Bringing History to Life... One Locomotive at a Time
Restoring Three Heritage Locomotives
For the first time ever, Waterloo Central Railway’s fleet of three diesel locomotives all display the same, heritage-oriented image. This is one of several major changes being made as part of our ongoing mission to bring history to life.
It has been a long, sought-after goal of Waterloo Central Railway and Southern Ontario Restoration Society (SOLRS) to have a consistent and heritage-oriented image for all WCR equipment. We are excited to reveal our railway’s new image. The locomotive paint scheme is inspired by the Tuscan and grey colours originally worn by our 6593 when it was built for Canadian Pacific Railway.
This project began in the summer of 2019 and took just over a year to complete. The repainting of the three locomotives was led by Grant Scheifele, our honourary master painter. Grant and his team volunteered hundreds of hours of their time and our organization could not be prouder of their work.
See below for photos and a recap of these unique restoration projects that have restored new life into these heritage locomotives.
Restoring Locomotive 6593
During the summer of 2019, our volunteers set to work repainting No. 6593, the oldest of our three diesel locomotives. One of 101 660-hp model S3 switchers purchased by CP, No. 6593 was completed by Montreal Locomotive Works in August 1957. The Tuscan and grey colours it wears today were inspired by those is wore when it emerged from the factory 63 years ago. The locomotive was repainted into the script version of this scheme in the 1960s and received CP Rail action red as part of a major overhaul in 1975. The locomotive worked in Quebec and Ontario for most of its 29-year career on Canadian Pacific. No. 6593 was the last of its kind on the roster, and the last 539-engined locomotive in service on a Class I railway in North America when CP retired the veteran S3 on October 29, 1986.
Following its retirement, 6593 was sold to the National Research Council for use at its facility near Ottawa, where it remained until being sold to the Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society in March 2012. The locomotive operated on WCR in the bright red paint until the summer of 2019. The selection of CP-inspired colours was made as a tribute to No. 6593’s heritage. The iconic scheme has since been adopted as standard for all WCR diesels.
Restoring Locomotive 1001
In the winter of 2020, our volunteers brought S13 No. 501 into our St. Jacobs shop for repainting and reconditioning. The locomotive, one of two S13s acquired from the Ontario Southland Railway in 2018, was given a thorough going-over by our mechanical experts and necessary repairs performed before the painters went to work sanding and preparing the locomotive for its new colours. A coat of primer had been applied in the fall, but the work was interrupted while No. 501 worked our Christmas trains.
The locomotive first entered the shop in the two-tone green British Columbia Railway colours that it had worn in the final years of service in B.C., as well as throughout its 24-year career on Ontario Southland. The sanding process revealed traces of the original dark green and orange Pacific Great Eastern paint applied by workers at Montreal Locomotive Works when the locomotive was built as PGE 1001 in 1959. While the shades of PGE and BCR green were soon covered with primer and then Tuscan and grey, the reconditioning included restoring the locomotive to its original road number. In keeping with WCR’s practice of reinstating the historic road numbers of all equipment, the faded green locomotive that rolled into the shop as No. 501 emerged proudly from the shop in pristine Tuscan and grey as Waterloo Central 1001.
Restoring Locomotive 1002
No. 1001 had no sooner emerged in its new colours when the second S13, No. 502, took its turn in the St. Jacobs shop in March 2020. While No. 501 had retained its BCR colours, 502 wore Ontario Southland maroon and cream. Constructed alongside 1001, the locomotive was delivered from MLW in January 1959 as Pacific Great Eastern 1002. PGE was renamed the British Columbia Railway in in 1972, and BC Rail in 1984. The two S13s were renumbered BC Rail 501 and 502 in 1987. The parted ways when 501 was sold to the Greater Winnipeg Water District in October 1989; No. 502 was sold to Vancouver Wharves in March 1992. The pair were reunited on Ontario Southland. The 501 arrived first, in 1994, No. 502 followed in 1997. They arrived together on Waterloo Central in the summer of 2018.
Work on No. 502 was interrupted by the COVID shutdown in mid-March. After several weeks of complete shutdown, the St. Jacobs shop reopened with strict protocols and a limited number of people allowed in the shop. Fortunately, all of the supplies needed for the repainting were already on hand and our volunteers got back to work as soon as they were able to safely do so. On August 16, 2020, the former 502 rolled from the shop in glistening Tuscan and grey as Waterloo Central 1002.
Waterloo Central Railway is proud to now have a fleet of three diesel locomotives that for the first time ever, all display the same, heritage-oriented image. These locomotives will be used to pull our passenger trains and provide guests with experiences that truly bring history to life.
All of our restoration projects could not be possible without the help of our volunteers. They are the backbone of our organization and we could not be more grateful for their hard work and dedication to our organization’s mission to Bring History to Life.