CP ordered M420Ws?

Discussion of products from the American Locomotive Company. A web site with current Alco 251 information can be found here: Fairbanks-Morse/Alco 251.

Moderator: Alcoman


CP ordered M420Ws?

Post by Cameo1 »

Looking at the website below, you can see a canceled order for CP Rail M420Ws. It would appear this happened about 1976 or so, around the time MLW became Bombardier.


I have heard that CP tested some CN's M420s but I never knew they planned an order. Does anyone know any more of this? How many were to be built and why was the order canceled? After the M630/M636 fiasco I could understand why CP was gun shy, but weren't M420Ws different animals with a reasonable track record with CN and BC rail?


Allen Hazen
Posts: 2494
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:14 pm
Location: Edmonton, Canada (formerly Melbourne, Australia)

Post by Allen Hazen »

Neat website-- thanks for the link!

I think that by 1976 CP was pretty sour on MLW locomotives (I remember seeing a report around then that said that CP had found, comparing their C630M/M630/M636/M640 fleet to their SD40-2, MLW spare parts were a bargain, but that the frequency-of-repair record of the MLW locomotives was so much worse than for EMD units that they lost more in labor costs than they saved on parts). What we don't know is the stage at which the order was cancelled. One extreme possibility: someone in the MLW office thought "Well, the CP guys said they'd THINK about it after we pitched the M420 to them, so we ought to have a folder in the file for further correspondence... so we'll call it a tentative order."

But I don't know anything about it, and it would be nice to know more!

N. Todd
Posts: 186
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 2:49 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Post by N. Todd »

Perhaps CP Rail had the same issue as FCP-- MLW rufusing to continue the standard cab design.

Engineer Spike
Posts: 1945
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:24 pm

Post by Engineer Spike »

I have a friend who has been an official in the CP mechanical dept. for some time. He works in St. Luc, and knew the Alco fleet well. He said that CP thought that these units has just enough changes that a new parts invantory would be needed. On the other hand, there were not enough improvments to justify them.

Return to “American Locomotive Company - ALCO”