Tonight’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to July 1964 in Goderich, ON, where we find Canadian Pacific DT-2 switcher #17 switching grain boxcars. A seldom-photographed engine, CP owned 14 of these unusual little diesel-hydraulic locomotives, scattered around the system for light switching duties. The engines were built by Canadian Locomotive Company of Kingston, ON from 1957-1960, but were not a Fairbanks-Morse design, as were most diesels that CLC built. Instead, two Caterpillar D-337 engines each contributed 250 hp, routed to the inboard axles of each truck, and from there to the outboard axles by means of crank rods. A rather bold departure from the rest of CP’s diesel roster, the units proved to be somewhat of a pariah, with retirements occurring as early as 1969. Built in 1959, CP #17 replaced 0-6-0 #6275 (noteworthy as the last operating 0-6-0 on CP’s system) , itself surviving on the CP roster until a sale to Cambridge, Ontario boiler and steam energy equipment maker Babcock & Wilcox in 1974. Another sale in 1996 took the unit to Tottenham, ON where it served as a parts source for South Simcoe Railway’s other DT-2, #22. Briefly reunited with one of the few remaining DT-2’s, #17 was stripped of usable parts and eventually scrapped in 2006 once it had outlived its’ usefulness.
While photographs of CP operations in Goderich often feature the small lakefront yard or the adjacent passenger station, the grain elevators seem to have been seldom photographed. The namesake of the 111.8 mile branchline CP used to reach the town, Goderich was important enough to warrant two railroads, CN being the other line to serve the town. Salt, grain, Champion road graders (later Volvo Construction Equipment), and other industries in town contributed to the majority of the railway’s business in the town. Gradually though, trucks and centralized manufacturing eroded much of the industry served by CN and CP, with the latter abandoning the Goderich subdivision north (west) of Guelph in 1989. In 1992, the competition also pulled out of Goderich, with CN selling the line west of Stratford to new Railtex operator Goderich-Exeter Railway. The Sifto Salt mine located on the waterfront is now the largest industry served in Goderich by GEXR. Changes in grain rates made Ontario grain less favourable in comparison to that grown on the prairies, and many Lake Huron ports including Goderich, Owen Sound, and Collingwood, faced reduced grain volumes (or a complete halt in grain shipments altogether), a problem made worse for the railroads by stiff competition from trucks. Goderich, however, faired better than some other ports, and Goderich Eleveators continues to send grain out by ship primarily to the export market. Both trucks and the GEXR serve the elevators, though modern 4650 CF cylindrical hoppers are a far cry from strings of 40’ boxcars!
Interestingly, both CP #6275 and the former CP steel bridge over the Maitland River survive today. Old #6275 resides indoors at the Huron County Pioneer Museum, never having left the city it served for many years. The bridge is now a part of a hiking trail and offers a unique view of the port and Maitland River.
|A Google Streetview image in approximately the same area as our subject photo. This elevator is no longer served by rail (trucks only), though the elevator in the distance still has rail service.|
‘Til next time,