Friday, June 30, 2023

Canadian Pacific E8 in St. Albans

 Here's something you don't see everyday:

CP E8 at St. Albans, photographer/date unknown

A Canadian Pacific locomotive sitting in the St. Albans trainshed. 

I had the pleasure of catching up with Ian Stronach at the recently concluded New England RPM. Somehow we got on the subject of CP E8 locomotives, and he mentioned the photo above. 

Just what was a CP E8 1801, in its original paint and lettering, doing heading a passenger train in St. Albans on the Central Vermont? 

The reason for this detour remains a mystery.  The most likely would have been because the CPR was blocked between Wells River and Newport. It is a shame we cannot see the switch stand to determine if the turnout under the lead truck is lined for the Richford Branch.  Since the train is facing north we can surmise it either arrived from somewhere south on the CV or it arrived from the north and has been turned at St. Albans to return north. The former is far more likely. 

We can assume two possibilities of where the train is heading:

1. Up the Richford Branch to Richford and then onto the CPR Newport Sub.  

2. Over the CV and then CN to St. Jean, Quebec and then onto the CPR.

One thing that may eliminate possibility #1 from consideration: 

The 1955 ETT states the following for the Richford Sub.:


Engines heavier than the 460 class must not operate. EXCEPTI0N 600 class may be used in helper or special service on main track and sidings only. So, is an E-8 heavier on the drivers than a 460 or 600 class?

In the meantime, the first possibility offers me a chance to run that beautiful CP E8 over my version of the Richford sub! 

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