KITCHENER – It looked like old No. 6593’s days were numbered.
Built in Montreal in 1957, the locomotive toiled as a diesel
switcher in Canadian Pacific Railway yards for nearly three decades
before being moved to the National Research Council’s Ottawa testing
But earlier this year, it was put up for sale by the federal
Most bidders wanted it for its scrap value. A group of local
volunteers wanted to save it.
And earlier this week, No. 6593 arrived in Waterloo Region, en
route to its new home with the Waterloo Central Railway.
Run by volunteers, the heritage railway operates passenger trains
between Waterloo and St. Jacobs and occasionally Elmira. It’s owned
by the Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society, the
not-for-profit group that will perform the maintenance and repairs
required to put 6593 back on the tracks.
“We’re hoping that in less than a month, we’ll have it
operational,” said Carson Wiebe, who manages the society’s
restoration shop in St. Jacobs.
On Tuesday evening, cranes prepared to lift the red locomotive
from the flat car used to transport it from Ottawa to its own
wheels. If all goes according to plan, a train will take 6593 to the
restoration shop on Wednesday morning.
The society now has six locomotives, in various states of repair
and restoration. One of them, No. 1556, a diesel switcher, is
operational and serves as the prime locomotive for the Waterloo
The acquisition of 6593 “will enable us to have two prime
operating locomotives” to pull their passenger cars, Wiebe said.
Wiebe wouldn’t disclose how much it cost to purchase the
locomotive, but he said the society got a good deal.
“To us, it was a lot of money … In the locomotive world, it was
The primary cost, Wiebe said, came in transporting No. 6593 to
Waterloo Region. Repairs could cost another $2,000 or more, but the
group hopes to offset their costs through donations.
There’s one extra repair the volunteers weren’t counting on.
Within hours of its arrival, someone had already tagged both sides
of the locomotive with graffiti.
“We’ll clean it off,” Wiebe promised.