By Pat and David Othen, used with permission
|A variety of steam engines are still operated by private, public and volunteer groups across Canada who are striving to provide the sights, sounds and smells of working steam engines to people who have never experienced (or have forgotten) their use as a major mode of transportation for both people and freight. |
Above is a sound clip recorded on the footplate of ex-CN 4-6-0 # 1009 as it crossed Dawson Road on the Salem & Hillsborough Railroad in New Brunswick on 8 October 1989 (fall foliage train).
More information about tourist railroads can be found in the Canadian Passenger Tourist Excursions Directory. The annual Canadian Trackside Guide published by Bytown Railway Society, Ottawa has information on all locomotives in Canada both operational and static.
BC Rail’s Royal Hudson
Royal Hudson 2860 – a former Canadian Pacific locomotive was operated by BC Rail on its main line, usually between North Vancouver and Squamish. Here we see the locomotive on a cross-Canada tour at Red Deer, Alberta late on the night of 4 May 1978. It sounded wonderful coming down into the Red Deer river valley. Click here for an mp3 sound clip of its whistle recorded by Dr. J.S. Grossert on a later occasion from the train as it approached North Vancouver.
Below we see 2860 on the next day at the CP Rail station in Calgary.
2860 is now at the West Coast Railway Association‘s Heritage Park, Squamish.
BC Forest Museum / Discovery Centre
The Discovery Centre and Museum at Duncan has an excellent series of indoor and outdoor displays showing how the logging industry has developed on Vancouver Island. An operating three foot railway, Cowichan Valley Railway, takes visitors around the site. For further information visit their website.
One of the locomotives that they have used to carry visitors around the site is narrow gauge Vulcan 0-4-0ST (saddle tank) #25. Here we see three photos taken in 1997 during its rebuilding at the museum. Left is the saddle tank and right are the boiler and safety valve cover; below are the frames and cylinders.
On the left is the locomotive prior to the 2001 season and on the right and below, courtesy of the BC Forest Discovery Centre, are pictures of it operating in an earlier season.
A narrow gauge (3 foot) oil-fired Shay locomotive number 1 has also been used to haul trains of visitors around a 1.5 mile circuit at the museum. Some of the grades are as steep as 4% so these provide a good demonstration of the abilities of a Shay.
Shays have vertical cylinders (usually three) on the right-hand side of the locomotive. The pistons are connected to a horizontal shaft. As the pistons move up and down the shaft is rotated and drives each axle through gears. Because the cylinders are on one side, the boiler must be situated off centre and this gives the locomotives a unique appearance as seen in the pictures. This geared locomotive was specifically designed to haul heavy loads at slow speeds on steeply graded, light-weight track.
Number 1 was originally used by Hillcrest Lumber Company in the Lake Cowichan area.
On the left we see volunteer engineer Brian Nicol oiling the connecting rods of the three vertical cylinders of the Shay and on the right we see engineer Bob Symington at the controls of the narrow gauge Shay.
Kettle Valley Railway
CPR 3716 was moved to the Kettle Valley Railway from BC Rail and is now their principal operating steam locomotive.
Prior to its arrival they used Shay #3 which at the time was the second operating Shay locomotive in BC and also comes from Vancouver Island. It was originally owned by the Mayo Lumber Company and was their #3. It was rebuilt by the staff at the BC Forest Museum before going to the restored Kettle Valley Railway.
Material on this page is copyright by Pat and David Othen. Reproduced with permission.