Search Tips

General Search

Search the picture collections available online, or the text in the “Stories” and “Teachers” sections, but not both at the same time. Enter keyword terms for pictures in the field for “Search Pictures.” Enter keyword terms for text in the field for “Search Text.”

Advanced Picture Search

Search several parameters at the same time. Any or all fields can be used in any combination.

STR Collection Picture Search

Make a detailed search within the Science and Technology Railway (STR) picture collection only.

Collections to Search

Choose one or more picture collections to search at the same time. Select “All” if you want all collections searched for the same parameters, or select individual collections.


Enter the name of the town, city, province, or place that the picture was taken.

From Date

Specify a start date for your search in the format specified. Use a “to date” to narrow your search to a single year. Images without a known date will not be selected.

To Date

Specify the end of a date range. Any range can be accommodated.


Specify the name of the company that built the equipment you want. For example, “Montreal Locomotive Works (MLW),” or “Ford.”


Specify the name of the company that operated the equipment. For example, “Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR),” “Old Sydney Collieries,” “Levis Tramways.”

Equipment No.

Specify the number assigned by a company to a piece of equipment in a company’s fleet, for example, steam locomotive “2405,” trolley “96.” This number may change for the same piece of equipment for the same company, as a company might renumber its fleet as it changed over time.


Specify the name given to a distinct type of locomotive. For example, “Mogul,” “Mikado,” “Northern.”

Builder No.

Specify the number assigned to the equipment by the manufacturer. For example, “68715.”

Contract No.

Specify the number assigned by the manufacturer to the contract with the company that ordered the equipment. For example, “Q377.”


Specify the alpha-numeric designation assigned to a “class” of locomotive or piece of equipment. For example, “K-3-F.”


Specify the diameter and length of cylinder used in the locomotive engine, expressed in inches. For example, “24” × “30.” In some instances, locomotives had engines with two sizes of cylinders. Enter each number in a separate field.

Boiler Pressure

Specify the maximum pressure capable of a steam locomotive boiler, expressed in pounds per square inch (psi). For example, “275.”

Tractive Effort

This is the term most often quoted to compare the power of different steam locomotives. It is a calculated value representing the maximum potential pulling force exerted by a locomotive starting from a stationary position, expressed as a percentage of an established standard. For example, “38.”


This term refers to the diameter of the locomotive’s driving wheels, expressed in inches. For example, “48.”