|HCRY 459 and sister 458 power a westbound road freight near the INCO South Mine at Copper Cliff (Sudbury), Ontario. The date is July 16, 1998.|
By Peter Mumby.
Operations on the Huron Central Railway (HCRY) commenced on July 29, 1997. Based on a long term lease of the ex-CP Webbwood Subdivision and a short branch south from McKerrow, the railway was in the business of hauling freight between Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.
Local operations were handled by four GP-9 locomotives. These were all 1955/56 vintage products of EMD, originally assembled either for B&O or C&O. Road assignments, on the other hand, were the exclusive domain of five SD-45E locomotives from the 1966-1969 era which had been produced for Southern Pacific. When I first encountered these units in 1998, they were looking pretty sharp in a relatively new coat of paint. There were, however, a few differences in the way various members of the group were finished. The shade of orange used was not consistent. Sharp-eyed observers will note in the above photo that lead unit 459 featured a deeper orange hue, while trailing 458 had a lighter, more yellow, finish. Apparently, the difference depended on whether the paint work was done in Montreal or at the ONR shop in North Bay.
Two members of the group were named, and this created a minor difference in the application of the cab-side road numbers. The name appeared in black letters right under the window, while the numbers now were applied in white paint to the upper black stripe. Number 458 was named the City of/Ville de Sudbury, while number 462 was similarly marked for Sault Ste Marie.
Beginning in 2002, all of the big SDs were reassigned to other G&W properties. Their road jobs were taken over by ex-CN GP40-2W diesels.