steam power through our village I borrowed his old Kodak folding cartridge camera that used size 116 film and spent many an hour at trackside. Other ventures through Michigan and environs permitted photography of GTW steam at Durand or Battle Creek, or of NYC locomotives in Detroit or elsewhere.

When Dad became a professor at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington in 1954, our move brought exposure to the trains and facilities of other railroads. At first the Illinois Central was still steam-powered in the area, but when that faded away I was reduced to “fanning” the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio’s all-diesel operations in Bloomington, which featured an important terminal and shop. One trip to the Chicago area took us to the Nickel Plate’s Calumet Yard in Chicago during the last months of the NKP’s famous Berkshires. A family trip to New England via Canada yielded views of Canadian Pacific steam, while a visit to Galesburg with railfan friends permitted photography of some late Burlington Route steam. In 1957 a family trip to Colorado and Wyoming allowed us to see and photograph steam on the Colorado & Southern in Denver and the Union Pacific at Laramie, where we captured views of the earlier gas turbines and the famous “Big Boy” 4-8-8-4s. Returning to Illinois along the UP’s main line we photographed 4-6-6-4 Challengers and a few 4-8-4s as well. By that time I was using a 35mm camera for both black-and-white film and color transparencies, and my brother had a good-quality camera using larger film.

As you might guess, steam was my dominant interest. With the passing of steam my railfan activities waned, supplanted by the responsibilities of graduate study at Boston University (Ph.D. in Biblical Studies, 1972) followed by episodes of college teaching, theological writing, and serving various pastorates, along with a twenty-year career as a transportation data analyst with Rand McNally. I didn’t entirely drop rail photography, but it lacked the urgency of my efforts during the steam era. For almost four decades railfanning, for me, was generally on the “back burner,” although my rail background was put to good use at Rand McNally when I headed a group of analysts coding the entire U.S. rail network into the computer for a product called “Railroad MileMaker.” After a few years Rand McNally, not well positioned to market to the rail industry, leased the product to another firm and returned me to the highway side of transportation.

The rise of the Internet brought me back to serious railfan activities. In 1998, realizing there was an online interest in rail photography, I built the Steam Locomotive Archive web site based on the photos I had taken back in the 1950s, with pages for all the railroads mentioned above. This became the “flagship” site of “Richard Leonard’s Rail Archive” (www.railarchive.net), which eventually incorporated separate sections for my “New York Central Collection,” “GM&O Gallery,” “Random Steam Photo Collection,” “Vintage Diesel Miscellany,” and much more. The Rail Archive now includes photos contributed by many others, especially the work of my late brother David V. Leonard (some of his Canada images, and mine, are in the “Canadian Corner” section of this blog). But many others, including Tom Rock, have happily loaned images from their collections to the Rail Archive, for which I am thoroughly grateful. The Rail Archive now includes twenty-one sections comprising more than 1800 individual pages containing photos and commentary, or reproducing pages from vintage publications.

Today, in retirement, I am a director of the Keokuk Union Depot Foundation, which is restoring this historic 1891 structure. I maintain the Depot’s web site (www.keokukuniondepot.org) and Facebook page. And some years ago, fulfilling a desire to “own” a railroad, I purchased stock in Pioneer Railcorp, parent company of the Keokuk Junction Railway that operates through our town of Hamilton, Illinois.

As a final note, it’s striking how many steam locomotives I photographed in the 1950s still exist in various museums or displays, or even in operable condition. These include my very first steam photo, GTW Pacific 5030, but also GTW 0-8-0 8380, 2-8-2 3734 (renumbered to 4070), 4-8-4s 6323 and 6325; CPR 2-8-2 5361; CB&Q 4-6-4 4000; NKP 2-8-4 765; IC 2-8-2 1518; Rahway Valley 2-8-0 15; CNR 2-6-0 911; UP 4-8-4 814, 4-8-8-4 4023, and, amazingly, 4-6-6-4 (Challenger) 3985! (I also photographed the famous GTW Pacific 5629 and CB&Q 4-8-4 5632, which had careers in the post-steam era but were later scrapped.) If I really wanted to, I could take digital photos today of around fourteen steam locomotives I photographed in the 1950s on size 116 or 35mm film (and have done so in a few cases)!

