| July/August 1996

We're happy to report that we have quite a few letters again this month and we truly appreciate the efforts of all of our contributors. We're also enjoying the turn in the weather as spring blossoms are all around us as we go to press with this issue. Spring is in the air with all the hopes of a great summer to come fields full of children playing, spring concerts and school activities are everywhere in our local scene. And the spring steamups have begun!

Now on to the mailbox!

LOUIS PATTERSON, 308 W. Frisco, Blackwell, Oklahoma 74631 writes: 'Most people don't know about the Great Race for Time that was held between Winnipeg and Edmonton. It wasn't done on purpose, but rather, through a series of events it happened on the Canadian National Railway System. The event took place about the winter of 1956/1957.

'The Canadian Railway had just been dieselised. One of the new diesels was scheduled to pull train No. 1, the Super Continental, but during the night the temperature dropped to minus-28 degrees. The next morning the new diesel would not start! The diesel fuel had congealed. But they still had one of the CNR's (Canadian National Railway) big, dependable steamers, so Engine No. 6226 was drafted into service to pull train No. 1.

'They backed engine No. 6226 up to the Super Continental, and she headed out of Winnipeg fifty minutes late. The engineer had her highballing down the track; all the while the fireman was working hard trying to keep steam pressure up, while the extremely frigid temperature was sucking heat from the boiler. To make a long story short, No. 6226 pulled into Edmonton with her whistle blowing constantly, because they made it to Edmonton on time! That is just one of the many reasons they call the big Northern-type steamers dependable!'

This was 'scribbled by' RALPH KELLY, 1144 North 750 W, Kokomo, Indiana 46901: 'I enjoyed Mr. Mix's article about Harry Woodman-see and all the other stories about him. This is an incident I have never seen mentioned. It happened at the Jim Whitbey show at Fort Wayne, Indiana, many years ago. Harry did his hill climb and belting up blindfolded act. There were two younger fellows attempting to balance an engine on the teeter-totter planks. They never got close to a balance and finally gave up, backed the engine off and let it sit. The announcer said, 'Harry, show them young fellows how that's done.' Harry got on, drove the engine on the teeter planks, stopped the engine, got off and as Harry started to walk away, the front end of the engine started to slowly settle down and when it came to a balance position it stopped. Harry had a broad grin on his face and gave a puff on his pipe as he walked away with the engine balanced on the teeter-totter.