Saturday, October 28, 2017

Coming Soon: The End of the SD40-2s on CP and CN in Canada

Readers of this blog know that I like SD40-2s.

That’s why the Manitoba & Minnesota Sub. is set in the early to mid-1990s, when the SD40-2 was king.

It’s also why I was so excited when Bowser brought out its great-looking and great-running CP Rail SD40-2 models—including the Red Barn.

But if time is frozen in my basement on the M & M Sub., it marches on in real life on both the CPR and CN.

According to the latest information I can find (on Canadian Railway Observations), as of last year there were only 13 SD40-2s on the CP roster, with only four of those operational (and based in St. Paul, MN). The rest were stored.

Some SD40-2s are being upgraded into that railway’s new SD30C-ECO program, so that’s good news. But it’s not the same.

Meantime, the famed MultiMark is also almost gone; as of last year only two units (5911 and 5863) still sport the iconic mark (again, according to CRO).

Once they are gone, the MultiMark will cease to exist in real life.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the September issue of Railfan & Railroad CN has only four SD40-2s in operation, with seven stored serviceable and 142 stored unserviceable. One of them is 6017 (in the photo above).

In 2010, I interviewed local modeler Don McKinnon about his home layout, the Malamute and Klondike.

With construction on the layout starting in 1950, it was the oldest home layout in Winnipeg by the time Don died in 2013.

When I asked him why he modelled the transition era, he replied: “It was modern when I started!”

At 23 years old, I’m beginning to feel the same way about the M & M Sub. layout.


  1. I saw CP 5973 and CP 5875 in yard service in Golden, BC last month, sporting the small multimarks... so they are still kicking around.

    We're fortunate in Winnipeg to still have 6010 and 6016 operating, albeit in hump yard service in Symington. Last year I saw 6005, 6007, 6012 and 6015 in hump service but I haven't seen them lately.

    I agree that the SD40-2s are a dying breed. I wonder if we will be mourning the loss of Dash-9s and SD70/SD75 locomotives next.

  2. I grew up watching these powerful kings of the high iron powering long unit grain trains across the Alberta prairies to the B.C. coast. Growing up in Calgary, CP rules, then and now. Unfortunately, living now in Ontario, I see one rarely. I have seen one or two in the past year rumbling up to Montreal, perhaps on their way to the U.S. The AC4400's and ES44AC's just don't have the same feel to them as they power by. Hopefully geeps aren't next on the proverbial chopping block.