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My favourite trains, part 3 of 4

June 25, 2024

This is part three of four chronicling my favourite trains from the 24 books I have written and published between 1998 and 2024. If you've missed Part 1 and Part 2, check them out!

May 2017 saw the release of Steam Scenes of Stratford, the last narrative to date which follows a fictional storyline. This book is similar in that regard to Steam at Washago and King’s Highways and Steam Trains vol. 1.

From this softcover, I choose Pacific 5610 leading the Palmerston way freight out of Stratford as my favourite train. To me, Palmerston is like the mythical Island of Sodor from the Thomas the Tank Engine series—a place where diesels fear to tread, and only with great difficulty. Watching engine 5610 blasting out of Stratford for Palmerston, I can imagine going away to that place and being assured that there will not be any infernal combustion engines on rails.

The May 2018 release of Speed Graphics and Steam 1957! heralded the beginning of a hardcover series. From this volume, there’s no contest as to my favourite photograph and indeed train. We’re looking north at Harriston Junction on July 23, 1957 as Canadian Pacific Ten Wheeler 1004 heads the mixed train for Teeswater, while CNR Pacific 5563 stands at a safe distance with a southbound ballast train for Palmerston.

In the autumn of 2018, I released Steam Scenes of Northern Ontario, a softcover. This volume is similar in genre to the hardcover Steam Scenes of Allandale and the (then) forthcoming Steam Through Port Credit. Here we see engine 5250 heading North Bay train number 41, my favourite from this release, at Washago station.

From Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 1 of July 2019, I choose CNR morning train 168 at St. Marys. This train is out of London and heading for Stratford and Palmerston, from which the engine will proceed to Owen Sound on train 173. It’s morning and early summer and a whiff of coal smoke is in the air. A branchline passenger train. What more could anyone ask?

Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 2 was released in November 2019. From that book, I choose the Orillia Switcher at Allandale station behind Ten Wheeler 1533 (now preserved). All those freight cars behind the locomotive are heading for Orillia, still an industrial centre in the summer of 1958.

May of 2020 saw the inauguration of yet another new series, this time begun with Steam Encounters at Montreal, an all-colour softcover. From this volume, I choose a fan trip behind Canadian Pacific D4g Ten Wheeler 489. She’s heading one leg of an all-day excursion, that between Farnham and Foster in the Province of Quebec. Here she is at Knowlton station, by then a freight-only point, with a consist of wooden passenger equipment. Oh, would this day have lasted forever.

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