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Train 11 between Toronto and London in July 1957

March 14, 2022

In laying out a spread for Steam Encounters in Ontario vol. 2, I have encountered passenger train 11 at the Kitchener station platform. On this particular day in July 1957, Northern 6240 is on the point. She’s taking water during the ten-minute stop for express handling. It’s between 6:15 and 6:25 p.m. Standard Time (7:15 and 7:25 p.m. Daylight Savings Time):

To offer the reader of this upcoming colour volume more perspective on this particular train, I refreshed myself on the research I performed back in 1999 for To Stratford Under Steam (out of print).

Circa July 1957, number 11 is a Toronto–London passenger train, leaving the big city just after the end of the working day (5:20 p.m. E.D.T.). Through the Toronto Terminals to Guelph, some 49 miles from Union Station, number 11 serves as a home-bound commuter train. The engine arriving at London on number 11 comes off there in the evening and leaves early the next morning for return to Toronto on number 10.

Standard consist out of Toronto is a baggage car, followed by a number of coaches. Normally two of these coaches are for commuters, and they come off at Guelph or Stratford, depending on the time of the year (Guelph in warm weather months, as there is no steam heating available for the coaches during layover, and Stratford in the cold weather months for steam connections). These commuter coaches are numbered in the 4959-4974 series, with two assigned to train 11 and its return movement train 10. Two or three regular coaches go all the way to London on weekdays, with only one or two of these on Saturdays (train 111) and Sundays (train 141).

Number 11 occasionally handles head-end cars such as express reefers or box-baggage cars, added to the consist at Stratford or earlier.

As for motive power over the course of July 1957, number 11 (and its weekend versions 111 and 141) draws engines 6068, 6078, 6079, 6223, 6240, 6241 and 6404. All three of those 6200-series locomotives are ostensibly Mimico engines, by the way.

After break-in runs following an overhaul, Mountain 6068 powers number 11 once toward the end of July 1957. We encountered her earlier in the month fresh out of the Big Shop at Stratford in Speed Graphics and Steam 1957!

Bob Sandusky catches the same engine on number 111 (the Saturday version, leaving Toronto early afternoon, at the close of the standard half-workday) at Brampton on February 15, 1958. This picture is from To Stratford Under Steam (out of print). You can see what appears to be only a single commuter coach at the tail end for Saturday:

Sister engine 6078 draws the number 11 job seven times during July 1957. We meet her in the pages of Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 3 (out of print) at Niagara Falls on August 31, 1958:

Courtesy of reader Al Chione’s collection, Jim Buckley catches Mountain 6078 twice on our train during our month of July 1957. First, nearing Guelph with number 11 on Friday the 19th  (notice the commuter coaches in the consist). Second, approaching London as train 111 on Saturday the 20th (no commuter cars):

Another Bullet-nosed Betty, number 6079, is called for number 11 seven times during July 1957. Bob Sandusky catches her on the point of Saturday-only number 111 between Guelph station and Guelph Junction on January 19, 1957. This image appears in our 2020 Canadian Branchline wall calendar:

In 1957 in general, streamlined Northern 6404 is often seen on trains 11 and 10 between Toronto and London, including eight appearances during July 1957.  Here she is on June 29, 1955 with number 11 approaching Kitchener station. This Jim Guerin image appears on the cover of Steam Encounters in Ontario vol. 1:

From mid-summer onward during the mid-1950s, fruit traffic originating west of London adds considerable tonnage to number 10. The CNR therefore stipulates that a heavier Northern be supplied at Toronto for these trains for the entire fruit shipping season. As mentioned above, the Mimico freight roundhouse furnishes three 6200-series locomotives during our month of July 1957.

Engine 6223 makes a couple of appearances on number 11 during July 1957. We met her on the point of a Fort Erie racetrack special at Port Robinson in the pages of Steam to the Niagara Frontier (out of print) with photographer Jim Shaughnessy. This is a few days after our month in question, on August 4, 1957:

Northern 6240 appears four times on train 11 during July 1957. We led off with her at Kitchener above, from the upcoming Steam Encounters in Ontario vol. 2.

As for sister 6241, powering the assignment twice during the month, John Rehor caught her on the shop track at her home roundhouse of Mimico in the pages of Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 3 (out of print) on August 31, 1958:

Train 11 and its reverse movement number 10, between Toronto and London, are two assignments that weave through many of the books I’ve put together on CNR steam railway operations in Ontario during the 1950s. We’ll see more of number 11 in Steam Encounters in Ontario vol. 2.

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