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Canadian National Railways Steam Locomotive 6060


Other Names:
6060 Steam Locomotive

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
Number 6060 is a mid-twentieth-century locomotive featuring a one-piece cast frame, green- and gold-painted side valences, black-painted boiler, green-painted Vanderbilt tender and a distinctive bullet nose on its smoke box. After 1980, two removable bronze wild rose emblems were added to the valences and a bronze coat of arms was added to either side of the locomotive’s cab. The locomotive is an active engine servicing the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions’ line running between Stettler and Big Valley. To meet modern federal safety requirements the locomotive’s air brake control system has been upgraded and two additional headlamps have been mounted to the front of the engine along with an electric dynamo to provide them with power. The designation applies only to the locomotive and tender.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Number 6060 lies in it being an excellent representation of a late-era steam locomotive.

Built in 1944, Number 6060 is a Canadian National Railways (CN) U-1-f Mountain class locomotive. These locomotives were a variation of a type CN had been using since the 1920s. When CN was formed in 1923 it inherited rail lines of considerable variety, both of construction and condition, and an outdated and underpowered fleet of locomotives. CN purchased new locomotives which were relatively light yet powerful. One type was the Mountain class, which had been developed in the United States for use on heavily travelled, mountainous railroads. One of the Mountain class’s distinguishing features is their 4-8-2 wheel configuration, meaning they have four non-powered leading wheels for stability and steering, eight large driving wheels for motive power, and two non-powered trailing wheels for support and stability. Although they were slightly less powerful than CN’s other new locomotive, the 4-8-4 Northern (or Confederation) class, the Mountains were shorter and more versatile, able to operate on winding and mountainous routes the larger Northern class locomotives could not navigate. CN received its first Mountain locomotives, the U-1-a design, in 1923.

The start of the Second World War required increasing numbers of passengers, troops, prisoners of war, and massive amounts of freight to be shipped expeditiously across the country. CN responded to this surging demand by ordering a new variation of Mountain class locomotive, the U-1-f class. What set these new locomotives apart visually from their predecessors was the conical front to its smoke box, a feature that earned them the moniker “Bullet-Nosed Betty.” In 1944, the 6060 (serial no. 72757) came off the assembly line at the Montreal Locomotive Works. Built during wartime, efficiency in construction and operation was paramount. This focus on efficiency is evidenced by numerous aspects of the locomotive’s design. Its one piece cast metal frame required less labour to produce. Its internal workings were streamlined, increasing fuel efficiency, and a thermic siphon distributed water evenly throughout the boiler for more efficient heating. The tender, which is the water and fuel storage car that immediately follows the locomotive, is of a cylindrical design, commonly called a Vanderbilt tender. It is made of less steel and is lighter and more aerodynamic than standard box-shaped tenders. CN was one of the few major North American railroads to adopt Vanderbilt tenders. For improved traction the 6060 also has a complex suspension system and an Alco lateral motion device, which allow certain sets of wheels to move sideways to compensate for the curvature of the tracks.

Initially, used on short freight runs in central Canada, the 6060 was assigned to the prestigious continent-wide passenger excursions in 1945. Its sleek design, emphasized by its conical nose and running boards, and its capacity to travel great distances without being spelled off for rest and servicing, made it ideal for passenger traffic. In the mid-1950s, the 6060 was converted from coal to fuel oil. The U-1-f Mountain class locomotives were the last steam locomotives purchased by CN before the company converted to diesel power. The 6060 was retired in the early 1960s and was placed on static display at Jasper in 1962. It was returned to service on tourist excursions in Ontario during the 1970s before being presented to the people of Alberta to mark the province’s seventy-fifth anniversary; it has subsequently been known as the “Spirit of Alberta.” The locomotive has been restored and is used on tourist excursions in Central Alberta. Of the 20 U-1-F Mountain class locomotives built for CN, only three remain. As of 2008, the 6060 was the only one in Alberta and the only one in operational condition.

Source: Alberta Culture and Tourism, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2254)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the 6060 Locomotive include such features as:
- 4-8-2 wheel configuration;
- stamped serial no. 72757;
- one-piece cast steel frame;
- large, black painted nickel-steel boiler;
- streamlined internal workings;
- thermic siphon;
- green painted Vanderbilt tender;
- complex suspension system;
- Alco lateral motion device;
- sleek design, evidenced by the bullet-nose, flared stack, and valences with raised numbers reading 6060;
- paint scheme of green, gold, and black Canadian National Railways livery, period “tilted wafer” logo on the tender; and
- original wood in floor and ceiling of the cab, original wheels, drive rods, tube, fire box, and wrapper sheets.


Street Address:
Community: Stettler
Boundaries: Located in the Town of Stettler, Alberta
Contributing Resources: Collections: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
52.321530 -112.700031

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2009/04/02

Historical Information

Built: 1944 to 1944
Significant Date(s) 1944 to present
Historic Function(s): Transport - Rail : Rolling Stock
Current Function(s): Transport - Rail : Rolling Stock
Context: Shortly after the coming of World War II, it became evident that the nature of modern warfare had changed, and far more emphasis was going to be on the home front, towards the production of wartime equipment and supplies. With the Japanese entry into the war at the end of 1941, this pressing need became even more obvious, with attention being paid to the west coast operations and not just the eastern seaboard. The necessary massive movement of materials and personnel meant more activity than ever before by the country's railways. In response to this, Canadian National drew up plans for the production of several large, heavy duty locomotives called Mountain locomotives (U-1-f class). One of these was Locomotive 6060, which was built by Montreal Locomotive Works and delivered to CN in October, 1944. From Montreal, the engine was pressed into service almost immediately, making continental-wide excursions on behalf of the war effort. Its period of great activity did not end with the war, for Canada's continuing commitment to Britain and Europe, and the huge effort involved in winding down the war meant the continuation of high level rail transport. Energy exploration and development, a continuing demand for western Canadian wheat, and a growing tourism industry saw the high rate of service continue into the 1950s. In 1951, Locomotive 6060 was selected to pull the cars forming part of the entourage of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh during their tour of Canada that summer.

With the growth of the gas and oil industry after the war, the railway companies saw the benefits of converting their engines into diesel-fueled units, and, in 1954, Locomotive 6060 was so converted. It continued to serve until 1961, when it was retired from active service and put on display at Jasper. During 1972-73, it was extensively restored, and soon began to make ceremonial runs to various places. In 1992, it became the property of the Rocky Mountain Railway Society, and in 1998, it was transferred to Stettler and began operations as part of Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions. It remains one of three CN Mountain locomotives in existence, the other two being located in Ontario.

The historical significance of Canadian National Railway's Locomotive 6060 lies in its representation of a high quality, heavy duty locomotive designed for special service during World War II. Though converted into a diesel engine in 1954, it remains one of few originally designed coal-powered engines left in western Canada.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-1348
Designation File: DES 2254
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 36760
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 2254)
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