Rebuilt Power for Quebec’s SOPOR

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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ZTR photo

SOPOR (Société du port ferroviaire de Baie-Comeau) has taken delivery of a remanufactured locomotive at its Baie-Comeau facility, located on the St. Lawrence River on Quebec’s North Shore.

SOPX 7306 is former Canadian Pacific EMD GP38-2 No. 7306, purchased in late 2022. The company invested C$695,000 in the rebuild, rather than purchase a new unit. “It’s an optimal solution, both environmentally—since we’re recovering an existing locomotive and refurbishing it to reduce its environmental footprint in the future—and financially,” says SOPOR General Manager Cédric Bérubé.

The overhaul, performed by the Ontario Northland locomotive shop and Brian Lavigne of Northern Plains Rail Services, incorporated a new livery in the SOPOR colors. Technology upgrades included a ZTR Control Systems BOA™-WS, which improves tractive effort by up to 25% and reduces diesel fuel consumption; a Hotstart electric preheating system, which eliminates unnecessary idling and also reduces diesel fuel consumption; and a ZTR SmartStart® AESS (automatic engine start-stop) system, which reduces exhaust emissions and consistently manages diesel fuel and lubricating oil consumption. ZTR’s BOA™-WS is a PLC-based control system designed to replace the WS10 module on EMD Dash-2 locomotives, replacing hard-wired locomotive circuitry with microprocessor technology.

SOPOR describes itself as “a non-profit organization whose mission is to connect the North Shore to the North American rail network through integrated, intermodal and sustainable freight transportation services.” CN subsidiary COGEMA (Compagnie de gestion de Matane Inc.) operates a dedicated railcar ferry service in Quebec across the St. Lawrence River between Matane (on the Matane Subdivision) and an industrial switching complex in Baie-Comeau, and also provides occasional railcar ferry service to isolated rail networks at the ports of Port Cartier, Sept-Îles and Havre-Saint-Pierre. The company began operations in 1975 and operates one railcar ferry, the MV Georges Alexandre Lebel. COGEMA was sold by CN to Quebec Railway Corporation  in 1999 when QRC also purchased the Matane and Mont Joli Subdivisions. In November 2008, CN re-purchased these assets from QRC.

MV Georges Alexandre Lebel.
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