Thursday, May 29, 2008

Twilight of the Gods - 1

Canadian National Railways 5149, Smithers Division, Skeena Subdivision, Mile Post 119.4, Prince Rupert, November 1, 1957. We had only been in Prince Rupert for less than three months. But within that time, I experienced one of my many life-defining moments, when I became a Ferroequinologist.

Robert Newton Lowry coined this word, in about 1948 while at the University of Virginia Law School and about to go to work for the Southern Railway. Paul Harvey’s “Rest of-the-Story” relates that the word ferroequinologist was picked up and included in the next large edition of Webster's Dictionary published about 1968.

But I digress.

One afternoon, whilst watching the hostler sand and water CNR 5149, he said to me “You better shoot them while you can – their days are numbered; about a month!”

I remember hurrying home for my camera and grabbed this photo of CNR 5149 as she snakes off the engine service lead toward the varnish, First Class 196, daily except Sunday, for evening run up the Skeena River.

It will be a long lonely night through the sparsely inhabited vastness of northern British Columbia to meet the CNR main line at Redpass Junction on the Tete Jaune Subdivision, almost 700 miles from here.

What is significant about this photo is, that it is probably the last photo taken of this locomotive in Prince Rupert. Within days, steam left with 196; 195 came in with a pair of diesels.

The Skeena Subdivision was 100% dieselized.

Locomotive Stuff: Canadian National Railways 5149, built as a 4-6-2 (Pacific) road class J-4-f by Montreal Locomotive Works, July 1920, boiler number 62002. Haulage Rating 69/38%, 70” drivers (J). Scrapped May 1960.

1 Comments - Click here:

Steve said...

My uncle retired from CN was an engineer for 45 years. His last run was on 5149 between Regina and Saskatoon. I have photos of him in the cab and the board mounted celebrating his retirement.

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