By Jim Brock
These two diesel-electric locomotives are part of the “F” series locomotives built by General Motors from 1939 to 1960. In that period, a total of over seven thousand “F” series locomotives were produced at GM’s locomotive plants in La Grange, Illinois and London, Ontario. The vast majority produced were for use in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, however, some were built for overseas buyers as well, including railways in Argentina, Australia, and Saudi Arabia.
The 81 F9 series locomotives built for CN remained owned by CN until VIA Rail took over CN’s passenger service on April 1, 1978. At that time, the remaining 72 (38 FP9A and 34 F9B) locomotives in this series were transferred to VIA Rail ownership.
6514 and 6614 continued in passenger service with VIA Rail until the early 1990’s, when they were stored and put up for sale due to the VIA cuts at that time. In February 1995, a division of the Wisconsin Central (WC) Railroad bought a total of six FP9A’s and four F9B’s from VIA Rail, including both the 6514 and 6614. The locomotives were purchased specifically to handle excursion passenger service on the Algoma Central (AC) Railway, which had been acquired by the WC on January 31, 1995.
At the time of their assignment to the AC, both locomotives were renumbered, with 6514 becoming AC 1753 and 6614 becoming AC 1762.
The locomotives remained on the AC until after the purchase of the WC by CN on October 9, 2001. At this time, the units were again in storage.
The “F” class of units on CN had a long and productive life, and many are still in everyday service for subsequent owners across North America.
We are indeed fortunate to have received this important donation from CN, which will be a cornerstone in our eventual plans to display a complete “Super-Continental” train from the late 1950’s.