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Transportation Company - Grand Trunk Western - Railroad

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Transportation Company - Grand Trunk Western - Railroad
Company Name Grand Trunk Western
Category Railroad
Year Founded 1928
Final Year of Operation 1995
Termination Merged
Successor/Parent Canadian National (Details)
Country Canada (Details)
Source of Text Bluford Shops
Text Credit URL Link
Transportation Company - Grand Trunk Western - Railroad



Company History: The Grand Trunk Western dates from 1928 as part of the Canadian government’s process of nationalizing some major Canadian railroads (under the name Canadian National) including the Grand Trunk Railway which had built the line. The GT lines in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois were combined under the Grand Trunk Western banner. The GTW linked the Canadian border at Port Huron (north of Detroit, Michigan) with Chicago via Durand, Lansing, and South Bend. There were also routes to Detroit, Pontiac, Bay City, Carson City, and the Lake Michigan car ferry port of Muskegon (with ferry service to Wisconsin where GTW maintained a small yard and stationed a switcher.) The GTW had about 1,000 route miles during this period. So, the GTW was an American railroad that was a wholly owned subsidiary of a Canadian corporation, wholly owned by the Canadian government. In 1970, GTW was made a subsidiary of Grand Trunk Corporation (still wholly owned by CN) which also held sister roads Central Vermont, Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific and Grand Trunk (which operated in New York and New England.) This was done to give CN’s american employees more opportunities to advance in the organization.

The GTW steam fleet looked very much like what you would see on the CN but GTW’s engines were built in the U.S. by Alco, Lima, and Baldwin. A fleet of 58 Alco built Mikes handled the prime road freight assignments until augmented by 43 4-8-4’s from Alco and Lima. Parent CN also relied heavily on 4-8-4’s so this was not a surprise. The last of these was delivered in 1944. Despite picking up F units and geeps for freight service early on, GTW was late to retire steam. The last run (in passenger service no less) was in 1960!

The first generation of diesels included F’s and GP9’s (set up long hood forward as on parent CN) followed by GP18’s for freight service. GTW went to EMD and Alco for switchers. Road units were painted in a green and gold scheme essentially the same as that of CN but with their own lettering and logos.

In 1962, GTW adopted a new “noodle” logo using the letters GT to conform to CN’s own noodle logo adopted two years before. Locomotives were painted black with Morency Orange ends (later replaced with red) with light gray frame stripes and lettering. Cab units received the familiar “sergeant stripe” scheme used on CN. GTW’s second generation of diesels (which also introduced the switch to low short hoods and running short-hood-forward) began in 1969 with the delivery of SD40’s followed by GP38AC and GP38-2 models. In December of 1971, GTW switched from black to blue with red ends and white frame stripe and lettering.

In addition to acting as a link from Chicago to eastern Canada, GTW was also an important carrier for the auto industry. Their freight car fleet included large numbers of auto parts boxcars and auto racks. In the early 70’s, GTW adopted the motto, “the Good Track road” on their freight cars to set them apart from their derailment prone neighbor Penn Central.

In 1980, GTW acquired another railroad critical to the auto industry, the Detroit Toledo & Ironton. This gave GTW routes from Detroit to the Ohio River. A year later, they acquired Norfolk & Western’s half of the Detroit & Toledo Shore Line, merging that small bridge line connecting Detroit with Toledo.

At this point, GTW was over 1,500 miles long with 262 diesels and nearly 12,000 cars. In 1995, GTW’s parent Canadian National was privatized, at which point there was less need for the US subsidiaries to have distinctly separate identities. Grand Trunk Western continues as a “paper railroad” but operations on these lines are now run as part of the greater Canadian National system.

Successor/Parent History:
The Canadian National Railway Company (reporting mark CN) is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec that serves Canada and the Midwestern and Southern United States. CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad". CN is a public company with 24,000 employees. It had a market capitalization of 32 billion CAD in 2011. CN was government-owned, having been a Canadian Crown corporation from its founding to its privatization in 1995. Bill Gates was, in 2011, the largest single shareholder of CN stock.

CN is the largest railway in Canada, in terms of both revenue and the physical size of its rail network, and is currently Canada's only transcontinental railway company, spanning Canada from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia to the Pacific coast in British Columbia. Its range once reached across the island of Newfoundland until 1988, when the Newfoundland Railway was abandoned.

Following CN's purchase of Illinois Central (IC) and a number of smaller US railways, it also has extensive trackage in the central United States along the Mississippi River valley from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Today, CN owns about 20,400 route miles (32,831 km) of track in 8 provinces (the only two not served by CN are Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island), as well as a 70-mile (113 km) stretch of track (see Mackenzie Northern Railway) into the Northwest Territories to Hay River on the southern shore of Great Slave Lake; it is the northernmost rail line anywhere within the North American Rail Network, as far north as Anchorage, Alaska (although the Alaska Railroad goes further north than this, it is isolated from the rest of the rail network).

The railway was referred to as the Canadian National Railways (CNR) between 1918 and 1960, and as Canadian National/Canadien National (CN) from 1960 to the present.

Read more on Wikipedia.

Brief History:
Canada is a North American country stretching from the U.S. in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north. Major cities include massive Toronto, west coast film centre Vancouver, French-speaking Montréal and Québec City, and capital city Ottawa. Canada's vast swaths of wilderness include lake-filled Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains. It's also home to Niagara Falls, a famous group of massive waterfalls.


Item Links: We found: 3 different collections associated with Grand Trunk Western - Railroad
Item created by: gdm on 2017-10-11 14:51:55. Last edited by gdm on 2020-03-01 10:23:33

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