Excerpt from Canadian Rail, Nov.-Dec. 2010
As 1960 dawned, the last stand of CPR’s steam operations was largely concentrated in the Montreal area on commuter and transfer freight services. A few other pockets of steam operation persisted in southern Ontario, New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba. Steam power operated on the Quebec Central Railway, the Farnham, Sherbrooke and Megantic yards and on the Drummondville Subdivision wayfreight between Farnham and Drummondville as late as March 1960. The famous “International” mixed train 517 between Brownville Junction, Maine and Megantic, Quebec made its last run with steam on April 8,1960 powered by P1 class 2-8-2 5107. The following day, the 5107 handled the wayfreight from Megantic to Sherbrooke and ran on to Montreal later that night on train 913. The 3514, a 2-8-0, remained at Megantic as a stationary boiler until the fall of 1960.
Fires were dropped on Prairie Region branch line steam power and yard engines by the first quarter of 1960 as hordes of GP9’s and SW1200RS’s arrived from General Motors Diesel plant in London, Ontario.
CPR steam operations in the Maritimes came to an end in April 1960. G2 4-6-2 2626 handled train 84 from Aroostook on April 2,1960. In mid April 1960, A1e 4-4-0 29 made a surprising return to service on the Norton-Chipman branch when she replaced ailing CLC dieselhydraulic 22. D10 4-6-0 986 closed out steam operations on the Gibson Subdivision local freight out of McAdam on April 12,1960. Two days later, the erstwhile 986 would make the last steam run out of McAdam handling trains 52 and 51 between McAdam and St. Andrews, N.B. on April 14,1960.
Regular CPR steam operations in southwestern Ontario ended with the departure of Consolidation 3722 from Port McNicoll on April 30, 1960.
The final regular scheduled operation of CPR steam was the Montreal commuter operations. While the exact date has yet to be recorded, it is believed to have been June 26th, 1960. The steam fleet brought the trains into Windsor Station that Monday morning for the last time as the outbound afternoon and evening trains were all dieselized - or so the story goes.
However steam operations were not quite dead in Central Canada. What could have been the the final regular scheduled operation of CPR steam occurred on the evening of June 29th when K. R. Thomas reported seeing 2820, the first ‘Royal Hudson’ pulling an freight eastbound through the western suburbs of Montreal, presumably from Smiths Falls.
It may have been on the CPR Western Lines that the last regular service steam powered dispatch occurred. On July 27, 1960, noted Canadian railway historian Ron Ritchie saw P2 2-8-2 5441 handling an extra eastbound grain train from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Kenora, Ontario.