I knew exactly what my life career was going to be after a brief ride with my Dad on a Consolidation steam engine in 1940 at Hanna Alberta. I was 7 years old. My railroad career began at Boston Bar, BC on 28 July 1949 with the Signal Gang (86 cents an hour for a 48 hour week). I then worked part time and full time as an engine watchman at the roundhouse and on work trains from 1949 to 1953 while I went to school in Japer, AB. I then gained promotion to fireman and eventually engineer for the Canadian National Railways. After 49 years on 14 May 1998, I reluctantly retired from railroading with 49 years of service. It was more than a job – it was a well paid adventure. Since 1998 I have enjoyed a second railroad career in the short line railroad industry which includes working with Alberta Prairie Steam Excursions in Stettler and operating engines for them.
In 1960, many of us were very disappointed to see the end of steam in Alberta and in particular in our home terminal of Jasper. As a result John Reid, Ray Mathews and I approached CN Management to be given a steam engine or preservation and display in Jasper. After 2 years of letter writing: a great day came in May 1962 when CN locomotive 6060 arrived in Jasper all painted up and in obvious good shape. Ten years later the engine was chosen by CN to operate in excursion service and was returned to CN for restoration. The locomotive 6015 was brought in tor replace 6060 and rests majestically in Jasper to this day.
I first learned of the 6060 to 6079 series of locomotives in a Railroad Magazine article in 1945. I remember later riding behind the 6060 from Nakina, Ontario to Ottawa, Ontario on the Continental Ltd. I still remember vividly her sharp exhaust and the smell of the “Eastern Coal” as we left Nakina. She had replaced the 6013 on excursion service for CN. I had the honour of being the engineer for 6060 on most her trips since her restoration in 1973. In 1980 CN Vice President Ross Walker and the Hon. Henry Kroeger MLA arranged to have the 6060 returned to Alberta to participate in the Alberta 75th anniversary celebrations. In 1986 I supervised another rebuild of 6060 and was the engineer that took her to Expo 86 in Vancouver. In 1998 6060 was mover to Stettler where I continue to be her engineer and look are her.