Thursday, February 8, 2024

CN 2338 - CN's last Century of the Last Century

Century M-636 2338 was the second-last member of CN's class MF-36b, built in 1971 by Montreal Locomotive Works.  Spending much of their careers between Toronto and Halifax, once CN closed its Moncton diesel shop, 2338's next maintenance base moved to Toronto. 

It was a Grand Trunk Western blue unit that caught my eye near Mi 179 Kingston Sub on March 9, 1997 -  eastbound elephant-style 9471-2338-GTW 5916-2115. At this point, M-636 2338 has been un-re-retired and is still earning its keep (top photo). CN was power-short throughout the latter half of the 1990's, leasing lots of locomotives. CN was awaiting the arrival of the 5600's - I observed 5600-5603 on September 1, 1995, with many more in early-1996.  

At the end of their careers, the Centuries were relegated to trailing status only, with all Centuries except 2338 off CN's roster by the end of 1997. Some of my latter Century sightings:

  • Nov 12/91 2043-2310-2325 last observed Century leader westbound (WB) through Kingston
  • Jun 18/94 5350-2338 EB
  • Nov 4/94 9508-2031 WB
  • Dec 13/94 3502-2038 WB
  • Mar 14/95 5100-2314 EB
  • May 11/95 9592-2028 EB and 3517-2338-3553 WB
  • Jun 4/95 5359-2028-3528-2437 WB
  • Mar 9/97 9471-2338-GTW 5916-2115 (top photo)
  • Jul 5/97 9426-2338-7301 on CN No 307 (departed Moncton Gordon Yard with 3533-2338-9426-9307-7301)

Now, follow along if you can through the venerable 2338's end-is-near career years: 

  • retired June 4, 1996
  • un-retired June 20, 1996
  • stored serviceable July 3, 1996
  • retired August 19, 1996 for the second time
  • un-re-retired September 20, 1996 and then...
  • retired January 23, 1998 for the third time!  

In 1997, at least through August 22, 2338 operated as far west as Saskatoon and as far east as Halifax - the last true MLW still operating on either CN or CP! 

It was then stored for possible preservation at CN's Pointe St-Charles shops during 1998-1999. In September, 1999 CN 2338 was moved from Montreal to Toronto, and in November of 1999 it was prepared and outfitted as an emergency Y2K power source for Macmillan Yard Diesel Shop, Toronto. It was wired up and its prime mover idling on the night of December 31, 1999 but its output was never required.  

After 2000 the unit sat at MacMillan Yard till roughly 2010, stored serviceable though retired. In 2007, it was sitting with CN 7316. Stripped of some parts, possibly including traction motors donated to a GE unit - apparently CN's C40-8M's used similar Dofasco trucks. Sold to the Western New York & Pennsylvania RR (WNYP), the CN logos on both hood ends replaced with spray-painted RRPX letters, also spray-painted on the cab sides beneath the road number. 

On November 9, 2010 CN moved 2338 on train No A421, in tow as the fourth unit and billed to the WNYP.

LR Myers posted this foreboding foto of foment moment to Minnesota Commercial Railway's social media on December 27, 2023 in  Olean, NY. Spotted between two doors-open units, 2338 has perhaps reached its final resting place.

Lots o' links (well, just one link this time but it's really cool):

  • CN 2338, spray-painted with RRPX reporting marks with the NEW ES44DC 2338 (photo taken by Paul Giannico)
This is Feb24 OOF (One-Off February) Post OO2. Each post during the month will centre on an event or a piece of equipment that was unique, happened only once or was a one-off. And who knows what I'll come up with for Leap Day, February 29th!? You'll also note something unique and unusual that every blog post title in this OOF has in common. I smell a contest!

Running extra...

Essayist Maria Popova wrote, “Literature is the original Internet – every footnote, every citation, every allusion is essentially a hyperlink to another text, to another mind.” 

I got word this week that in The Globe and Mail's John Ibbitson's recent book "The Duel: Diefenbaker, Pearson and the Making of Modern Canada" that the second footnote in the whole book links to this blog. Due to sleuthing out the story of Dief (The Chief)'s 1979 funeral train, I have had a few inquiries, including one from Saskatoon's Diefenbaker Canada Centre. This one was a surprise. Thanks to faithful Trackside Treasure reader Ian Smith for the heads-up! Can you spot the tiny [2]?
Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift are sure to provide at least one historical (hopefully not offensive) footnote during this Sunday's Super Bowl. Well, maybe they'll just usher in a conspiracy theory or two. I personally sense a connection with the Lehigh Valley RR, with the Anthracite Road's initials worked into the game's numeric moniker. I...I...I'll be watching it from ma home, at least Half of the Time. Go Chiefs! (Hey, if the Chiefs are in the Super Bowl, does that make them the Super Chiefs?) 


Eric May said...

I've always wondered why CP's big Alcos seemed to get all the press even though CN's outlasted them.

Eric said...

Good question, Eric. Maybe because CP's Centuries were one of the few standout classes from CP's massive 500ish SD40-2 fleet? Maybe because CN's were black and just blended into the background? Missing the burble...

Thanks for your comment,