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All aboard! Steam locomotive back on track

Staff writers
October 9, 2012 — The Weather Network's Lyndsay Morrison was in Waterloo on Monday and watched as a piece of history chugged by.

Built in Montreal in 1923, Locomotive No. 9 hauled freight for decades in Windsor. 

The train was retired in the 1960s after being replaced by diesel versions. It was dismantled and put in storage until it was recently put back together by volunteer enthusiasts. 

"It's from the Essex Terminal Railways, newly restored and is basically the combination of about a million dollars worth of effort in terms of volunteer labour, parts and materials," says volunteer John Vieth with the Waterloo Central Railway. 

Rail fans and photographers gathered in Waterloo on Monday to watch the locomotive in full operation. Some even boarded the train for a special Thanksgiving Day excursion to Elmira. 

"It was showing what is was like to travel on the rails back in the mid-twentieth century," says Vieth. 

He adds, the weather couldn't have been better for the event. 

"We were worried that it was going to be snowing and raining and terrible, but the bright sunshine and fall colours in the background made for an awesome day."

Leaves that fall can create what's called "slippery rails"
Leaves that fall can create what's called "slippery rails"

While train travel can be the perfect way to see fall foliage, officials say excessive leaves on the tracks can create "slippery rails."

“It's a major concern for commuter operators because of the speeds that they need to obtain. It does reduce the tractive effort on the locomotive and therefore slows down the train,” says Mike Cyr with Toronto's Metrolinx GO Transit. 

Crews spend time running a high pressure washer on the tracks and conducting daily inspections. 

“We also look at the vegetation growing along the sides of the track...making sure that we try to eliminate as much as possible,” explains Cyr.

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