Please Include Locomotive Number In Pictures, Published 23 September 1958It has long been complaint of mine that when photographers take pictures of locomotives, they all too often omit the number. Now to me, and to thousands of railroaders across Canada, the most important thing is; "What is the number?"
Even those indifferent to engines cannot object to the number being shown. Not to have the engine number in the picture is as exasperating to railroaders as it is to a city editor to have photograph without a name.
I have in mind a photographic atrocitv perpetuated by the Canadian National in their monthly magazine, under the legend "At the End of the Run". They show Locomotive Foreman L. A. Vesterfelt, who is retiring at Fort Erie. Then inevitably the engine as a background, and almost as inevitably, no number.
I can well understand a harassed newspaper photographer, covering a wreck and being so hurried that he doesn't care about the number of the engine. But for a railway photographer to goof - that's too much.
When I hear that No. 3 CNR or say. No. 22 CPR, has done a dive, the first thing I want to know, if she is steam, is: what engine?
If perchance, No. 22 misses a switch, say, around Komoka, I'd be interested to know, still assuming she's steam, if it is a 2800, and which one.
Numbers of engines are their name. Oldtime Canadian Pacific buffs will remember 2501, the engine which could run like a deer. Who can forget the car's (sic) 1000, 1001, 1002, high-wheeling Atlantics, who raced the Grand Trunk to Montreal 50 years ago.
Coming up to date, I remember with affection 6261, running as the first section of the CNR from Brockville to Toronto. Or high stepping CPR 2927, with seven foot drivers, double heading with 2227 down to Brockville through Carleton Place on the afternoon pool.
These engines had a personality, a character, and now are a pleasant memory. I can forgive the indifference of a newspaper photographer, but who can excuse the editor of the CNR railway magazine for being so indifferent to the subject he is supposed to love.