Ancient Steam Engine Holds Own With Diesels, Published 8 December 1958
‘Last of the fast-vanishing high-wheelers can be found any morning these days except Sunday. hauling the fast, non-stop two-hour flier on the Canadian Pacific to Montreal. The steam engine is truly The Vanishing American.
‘I found myself in the rear of the twin parlor cars which roll smoothly on the dot at 7:55 these gloomy mornings. I thrilled as the 84-inch drivers behind the Hudson-type, 2822, started to bite the rail. I felt that thrilling, ever-tugging ever-chugging steam engine go. It lack, it is true, the serene glide of the diesel. But how affectionately I listed to the big 4-6-4’s heart beat.
Alta Vista and its bumper-to-bumper traffic behind us, it seemed that the big engine laid back its ears like a deer and ran. That rumble was Blackburn and the total mileage was six. At the next rumble at Navan, we had knocked down 12 miles. So the stations passed like picket fences as Leonard, Hammond, Bourget were followed by Pendleton and Plantagenet.
A mile a minute we raced as the big Hudson started to warm up. This was steam travel at its best. Then we paused to see what Vankleek Hill was doing, we gave her the go-by at 30 miles an hour, banged over the CNR diamond half a mile to the east where we crossed the Glen Robertson-Hawkesbury branch, and then we let go again. The upbound diesel passenger to Ottawa, Train No. 233, had thoughtfully taken the siding. Being eastbound, we had the superior direction. The it was Quebec Province and by now, Canadian Pacific’s big monster was rushing long as if it was really beginning to enjoy its work, It sent out joyous clouds of steam and emitted long, strong sausages of smoke as it passed Vaudreuil and Ste. Anne’s as if they were not there..
‘The dining car crew banned all meals except coffee about half an hour out of Montreal and the late and hungry were out of luck.
‘Then, right on “The Advertised”, we glided swiftly and softly into Windsor Station,. The great adventure was over.
‘The steam engine holds its own in this swift run to Montreal with the slick new, soul-less diesels. But it’s on borrowed time. If you want to live over the past, take the early morning train to Montreal.