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Edition #112, October 15, 2009
Linking the Gap
Photographer: Joshua Anderson
Photo by Joshua Anderson
Linking the Gap
Another hot, dusty afternoon had passed and the Q150 steam train had finally made its way to Toowoomba. Having steam trains –let alone double headers- run this far west of Brisbane is a rare treat, and an eclectic mixture of railway enthusiasts, passengers, photographers and volunteers filled the platform. Not surprisingly this made it hard to set up a perfectly framed roster shot of the two steam locos. Undeterred, I decided that I would try for something different.
Wandering past the lead locomotive, I saw an old man intensely studying the motion gear. Head bent, hands clasped behind his back, he was oblivious to the joyful commotion going on around him. It is interesting to imagine what memories the oily, glistening arrangement of steel brought back for this man. Maybe he was reliving distant childhood memories; maybe he had worked with steam. Maybe it was the chance to step back in time.
Several paces behind him stood a little boy, who was also trying to take in the scene. For this lad, the sight of a smoking, steaming locomotive would have been altogether different. The loco would be something so different from everyday life as to be extraordinary. Instead of reliving distant memories, it would create new ones.
But what brings these two very different experiences of life together? Quite possibly it is the locomotive itself. BB18 ¼ 1089 was the last steam locomotive to enter mainline service in Queensland. It comes from a past era, yet is also the youngest of its generation. It is, in a way, old and new. It bridges the gap between the past and the present, creates new memories, and reminds us of time gone by.
A steam locomotive is an intensely practical thing. Look further, however, and you will see that it is also a creature of memories, imagination, and experience.Joshua Anderson
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Revised: 10/31/09 21:17:28 -0500