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The Blue Barns of Buffalo… And Beyond

After a night of back-and-forth debate as to whether the CMQ units would be plucked from the train before reaching the Canadian/U.S. border, former Central Maine & Quebec SD40-2Fs 9020 and 9022 lead Canadian Pacific Train 143 south over the Buffalo River on the CSX Compromise Branch in this aerial view, June 20, 2020. The train’s final destination is Seneca Yard in Buffalo, N.Y. Paul Stamp photo

The Blue Barns of Buffalo… And Beyond

When Canadian Pacific completed its purchase of the Central Maine & Quebec on June 3, 2020, many observers believed that CMQ’s stable of rare GMD SD40-2F cowl units (nicknamed “Blue Barns”) would quickly be relegated to storage, or worse yet, the scrap heap. But record CP grain carloadings in western Canada exacerbated a motive power shortage in the east, and provided a brief respite for the handsome blue-and-gray units.

While there has been good press coverage of several CMQ units running on the former Delaware & Hudson during early June, several cowls also made it west to the Niagara region and into Buffalo, New York.

A perfect storm happened on June 20, 2020, as a duo of Central Maine & Quebec SD40-2Fs made their way into the United States on CP train 143. The Barns were put on in Smith Falls, Ont., after the horn failed original leading unit, CP 8014.

Somehow these non-PTC equipped units made it all the way past Toronto, and were approved to enter CSX’s territory without PTC at Welland, Ont., just a few miles from the international border…

September 2020Read the rest of this story in the September 2020 issue of Railpace Newsmagazine!

This article was posted on: August 24, 2020