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History of CN 2747

Subtitle

April 1926 - 1959

Construction History

First steam locomotive built in Western Canada in Transcona

CN 2747 was constructed in April 1926 at the Canadian National Railway Shops in Transcona, Manitoba. It was the first steam locomotive to be constructed at the Transcona Shops, and it was also the first steam locomotive built for the Western Region. Construction took 27 days and CN 2747 was completed on 19 April 1926 at a total cost of $37,765.

 

CN 2747 was, in part, built by sub-contractors. The Vulcan Iron Works in Winnipeg, for instance, produced the steel castings for the locomotive. It was Jon Olafsson, Chief Metallurgist, who determined the composition of the steel casting and the heat treatment for CN 2747 and nine other steam locomotives built at the Transcona Shops.  

The construction of CN 2747 was quite an achievement. Celebrated as "Western Canada's First Home-Made Engine," newspaper articles from Manitoba to British Columbia all remarked on the new steam locomotive from Transcona. News of its construction was also noted in magazines such as Canadian National Railways Magazine and Railway Age

Its first run was made to Union Station in Winnipeg on 20 April 1926. Officials at Winnipeg took a keen interest in inspecting CN 2747 on its arrival at the station from Transcona.

"First Built in West"

Credit: Winnipeg Tribune, 21 April 1926, page 6

Design features

2-8-0 Consolidation type, N-5-c class

  • 22 ½" x 30" cylinder size

  • 63" diameter drivers

  • total weight of 394,160 lbs. and a maximum tractive effort of 38,500 lbs.

  • 69' - 7 1⁄8" length

  • 25' - 9" engine wheelbase

  • 10' - 8" tender wheelbase

  • 14' - 6 15⁄16" overall height


The engine was coal-fired with a tender capacity of 12 tons of coal and 7,500 gallons of water. It was equipped with Walschaerts valve gear, a Schmidt superheater, and an Elesco feedwater heater system. The original boiler of CN 2647, built in 1910 by the Montreal Locomotive Works, was reused for CN 2747 (serial 46880). A "spare" S-1-f rectangular tender was also fitted to CN 2747. The steam locomotive was delivered new into stock by the Canadian National Railways on 20 April 1926.

Modifications included the installation of a semi-vestibule cab ("snow protection cab") and Symington side frames on the tender truck in April 1940, and a Standard HT stoker in November 1948. An air reservoir cover on the pilot deck and a Transcona front end (bell hanger) were installed sometime between 1944 and 1954.

Service & Assignments

Assigned to the Western Region 

Mainly used as a way freight hauler, CN 2747 operated in the Western Region throughout its service. Very little information is known about its operating history, so this research is ongoing. 

 

CN 2747 was first assigned operations in the Alberta District after its completion in 1926. The locomotive handled local less-than-carload freight (coal, grain, oil, cattle, pipe, and other commodities) along branch lines in Central Alberta. Based on identified photographs, CN 2747 served communities such as Drumheller and Stettler. 

 

The locomotive was later assigned to the Manitoba District in the 1950s, working the Hudson Bay rail line. In 1955, the locomotive pulled troop trains from Wabowden to Churchill in Northern Manitoba. In 1957, it was operating out of The Pas. 

After 33 years of service with the Canadian National Railway, CN 2747 was retired in 1959.

Working the Stettler Subdivision in Central Alberta.

Stettler.jpg

March 1960 - December 2015

Retirement & Display

CN 2747 is brought home to Transcona

 

Following the retirement of CN 2747, the locomotive was scheduled to be scrapped along with many other steam locomotives. It was the end of the steam era.  

 

In November 1959, the Kiwanis Club of Transcona put forth a request to CN that a steam locomotive be donated for public display in the community. CN granted the request and chose CN 2747 as "a token of the dedication of the citizens of the Town of Transcona". The locomotive was to be placed on permanent outdoor display in a park along Plessis Road.  

Preparations for the display of CN 2747 in the park began in January 1960. In March, arrangements were made to install a temporary track from the Victoria Beach line to the prepared track in the park. The Beach line track was disconnected and a bulldozer pulled the end of the disconnected rail in an arc toward the display track. The radius was tight, but CN 2747 was moved inch-by-inch around the curve to its present site. The track was returned to its original position on the Beach line.

The recorded date of CN 2747's official donation was March 15, 1960. The locomotive has been on permanent outdoor display in ​Kiwanis Park (now, Rotary Heritage Park) ever since. 

Ownership History

From the Canadian National Railway to the Transcona Museum

  • April 20, 1926 - March 15, 1960 | Canadian National Railway (CN)

  • March 15, 1960 - March 3, 1981 | Kiwanis Club of Transcona

  • March 3, 1981 - December 17, 2015 | Midwestern Rail Association

  • December 17, 2015 - present | Transcona Historical Museum (now, Transcona Museum)

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