Any Old Shunter Seems Good Enough For Ottawa. Published 23 July 1948
'Cross Town, By Austin Cross
Here's the letter I have been waiting to get for a long time. It has to do with the calloused indifference of the Canadian National to the smoke nuisance on the cross town tracks. Mealy mouthed in their official dealings with the government and the city, they permit their oldest and smokiest of yard goats to function on Ottawa's cross town tracks.
Down in Point St. Charles, where: there is no need, to worry about smoke, they have the new sleek diesel switchers. In Toronto yards, the best is none too good, and the only things that benefit from the smoke abatement are a lot of American box cars. But here in Ottawa, decent Ottawans have to put up with 25-year-old yard engines. I know these old smoke blowers, from 7347 to 7351 and so on, and I know they are not new.
Yet the Canadian National has the effrontery to import those 7,900 class of Grand Trunk Western diesel engines from the Michigan end of the system to operate in Montreal in the old freight yards. But any dirty 25-year-old engine is good enough for the beautiful capital of Canada.
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Of course President Vaughan will be shocked when he reads this, and .say he had "no idea" that this smoke was being poured all over center town Ottawa. He will not have realized that smokeless diesels operate in Montreal where smoke is not a factor, (and imported specially, at that) while Ottawa is treated as if it were Mimico yard or Hornepayne or Rivers. The Canadian National is making a lot of bad friends these days, and with one stroke of the pen, President Vaughan could end all that.
Meanwhile, A. K. Davie, 444 O'Connor street, writes as follows:
"Dear Cross Town:
If something could be done about the noisy, dirty, switching engines the Canadian National Railways use on the cross town tracks running east and west across the city I am sure the blessings of thousands of people living adjacent to these tracks would be forthcoming. Not only are the engines noisy, but the soot thrown from their stacks is much more than an ordinary headache for housewives. This black stuff will seep through anything and if a woman doesn't have to wash her curtains at least once a week, she is fortunate. Moreover, the soot penetrates furniture and rugs. And what's more, the vibration set up by shunting freight trains knocks everything askew in the .houses along the tracks. It is a fulltime job keeping pictures hanging straight and ornaments from clattering to the floor. The rattle and roar of the trains is bad enough during daylight hours, but when the racket is kept up throughout the night, isn't it about time something was done to eliminate this nuisance? Doesn't the CNR own any diesel-electric engines?
A. K. Davie.