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CPR G2 Pacific 2559 at Holland Centre

August 30, 2023

Saturday, March 28, 1959 at Holland Centre

As per custom in previous years, I am sharing a few pictures with you which didn't make our 2024 Canadian Branchline wall calendar.

The picture below was shortlisted for the calendar. Here follows the story behind it.

It’s Saturday, March 28, 1959—which is Easter Weekend. My late parents, Mac and Mary Lou Wilson, are taking a morning drive from Owen Sound this morning. Dad has a roll of black & white film in a borrowed 35mm camera.

My parents live in Owen Sound at the time of the picture (Dad is a teacher at Hillcrest School for the 1958-59 year). On this Saturday drive on Easter Weekend, Dad takes a couple of pictures of CPR Dayliner 9052 and a second unit at Chatsworth at 7:54 in the morning. That is southbound train 306 out of Owen Sound.

After a poking around, looking at spring creeks and scenery south of Owen Sound, my parents return to town. Upon doing so, they encounter Canadian Pacific G2 number 2559 leaving the yard with the way freight. They give chase, Dad clicking film exposures as they go (with Mom handling the camera while they pace the train alongside King’s Highway No. 10 south of Chatsworth). You can see the geography of the area on this snippet of an Imperial Oil roadmap:

Dad had photographed engine 2559 leaving Owen Sound, then at Chatsworth, here at Holland Centre, then south along the highway. At Holland Centre, it appears as if a local lad has ridden his bicycle to the flagstop station to watch the way freight pass:

And what about number 2559 and the train she’s heading?

This is freight train 88 (essentially a way freight), ordered at Owen Sound for 7:30 a.m. six days per week. Typically, it pulls out of the yard closer to 9:00 a.m. It heads down to the junction (with the Walkerton Subdivision) at Saugeen. There, the locomotive sets off her cars, turns on the wye, and lifts whatever is offered for the return trip. Another freight train out of Orangeville (usually arriving earlier) exchanges cars at Saugeen with the one from Owen Sound.

As for number 2559, she’s assigned to Toronto’s Lambton roundhouse for freight service. On Tuesday, August, 25, 1959 she will be the last CPR steam engine out of Owen Sound, on this same train 88, but working all the way to Orangeville. She’ll remain active at Lambton well into October 1959, if not later. There will be an opportunity to preserve this fine engine, but no interested parties will step forward. By January 24, 1960, she’ll be stored with other reserve steam power at Montreal’s St. Luc Yard. Later that year, she’ll be scrapped.

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