Old Number 30 Has Run a Million Miles, Published 24 September 1945
OLD NUMBER 30 HAS RUN A MILLION MILES
Any time now, they'll be pulling this locomotive, old No 30, off her Renfrew-Eganville run for good. The 58-year-old smoke eater is scheduled for the scrap heap, although she has been a fixture in these parts for 30 years. "What's wrong?" asks Evening Citizen writer Austin Cross, "with Mayor Stanley Lewis asking for old No. 30 for one of the city parks?"
'Number 30 is as distinctly Ottawa's engine as Vancouver's recently acquired No. #374, and Winnipeg has long had its No. 1. The old locomotive, according to Mr. Cross, would be a suitable memorial to bygone railroading days in one of Ottawa's parks with happy youngsters climbing in and out of its spic and span cab.
Austin Cross, Saviour of Engines, Wants Old No. 30 for City Park.
Old No. 30, formerly a diamond-stacked wood burner, and most ancient of locomotives in this part of the world, is still running between Renfrew and Eganville.
The Canadian Pacific Railway's old timer is 58 years of age, for she came into this world in 1887. That was the year that Sir John A. Macdonald made his second last appeal to the Canadian people, and the Americans had, only two years before, installed their first democratic president since the Civil War, Gover Cleveland. It seems a long time ago.
Visited Old Girl
This writer went up to pay a visit to the old girl the other day. No. 30 starts out bravely each week day morning to Eganville, from Renfrew, a distance of 22.9 miles. She leaves Renfrew at 11:30 a.m. and arrives at Eganville at 12:45 p.m. Then she spends an hour in Eganville, and turning around, comes back out again to Renfrew at 3:15 p.m. When she reaches the creamery town, her day's chore is over. The stations out of Renfrew are Payne, Northcote, Douglas, Fourth Chute and Eganville.
Your correspondent was determined to ride the cab of 30, but by the time he reached Renfrew, it was a question lof how far down the line he could go and still catch the 58-year-old engine. He finally decided on Payne.
So you see me, veteran of 102 railways, trying to find out where Payne was. A gasoline station attendant was completey fuddled, and admitted that he did not know how to direct me to Payne station. He just advised me to keep on going out the highway, watching the side roads.
With important minutes ticking away, here I was, chasing down country roads trying to find Payne station. At last, I found a farmer harvesting a belated hay-crop.
They tore it down.
"Payne Station?" he said. "They tore it down. But look down there, see that little building? Well, that's all that is left of it. You go down to the next road, turn off the highway, and drive down to the tracks. Then get out of your car, and walk along the track. It's only a quarter mile walk."
"I'd better hurry," I remarked, "I have only seven minutes."
The farmer laughed. "She's due at five past three, all right, but she's due actually only when she gets there. You'll have plenty of time." He was right; I did.
I got back into the car, doubled back to Highway No. 17, breezed a fast mile, then turned down the next concession road. After that, when we came to the high iron of the C.P.R., I walked west a quarter mile, and there, as big as a telephone booth, is Payne Station.
Originally Some Station.
Originally, there was quite a station at Payne, but business has languished the last 25 years or so, and it is now just used as a dispatching point. When No. 582 rolls in from Eganville (don't be confused, that's the number of the train that Engine 30 pulls), she has to stop here and pick her way onto the main line. Payne really is a junction. There is some phoning, some other protective ritual, and then No. 30 hauls slowly onto the main stam, resetting the switch carefully behind her.
So remote is Payne now, that I wonder if she would have a dozen passengers a year. Certainly the C.P.R. isn't out for business there!
While the grasshoppers tried their long range leaps, while the goldenrod nodded drowsily, and while the crickets tuned up for the fall field concerts. I sat and waited for old No. 30. It was so pleasant there, far from Parliament Hill, and the hubub of the new house, that I couldn't help thinking that I had all the best of it. Here I was waiting to ride a train, amid the beauties of a lovely junction in beautiful Renfrew County, while my fellow writers were pounding out politics on their overworked machines back in Ottawa.
Funny Little Toot
Finally, there was a funny little toot to the westward, and I knew that No. 30 was a-coming. I had an order to ride the cab from the C.P.R.'s Mr. J. Fortier, and so I quickly hopped into the head end. Handling the throttle was engineer L. Ritchie of Smiths Falls, while dispensing the black diamonds was fireman C. Hogan. (He retired as an engineer on #1 out of Ottawa with one of the VIA cuts, either 1981 or 1990). Far behind, way beyond the seven cars of freight, and back in the combination baggage-coach, was conductor Eric Peever if Eganville. Rounding out the crew were the two brakemen, J. Delahunt (he just lived up the street from me here in Ottawa) and J, M. Fraser.
