Great Western Railway (Saskatchewan)

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Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
Reporting markGWRS
LocaleSouthwestern Saskatchewan, Canada
Dates of operation1999 (1999)–Present
PredecessorCanadian Pacific Railway
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length440 miles (710 km)
HeadquartersShaunavon, Saskatchewan
Websitewww.greatwesternrail.com

The Great Western Railway (reporting mark GWRS) is a Canadian short line railway company operating on former Canadian Pacific Railway trackage in Southwest Saskatchewan.[1] Great Western Railway Ltd. is an operating company that services the line and is locally owned and operated by farmers and municipalities in Southwestern Saskatchewan. \

History[edit]

Abottsford based Westcan Ltd., a railway contracting and maintenance company from BC, purchased 330 miles of track from CP and announced the launch of a new Westcan-owned short line, Great Western Railway Ltd, to provide service on these lines. The original purchase date was July 31st, 2000, but this date was pushed to September 8th, 2000 after overwhelming rainfall washed out 16 km of track on the Vanguard Subdivision, one of the branches that was being sold. An agreement was reached with Canadian Pacific to repair the damaged section at a cost of more than 500,000 before the takeover was completed.

In 2004 the railway was purchased by local investors from the area of Saskatchewan it serves. It is now locally owned and operated. Great Western Railway continues to serve many producer loading sites along their entire rail network, but also provide railcar storage for Class I railways and railcar companies.

GWR operates on 308 miles (496 km) of former Canadian Pacific Railway's Shaunavon, Vanguard, Altawan and Notukeu Subdivisions. GWR also services 60 miles (97 km) on the Fife Lake Railway, which is partially owned by the company, and another 72 miles (116 km) of the Red Coat Road & Rail on a yearly contractual basis.[2]

A trio of GWRS M420s idling outside of the Shaunavon shops.
Great Western Railway
(Saskatchewan)
Great Western Railway
Red Coat Road and Rail
Fife Lake Railway
CPR trackage
other lines

former line
to Weyburn
Poplar River Power Station
Pangman
Poplar River Coal Mine
Ogema
Coronach
Glasnevin
Fife Lake
Horizon
Constance
Viceroy
Rockglen
Verwood
Southern Rails Cooperative
Colony subdivision
Readlyn
Lisieux
Willows
Scout Lake
Assiniboia
former Wood Mountain Sub
Limerick
Melaval
LaFleche
Woodrow
Meyronne
Glenbain
Hazenmore
Esme
Aneroid
Vanguard
Ponteix
Pambrun
Cadillac
Neville
Admiral
Blumenhof
Kincaid
Instow
Shaunavon
former line to Val Marie
Dollard
Bracken
Eastend
Climax
Robsart
Frontier
Consul
Claydon
Notukeu Junction
former line to
Stirling, Alberta

Engine Roster[edit]

Great Western Railway had humble beginnings hauling hopper cars of grain for small producer loading sites, but as Great Western Railway gradually gained trackage rights over Red Coat Road & Rail and Fife Lake Railway, the railway required more motive power to provide sufficient customer service for their new customers. Up until 2011, Great Western Railway utilized an all MLW M420 roster; however with the increased maintenance cost of operating Montreal Locomotive Works locomotives, Great Western Railway decided to purchase their first General Electric units. In March 2011 it was announced Great Western Railway would receive two former Burlington Northern Santa Fe GE B40-8Ws for the original Great Western route.[3] In early 2017, GWRS 576 was purchased, continuing the company's effort to move into an entire G.E. fleet. Great Western Rail is currently in the process of selling their entire MLW fleet.

Unit Model Built Acquired Retired Status Image
563 B40-8W N/A 2011 [3] N/A Active Ex-BNSF. B40-8WMooseJaw386.JPG
575 B40-8W N/A 2011 [3] N/A Active Ex BNSF
576 B40-8 1989 2017 N/A Active Ex CSX
2000 M420 1973 2000 [4] N/A Active Day 3 234.JPG
2001 M420 1973 2001 [4] N/A Active Day 3 335.JPG
2002 M420R 1974 2002 [4] N/A Active Ex P&W Final day Day 4 020.JPG
2003 M420 1977 2008 [4][5] N/A Active Ex-Canadian National.
2004 M420 1976 2008 [4][5] 2015 Not in Service - Water leaking issues. Ex-Canadian National.
4062 B23-7 1979 2013 N/A Active
4064 B23-7 1979 2013 N/A Active

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan University of Regina. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  2. ^ "Great Western Railway Official Website". Great Western Railway Ltd. 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  3. ^ a b c "Canadian Railway Observations March 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  4. ^ a b c d e "GWRS roster". Canadian Trackside Guide (2011 ed.). Bytown Railway Society. 2011. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Great Western Railway Equipment". Retrieved 2011-05-11.

External links[edit]