Algoma Central Locomotives
Operations began with 4 second-hand 4-6-0's built for the Lehigh Valley and bought in September 1899 through James D. Gardner, a Chicago equipment dealer for $2800 each. Seven second hand 0-4-0's owned by the CB&Q were also purchased.
In 1900 Baldwin supplied the first new locomotives, four 2-8-0's, one of which was a compound. The first Canadian built locomotives were two 0-6-0's from Canadian Locomotive Company in Kingston.
Two secondhand 4-8-0's were acquired in 1907 from a near-by US iron-hauling railroad. They were the only engines in Canada of this unusual wheel arrangement.
Ten new 2-8-0's came in 1911 from Montreal Locomotive Works, followed in 1913 by five near-identical engines from CLC in Kingston. In between, in 1912, five 4-6-0's came from CLC for passenger service, with 63" diameter drivers these were the highest AC was to have. These 20 engines lasted until dieselization.
During World War II 17 used 2-8-2 locomotives came to the ACR from various US railroads. These were the largest steam engines (except for the two 2-10-2's) and were the only 2-8-2's rostered.
The all-time roster of steam locomotives totalled just 60 engines, less than half of which were acquired new.
C-2 class 2-8-0 (28-37 ten engines) MLW April 1911
29 out of service 1949 Howard Davis/Bud Laws Collection
37 last of ten engine order.
50 (2 engine order) 2-10-2 Cyl. 24" x 28" Drv. 57" Press. 250 lbs. t.e. 60,250 CLC 1858 7/1929
C Class 4-6-0 100-104 CLC April 1912
104 last of five Ten-Wheelers. MLW 49861 4/1911
In February 1950 General Motors sent two of their three demonstrator diesel A & B road units along with a CPR dynamometer car for a winter test on the ACR. In June 1950 the CPR provided two MLW RS-2's 8405, 8406 for testing as well. These were the only demo units needed to see that steam was obsolete. Dieselization came quickly when 39 steam locomotives were replaced by just 21 diesels. Delivered in January 1951 were 5 GMD GP7 road switchers geared for only 55 mph (same as TH&B), followed in September by 14 more plus 2 SW8 yard switchers. A further 2 GP7's delivered in January 1953 finished off steam and in April, ACR became the first railway in Canada to be dieselized. Increased traffic resulted in 2 GP9's being delivered in August 1963, these were geared for the more normal 65 mph.
140 switching passenger train in front of station. Sault Ste. Marie, June 1979
Yard engine 141 about to pull empty equipment off the
Agawa Canyon train.
Both switchers were sold off by CN. 140 became WC 900 then ILSX_900
157 April 1991 Paul McGrane
One GP7 unit could handle 1250 tons north from the SOO and 2950 beyond Hawk Junction to Hearst. Southbound it was 3100 tons from Hearst and 1440 from Hawk Jct. Clearly, the difference in territory operated over is evident by these tonnage ratings. The steepest grade on the mainline is a 12-mile stretch of 1.8% southbound out of Frater, but there are many grades in both directions.
This was the very last GP9 built in North America, long
after production ended. GMD A2019 8/63
In 1972 another big step was taken when three heavy six-axle SD40's came to the ACR. These powerful units began to change things all over again as they did on other railways and just as the original diesels had done over steam locomotives. They were followed in 1973 by six SD40-2 units.
SD40-2 186 with two other SD's at Hawk Junction. 7/17/1975 Sam Beck Collection
There was still a need for smaller power and this brought about the rebuild in 1978 by GMD of five GP7's which were renumbered 100-104. Then CN rebuilt a further four GP7's; these were not renumbered. Rather than continue this rebuilding, in 1981 six modern GP38-2 units were acquired.
202 one of six GP38-2. GMD A4069 4/1981
Many old diesels (and passenger rolling stock) after being retired went on to another life.
ATTX 151 Attebury Grain in Saginaw, TX 10/28/2012 Roberto