Chapter: Innovation

Canadian National CN Locomotive 2747

"Build it and they will travel"
1926 CN Locomotive 2747, the first steam locomotive built in western Canada in Transcona shops 1926 CN locomotive 2747


The community of Transcona (now part of Winnipeg) exists today because of the railway.

The Grand Truck Pacific Railway needed a repair shop in Western Canadian repair shop. In the early 1900s a site near Winnipeg was selected, and so the town of Transcona was built to support this endeavor.

The shop was used to maintain locomotives, but in 1926 the Canadian National Railway (CNR) decided to start manufacturing its own locomotives. CN 2747 was the first steam locomotive built in Western Canada. It was constructed at the Transcona Shops and completed in April 1926.

The decision to start manufacturing locomotives at the shops was also a sign of confidence in the West. Eastern Canada often viewed the West as only a source of resources and commodities. Now value was placed on the engineering and manufacturing skills of its people. A further testament to this confidence was demonstrated during World War II, when the Transcona Shops built Canada's only armoured train.

After 34 years of service, CN 2747 was going to be sent to the scrap heap when as railways were switching over to diesel. Concerned Transcona citizens saved the locomotive and the Canadian National Railway donated the engine to the citizens of Transcona in 1960.