Great Western Railway (Saskatchewan)
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|Locale||Southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada|
|Dates of operation||1999–Present|
|Predecessor||Canadian Pacific Railway|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||440 miles (710 km)|
Great Western Railway
The Great Western Railway (reporting mark GWRS) is a Canadian short line railway company operating on former Canadian Pacific Railway trackage in Southwest Saskatchewan. Great Western Railway Ltd. is an operating company that services the line and is locally owned and operated by farmers and municipalities in Southwestern Saskatchewan.
Abbotsford based Westcan Ltd., a railway contracting and maintenance company from BC, purchased 330 miles of track from CP and announced the launch of a new Westcan-owned short line, Great Western Railway Ltd, to provide service on these lines. The original purchase date was July 31, 2000, but this date was pushed to September 8, 2000 after overwhelming rainfall washed out 16 km of track on the Vanguard Subdivision, one of the branches that was being sold. An agreement was reached with Canadian Pacific to repair the damaged section at a cost of more than 500,000 before the takeover was completed.
In 2004 the railway was purchased by local investors from the area of Saskatchewan it serves. It is now locally owned and operated. Great Western Railway continues to serve many producer loading sites along their entire rail network, but also provide railcar storage for Class I railways and railcar companies.
GWR operates on 308 miles (496 km) of former Canadian Pacific Railway's Shaunavon, Vanguard, Altawan and Notukeu Subdivisions. GWR also services 60 miles (97 km) on the Fife Lake Railway, which is partially owned by the company, and another 72 miles (116 km) of the Red Coat Road & Rail on a yearly contractual basis.
Great Western Railway had humble beginnings hauling hopper cars of grain for small producer loading sites, but as Great Western Railway gradually gained trackage rights over Red Coat Road & Rail and Fife Lake Railway, the railway required more motive power to provide sufficient customer service for their new customers. Up until 2011, Great Western Railway utilized an all MLW M420 roster; however, with the increased maintenance cost of operating Montreal Locomotive Works locomotives, Great Western Railway decided to purchase their first General Electric units. In March 2011 it was announced Great Western Railway would receive two former Burlington Northern Santa Fe GE B40-8Ws for the original Great Western route. In early 2017, GWRS 576 was purchased, continuing the company's effort to move into an entire G.E. fleet. Great Western Rail is currently in the process of selling their entire MLW fleet.
|563||B40-8W||1990s||2011 ||N/A||Active Ex-BNSF.|
|575||B40-8W||1990s||2011 ||N/A||Active Ex BNSF|
|576||B40-8||1989||2017||N/A||Active Ex CSX|
|2002||M420R||1974||2002 ||N/A||Active Ex P&W|
|2003||M420||1977||2008 ||N/A||Active Ex-Canadian National.|
|2004||M420||1976||2008 ||2015||Not in Service - Water leaking issues. Ex-Canadian National.|
- "GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan University of Regina. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- "Great Western Railway Official Website". Great Western Railway Ltd. 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- "Canadian Railway Observations March 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "GWRS roster". Canadian Trackside Guide (2011 ed.). Bytown Railway Society. 2011.
- "Great Western Railway Equipment". Retrieved 2011-05-11.
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