Thursday, September 15, 2011

Now arriving...train 55

I met VIA engineer Terry Brennan in Ottawa station on Labour Day weekend. We talked about my book, and in the ensuing week, we arranged to meet at Kingston station for Terry to pick up a copy. Terry made it easy, since he was working four different VIA trains along the Kingston Sub this weekend. Saturday afternoon, train 55 arrived with Terry at the controls of VIA engine 904, and we had a chance to meet and talk about railway books while Terry's mate handled the baggage.

Two things about our conversation stuck with me. Terry asked some questions about the book, specifically what the 8000's and 8100's were that appear early on, in 1976. These were CN baggage cars that VIA didn't acquire, and I actually mentioned them briefly in the roster at the back of the book. As I see it, this is part of the value of my book - the information I recorded can generate interest and discussion about the equipment that VIA was operating, especially in its early years. (More especially when the information resonates with a 23-year VIA employee.)

The other thing was that Terry mentioned was the possibility of recording his experiences working for VIA, as well as his colleagues and those who came before. Definitely a good idea. The most daunting part is actually starting; the rest will follow.


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