6703 Locomotive Move
Follow the 6703 locomotive move from Grand Forks to Vancouver Island's former E&N Victoria Roundhouse!
Read the press release below for more details on this project as well as some historical photos.
Historic Grand Forks Locomotive Saved!
Interfor Corp Grand Forks Division donates historic Grand Forks locomotive #6703 to Vancouver Island-based railway heritage society.
Grand Forks, July 18, 2022: The Esquimalt and Nanaimo Division of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association (E&N Division CRHA) is pleased to announce the very generous donation of the former Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive #6703 that has been a well-known Grand Forks resident since 1993 when the Grand Forks Railway started operations and purchased it from the CPR.
“We simply can’t thank the Interfor Corp - Grand Forks Division enough for this very generous donation and their unwavering willingness to preserve this historic piece of Canadian railway and industrial heritage”, said Jim Sturgill Jr., Treasurer and Heritage Equipment Manager for the E&N Division CRHA.
6703 was built for the Canadian Pacific Railway in November of 1950 for use as a switching locomotive and to pull short-haul freight trains. It is a first-generation diesel-electric locomotive that was part of the first engines that helped Canadian railways transition from steam engines to diesel in the late 1940s and early 1950s. 6703 is one of the last examples of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s SW8 class of locomotive that remains today.
Donation of 6703 is the work of more than a year of talks between the Vancouver Island-based E&N Division CRHA and the folks of Interfor in Grand Forks as well as the Grand Forks Railway to preserve this early example of Canadian Railway diesel history.
6703 is the oldest commercially operating diesel-electric locomotive in Canada and is fully operational. It has been stored for a few years after the Grand Forks Railway switched to a larger and newer locomotive.
6703 was used by Canadian Pacific Railway at numerous locations across their vast transcontinental rail system during the second half of the 20th century and spent time on Vancouver Island in the 1980s, which is one of the reasons the Vancouver Island-based railway heritage society took interest in returning it to Vancouver Island.
The Society’s Heritage Equipment Manager Jim Sturgill Jr., says the locomotive will be repainted to its former Canadian Pacific Railway colours and taken to the former CPR Roundhouse in Victoria, BC where it once worked. The roundhouse in Victoria is a National Historic Site and was built by the CPR in 1913. It is now part of the Bayview Place re-development project which is a key sponsor of the 6703 preservation project.
“The donation of this locomotive and all the sponsors involved is an outstanding example of corporate and business support, which a project like this would not be possible without”, said Sturgill.
In the coming weeks, 6703 will depart Grand Forks by rail for the trip to the West Coast via the BNSF Railway through Washington State and to New Westminster, BC where it will take a barge trip to Vancouver Island. It will reach the roundhouse in Victoria later this year.
A photo-op and small event will take place at the rail yard at the Grand Forks Interfor mill at 1:30 PM on Monday, July 18.
“Myself and all of us from the society are truly looking forward to meeting the folks we’ve had such pleasure to deal with over the last year”, said Sturgill.
The Society wants to give special thanks to Dave Parsons, Mill Manager at Interfor – Grand Forks Division who made this donation possible.
Thanks also go out to everyone that has been part of the crew who has operated and cared for 6703 during its nearly 30 years in Grand Forks – Rick Hammond (Supervisor, Operations), Daphne Hammond (Office, Manager), Shelley Dahl since the start-up of operations in 1993, Becky Shields and Dwayne Magoon (Engineer/Conductors), Gary Neunzig, Mike Carson, and John Kolle (current and past Mechanical Team), Mario Savaia and Ted Wright (Operating and Maintenance of Way Foreman).
Esquimalt & Nanaimo Division, Canadian Railroad Historical Association
The E&N Division CRHA was founded in 1997 and maintains a railway heritage equipment collection on Vancouver Island including preserving the history of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo (E&N) Railway and all aspects of Canadian railway heritage.
The E&N Railway is very historically significant to British Columbia and helped bring the province into confederation with Canada.
More information about the Society and its endeavours can be found online at: www.encrha.com
For further project details, please visit: www.encrha.com/6703
Quick Facts on #6703:
Built for the Canadian Pacific Railway by General Motors Canada
Date Built: November 1950
Weight: 230,000 LBS
#6703 is a first-generation diesel-electric locomotive that was part of the first diesel locomotives designed and built in the late 1940s and early 1950s that replaced the steam locomotive in the mid-20th century.