Friday, October 12, 2007

Canadian Pacific 1246

This 4-6-2 Pacific-type locomotive was delivered to Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) on June 29, 1946, by Montreal Locomotive Works (builders number 74906), at a cost of $110,317.33 (Canadian). The G-5 class Pacifics were designed in 1944 under the guidance of CPR’s Chief of Motive Power and Rolling Stock H. B. Bowen, as light road locomotives able to handle medium passenger or light freight trains. The first two of 102 G-5s were constructed at CPR’s Angus Shops in Montreal as 1200 and 1201, class G-5a. They were the last steam locomotives built by CPR’s shops, and were the last new steam locomotive design in Canada. The rest of the G-5s were built variously by Montreal and the Canadian Locomotive Company, with the last (G-5d 1301) being delivered in 1948. CPR introduced this design as eventual replacements for a large group of 1905-design D-10 class 4-6-0s.

The G-5s, while comparable in size to CPR Pacifics of the 1910 period, are modern, powerful locomotives. The engines weigh 115 to 117 tons, have 70 inch driving wheels, 250 pounds boiler pressure, front-end throttle, and are equipped with a mechanical stoker. They were all built with some form of feedwater heater system, and engines 1216 and 1231 were equipped with the first all-welded boilers built in Canada (quite an innovation for steam locos in the 1940s), while the rest of the G-5s had conventional riveted alloy-steel boilers. The G-5s are comparable in hauling capacity and horsepower to a 1800 hp diesel unit. They operated on all lines of the CPR, including the International Railway of Maine Division. In Western Canada, they were extensively used in fast freight service, while in Eastern Canada, the 1200s were used primarily on local passenger runs.

A number of 1200s were overhauled by the CPR at the end of the steam era and stored as serviceable engines. From this group, five G-5s were saved by two American steam locomotive collectors. George Hart of Pennsylvania purchased 1238 and 1286 (along with D-10 4-6-0 972) in 1964, F. Nelson Blount, New England industrialist and founder of Steamtown, USA purchased 1246, 1278, and 1293 in 1964. One of the prototype G-5s, 1201, was preserved by the National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa, Ontario, and has operated excursion trips.

Number 1246 operated in Alberta and Saskatchewan in Western Canada, making 655, 773 miles of service for the CPR between July 1946 and March 1958. 1246 was primarily a freight locomotive, as CPR records show only 13 months of passenger service over that time. She was overhauled for the sixth and final time by the CPR at Winnipeg, coming out of Weston Shops on June 15, 1958. After Nelson Blount purchased the locomotive in 1965 for $8200.00, it was restored to service by Blount’s Green Mountain Railway Corporation in 1969. Used on the Steamtown passenger trains between Bellows Falls and Chester, Vermont, the locomotive was sold to Steamtown (along with sister 1293) in August, 1973. 1246 occasionally operated (in company with sister 1278) over the Green Mountain to Rutland, and over the Vermont Railway between Bennington and Burlington, Vermont--all former Rutland Railway routes. For a double-headed (with 1278 as “D&H 653”) trip to Rutland in December 1973, the loco was relettered “Rutland 82”, to represent one of that road’s long-scrapped Pacifics.

After retubing and overhaul in 1984, 1246 was taken to Steamtown’s new home in Scranton, Pa. She operated over the former Lackawanna Railroad route until March 1986, when it was determined that in addition to some heavy repairs that would soon be due, the engine was too light for the heavy grades and sharp curves of the Steamtown line. The locomotive was stored, and ultimately considered surplus by the National Park Service, which was to take over the Steamtown collection. 1246 was sold October 29, 1988 to the Connecticut Valley Railroad Museum, Inc., and arrived at Saybrook in April 1989. In 1996, 1246 was moved to Essex and repainted by the Valley Railroad for display at the Essex station area. In 2008, the engine was carefully moved to the Naugatuck Railroad.