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Site Dedication
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This entire web site is dedicated
to the memory of my father

William I. C. Miller
(1908 - 1969)

My father was well known in railfan circles in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. He spent many an hour with his Kodak Signet 616 folding camera photographing trains, both steam and electric interurban, and later diesels. A few of his photos appeared in Railroad Magazine, Trains Magazine as well as the Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter & Bulletins.

As a child, my father longed to be a locomotive engineer, but his father discouraged him. So instead he got his trade as a machinist and became a lathe operator. In one plant where he worked for many years, he had a picture window view of the Canadian Pacific Galt Subdivision mainline track which passed by about three hundred feet away. Who could ask for more!

Naturally my father introduced me to trains at an early age, and I did the same with my two sons. My first son became intensely interested in trains almost before he could walk, and he still is to this day. Check out his web site, The View from Galt Station. My younger son could not stand trains. He was more interested in air planes and is now an airline pilot.

On occasion, my dad would take me with him when he went out on a photo jaunt. A couple of times we went down to the CPR Lambton Yard, their main freight yard in the west end of Toronto, before Agincourt Yard was built, and John Street which was the CPR roundhouse near the Toronto Union Station where the passenger locomotives were serviced. He was more of a Canadian Pacific fan than Canadian National.

I remember one particular visit to the John Street roundhouse. After my dad showed the foreman his official letter of release, we were given the tour of the roundhouse. The foreman said that if there were any particular locomotives that we wanted pictures of, just let him know and he would have the locomotive moved outside and 'spotted' whichever way we desired.

Among a couple of engines my dad asked for was #3100, one of only two Northern type steam locomotives rostered by the CP. {see The Case of The Lonely Canadian 4-8-4's January 1976 Trains Magazine page 20.} At the time, both engines were assigned to pool train service between Toronto and Montreal. Immediately a couple of engine wipers began going over the engine with rags polishing here and wiping there. The Canadian Pacific took great pride in their passenger locomotives and they were seldom seen dirty. 3100 was then moved out onto the turntable and turned ¾ into the sun, the main driving rod in its lowest position. When the engine moved there was only a faint whisper of exhaust and steam, not the usual loud bark one would expect. I soon learned that there was no fire in the firebox. If a steam locomotive was going to layover for any length of time, it was common practice to drop the fire and hook it up to steam lines while it was in the roundhouse. This saved having to tend the individual engines to make sure sufficient coal was in the firebox, and also saved coal.

I still remember the day that we walked down to the local CPR station and found Mikado #5400 on an eastbound freight switching at the east end of the yard. While my father was taking a couple of pictures, the engineer asked if we'd like to come up in the cab and have a ride. He didn't have to ask twice. What a thrill that was! On our walk back home we got caught in a heavy downpour of rain, but it was worth it. I had just experienced my first of many rides in the cab of a steam locomotive.

Another occasion that stands out in my mind is the time we walked about two miles to get an ideal spot near the CPR mainline to watch the General Motors 'Train of Tomorrow' as it passed through our city. It was the first time I saw a diesel locomotive and the only time I saw that train.

My father's favourite gospel hymn was 'Near The Cross'. I still have the recording he made back in the late 1950's at the Canadian National Exhibition singing this beautiful hymn. John 3:16 says it all!

Dad, you left me with many more fond memories of things we did together, and a wonderful hobby that I've enjoyed with my oldest son. You left us so suddenly. I love you! I miss you!

William E. Miller
August 31, 1996


copyright © 1996-2007 designed and maintained by William E. Miller
Revised May 25, 2000