Countess of Dufferin

The Countess of Dufferin was the first steam locomotive to operate in the Canadian prairie provinces and is named after Hariot Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Countess of Dufferin (later Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava), the wife of the Earl of Dufferin, a Governor General of Canada. The locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works (builder's plate No. 2660) and delivered to Northern Pacific Railway as No. 21 in 1872. It was used in Minnesota and the Dakota Territory until 1877 when it was sold for $9,700 to Joseph Whitehead, a contractor for Canadian Pacific Railway. The locomotive, along with six flatcars and a caboose, was loaded onto barges at Fisher's Landing, Minnesota, and propelled by the SS Selkirk, they were shipped down the Red River to St. Boniface, now an electoral district of Winnipeg, Manitoba, arriving October 9, 1877,[1] at a cost of $440.

Countess of Dufferin
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderBaldwin Locomotive Works
Serial number2660
Build date1872
 • Whyte4-4-0 American
Driver dia.57 in
Cylinder size15 in dia × 24 in stroke
OperatorsNorthern Pacific Railway (NP), Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), Columbia River Lumber Company
NumbersNP 21; CPR 151
Official nameCountess of Dufferin(CPR), "The Betsy"(CRLC)
DispositionPreserved at the Winnipeg Railway Museum
A barge carrying the locomotive arrives in Winnipeg in 1877.

Upon arrival the locomotive was used on Government of Canada Contract No. 5, the first contract issued in the promised rail link that brought British Columbia into Confederation. The locomotive was used in the completion of Pembina branch to the U.S. border, linking Winnipeg with Minneapolis. Next it worked east from Winnipeg to the Lakehead in northwestern Ontario, connecting with contractors from eastern Canada. In 1883 ownership was transferred and it became Canadian Pacific No. 151. It then worked west from Winnipeg to Golden, British Columbia (Government of Canada Contract No. 15) where it was last used as a construction locomotive.

In the mid-1880s, the locomotive was again sold, this time to the Columbia River Lumber Company, owned by William Mackenzie and Donald Mann of the Canadian Northern Railway. They renamed the locomotive as The Betsy and used it to power the sawmill. In 1909, the City of Winnipeg learned of the locomotive's existence and convinced the owners to donate it to the city. It was transported back to Winnipeg, restored in the Weston Shop and renumbered CPR No. 1. It was displayed in various locations until 1977, when George Richardson and the CPR spent a considerable amount of money to fully restore the Countess of Dufferin. The locomotive now resides in the Winnipeg Railway Museum located on tracks 1 and 2 in Via Rail Union Station in downtown Winnipeg.


  1. ^ "Significant dates in Canadian railway history". Colin Churcher's Railway Pages. 2006-09-15. Archived from the original on August 29, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-09.