Friday, 11 November 2016

Flashback Friday #30 - Quiet Sunday on GEXR in 1999

An eclectic mix of geeps enjoys a quiet Sunday morning at Stratford, ON, on August 1, 1999. Six paint schemes on seven units - hard to beat that! Gord Taylor photo.

I started writing this yesterday but the day got away from me, so presto-change-o, it’s now a “Flashback Friday” instead of Throwback Thursday (or as CP would say, running slightly late).

I find shortline railroading interesting – shortlines tend to do more switching and grunt work than Class 1’s, usually with smaller crew to boot. Add to that older power cascaded from Class 1’s and many shortlines have a lot to offer for the railfan. The first shortline in Ontario to be operated by an American company was the Goderich-Exeter Railway, operated initially from Stratford to Goderich (with a branch to Exeter) by Railtex. Established in 1992 the railroad featured an eclectic mix of motive power, initially three green-and-cream GMD-built GP9’s from the Cartier Railway in Quebec (each named for characters in Shakespeare plays), bolstered by a host of leased power, particularly in the winter months. Eventually leasing the CN’s Guelph subdivision from Silver (on the Halton sub) to London Jct in London, ON in 1998, the road required more power.

Initially a four-axle only road, the road’s own locomotives were supplemented by other units from other Railtex/RailAmerica roads (RailAmerica acquired Railtex in 2000). Some units were restencilled to GEXR reporting marks, some not; none were painted in the road’s green-and-cream paint scheme, but several wore Railtex’s pleasant red-and-grey paint scheme (e.g. 3821, 3835, 4019, 4022). Early power was primarily GP9’s but quickly more powerful 645-powered EMD’s showed up as the demands of running the expanded railroad meant longer, heavier freights. Eventually, six-axle power arrived with leased SD40-2’s and even a Florida East Coast SD40-2 and later an ex-SP SD45T-2 which remains on the road today. All this contributed to a rainbow appearance to the roster, with numerous paint schemes.

Today the road is operated by Genesee & Wyoming, after it acquired RailAmerica in 2013. G&W’s corporate orange paint scheme has been applied to several units now operating on the GEXR (as always, the roster is in a perpetual state of flux), but the railroad operates much as it has since it’s inauguration.

In the above photo by Gord Taylor, we see the following units on Sunday August 1, 1999:
  • ·        GEXR GP9 #177 (“Titania”); eventually scrapped at Stratford in 2007-2008.
  • ·        GEXR GP38M/slug set #3834/4161 (ex-MP, KCS); eventually scrapped at Goderich.
  • ·        Georgia Southwestern GP9 #2127 (ex-ATSF); eventually scrapped at Goderich.
  • ·    GEXR GP38AC #3856 in NECR colours (ex-NECR 9539, nee GM&O); presently on OVR in G&W orange.
  • ·        GEXR GP38AC #3835 in Railtex paint scheme (nee-GM&O); presently on OVR.
  • ·     Barely visible behind #3835 is GEXR GP40 #4046 in Virginia Southern RR green/yellow (ex-MKT); scrapped in Goderich.

‘Til Next Time,


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