By Peter Mumby.
|GEXR 177 prepares to lead the charge up the hill towards the ex-CN
Goderich yard. The combination of a steep grade and a heavy cut of
loaded cars from the Sifto salt mine makes this one of the toughest
railway climbs in all of Canada. This action was captured on July 30,
operations on April 03, 1992, the Goderich Exeter Railway (GEXR) was
the first Canadian shortline to be spun off from a major railway (CN, in
this case). The Goderich Subdivision, running between Stratford and
Goderich, was its principal route. The Exeter Subdivision extended from
Clinton Junction to Centralia. At start-up, motive power consisted of
four GP9 locomotives, all built in 1960 by GMD for the Quebec Cartier
Railway. These units were numbered 177-180. With headquarters in
Stratford, the home of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival, owner
Railtex also chose appropriate names for these diesels, specifically
Titania, Paulina, Portia, and Falstaff.
all interchange with CN occurred at the Stratford yard. Starting on
Nov. 15, 1998, GEXR leased the entire Guelph Subdivision (London to
Georgetown) with trackage rights into Toronto Yard. Ownership changes
took place in 2000 (Rail America) and 2012 (Genesee & Wyoming Inc).
The final day of GEXR operation on the Guelph Subdivision was November
16, 2018. With CN declining to renew the lease, GEXR has shrunk back to
its Goderich and Exeter roots.
this photo, one of the original units, GP9 177, is in the lead. Next
up is GEXR 4161, a GP7 road slug mated to GP35m mother 3834 (previously
appearing as 66). The trailing unit is sister Railtex locomotive 2127, a