The 33 Steam Locomotives

Updated: Jul 29, 2019


From 1926 to 1931, the Transcona Shops built an estimated 33 steam locomotives for the Canadian National Railway. By 1960 the steam era ended, and hundreds of old steam locomotives were retired from service and waiting to be demolished in the Transcona Yards. Only one locomotive of the original 33 was saved from demolition, the Transcona Museum's own CN 2747.

This blog is the short history of those 33 steam locomotives.

2-8-0 "Consolidation" | CN 2747 to 2758

Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-8-0 is the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and no trailing wheels. Commonly known as a "Consolidation," these steam locomotives were considered to be the ultimate heavy-freight locomotive of the day.

The Transcona Shops built 12 of these locomotives from 1926 to 1931. The very first of these was the CN 2747, which also holds the distinction of being the first steam locomotive built in Western Canada. The Transcona Museum's largest artifact, CN 2747 is currently on display in Rotary Heritage Park. The remaining 11 locomotives - CN 2748 to 2758 - were scrapped between the years of 1956 to 1961.

According to the Western Region Steam Locomotive Assignments of 1957, the 2-8-0 locomotives were operating out of the following districts: The Pas (MB); Regina and Kindersley (SK); Jasper and Calder (AB); Port Mann, Prince George, and Smithers (BC).

0-8-0 "Switcher" | CN 8330 to 8333; CN 8387 to 8391; CN 8402 to 8413

Under the Whyte notation, 0-8-0 represents the wheel arrangement of no leading wheels, eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and no trailing wheels. Locomotives of this type were built for mainline haulage, particularly for freight, but the configuration was later also often used for large switcher types. According to the Western Region Steam Locomotive Assignments of 1957, the majority of the 0-8-0 locomotives operated out of the following districts: Port Arthur (ON); Transcona (MB); Nutana and Kindersley (SK); Calder (AB).

A total of 21 "Switcher" locomotives were built at the Transcona Shops in 1927 and 1930; they were all scrapped between the years 1954 to 1961.

Sources

"Canadian National Railways Steam Locomotive Roster Index." TrainWeb. Accessed 27 July 2019.

"Canadian National Steam Locomotive Roster 1895–1962." Canadian National Railways Historical Association. Accessed 27 July 2019.

Transcona Museum Archives.

The Transcona Museum gratefully acknowledges the City of Winnipeg for their ongoing support of museum operations and facility maintenance.

We would like to acknowledge that we reside on Treaty One territory, the traditional territory of Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, as well as the homeland of the Métis Nation.

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