March 1942, No. 6 Upper Canada Railway Society Bulletin (Toronto) Page 1

Locomotives built in Toronto

A. Andrew Merrilees

Of an estimated 6,400 locomotives built in Canada since the inception of steam railways in this country, only 209 have been built in Toronto. Nevertheless these 209 present an interesting study. The locomotives built in Toronto may be classified into three widely divergent groups: (l) Those built by James Good between 1853-1859. (2) Those built in the Northern Railway shops, 1875-84. (3) Those built by the Canada Foundry Company, later Canadian Allis-Chalmers Limited, from 1904-18.


James Good had a primitive foundry on Sherbourne St. near Front St. in the era of original railway development in Upper Canada. Little is known of the man himself but thanks to the exhaustive researches of railroad historical organizations in the past ten years, we have a complete and accurate record of his products. It is believed that James Good had been in business some years previously as a manufacturer of steam stationary boilers, threshing machines and roadmaking machinery, and when the first railway was projected from Toronto to Aurora he seemed the most logical man to make the pioneer 1coomotive.

His first creation, the Toronto, number 2 of the Ontario, Simcoe & Huron Union RailwayRailroad, was the first locomotive built in Canada, and was completed in May, 1853. It was an outside connected, inclined cylindered 4-4-0 type, with l6x22" cylinders, 54" drivers, and weighing in working order 59,500 lbs. The design, admittedly rather crude and unbeautiful, was probably borrowed from other locomotive builders in the United states, and the best possible imitation made. At any rate, Good was a good boilermaker and a good mechanic even if not a good artist, as reports show that the Toronto gave good service and rendered a good account of herself mechanically.

Good's second and third creations were also for the O.S.&H.U. and left his shop in September, 1853 and March, 1854 respectively. They were numbers 6 and 9 and were named the Simcoe and the Hercules. The first was almost identical with the Toronto except that it weighed 64,500 lbs, to the other engine's 59,500. The latter, as maybe judged by its name, was an inside connected 0-6-0 freight engine with 18x20" cylinders 54" drivers and a weight of 66,500 lbs.

The Cobourg and Peterborough Railway received Good's fourth product, an inside connected 4-4-0 weighing only 36,000 lbs, named the Cobourg.

An identical mate to the Hercules was the Samson, Good's fifth engine which was completed in June, 1854. His sixth and seventh were 4-4-0's for the Grand Trunk and numbered 34 and 138. His eighth and ninth were again for the Cobourg and Peterborough, light 4-4-0's named the Peterboroughand the Alma; the first was inside connected, the second outside.

In the year 1855 Good built five engines (probably his total annual capacity), all for the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Union. Three of those were 4-4-0 type and the remaining two 0-6-0 type. They were numbers 11, 12, 13, 16 and 17 and 13, 16 and 17 were named Geo. Beatty, J.C. Morrison and Cumberland.

Good's fifteenth and sixteenth engines were for the Grand Trunk. Both 4-4-0's with outside cylinders, the first was completed in January of 1856 and the second in January, 1857. They were numbers 141 and l43, respectively, of the G.T.R.

The Welland of the Buffalo & Lake Huron Railway was Good's seventeenth. It was a 4-4-0 of 46,000 lbs. and ran over the present C.N.R. line between Fort Erie and Goderich, via Brantford and Stratford. Its boiler in latter years operated the grain elevator at Port Colborne.

Good's final locomotives were built for the Grand Trunk. The first was inside connected, and was completed in March, 1858 as G.T.R. 142; the second was outside connected and completed in November, 1859 as G.T.R. 186.


Toronto's second builder of locomotives were the shops of the Northern Railway of Canada, successor to the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Union RailwayRailroad. These shops, situated on the lake front, built four 4-4-0 types between 1875 and 1884. Each probably took a year or more to build, and parts for construction were undoubtedly shipped in by American locomotive builders, and assembled in Toronto in the spare time of the men who left the slowly constructing engines to look after more urgent repairs of the serviceable power when required.

(The third part of this article will appear in any early issue of the bulletin.)

Railways: O.S. & H.U.Rd.