Engine 374 is a landmark in our history. Not only did it pull the first Canadian transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver, but also contributed to keeping British Columbia a part of Canada. Writing about its anniversary was my first assignment for this blog. But after interviewing William Johnston, director of the West Coast Railway Association (WCRA) and the volunteer in charge of the Engine 374 Pavilion, I had in my hands an amazing series about the railway.
“I’m a bit of a history buff, so it’s a natural thing for me,” says Johnston. In the pavilion, he has met some railway fans who are experts on everything. “They look at the logo of CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) and say, ‘that was never on this locomotive in 1886. Why have you got it there?’” They’re right. It was placed there later in recognition of CPR’s financial aid to restore the Engine. “It’s also interpretive [because] it shows the beaver as part of the symbol of our country.”