By Tony Cook
While collecting and operating models for a major railroad such as BNSF, Canadian Pacific, or Norfolk Southern is great, there is something neat about being able to boast that you own EVERY locomotive of a railroad’s roster. This feat may sound challenging, but there are many railroads of a certain size that make this an opportunity you can successfully tackle. Canada’s Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway (TH&B) is an example of a road that you could recreated a complete diesel locomotive roster.
ABOVE: The roster of end-cab early diesel switchers for TH&B included EMD NW2 and GMDD SW9 models. Shown in 1973, TH&B 57 is the later SW9 model. – Kevin EuDaly collection
TH&B’s first diesel of sorts was a gas-electric locomotive (301) obtained from Canadian Car & Foundry in 1927 and it remained on the roster into the mid-1950s. First-generation motive power came from General Motors via Electro-Motive Division (EMD) and General Motors Diesel Division (GMDD). In early 1948, TH&B acquired EMD NW2 switchers (51-54) and returned for more four-axle switchers in 1950 with SW9s (55-58) delivering from GMDD’s London, Ontario plant.
ABOVE: One of seven GP7s on TH&B’s roster was 73, shown shown in Buffalo, N.Y., in late 1973 with GP9 402. -Kevin EuDaly collection
Between the switcher orders of 1948 and 1950, TH&B added GP7s built by GMDD. The group included seven GP7s (71-77) with TH&B 71 credited as being the first diesel locomotive completed by General Motors Diesel Division in Ontario. The 1,500-hp GP7s were joined on the roster by similar looking 1,750-hp GP9s in 1954. The Geeps are noted as receiving rebuilding beginning in the late 1980s, according
ABOVE: As was the case with many railroads, TH&B did not serve all the locations in its name. Toronto, Ontario and Buffalo, N.Y., remained off the official system map.
Chartered in 1884, TH&B was acquired by Canadian Pacific and New York Central in 1895 and the two roads jointly owned the railway for several decades in the early 20th century. In 1977, Canadian Pacific bought out what was New York Central’s (which had been 73 percent at its height) ownership in TH&B. Canadian Pacific merged TH&B into its system in 1987.
ABOVE: One of three GP9s on TH&B’s roster was 403, shown at Hamilton, Ontario, in July 1973. – Kevin EuDaly collection
Models of TH&B equipment are somewhat uncommon, outside of several boxcars produced over the years in various scales. Athearn’s November 2020 announcements include all three of TH&B’s GP9 diesels for release in late 2021. The models will include road-specific details including larger tanks with roof-mounted air tanks, and other accurate features. Visit Athearn’s website or check with your hobby dealer for additional information.