Shedding A Few Tears For Old Locomotives, Published 20 March 1959

‘To the ‘Bone Factory’ and the blow torch have gone some of my dearest friends.  They are the locomotives whose demise has just been released by the railways.  As the growling but efficient diesel takes over, and the noble high wheelers go to the melting pot, I feel I am saying goodbye to real old friends, and I also believe that the country is the poorer for their passing.
     ‘At random , let me mention a few dear. dead friends, over which I would like to recite a requiem.
    ‘My initial tears must be wept over CPR 437,. which for almost half a century ran on the way freight out of Ottawa.  Mostly it was through Vankleek Hill to Montreal, although in a pinch this old ten wheeler could be drafted for the Pontiac passenger.
    ’The Canadian Pacific never hit on a better class of engine than what came to be known as ‘The D-10” and of these, none more efficient that CPR 1003.  She went in 1958.
    ‘Those who for the last 50 years, took the passenger to Montreal must inevitably have ridden behind 2210, or in earlier days when she was 1010.  This light Pacific type was a ’58 casualty.
    ‘Running faithfully at the end of the war to Montreal via the North Shore was 2393.  Comparatively new as engines go, with less than 20 years’ operation, she is now melted down into some re-incarnated steel girder some place.
     ‘Who can forget the high-wheeled Hudsons.. proudly bearing a crown, carrying the king and queen on the first trip any ruling monarch ever made in Canada.  Prominent among these was 2828, now only a magnificent memory.
     ‘Faithful and long lasting, I first saw freight type No. 3437 in Broad Street yard, back in 1913.  Not stylish and not fast, she lasted most of this century till they took her off  the rails last year.
     ‘Finally, who can forget that strange experiment, No. 3000, whose wheel arrangement was, oddly enough, 4-4-4.  Its high wheels really whirred when it ran up the Guelph Junction hill west of Toronto and roared to a stop at Galt.
   Chicago-based passengers. and tired troops returning to London alike rode behind the oo-00-oo type engine and never knew how hard she worked for them.
      ‘I could get equally sentimental as I say goodbye to old Canadian Northern class 1408 or Old Grand Trunk 2622.  Saw a fond farewell to ex-Canadian Government Railways freight engine 3339.  So there are three former railways who ended their days with the Canadian National.
      ‘Then there is 5604, which John Diefenbaker and I surveyed when we both visited the Canadian National roundhouse at Prince Albert in 1944.  It was a light passenger type, described as a 4-6-2
     ‘The old Canadian Northern Railway was always hard up, and never seemed able to buy more than five Pacific type passenger engines.  For years, those 4-6-2 type ran east and west of Winnipeg,.  Now gone is the original 5000.  It had kept its same number right clear through, from out-shipping to blow torch.
     ‘Perhaps the finest class the Canadian National ever produced were the high style 6200’s  They could haul 20 passenger cars at 80 miles and hour, or drag 100 loads of freight as fast as the International Limited.  Their life was like a butterfly’s, brief and beautiful.
     ‘Never again will we hear the throaty roar of the high-wheeled hard-running Hudsons of the CPR 2820 class.  Up they would come from Montreal, with the classy “varnish”, dumping their hundreds of passengers at the Union Station “right on the advertised”.
     ‘’Those crown-embossed Hudsons were the finest thing that CPR ever operated.
     ‘If those glossy behemoths had an equal, it would be the CNR’s 6200 class 4-8-4’s.  I can still hear their high, piercing whistle, hauling the Continental Limited down from Montreal to Ottawa.  Or it could be the westbound, disappearing under the midnight stars, their half-howl heralding the arrival of the new day and assuring the passengers that all was well.
‘     ‘Now we travel swifter, we travel smoother, but it seems to me we also travel more sadly.

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Updated 12 May 2019