St. Thomas Central
Southern Ontario Locomorive Restoration Society (SOLRS) chose the name St.Thomas Central for its historical tourist train operations in St.Thomas which were operated in the yard and to points along the CASO mainline, St.Thomas and Eastern, (Former CNR Cayuga Sub.) CPR St.Thomas Subdivision and elsewhere including a multi-day trips.
The main purpose was "Bringing History to Life" by operating former Essex Terminal 9 an 0-6-0 that was the last steam locomotive used by this small Ontario shortline based in Amherstburg.
Number 9 moved in many pieces to St.Thomas on December 23, 1993. Work continued overhauling and restoring it inside the former Michigan Central main locomotive shop building as tenants of Elgin County Railway Museum. It was first steamed up October 2, 1997. A milestone was reached!
All photographs below: Walter Pfefferle unless otherwise credited.
ETR number 9 crosses Kettle Creek viaduct with a photogenic
ETR 9 visiting PSTR to replace their diesel for the day. Port Stanley May 02, 2002 Larry Broadbent
Operations began June 14, 1998 using STCR No. 10 (simply
numbered after ETR 9), an old 600 HP 70-tonner that traces
SOLRS area inside the main shop St.Thomas. 0-4-0T 124 in background. 4/03/2004
Number 9 with added St.Thomas Central logo on tender
and "Pride of Elgin" name on cab.
June 29, 2004 St.Thomas
Coaling up in yard before making typical one coach train
runs within yard limits.
STCR 57636 nicely repainted in old colours (although
incorrectly numbered) as express car with full size door restored
CN 57636 in work service. Ex 8759 NSC 7/1930
NOTE: SOXX 57636 (acq. 6/1991) ex CN 57636 work service
car nee CN 8759 baggage car used as a tool car and
Operations started 1994 with ex TH&B 61 wood caboose previously at PSTR in Port Stanley. St.Thomas.
Heavyweight work service diner 60504 was acquired 8/2001
and a lighweight snack bar coach was added 9/2001 when
Following demise of the Waterloo-St.Jacobs tourist train
three futher pieces of equipment was acquired 7/2002.
STCR 15000 ex CN 15000 Track Geometry Car nee Jellicoe
sleeper CC&F 10/1923.
Note the added bay windows (each side) for use during track testing. Note too although still CN owned prior to SOLRS acquisition, this car and some other CN equipment was painted in VIA's paint scheme (without lettering) for matching looks.
EVENTS Early website by Walter Pfefferle
Special events became a key part of "Bringing
History to Life" by visiting cities and towns including a run
all the way back
A trip along the St.Thomas and Eastern. Courtland. 9/12/2004
Former CNR line leased to Trillium and operated by their subsidiary ST&E.
A "once-in-a-lifetime" event saw No. 9 hauling
passengers from St.Thomas over the CPR branchline to Ingersoll for their
Returning from Ingersoll to St.Thomas with passengers that started out in the morning there was an opportunity to enjoy a quiet time in an almost empty coach there being excess seating for the festival trips. The branchline runs diagonally across the rural countyside where the steam engine whistled again and again for the many level crossings over mostly dirt roads protected only by crossbuck signs. It was like travelling back in time a century when nearing town there was scene that added to this as close by a crossing some Mennonite farmers worked their land with horses and wagons! Nearing the end of the CPR St.Thomas Subdivision we made a short stop just before crossing Highway 3 to enter the old CASO yard. Some of us crew got off for a little ceremony unbenownst to the passengers it was to mark the end of a long career of one railroader.
Jim Hornblower (far right) CPR engineer and SOLRS volunteer
The End is at Hand!
STCR 9 and SOLRS rolling stock (more out of view) is
"escaping" on the Talbot Sub.
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