SARNIA, Ontario — Canadian National has returned some GE Dash 8 locomotives to service after most had disappeared in early 2021. Ex-Chicago North Western C40-8 No. 2131 led Chicago-Toronto train 148 on Sunday, June 5, providing the first look at a standard-cab Dash 8 on the mainline in well over a year. This unit and a few others have been seen roaming the system, while about 15 remain in captive service on the former Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range. Also back in service are British Columbia Railway No. 4609, a C40-8M cowl unit, and Illinois Central 2466, a former LMS lease unit still in Conrail blue. It’s also reported that some Dash 8’s are at shops for work, with intention to have them ready for surge fleet service this fall and winter.
CN purchased 134 secondhand Dash 8s between 2010-2012, adding to their existing roster of 81 C40-8Ms. Since many were parked in 2020 and 2021, about half the fleet has been retired or sold off, leaving about 100 on the CN roster. Even in the summer of 2021 after all were parked, some C40-8Ms were working in Alberta. Their revival tends to be brief, given their intended use for surge fleet activity.