Surviving GTW (NS&W) P5 0-8-0s

By Connor Taylor

The Grand Trunk Western purchased the first P5 class 0-8-0 from the American Locomotive Works in 1923. Over time, the railroad obtained more P5s but in the mid to late 1950s, the GTW began to get rid of their steam engines and replace them with diesels. GTW set out a number of steam engines to be preserved from various classes, however, the P5s were not on that list and every one of them was sold for scrap.

In 1960 a destined to be extinct class of steam engines got a new lease on life. While all the other P5s were getting the torch, 18 of these engines went to the Northwestern Steel and Wire scrapyard in Sterling, Illinois. The scrapyard had been using EX: CB&Q 0-6-0s to do all the switching and the aging group of switchers were no longer useful, so the owner of the NS&W P.W. Dillon, found that the 18 P5s were in reasonably good shape and it was decided that they would replace the 0-6-0s.

Without a moment's notice the 0-6-0s were sent into the NS&W’s plant for the last time, being scrapped. One by one the 18 P5s were restored to operation and used to switch out the plants. The GTW numbers were changed, dropping the 83 and only using the last 2 numbers (example, 8315 was now 15) the only difference was 8300, which was changed to 30 instead of 00. Over time, some fell into disrepair and were used for parts. Photos show the fleet getting new tenders, being converted to oil, getting new headlights (noticeably CB&Q O5 class marker lights) and various other modifications. In the late 70s, the fleet of P5s were showing their age. When 73 (the last steam engine to be operated by the NS&W) had its fire dropped for the last time on december 3rd of 1980, the locomotives futures were very bleak. As of now, 4 of the 18 were scrapped with 11, 12, 14 and 15 being scrapped before 1982. But, as a miracle from the NS&W, a place that had scrapped so many other steam engines. They donated 3 of the now 14 P5s in between 1980 and 1981 with 80 donated to IRM, 73 donated to the P.W. Dillon home in Sterling and 76 being donated to the Amboy Depot Museum. In January of 1982, the NS&W needed to find a place for the now 11 P5s, with multiple outside parties not meeting the deadlines given to them, the IRM took the ownership on 1-19-82 and was given 3 weeks to move all 11 of the P5s. In the 3 weeks, IRM got 9 of the 11 able to move with 10 and 25 being left behind at NS&W and being scrapped. The 9 (30, 05, 06, 28, 72, 74, 75, 79) and a KCS vanderbilt tender that belong to KCS 759 a 2-8-8-0, were moved over the CNW to a abandoned industrial spur in the neighboring town of Galt, IL.  

The engines and tenders were looking very worn and torn at this point, having vines and trees slowly consuming the engines. In 1988, 6 years after the move, IRM sent 5 (06, 28, 72, 75, 79) to the Herman-Michaels scrapyard in south chicago in trade for Richard Jensens CB&Q 2-8-2 #4963. That leaves us with 3 in Galt. 8300 was moved out in 2002 and went to Independence, Iowa to be displayed as IC 30 with a IC long caboose near a IC depot. In 2005, 8305 was to be moved to Quincy, Illinois. Sadly, in moving the 8305, the tender crumbled and fell apart, and was scrapped then and there (due to being stored with a partial load of coal for so many years). The 8305 was moved back from the KCS tender and 74, and is still rotting away at Galt to this day. In a change of mood, in 2006, the 74 found a home, on March 10th, 2006, 74 was moved to Geneva, Nebraska. where a private owner is collecting railroad artifacts with future intentions to restore them all cosmetically. Also in 2006, the KCS tender was moved to IRM and is in the storage lines there.

As of August 7th, 2018, 6 out of the 7 GTW P5s are preserved and on display, a class of engines that have beaten the odds on multiple occasions. Sadly for 8305, restoration does not seem likely for the abandoned locomotive, consumed by vines and weeds, tenderless, it’s a horrifying sight.  

If you have any questions or historical corrections, please contact me at 

List of the 18 P5s that went to NWS&W and their outcomes:

30 preserved -  2000 to Independence, IA

05 existing – 2007 sold now abandoned – Galt, IL

06 scrapped – traded 1988 to H-M for 4963

10 scrapped at NS&W – not moved

11 scrapped by NS&W prior to 1/82

12 scrapped by NS&W prior to 1/82

14 scrapped by NS&W in 1970

15 scrapped by NS&W in 4/80

25 scrapped at NS&W – not moved

27 preserved - sold 1983 to St Paul, MN

28 scrapped – traded 1988 to H-M for 4963

72 scrapped – traded 1988 to H-M for 4963

73 preserved – Donated BY NWS&W 1981 - Sterling, IL

74 preserved – 2006 sold to Geneva, NE

75 scrapped – traded 1988 to H-M for 4963

76 preserved – Donated by NS&W 1981 – Amboy, IL

79 scrapped – traded 1988 to H-M for 4963

80 preserved – Donated by NS&W 1980 – IRM, Union, IL

The locations and status of the 7 remaining P5s

GTW 8300

Independence, Iowa

42.478541, -91.890209

Good condition

Displayed as Illinois Central 30 with a IC long caboose near a IC depot.

GTW 8305

Galt, Illinois

41.777745, -89.764537


Horrible condition

Abandoned in woods near Tettens Grain, last engine of the 7 moved to the siding to remain there.

GTW 8327

St. Paul, Minnesota

44.970934, -93.153279

Good condition

Displayed unlettered at Bandana Square

GTW 8373

Sterling, Illinois

41.790851, -89.680189

Good condition

Displayed as NS&W 73 at the P.W Dillon museum, the owner of NS&W

GTW 8374

Geneva, Nebraska

40.539151, -97.587908

Rough condition

Displayed northwest of town with a flatbed and a pullman coach. Owner says he will cosmetically restore.

GTW 8376

Amboy, Illinois

41.713779, -89.332089

Great condition

Displayed as NS&W 76 with a unlettered caboose at a Illinois Central depot at the Amboy Depot Museum

GTW 8380

Union, Illinois

42.225767, -88.526546

Rough condition

Displayed as GTW 8380 at the Illinois Railway Museum outside in poor condition

Photos: (all photos were taken by me)

8380 at IRM 5-26-18

8305 at Galt 8-5-18

8373 at Sterling 8-5-18

8373 at Sterling 10-29-17

8376 at Amboy 10-29-17

8305 at Galt 10-29-17

Copyright © 2018 Connor Taylor all rights reserved, content may not be used without permission