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Canadian Railroads > MLW Slayers on the CBNS

Date: 01/03/21 08:34
MLW Slayers on the CBNS
Author: cn6218

Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia started operations in October of 1993 with am all-MLW fleet of former CN diesels.  8 C-630Ms handled road freights, and half a dozen RS-18s looked after yard and branchline jobs.  But these were already well used by their previous owner, and rumours soon began circulating that new power was on the way.  SD45s were mentioned, as well as former Southern U23Bs and slugs.  The first EMD to appear was former GTW GP18 4700 in the summer of 1997, but it was a group of former BN GP50s that replaced the 6-axle power.  These were built in 1980 and actually ordered by Frisco, but delivered after the merger with BN.  They started appearing on CBNS rails in late 1997, and eventually 6 migrated from the IORY to Nova Scotia.

On May 12, 1998 I managed to shoot all six on a chase of 306 to Sydney, and then 305 back as far as Leitch's Creek.  3104, 3107, 3102 were crossing a small inlet at Boisdale on Cape Breton Island as 306 headed towards Sydney.  Once 306 arrived in the Sydney yard, 305 almost immediately left with 3109, 3100 and 3108 to go west.  They're shown here nearing North Sydney on the same day.  At this time all 6 units still had IORY (Indiana & Ohio) reporting marks and their former BN numbers.

Eventually, the reporting marks were changed to CBNS, and they were renumbered into Rail America's 5000-series, keeping the same last 2 digits.  On January 31, 1999 I caught 5009 leading 5007, 5004 and 3102 (still not renumbered) into Port Hawkesbury with train 306 from Stellarton.  By this time traffic had declined significantly between the Strait and Sydney, and these same 4 units reversed to haul 305 back to Stellarton.

The GP50s lasted until 2001 when they were sent back to the IORY and were replaced by 4 SD45-2s.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/21 08:37 by cn6218.

Date: 01/03/21 09:12
Re: MLW Slayers on the CBNS
Author: briancdn

Great shots. Just goes to show, if you just wait everything will come to you! No need to travel anymore. Lol.

Brian N.

Date: 01/03/21 12:27
Re: MLW Slayers on the CBNS
Author: 3rdswitch

What a great spot that last shot is.

Date: 01/04/21 16:46
Re: MLW Slayers on the CBNS
Author: toledopatch

briancdn Wrote:
> Great shots. Just goes to show, if you just wait
> everything will come to you! No need to travel
> anymore. Lol.

Yes and no. If you wanted to photograph power with full CBNS paint and lettering, you had to go there, and during a fairly tight window. I'm glad I made that trip in 1994 and 1996, especially considering how the railroad has since gone quiet beyond Tupper Junction.

I remember when those GP50s first showed up on the IORY, too. I harbored the delusion that they'd get painted into I&O colors at some point. Instead, they were shipped out green, and IORY went down the RailTex/RailGenerica rabbit hole for the next two decades or so.

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