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Halloween doesn't mean much to me, although seeing GMDD SD40-2's plying the rails certainly does. At this point, the majority of CP's SD40-2's had been sidelined since early 2016. Until just shortly prior to this, only a few were active, all being 6000 series units designated for hump assignments in St. Paul, Minnesota. It looked as if the story line of CP's SD40-2's were over, but... Not quite. A few SD40-2's, including 5833, were brought back into service as traffic began to sustain itself after a hard drop in traffic after the oil boom. SD40s were commonplace on the Expressway throughout the majority of its history, often forming solid sets until the most recent GEVO order invaded. Once the oil boom ended, SD40s would rarely be found on the Expressway at all. About a year and a half later, the grit of the Expressway had returned, to some extent.

5833 was quickly assigned to the Expressway train after return to service, and was partnered with a surprisingly clean 9657. On this night, 5833 would lead train 132 from Milton to Montreal. In this shot, routine switching activities take place, and the train will soon be doubled up with the cars on the north yard track. Meanwhile, a Milton bound GO train zips past at around 70mph as the Niagara Escarpment looms in the background.

Reflecting on this day, it's hard to believe SD40-2's were rare almost two years ago. It's been that long. A few are still active, but most have since been sold off for use on other roads, or scrapped after extensive time in storage. 5833's return to service was short lived, and was scrapped less than a year after this photo. As for the Expressway? Well, as we know, service ended the first day of June. CP's strike seemed to disrupt the ending, and the final two Expressway's may have run during the early hours of May 29th. The Milton Expressway terminal looks deserted now. Some of the cars remain sitting around, but the days of this train have drawn to a close.

The creation of the Expressway was a response to the common trend at the time to have trains compete with short haul trucking. The original followed the name of the Iron Highway, already used stateside for a few years, and CP's subsidiary ST.L&H followed the concept in 1996, with Lambton Yard used as a terminal. Milton EWT was built a few years later to better address the issue, more out in the open near the 401 and 407, unlike Lambton, which was cramped well into the city of Toronto. The Iron Highway was rebranded the Expressway in 2000, and took over Roadrailer service that went to Detroit, but Detroit service only lasted a few years. The Montreal section had been fairly successful, but even had two round trips dropped since. Service was fairly well used until the end, however, CP decided to put their resources elsewhere, where more money could be made. 

Short-haul competition is generally agreed upon as outside the logistical interests of railroads now. Customers really committed to rail likely would switch to containers, where as CP's four intermodal trains between Montreal and Vaughan can pick up what was dropped by the Expressway. While short-haul competition is no longer economically viable, emissions and highways being jammed well over capacity have been a ballooning issue in recent years. In reality, the amount of trailers the Expressway hauled barely addressed that problem to begin with. The poor flexibility of trains simply make them non-competitive with short-haul trucking. Maybe as technology progresses, one day that'll change, and the emissions and traffic issues can finally be addressed. 

Until then, enjoy the memories of the efforts railroads made to compete. Not much lights nostalgia like remembering a trio of CP SD40-2's charge up the main at 60mph, hard pressed to keep time. It wasn't economical, but it sure was entertaining. On this night, those memories were at least partially revived. What I didn't realize is the trailer on flatcar setup was soon to be a memory as well. With the Expressway being the last TOFC comprised train in Canada, the extensive history of piggyback trains here has reached its closing chapter.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Daniel Odette all rights reserved.



Caption: Halloween doesn't mean much to me, although seeing GMDD SD40-2's plying the rails certainly does. At this point, the majority of CP's SD40-2's had been sidelined since early 2016. Until just shortly prior to this, only a few were active, all being 6000 series units designated for hump assignments in St. Paul, Minnesota. It looked as if the story line of CP's SD40-2's were over, but... Not quite. A few SD40-2's, including 5833, were brought back into service as traffic began to sustain itself after a hard drop in traffic after the oil boom. SD40s were commonplace on the Expressway throughout the majority of its history, often forming solid sets until the most recent GEVO order invaded. Once the oil boom ended, SD40s would rarely be found on the Expressway at all. About a year and a half later, the grit of the Expressway had returned, to some extent.

5833 was quickly assigned to the Expressway train after return to service, and was partnered with a surprisingly clean 9657. On this night, 5833 would lead train 132 from Milton to Montreal. In this shot, routine switching activities take place, and the train will soon be doubled up with the cars on the north yard track. Meanwhile, a Milton bound GO train zips past at around 70mph as the Niagara Escarpment looms in the background.

Reflecting on this day, it's hard to believe SD40-2's were rare almost two years ago. It's been that long. A few are still active, but most have since been sold off for use on other roads, or scrapped after extensive time in storage. 5833's return to service was short lived, and was scrapped less than a year after this photo. As for the Expressway? Well, as we know, service ended the first day of June. CP's strike seemed to disrupt the ending, and the final two Expressway's may have run during the early hours of May 29th. The Milton Expressway terminal looks deserted now. Some of the cars remain sitting around, but the days of this train have drawn to a close.

The creation of the Expressway was a response to the common trend at the time to have trains compete with short haul trucking. The original followed the name of the Iron Highway, already used stateside for a few years, and CP's subsidiary ST.L&H followed the concept in 1996, with Lambton Yard used as a terminal. Milton EWT was built a few years later to better address the issue, more out in the open near the 401 and 407, unlike Lambton, which was cramped well into the city of Toronto. The Iron Highway was rebranded the Expressway in 2000, and took over Roadrailer service that went to Detroit, but Detroit service only lasted a few years. The Montreal section had been fairly successful, but even had two round trips dropped since. Service was fairly well used until the end, however, CP decided to put their resources elsewhere, where more money could be made.

Short-haul competition is generally agreed upon as outside the logistical interests of railroads now. Customers really committed to rail likely would switch to containers, where as CP's four intermodal trains between Montreal and Vaughan can pick up what was dropped by the Expressway. While short-haul competition is no longer economically viable, emissions and highways being jammed well over capacity have been a ballooning issue in recent years. In reality, the amount of trailers the Expressway hauled barely addressed that problem to begin with. The poor flexibility of trains simply make them non-competitive with short-haul trucking. Maybe as technology progresses, one day that'll change, and the emissions and traffic issues can finally be addressed.

Until then, enjoy the memories of the efforts railroads made to compete. Not much lights nostalgia like remembering a trio of CP SD40-2's charge up the main at 60mph, hard pressed to keep time. It wasn't economical, but it sure was entertaining. On this night, those memories were at least partially revived. What I didn't realize is the trailer on flatcar setup was soon to be a memory as well. With the Expressway being the last TOFC comprised train in Canada, the extensive history of piggyback trains here has reached its closing chapter.

Photographer:
Daniel Odette [153] (more) (contact)
Date: 10/31/2016 (search)
Railway: Canadian Pacific (search)
Reporting Marks: CP 5833 (search)
Train Symbol: CP 132-31 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Mile 26.7 CP Galt Subdivision - Milton EWT (search)
City/Town: Milton (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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4 Comments
  1. That’s a brilliant narrative. I like it.

  2. What will become of the Milton Terminal, anybody know?

  3. Neat shot!

  4. I sure miss the Expressway. I apparently got the last 132 last Monday (May 28th) before the strike. Thanks for sharing !

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