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On a very rainy and overcast Saturday June 15, 1974, the Ontario Government ran a passenger train from Toronto to Midland. The train consisted of equipment from GO Transit, CN, and Ontario Northland.  Running as Passenger Extra GO 9861 North, it is seen here passing CN's St. Clair Avenue station.  Units include GO 9861, CN 3112, 3113, and 3114 and GO 9859.  An unknown CN Steam Generator Car followed the locomotives.  Rumor has it that the train never returned to Toronto that evening as planned as the one or more of the units derailed at Midland as they were running around the train for the return trip.  A number of other interested people showed up to see the train pass.
Copyright Notice: This image ©First954 all rights reserved.



Caption: On a very rainy and overcast Saturday June 15, 1974, the Ontario Government ran a passenger train from Toronto to Midland. The train consisted of equipment from GO Transit, CN, and Ontario Northland. Running as Passenger Extra GO 9861 North, it is seen here passing CN's St. Clair Avenue station. Units include GO 9861, CN 3112, 3113, and 3114 and GO 9859. An unknown CN Steam Generator Car followed the locomotives. Rumor has it that the train never returned to Toronto that evening as planned as the one or more of the units derailed at Midland as they were running around the train for the return trip. A number of other interested people showed up to see the train pass.

Photographer:
First954 [89] (more) (contact)
Date: 06/15/1974 (search)
Railway: GO Transit (search)
Reporting Marks: GO 9861 (search)
Train Symbol: Passenger Extra GO 9861 North (search)
Subdivision/SNS: St Clair Ave Mile 5.2 Newmarket Sub (search)
City/Town: Toronto (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 40289

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

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11 Comments
  1. Thanks to everyone for this very informative discussion. The train was headed to Meaford, not Midland as I had indicated, with stops in Stayner and Craighlieth as well as Collingwood. Attached is link to UCRS November/December 1974 Newsletter with full details of the trip. Hope this works!
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/content.sitezoogle.com/u/131959/46f75f7fd8df16001e353c26bd7acdb160068104/original/ucrs-346-347-74-nov-dec-474.pdf?response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAJUKM2ICUMTYS6ISA%2F20200524%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20200524T151734Z&X-Amz-Expires=604800&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Signature=282dc38ac79c9e5562869f1dccb95add21b4bc1e4660f8f76849ea179438d924

  2. Thanks for this information Eric. This confirmed the excursion train went to Craiglieth station, lending support to the note in the UCRS Excursion log by Dave Spaulding regarding a sticking brake. The Craiglieth Museum picture raises the question as to where the motive power ran around the train. Thanks for sharing this information. John

  3. The Craiglieth Museum in the former station has a photo of 9861 under a floral arch at the station. Apparently when digging the holes for the arch one of the wires for the crossing signals was severed. When the train arrived the signals activated, but would not turn off.

  4. Well Don, to answer your question as to whether I was on the train, the answer is “no”, because I, like you, was standing on the St Clair Ave. Station platform (the one between the tracks) taking a picture. My slide is a “farther back” image than yours of GO 9861-CN 3112-3113-3114-GO 9859 passing the station. My going away picture includes an ONR Polar Bear Service baggage car and coach, with the last shot of Onakawana on the tail end. The Upper Canada Railway Society partnered with the Ontario Government in operating the excursion, and helped to advertise the trip and sell tickets. Being a UCRS Member, I received notice of the trip. After the ship’s christening, apparently the excursion passengers were bussed back to Toronto because of the derailment of one of the CN “3100’s” that you mentioned. But according to a log of UCRS diesel trips maintained by long term UCRS member Dave Spaulding and published in an article written jointly with Bob Sandusky for the Society’s Newsletter, the reason given is given as stated by MrDan, so can’t confirm for sure what happened, other than the passengers returning by bus. And Dave reported Premier Davis was in the ONR business car, not the Lieutenant-Governor as I stated. Will try and find out more from some old UCRS members. John

  5. There’s a brief mention about this trip in a fantrip summary written by Bob Sandusky for a UCRS newsletter. Other than what was mentioned before about it being a government special (with Premier Bill Davis in attendance for the event), apparently it didn’t go beyond Craigleith because a sticking brake on a GO APCU caused flat wheels. No mention of the outcome after.

  6. Thanks for the detailed information railwayguy!! I took the picture myself. (The other two are really crappy) At that time I was working for CN and must have had advance information regarding this train. I would not normally had ventured out on such a rainy day, but the opportunity for something different could not be passed. Were you on the train?? And can you confirm the rumor that one or more of the 3100s derailed as they were running around the train and the guests had to be bussed back to Toronto? Thanks again for the very detailed information regarding this unusual train. Don Jaworski

  7. It was a rainy, cool overcast day at CN’s St Clair Ave Station notwithstanding being June 15/74. The train was organized by the Province of Ontario to carry guests, ONT officials, and VIPs’ to the christening of the new Manitoulin Island ferry “Chi-Cheemaun” which had been launched at the Collingwood Ship Yard on Jan 12/74. The Ontario government used ONR coaches, augmented by some from CN, and on the tail end was the ONR business car no. 400 “Onakawana”. I believe the Lieutenant-Governor was travelling in the business car to officiate at the ship’s christening and public was invited to purchase tickets to travel to Collingwood and attend the christening ceremony. To make the Ontario Government train look more like “Ontario”, the 2 GO APU units (non-powered) bracketed 3 CN MLW RS-18 “3100” series road switchers for power and as said a CN steam generator car behind the 2nd APU to provide heat for the train. The APUs were along for direction. Who was the photographer ?

  8. Thanks. My question answered about the GO Fs before I got to asking.:o) But what a marvelous photo!! As I like to say; the “best” trains on the lousiest days.

  9. This looks very bizarre. I would not have believed it happened without this photo.The F units were likely there for show. They were only capable of providing HEP when they were rebuilt for GO service

  10. Marcus, thanks for the comment.

    The GO units were not powered; they were on this train simply for show as it was a government trip promoting something in Midland. The CN RS-18s were the power for the train and as the cars were a mix of older Ontario Northland and Canadian National cars the SGU was along to provide heat. The GO units were at both ends of the power so that they could lead in both directions. Really they were not needed at all as they were just along for the show!

  11. Never realized those F units were powered when GO had them. I thought they were simply for head end power. Very interesting photo.

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