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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!


Trip and event flyers, schedules and tickets.


All photographs below: Walter Pfefferle unless otherwise credited.

ETR number 9 crosses Kettle Creek viaduct with a photogenic smoke plume!
Consist ex CP 1437 heavyweight coach and ex VIA/CN coach 3216.
STCR No.10 was used to lead train westbound. May 4, 2003

ETR 9 visiting PSTR to replace their diesel for the day. Port Stanley May 02, 2002 Larry Broadbent

STCR No.10 ex LASCO 1 nee PGE 556 GE 30440 2/1950

Operations began June 14, 1998 using STCR No. 10 (simply numbered after ETR 9), an old 600 HP 70-tonner that traces
its history back to the early years of the Pacific Great Eastern. After being retired by PGE it went 1/1965 to LASCO (Lake Ontario Steel) in Whitby where it was later (c.1985) re-engined with a 600 HP Cummins truck engine. Retired by LASCO (along with its other two 70-tonners) it was acquired 1997 by Don Broadbear. Uniquely its renumbering preserves its original number (556) and continues CN 70-tonner numbering! It was repainted in old CNR paint scheme at St.Thomas Central 1557.
Note: 8/2008 transferred to Waterloo Central as 1556.

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.
Former MCR backshop home of Elgin County Railway Museum now including SOLRS base.

June 29, 2004 St.Thomas

Coaling up in yard before making typical one coach train runs within yard limits.
SOLRS coal supply is in an air dump (STCR 361 or 362) and a gon (ex CN 137673).

 

Rolling stock.

STCR 57636 nicely repainted in old colours (although incorrectly numbered) as express car with full size door restored
Waterloo October 13, 2003 J.Yolkowski

CN 57636 in work service. Ex 8759 NSC 7/1930
Note small man door (right end) in place of normal full size baggage car door.

 

NOTE: SOXX 57636 (acq. 6/1991) ex CN 57636 work service car nee CN 8759 baggage car used as a tool car and
ex CN 565342 box car used for storage also arrived in 1993 from Nanticoke location.

Operations started 1994 with ex TH&B 61 wood caboose previously at PSTR in Port Stanley. St.Thomas.



In 4/2000 ex CP 1437 (CC&F 12/1923) heavyweight coach was added when the National Museum of Science and Technology (a.k.a. Science & Tech) in Ottawa disposed of its passenger equipment following end of their steam excursions.

 

Heavyweight work service diner 60504 was acquired 8/2001 and lighweight snack bar coach was added 9/2001 when VIA 3216 was acquired.

Following demise of the Waterloo-St.Jacobs tourist train three futher pieces of equipment was acquired 7/2002.
Coach 5504, 5622 CC&F 1954 and former track geometry car CN 15000 ex CN Jellicoe sleeper CC&F 10/1923..


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
to Amherstburg and the Essex Terminal Railway September 7, 2002.

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
annual Canterbury Folk Festival July 12, 2003. Upon arrival at Ingersoll passengers detrained to visit the festival while new passengers boarded the train for a number of short trips north to Beachville.

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 is retiring.
Seen here talking with R.L.Kennedy while St.Thomas Central conductor
Roy Broadbear and volunteer Shawn prepare for the very brief event.


The End is at Hand!

STCR 9 and SOLRS rolling stock (more out of view) is "escaping" on the Talbot Sub.
(former L&PS) pending trap isolating everything in St.Thomas.

 

 

 

 



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