The LAST day of Steam on the CPR

6 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 971 posts
The LAST day of Steam on the CPR
Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 10:25 PM

Apr.30, 1960. CNR and CPR agreed to end all steam operations Canada wide. Things had been winding down for years with a very few outposts holding on. We are in Port McNicoll on the very last steam operation in regular service on Apr.30, 1960. 

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 971 posts
Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 10:26 PM

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 971 posts
Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 10:30 PM

This one for NDG.

100% CPR...the last run of the last of steam. 

  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • 438 posts
Posted by NDG on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 11:31 PM


This one for NDG.

100% CPR...the last run of the last of steam. 



In Montreal in June 1960 CPR was still using several steam engines within the Terminals on Transfers, Commuters  and such, but, seemingly not on Thru Freights to another Objective Terminal,

The Transfers usually left in a bunch around 1600, On Block, and we'd feast on them, weekdaily, a WHOLE Summer of steam to go.
Well, they went. Come July, no more steam AT ALL!
We were stunned. We lost streetcars in Sept. 1959, but, we'd ALWAYS have steam.
In the fall of 1960 CPR did boiler work at the Glen/Westmount, and several steam engines were sent over to supply steam heat to coaches in the interim in lieu of the steam plant.
You could hear them shuffling thru the night, rods clanking as all windows open in the house in hot, humid July
The steam plant made Yard Air, using, get THIS! TWO 2 Single-Stage steam locomotive Westinghouse air pumps c. 1910, and we'd gawp at them, being at eye-level for maintenance. Drippage  ( French Word for Condensate ) into little tinsmithed trays plumbed into a drain in floor.
The turntable and pit went around that time.
In Feb. 1961 we could hear a steam whistle and bell at the end of the street, and a light locomotive drifted by, puffs of steam from the Stoker Exhaust behind the coal bunker, going to the Glen. That the last true steam movement I saw on CP.




 I have seem movie footage of a Royal Hudson Fan Trip on the above trestle, I thought they would be Prohibited.

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • 3,575 posts
Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, April 05, 2017 9:39 AM

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.

  • Member since
    August, 2008
  • From: Calgary AB. Canada
  • 2,028 posts
Posted by AgentKid on Wednesday, April 05, 2017 9:49 AM


This one for NDG.

100% CPR...the last run of the last of steam. 


Thank you,



So shovel the coal, let this rattler roll.

"A Train is a Place Going Somewhere"  CP Rail Public Timetable

"O. S. Irricana"

. . . __ . ______

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 971 posts
Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, April 05, 2017 10:25 PM

Wanswheel- Terrific summary, in detail, on the last runs of steam across Canada. Also further reading gives a really good account of what is saved and where and also it's current status, at least up to 5 years ago or so. 

The account's and recollections from NDG in the Montreal area correlate perfectly. 

What is truly striking, regardless if the USA or Canada, is that all across North America, without exception, one hundred + years of a way of life ended just like that. Not just steam locomotives. Branch line small town passenger service, mail and express service provided by rail, all the infrastructure that went with that. Service facilities in every town everywhere big or small. Roundhouses, backshops, large numbers of occupations vanished. Pullman, sleeping car service, 

Just the upheaval in the New England states was mind boggling. 

Eventually so much rail lifted ...branch lines everywhere...entire Railroads, Milwaukee Road, Rock Island, entire divisions of CNR and CPR. 

Baldwin, Lima. CLC   Streetcar lines, rails in the cities. I could go on all night long.

Big big changes to our lives. Crown jewel to all this...the PRR and the NYC gone, ...what? WHAT? Pennsylvannia Station demolished. That is not even believable.

Some say it's this , some say it's that, everything from GM conspiracies, to political collusion, some say progress, some say ritual murder, whatever, most of us know it's sad and represents a big loss across the board. 

Some things have to change eventually. My contention is that we lost too much, too fast, and much of it would serve us well today in so many ways had we as a society chose that path. Where to next?



Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!


Get the Classic Trains twice-monthly newsletter

Search the Community