By Justin Franz
Ontario’s Waterloo Central Railway has announced an effort to raise $150,000 to purchase Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 G5 1238, which last ran in the 1990s on the Virginia Central Railroad. In a press release over the weekend, the railroad stated that it had until December 25, to raise the money for both the purchase and initial phase of the restoration.
“Steam locomotive 1238 is currently in good condition but is in need of some restoration work in order to get it back into service,” the railroad stated. “Once restored, 1238 will be the second largest operating steam locomotive in Canada.”
Locomotive 1238 is one of six G5 Pacifics to survive to the preservation era. The locomotive, along with sister engine 1286, moved to the U.S in the 1960s and was used on excursions up and down the eastern seaboard through the 1970s and 1980s. The locomotives were purchased by Jack Showalter in 1973, and used on his Alleghany Central tourist railroad out of Covington, Va. Locomotive 1238 was also loaned to the Southern Railway briefly for main line excursion service. In 1988, Showalter moved his locomotives to Maryland to operate on the former Western Maryland and Cumberland & Pennsylvania between Cumberland and Frostburg. The line’s owner, Scenic Railroad Development Corporation, would eventually begin operating its own excursions under the name Western Maryland Scenic. Showalter’s last tourist operation was the Virginia Central out of Gordonsville, Va. The Virginia Central would prove to be short-lived and by the mid-1990s, both locomotives were in storage. Showalter died in 2014, and the locomotives were sold the following year. The new owners moved both locomotives to the Prairie Dog Central Railway in Winnipeg, Man., where they remain stored today.
To learn more and to donate to the effort, visit the Waterloo Central’s website.