Richard Leonard’s Rail Archivewww.railarchive.net Hamilton, Illinois – 800-440-4043

Rock on Trains © 2021, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

Depot Doings: Dresden/Ingersoll/Simcoe/St. Clair Ave/Tecumseh/Wallaceburg

Featured Canadian National and Chesapeake & Ohio Railway depots are in various Ontario locations:

All photos courtesy of Mr. Bill Thomson, Railpictures.ca.

Rock on Trains © 2021, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

CNR/GTW Hudson Specifications

Canadian National / Grand Trunk Western 4-6-4 “Hudson” Locomotives in Canada

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class K-5-a (Locobase 177)

Data from CN to 1953 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 30 January 2016 noting the booster’s tractive effort and for his 22 September 2017 email reporting unlikely boiler pressure values for 177 entries. A Locobase macro caused the error .)) Works numbers were 68394-68396 in September 1930, 68540-68541 in October. The Canadian National’s only essay in Hudsons, these were clearly express machines and ran for years trailing the expresses from Montreal to Toronto. K-5s also pulled the International Limited that ran from Toronto through Windsor and Detroit to Chicago on the Grand Trunk’s metals. But, according to Wes Barris of steamlocomotive.com, the CNR wasn’t crazy about the 4-6-4 arrangement and bought only 4-8-4s from that point on. Even so, the last K-5 wasn’t retired until 1967. When the class was headed for the ferroequine knacker’s yard, the CN had decided to preserve the class leader. Well, as often happens in such things, someone failed to get the word and 5700 had already been sliced into with the cutting torch when the mistake was discovered. To preserve appearances, 5703, which was still whole, was renumbered 5700 and is now on display at the Elgin County Railway Museum in St Thomas, Ontario. 5702 went on display for the Canadian Railroad Historical Association in Delson, PQ.

Class K2/X-10a (Locobase 2454)

Data from CNR locomotive diagram published on [] (confirmed 3 March 2003). This is part of a Steamtown special report on this class. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for the valve gear ID.) See also “Grand Trunk,” Railway Age Gazette, Volume 58 (19 March 1915), pp. 628-629. Works numbers were 54894-54896 in September 1914. The RAG report notes an increase in demand, the use of heavier cars (137,000 lb vs 75,000 lb/62,142 kg vs 34,019 kg for the older cars), and longer trains led to the replacement of the 4-4-2Ts then in service with this design. The result was the ability to pull seven cars instead of the five hauled by earlier locomotives. It had a Gaines combustion chamber and the Security brick arch. “This combination secures complete combustion,” the report continued, “the back end of the firebox being more fully utilized with a resulting increase in the generation of steam; and the amount of smoke is reduced to a minimum.” (For a full description of the Gaines combustion chamber’s intended effect on combustion, see Locobase 4228.) Built for commuter service from Montreal where they ran until they were retired in 1956-1961.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID177 2454
RailroadCanadian National (CNR)Grand Trunk Western (CNR)
Number in Class56
Road Numbers5700-57041540-1545/45-47
Number Built56
BuilderMontreal LWMontreal LW
Valve GearBakerWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)14 / 4.2715.67 / 4.78
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)40.17 / 12.2439.37 / 12
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase0.350.40
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)79.53 / 24.2439.37 / 12
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)188,600 / 85,548146,000 / 66,225
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)356,400 / 161,661275,000 / 124,738
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)303,500 / 137,665
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)659,900 / 299,326275,000
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)16,800 / 63.642900 / 10.98
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)19.80 / 185 / 5
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)105 / 52.5081 / 40.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)80 / 203263 / 1600
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)275 / 19210 / 14.50
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)23″ x 28″ / 584×71121″ x 26″ / 533×660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)43,279 / 19631.0532,487 / 14735.87
Booster (lbs)10,000
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)4.364.49
Heating Ability
Tubes (number – dia) (in / mm)44 – 2.25″ / 57191 – 2″ / 51
Flues (number – dia) (in / mm)146 – 3.5″ / 8926 – 5.375″ / 137
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)19.08 / 5.8211.83 / 3.61
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)345 / 32.05160 / 14.86
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)73.60 / 6.8447 / 4.37
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3377 / 313.731786 / 165.92
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)1465 / 136.10342 / 31.77
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4842 / 449.832128 / 197.69
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume250.89171.40
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena’s Power Computation20,2409870
Same as above plus superheater percentage26,31211,449
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area123,33838,976
Power L149,81611,986
Power MT1746.96542.97


All material Copyright © SteamLocomotive.com Wes Barris

Rock on Trains © 2021, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.