Monday, 5 October 2015

Ontario Southlanad - 2015

On Aug. 28 both newly-painted units are set to power the day's Woodstock turn at the junction in Ingersoll.  The units are coming off the branch to the left which heads to Salford and Tillsonburg.  Behind the units the mainline heads to the Cami plant, Putnam, and the CN interchange at St Thomas.  The mainline ahead of the 6508 leads towards the Ingersoll yard, Beachville, and the CP Galt sub interchange yard in Woodstock.
Ontario Southland Happenings  -  Summer of 2015

Photos and Observations by Peter Mumby
The Ontario Southland Railway (OSR) has become one of my favourite local railfanning  destinations.  I enjoy its eclectic mix of GM and MLW power, its predictable schedule, its relaxed pace of operation, and its friendly employees.  Its paint scheme, too, is a real winner - it is a pleasure to observe a short line operating in something other than Genesee and Wyoming black and orange!

The summer of 2015 brought a number of changes that kept me heading trackside.  Recent arrival OSRX 1620 (ex-CP 1620, nee CP 8659) was the first unit of the year to show up in fresh paint, a low nose variation of the scheme which had debuted on GP 7 #378.

OSRX 6508 has worked for several years in this paint scheme.  Keeping it company at Salford is #175.  Could this be the next recipient of a re-spray?  It is interesting to note that OSR has developed a unique company numbering scheme for its MLW/ALCo locomotives, whereas most GM units have retained the numbers of their previous operators.  The original Salford 2-track shop can be seen behind the 175;  two subsequent additions have almost tripled the original capacity....May 22, 2015
By July 10, body work was well under way on the 6508.

On Aug. 14, masking tape is being removed for the reflective diagonal stripe behind the cab.
The most famous of the OSR units operating out of Salford are the three FP9A locomotives.  OSRX 6508 has been operating for the last few years in the original CN black/green/yellow passenger scheme.  It had originally been interchanged to OSR at St Thomas by CN London/St Thomas turn #584 on Nov. 07, 2012.  At this time it still sported "Waterloo St Jacobs" on its flank, wore the red Waterloo St Jacobs logo on its nose, and wore reporting marks WCXX 6508.  Before entering service, the WSJ markings were scrubbed, but little was done to disguise its rusting body work.  This all changed this summer as 6508 spent much of July and August in Salford shop getting its body work and paint work refreshed.  It returned to work on or about August 26.

It was also nice to note that OSR business is growing to the point that additional trackage is required.  On my Aug 28 visit I observed an OSR track crew constructing a new turnout adjacent to the St Thomas sub mainline west of the Cami plant wye in Ingersoll.  This will be cut into the mainline to allow for storage of cars for their growing propane business.

Check out the provided photos - maybe you'll want to plan a visit a take a few shots of your own!

OSRX 1620, in fresh paint, sits in the siding at the west end of the Putnam elevator complex.  This St Thomas turn power has left its train on the main just south west of this spur.  Behind 1620 sit OSRX 378/383, the power for the Woodstock turn.  They have left a tank car on the main - gravity will power it down the grade where it will couple on to the St Thomas road freight.

1620 has been reunited with its train and is headed back to the Ingersoll yard.......Aug. 13, 2015.
In this top down view east of Ingersoll we can see the black treatment on the nose and roof.  Is this the paint scheme for a Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo F-unit that never was?

Here is the new turnout under construction west of the Cami plant.  Men and equipment have vacated the site pending the arrival of the units bound for Putnam.

With the train out of the way, men and machines have returned to the job site.....Aug. 28, 2015.


  1. Thanks for the photo tour. I've never seen the OSR in person, but have seen many photos online and I think it's a fascinating operation.
    I'd love to learn more about the operations on this line, as well as see some track arrangements and photos of various industries.
    In fact, I think it would be a great subject for a "planning from the prototype" feature for RMC... don't you? Just sayin'...

    - Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

    1. Hi Trevor:
      Will have to run that by Peter...he knows the line well...George

  2. I have fond memories of 6508 when it was repainted in the old CNR paint scheme to pull Tortillard du Saint-Laurent tourist train back in 1995. It was a real treat to see this beautiful passenger train running in my backyard. I'm a little bit sad to see the old paint scheme gone, but at the same time happy this loco found a good place to call home. It was also the first locomotive I ever tried to model and repaint... Still have it after all these years.

  3. The OSR is top on my list of Canadian shortlines to visit. Great photos.