A Soft Sigh for Triple-Two, Published 17 May 1955
This rare old photo came from musty old files. All but forgottem by the Department of Transport
Old Wood-Burner Was Rage In 1883Once upon a time, the Canadian Pacific Railway really had a lot of engines like No. 222.
The triple-two-spot ran west of Sudbury way back in 1883, when Sir William van Home and his gallant associates were trying to get the CPR across Canada. As a modest part of that titanic task, here is the old triple-two-spot, working west to Sudbury in December 1883. That was 72 years ago.
A close study of the picture will reveal not only her modified cabbage stack, which was vogue for engines in 1883, but will indicate that old two-two-two was a wood-burner. This 4-4-0 type could not go more than 50 miles without "wooding up" The sharp shrill blasts of the whistle told the train crew that they were stopping next station for more wood.
If you look carefully at the engine, you will see the rickety old door that leads out to the running board along the boiler. You will also see the number 222 painted across the headlight. Incidentally the bell has hardly changed in superficial appearance since those days. Except of course that it is automatic in 1955.
Look behind the engine and the bare stark poles In the ground give mute testimony that even then, the great outdoor pastime was to burn down our forests.
If you look at the track you will see it is supported by old fashioned wooden trestles. These have pretty well disappeared now in Eastern Canada.
Conjecturally, the sleek diesel-powered Canadian now rolls a mile a minute and better over this track, up to Cartier over a gravel fill long since double-tracked and elaborately ballasted.
This is the vestigial relic of the railroading of yesteryear. It conjures up a world of chime whistles and link pin couples and hand semaphores and pioneer railroading. But don't just sit there patronizing. This engine has the same wheel arrangement as "Engine Engine (sic) 999, running on Chicago line." And old 999 ran 112 miles-an-hour, back In 1893.
So a soft sigh for Triple Two - gone but not forgotten.