Built in 1910 for the Grand Trunk Railway by the Canadian Locomotive Company of Kingston, Ontario, and weighing 135 tons, Engine 86 is one of the last remaining 2-6-0 Mogul engines in Canada. This class of engine was designed specifically for branch line work. Retired by the C.N.R., it was donated to the City of London and moved to Queen's Park in 1958.
For more than a century, railways provided the links that fueled London's economy. The first train arrived in the city in 1853, when the Great Western Railway began service from Hamilton. Lines to other cities soon followed, transforming London into the major rail centre of southwestern Ontario. With the railways came larger, more efficient industries and greater opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
In 1887, the first Canadian Pacific Railway reached London and with service extended to Western Canada, city merchants could transport goods from coast to coast. By the 1940's over 3000 Londoners worked on the railways but by 1966 the Canadian National Railway car shops adjacent to the Western Fair grounds were closed. This combined with later reductions in service, effectively ended London's century as a railway centre.