Railroads Illustrated Previews

White Knights, Candy Stripes, Belles, and Beavers

SD40-2 5829 in the candy stripe paint scheme leads two more SD40-2s on an eastbound at Banff, Alberta, on August 9, 1983. —Kevin EuDaly photo

White Knights, Candy Stripes, Belles, and Beavers

by Steve Jessup/photos by the authorRailroads Illustrated 2023

The Surface Transportation Board approved this?

For those who forgot how this one lined up, it was Canadian Pacific that first attempted to merge with Kansas City Southern. And everybody thought, “Yeah, right! No way!” Then Canadian National stepped in, thinking, “Why should we let them have this North American service lane — we’re better and have more to offer.” CN’s bid was around $33 billion, some $4 billion more than CP’s initial proposal. That went splat. Oddly, CP tried again, at about $31 billion. And how the STB came to approve this in recent months — without giving any concessions — will forever be filed under “truth is stranger than fiction.”

When BNSF was formed, we lost Burlington Northern and Santa Fe. Both became fallen flags, and now we have an acronym railroad running around in orange. The formation of CPKC means that Kansas City Southern and Canadian Pacific have slid into the history books. Say goodbye to two railroads many railfans thoroughly enjoyed. While we didn’t get in on original Southern Belles and Golden Beaver ancestors, we did see a few of the “White Knights,” “Candy Stripes,” “Red Barns,” and “Retro Belles.”

We hope you enjoy our leadoff photo salute to these fine railroads. While the wait is on to snap pictures of a slightly modified CP paint scheme reflecting CPKC, there is still time to catch the iconic colors of KCS and the classic all-red monsters of the North.

P.S. Where’s Mike Haverty when you really need him?

Kansas City Southern

ABOVE: SD40s 628 and 613 bracket SD40-2 640 on a southbound at Air Line Junction at the east end of Knoche Yard in Kansas City, Mo., on July 24, 1976. KCS’s road power was all-EMD in the mid-1970s. —Kevin EuDaly photo

Canadian Pacific

ABOVE: Shiny red CP locomotives round the corner at Scribner, Wash., on May 2, 2021, with a potash train in tow. Up front is AC4400 6646 with SD70ACU 7001 trailing. Additional DPUs are placed in the middle and on the rear. It’s not uncommon to have at least six units on these trains, which are taken to Portland for export. —Steve Jessup photo

Kansas City Southern

ABOVE: Kansas City Southern “Retro Belle” ES44AC 4804 leads an eastbound empty grain train past Kansas City Union Station on September 13, 2014. The engineer gives a friendly wave to the photographer up on the Mike Haverty Freight House Bridge. Behind the “Belle” is KCS gray AC4400 4613. One of the best things KCS ever did was to get rid of this boring gray scheme. —Steve Jessup photo

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This article was posted on: October 15, 2023