A dedicated engineer, who fought to keep a little piece of railroad history, takes a moment to relax after his passengers and crew have left the scene. While everyone else has gone in for dinner at the community hall in Big Valley, he works away, ensuring all is in tip top condition with the engine.
This article is available in its entirety on the Fitzhugh.ca website, originally written by staff at the Fitzhugh. Presented here in part.
“That particular day I remember quite well,” explained Harry Home, engineer for the 6060 locomotive that runs from Stettler, AB. “When we run, we run from Stettler to Big Valley, 21.2 miles. Then, we run around the train and the passengers all go up to the community hall and they put on a real nifty prairie home cooked style meal,” he said.
A caring co-worker brings him a plate, so he too can enjoy a well-earned dinner before taking his passengers back to Stettler. Not wanting to leave his valued steam engine, Home pulls out a little chair, sits down beside the engine with his plate on his knee and enjoys his supper.
“Quite often, I don’t go up there (to the hall), because I’m the engineer and I know that engine so well, so I quite often stay and keep an eye on things and let my crew go up, like my fireman go up and I stay and do little jobs. I just simply stay… and the guys sometimes come back with a plate of food.”
Though just one small moment in time, local film maker David Baker happened to witness the event and has turned that moment into a painting for all to share. “I saw that, and I thought it was one of those classic moments when you see a man and his machine,” said Baker, who was onsite filming a documentary on the 6060 engine.
Baker’s thoughts took him to a common friend of Baker and Home: Diane Way. “I’m a fan of the work she does, I like what she does with paint,” said Baker.
For Home, the painting came as a big surprise. Of course, that one moment in time resonates because of the efforts and dedication Home put in to ensure the 6060 train did not become a wasted entity. Made back in Oct. 1944 it was the last order of steam engines for the Canadian National Railway (CN). There were only 20 engines made, and it’s now the largest operating steam engine in Canada.
Over the years, Home’s dedication and love for the engine have not dwindled, as he continues to travel to Stettler several times a year, where he can spend up to a week working on the engine and ensuring its maintained at the highest condition.
“My wife’s getting pretty annoyed at me because I put in a lot of time down there,” said Home. “I’m in charge of the engine and all the maintenance,” he explained. “In the winter we have a lot of work to do simply to protect the integrity of the boiler and the functioning of the machinery… these engines are not designed to sit around, that’s our biggest enemy when they sit around.”
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FROM THE ARTIST:
The process of creating art can reveal many insights that may also be related to life. For one it has reminded me to live in the moment, conscious of the present gifts I have. After recently experiencing a journey with Breast Cancer I wanted to share this personal discovery with fellow cancer patients. Fortunately I have been able to do this by becoming an instructor with the Arts in Medicine Program at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Ab. Additionally I myself have benefitted from the AIM program. Just when I was confronted with all the traumatic emotions one experiences when getting a cancer diagnosis I was introduced to this wonderful program. It helped me experience increased awareness of myself, better cope with distressing symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences while enjoying the life-enhancing process of making art!
This painting entitled “Esteemed Lunch” was coaxed out of me by dear friends when I was in the process of picking up the pieces of my life during recovery from cancer treatment. Their confidence in me helped kick start the rest of my life, defining myself as an artist again rather than a cancer patient. It depicts another Cancer Survivor, “Harry Home”, taking a lunch break beside the powerful wheels of the 6060. Harry is a well respected long time Jasper Engineer and Canadian Railway Hall of Famer. Since 1960 he has worked to preserve another Survivor, the 6060, a CNR “Mountain-type” steam locomotive, which once transported transcontinental passenger trains across our country. Diane Way
PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE in these sizes and formats…a less expensive version on poster paper matted to 12×16 for $50.
A 10×14 image, a giclee print on watercolour paper in a 16 x 20 mat for $125.
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Esteemed Lunch was created in keeping with the IOTAD mandate of PEOPLE PLACE AND PROCESS. To find out more about IOTAD see the ‘Why we are Who we are’ page on this site.