Algoma Central Railway

Agawa Canyon
Algoma Central locomotive in Wawa.

Shortly after the Algoma Central Railway Company was first established in 1899, there were plans to push the railroad all the way north from Sault Ste Marie to Hudson Bay. These ambitious plans were abandoned once the line reached Hearst in 1914.

In 1995, The Algoma Central was bought by Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation, and so now, most locomotives sport Wisconsin Central colors. (Note: In 2002, Wisconsin Central was bought by Canadian National.)

Freight cars in Wawa
Freight cars with load of lumber in Wawa.

For many years, one of the biggest customers of Algoma Central was the Algoma Steel mill in Sault Ste Marie. The railway carried iron ore from the mines in Wawa through Hawk Junction through the Agawa Canyon down to the Soo. However, with the recent closure in 1998 of the iron ore mine in Wawa, the branch line between Michipicoten and Hawk Junction has been abandoned.

Algoma Central bear
Bear logo on the side of passenger coach.

Algoma Central was the first railway in Canada to completely switch over to diesel operation, in 1952. As a result, 1959 was the first year that shareholders received their first dividend cheque! The conversion to diesel brought about an interesting problem. At first, the horns on the new locomotives attracted bull moose and the train crews had some trouble chasing the moose away. After some experimentation, they found a horn that didn’t sound like moose.