Facebook Page
Old Time Trains

Protect Engine

Passenger trains were the premier showcase for Canadian Pacific and as such great attention was paid to them with precautions taken to ensure their operation "On Time". One of these precautions was the use of "protect" engines. Unlike freight trains, passenger trains had their locomotives assigned to them and there was ample time between assignment to ensure thorough maintenance and proper cleaning. However, as a further precaution most trains being dispatched from main terminals had a second or protect engine standing by in case of last minute trouble with the assigned engine. There were even "protect" engines at many division points en route that were kept steamed up and ready to go on short notice.

At John Street for instance the procedure was for early dispatches to be "protected" by later assigned engines in domino fashion. This applied to diesels as well as steam and sometimes for steam to be the last choice. It depended on the importance of the train and the size of locomotive required. In later years, at least two completely spare steam locomotives were kept under steam, often a G5 class light Pacific and a G3 heavy Pacific. Branch lines such as to Orangeville and Owen Sound could only handle a light engine such as a G5 class 1200.

At least one protect engine would usually be turned out of the "house" well ahead of time to guard against failure of the turntable, rare as that might be.

Back (Use your browser Back button)

Old Time Trains © 2009