Conductor Peever, in working clothes instead of traditional conductor's cap, gave us the signal, and away we scooted downthe mail ine of the C.P.R. We had left the branch with its 25-mile-and-hour meximum, and were riding down the heavy rails, rolling on the track of the limited.
Actually, there is nothing much to say about a trip from Payne to Renfrew, except that it is over quickly. But not too quickly to have a look around. The engine cab is as neat as a pin, and no svelte 2800 is any more spic and span that the train crew keep old No. 30.
If you had seen the original engine come out of the Canadian Pacifc's old Delorimier Avenue shops back in 1887, you might not recognize the old girl today. To say that she has had her face lifted would be an understatement. When brand new, she was a smart, wood-burning job, and boasted of a great, bulging diamond stack. In those days, she didn't pull up to the coal chute for her load of black diamonds, but instead sidled up to the cordwood pile, loaded her heap of slivers, and snorted away in a shower of sparks.
Her cow catcher, quite the mode of the year of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, has long since been removed, and she boasts of a more modern bull tosser.
In 1913, she was re-boilered. but long before that, she had been converted to coal and her coutours had been changed to suit the age.
What her original number was, I am not sure, but I remember looking at the old numbers on the drivers of some sister locomotive down at the C.P.R. roundhouse back in 1913, and they were all somewhere between 200 and 218.
Once a Main Liner
In her heyday, old No. 30 hightailed it down the main line between Montreal and Toronto, and was regarded as a classy job. Even today, if they let her go, No. 30
can run a mile a minute with relish. Trouble is, she cannot take enough cars at 60 miles per hour to make it worthwhile.
No. 30 got her brand new number in 1913, and could be seen in Ottawa for some years thereafter.
She was definitely in Ottawa in 1940, however, and ran on the Waltham train, making the 79.8 miles each way once a day. On Friday,. when the Pontiac trade was heavy, they sometimes gave her a long week-end, and coupled on a heavy 400 class instead.
But with the progress of the war, the chore got to be too heavy for old 30, and so she was sent up to Renfrew county, where the air is renowned for its powers of longevity. There today, in the serenity of old age, No. 30 rolls in freight plus one passenger car every day of the week to and from Renfrew,
During her day, No. 30, both during her recent reincarnation and in her previous wood-burning life, has run more than a million miles.
But No. 30 today is in her late twilight. She cannot last much longer. Heavier steel, heavier loads, heavier demands, are gradually crowding such lovable oldtimers off the rails. Of her sisters, only 105 and 144 in the Maritimes, and 136 on the Smiths Falls-Renfrew run, still survive, in all the 20,000 odd miles of the C.P.R.'s tracks. In the newspaper business, "30" usually means the end. Perhaps some of these days too, they'll pull in the old timer, and she'll write her funeral notice with her own number--30
Parking Place for Engine, Published 27 September 1945Austin Cross, chronicler of railways in the Evening Citizen, would like to see the CP.R.'s veteran locomotive No. 30. placed somewhere in one of Ottawa's parks as a memorial tribute to the railroaders of earlier times in this district. He would allow youngsters, to play around the old engine, where they could have the thrill of standing in the driver's cab or perhaps' sitting on the cow-catcher. The difficulty is that it would need someone like Austin to supervise the youngsters when they played with this colossal toy.
An alternative would be to invite the C.P.R. to present Locomotive No. 30 to the Ottawa Technical School where it could be more than a static memorial. It is an engine of venerable design, but the locomotives of this present day on Canadian lines are virtually the same in principle. Steam is generated by fire in the furnace, pistons in the cylinders drive connecting rods; the exhaust steam is puffed more or less wastefully - into the air.
Gas turbine engines will doubtless displace steam locomotive engines before many years, but the student mechanical engineer at the technical school could still learn much by helping to dismantle and erect an old locomotive. Practical workers are still needed to bed the bearings on crankshafts, pack glands and adjust valves: there are too few opportunities to learn the practical work. An honored place for parking a veteran locomotive could well be in the workshop or adjoining shed of a technical school.