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Canadian Railroads > Export Locomotives

Date: 05/27/24 15:52
Export Locomotives
Author: cn6218

For several years in the late '90s, General Motors shipped Class 66 locomotives for the English, Welsh and Scottish Railway from London, ON to Halifax on CN, and then across the Atlantic to Newport, UK on heavy lift ships.  The locomotives would generally arrive in batches of a dozen or so, riding on their own wheels, and pulled by a dynamic brake equipped CN locomotive.  The engineers were instructed to avoid using the train brake if at all possible, since the braking systems were not 100% compatible, and there was at least one incident that resulted in brand new wheel sets with flat spots.

On November 17, 1998, longshoremen were towing one of the recently arrived locomotives along Pier 9 to be loaded aboard the Jumboship MV Fairload.  This particular batch was already equipped with hook and buffer couplings and had a transition flatcar at each end of the consist.  Later shipments traveled from London with temporary knuckle couplers, but they were swapped out for hook and buffers dockside before being loaded on the ship.  According to a shipping label from a later batch, the locomotives weighed 270500 lbs. or 122954.54 KG.  They were shipped with enough fuel, water and lube oil on board to be started up and driven off the jetty, once they were unloaded in Newport.

The next pictures were taken two days later as the loading continued.  Some ships used two cranes working together to load each locomotive, but Fairload seems to have had a big enough crane to do the job solo.  That spreader bar looks like it would add a lot to the weight of the lift.

As one Class 66 was being put away in the hold, another was being dragged into position by the forklift.  The wooden cradles on the left were placed under the trucks.  I suspect they were to take some of the weight off the wheel bearings, so flat spots wouldn't develop later.  Once everything was loaded, Fairload sailed out to Bedford Basin and dropped anchor for a couple more days, while the crew lashed the load down tight for the trip across the Atlantic.


Date: 05/27/24 16:14
Re: Export Locomotives
Author: cozephyr

Thanks, Geoff, for a rare look at export locomotive ship loading.  Appreciated your informative write up.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/24 16:14 by cozephyr.

Date: 05/28/24 05:02
Re: Export Locomotives
Author: texchief1

Neat look back, Geoff!  Thanks for sharing.


Date: 06/15/24 13:34
Re: Export Locomotives
Author: winonarr

Great images.

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