Mighty Diesel Engine Ends Triumphant Tour , Published 17 December 1949
Demonstration of a Diesel Locomotive on The Continental

Turning Eastern Canada inside out wherever she went, and creating a local holiday at every stop, the Canadian National's new diesel engine has just arrived back in Ottawa after a tour of triumph to Winnipeg and back. Even the silent stolid Indians were impressed. They have christened the big three-unit General Motors 8051 simply OEGISHESED KAWENE KEGON AGUABETA KAWENE KEGON SCHODI. That means Big-Speed- No-Smoke-No-Fire. Or if you have a fancy for short names, they call it OSHKI BIMIDSO, signifying New Engine."
Babies in prams, old ladies in slacks, younger one sin curvaceous clothes, high school kids in paras joined the men folk at every divisional point. To all these were added the braves and squaws as the big 15-car train lay over the curve while loaded express at Longlac. There also, passengers on the Trans-Canada Highway skided to a stop on glare ice to have a .look at the yellow, blue and grey triple diesel engine up ahead on No. 2. The Continental Limited never had so much glamor since she started to run in the summer of 1920.
Whether it was goggle-eyed track-walker at Lux, Ontario; or the onion-breathed section fore man, who climbed into the cab at Decimal, Manitoba, the diesel job had the same effect. Mayor Garnet Coulter of Winnipeg donned special gloves and hat in the zero weather to be photographed in the cab. Old timers gave her, the once-over at Nakina. East or west, the Continental Limited's progress was a tour of triumph all the way.
I had ridden the train from Montreal to Ottawa, and had seen Transport Minister Lionel Chevrier exhult over this new egine as his son might over a Lionel locomotive toy. President-Elect Donlaid Gordon saw it as a shadow a big shadow casting itself across the rails of progress, and Mrs. Gordon capped it by saying: am so thrilled." .
She said it for the thousands of people who left their desk and switches to come and see the three-unit diesel go through,
I left the train at Ottawa, but after a morning in The Citizen's news room, I got a plane out of here, changed at Toronto, found myself licking American postage stamps at Kinross, in Northern Michigan, . before I was up and down again at Fort William. Then Winnipeg, and zero weather. When I went to bed in the Fort Garry Hotel, I was secure in the knowledge that thanks to Trans Canada Airways, though I had left Ottawa about 17 hours behind No. 1, I was now nine hours ahead of her.
I could hear her loafing through the yard before she idled into Winnipeg at 9.55 a.m. right "on the advertised." There was plenty of excitement there, and not the least important figures at the Union Station were 11. retired locomotive engineers who came down to see this big engine.
Determined to show what she could do, the CNR and General Motors agreed that they'd turn her right around and send her back. What's more, they are going to keep her plugging steadily oack ana forth like a clock pendulum for -the next three months. This will give her an aggregate mileage of not less than 60,000 miles.
I was among the officials and high brass who rode the, cab when she started out of Winnipeg, 35 minutes late. Even with inspection stops at Dugald No. 2 mowed down the mileage like so much hay. Engineer E. H. Cooke had his brand new duds on to take the throttle, while Fireman Brown also looked his prettiest. Arnold W, Godwin of General Motors was decked out in white coveralls, since the engine is his baby till the Canadian National makes up its mind to buy her. Riding with us was plenty of high brass, including Master Mechanic E. J. Sward.
It was Mr. Sward who explained .what a saving a diesel can make. For instance, it costs roughly $50,000 to "back shop" a steam engine, and it must be done every 100,000 miles. You don't shop a diesel less than a million miles. Saving right there is a half-million dollars, no wonder diesels pay for themselves so quickly. To get down to cases, the new diesel are going to be easy on the taxpayer of a government-owned road like the CNR.
Exuding a gorgeously fragrant onion breath, Swedish-born P. A. Person climbed up into the cab at Decimal.
At Armstrong, on the westbound trip, the airport official at Armstrong heard the "growler" as railwaymen call the diesel, coming along, thought it a plane, and put on the air field's landing lights.
Squaws and' Papooses
At Longlac next day, Indian braves posed beside the train so did the squaws, so did the papooses.
When I woke up, it seemed as if the train hadn't stopped all night, yet they tell me she was held up 58 minutes at Armstrong for a frozen steam connection, but, we got that back, lost it and gained it again, arriving at Capreol right on the dot.
Having ridden the cab around the curves and twists and over the ups and downs from Nakina to Hornepayne, I was willing to call it a day after Caperol, and next thing I knew, it was 5.30 this morning and the porter was calling me.
One man was not-repeat not-down to see the diesel go through. He was Mayor MacLean, of Capreol. I dropped in to pick up a Sudbury Star.
"Railroaders are already a little more saving with their money, and this is railroad town," he remarked, a bit sadly.
"I wonder what that thing is going to do to me, and to this town" speculated His Worship.
I wonder too.

Makes Opinion Clear Of Railroaders. Published 22 December 1949

An anonymous letter writer, whom we shall call Mr. Coward, either can't read or won't understand. He accuses me of making fun of a section hand, and of disliking onions! First of all, the section foreman is a credit to Canada. It is unfortunate that part of the story was dropped out, where I praised his garden, said it was photographed more than one in magazines. My point is that this man came out here from Sweden 25 years ago, and has really done wonders. But his expression climbing into the cab where his mouth and eyes widened, really symbolized the attitude of newcomers toward the diesel. Far from having any patronizing airs toward section men, I say, as I said in the cab when I ran through northern Ontario, that these men. working at 50 below in winter, and 100 above in summer, are the real railroaders. My hat is off to them.
As to onions, I looked up again what I said, and I refer to the "gorgeous" onion breath. What greater compliment can I pay? As a snippy farewell, Mr. Coward says: "Do you never eat onions?" My answer is every time I can.
Actually, an anonymous writer like Mr. Coward is not worth answering, except that he proves anew my oft-repeated idea, that people just can't understand what they read. What was meant as a tribute " (admittedly part got dropped out in the story) was regarded as a slur: what was supposedly a praise of onions was regarded as a diatribe. What Mr. Coward needs most is to understand what he reads

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Updated 13 September 2019