History of No. 9

Bringing History to Life!

The History of No. 9 Steam Locomotive

The restoration of Steam Locomotive No. 9 started over twenty-five years ago, however the history of this impressive historic steam engine started when it was built, back in 1923 by Montreal Locomotive Works Ltd.

Early – Mid 1900s:

  • Completed in February 1923, No. 9 was built by Montreal Locomotive Works for the Essex Terminal Railway of Windsor, Ont.
  • No. 9 worked in regular service on Essex Terminal until 1960 and was retained on standby until 1963. Essex Terminal subsequently donated the Government of Ontario as part of the Ontario Science Centre collection.
  • It was leased to the Ontario Rail Association when the Science Centre collection was dispersed. Ontario Rail leased the locomotive to the Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society (SOLRS) in 1986.
  • In July 1986 No. 9 was moved to the Ontario Hydro generating station in Nanticoke, Ont., for storage and restoration led by SOLRS founding member Don Broadbear.
Founding Member Don Broadbear
Founding Member Don Broadbear

1900s:

  • In December 1993 No. 9 was moved to the Elgin County Railway Museum’s former Michigan Central shop in St. Thomas, Ont., on three flatbed trucks. It was in over 500 pieces and came with little to no instructions.
  • Don Broadbear and a group of dedicated volunteers continued restoration work on No. 9 for four more years.
  • On October 2, 1997, No. 9 was steamed up and moved on its own power for the first time since 1962.
  • Between 1997 to 2007, SOLRS operated No. 9 on a number of steam tours around southern Ontario as a fundraising effort to support their ongoing railway restoration work.

2000s:

  • In 2006 Canadian National Railway applied to abandon trackage to the St. Thomas shop and SOLRS sought a new home for the locomotive and its other equipment.
  • In 2007 SOLRS moved their equipment to Waterloo Region and the St. Thomas Central Railway established the Waterloo Central Railway.
  • In 2010 SOLRS completed construction of a modern Restoration and Maintenance Facility in St. Jacobs. The 5,700-square-foot facility with two through tracks and inspection pits allows restoration and maintenance of the society’s locomotives and equipment to be conducted year- round.
  • The only regularly operating steam locomotive in eastern Canada, No. 9 is proudly maintained at St. Jacobs and is operated on the Waterloo Central Railway on long weekends and other special occasions throughout the year.