Woo Woo! Woo Woo! Nobody Can Do It Like A Steam Train!

...From "Starlight Express"

Big Mike #2922 Perhaps you are wondering what the train picture has to do with anything else on my home page. Well, there is a long history of railroading in my family. I am old enough to remember steam operation on Canada's railways, and when my father was a youngster, he spent a lot of time travelling round in the cab of Canadian Government Railways' #2922 "Mikado" freight locomotive, driven by my great uncle Eddy. (That's uncle Eddy and the rest of train crew with their "Mighty Mike" over at the left; he is the guy in overalls up at the top of the engine, next to the bell.) I dreamed of driving that big engine when I grew up, but alas! I had to get a life. I still take steam excursions every chance I get. In the summer of 1996, we had a ride on the South Simcoe Railway behind ex CP #136, which looks a lot like the engine in the cartoon on the home page.

The History of Uncle Eddy's Mikado

Thanks to the wonderful people at the National Archives of Canada, and the records of Canadian National Railways, I have been able to piece together some of the history of my great uncle's big freight locomotive, which was built 80 years ago.

For those who may wish to know, a Mikado steam locomotive received its name because the very first engines with that wheel arrangement were made for Japanese railroad use. The Mikado had a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement: two leading wheels, eight drivewheels and two trailing wheels. This arrangement gave a large firebox configuration and an impressive tractive effort.

Mikados were the most powerful freight engines on the lines until the 1930s when the ponderous 2-10-2 Santa Fe and 2-10-4 Texas locomotives came along for heavy freight transfer. The "Mikes" were supplanted on CNR fast freights by the classic 4-8-4 Northerns at the end of the steam era, but continued in their role of out and out hard working freight "hogs" until well into the 1950s.

Here is the story of Uncle Eddy's Mike.

Rockin' in the Rockies!

NG Consolidation

While we are on the subject of steam locomotives, the picture above is from Georgetown, Colorado. It is a shot of former International Railways of Central America narrow gage "Consolidation" #44. We took a ride in 1989 from Georgetown to Silver Plume, Colorado behind her sister , #40. (Photo courtesy Wes Barris - 21st century IT professional and 19th century hogger. For more information on the Georgetown Loop Railway , just follow the link to Wes's killer Website!)

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This page last modified on June 19, 2001.