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I have noticed the Brits (mostly) tend to name their locomotives, either real, model or freelance model. Is there any rhyme or reason to this? or rules (e.g. boy vs. girl loco?). Just wonderin'


-Brian
 

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Brian,

If you look at early American locomotives, most of them were named. I think that early locomotives bore the name of the driver. As more locomotives and engineers were aquired, that feature was gradually dropped.

Unlike ships, it seems the locomotives are not necessarily considered feminine.

I name my engines and cars based on people and things that are important to me. Therefore, I have a locomotive named the MB Supermodel, Jerome, and Lucia. Only the MB Supermodel has a label, the others are just nicknames.

I find that giving the locomotives names is all part of the fun!

Mark
 

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I think they were often named after places of interest on the line or noteworthy people or RR officials.

I name mine after the women in my life: Susan (Wife - Bachmann Shay), Paige (daughter - Accucraft Shay), and Little B (daughter's knickname - Regner Vincent).
 

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As an interesting aside, the Colorado Railroad Museum's working D&RGW 2-8-0 #346 was christened the Robert W. Richardson in honor of the museums co-founder and the person responsible for saving the #346 from the scrappers! During ceremonies for the restoration of the #346 they painted the name on the sides of the cab. Even though they eventually painted over it and added the proper cab numbers and class identification the engine will always now have the name.
 

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I have noticed the Brits (mostly) tend to name their locomotives, either real, model or freelance model. Is there any rhyme or reason to this? or rules (e.g. boy vs. girl loco?)


Brian,

As an ex-Brit, I can 'shed' a little light on this. The larger, more important classes of engines were named, and each class tended to stick to a theme (or two.) I can state there's no gender issue - names were applied according to the class theme.

For example, the GWR (Great Western or Gods Wonderful Railway) had a class of 4-6-0s named after british castles, so the whole class are generically known as 'Castles'. They also had a 'Hall' class and a 'King' class. The North Eastern had the B17 4-6-0 'Football' class named after football teams.
The A3 class 4-6-2s, which included the famous "Flying Scotsman", were actually named after famous racehorses, e.g. "Gay Crusader", or how about "Galopin" (which could only have been a racehorse!) The B1s were named after african deer, e.g. "Bushbuck". The Midland had the 'Royal Scots', named after regiments, e.g. "The Green Howards".

Sometimes only a few locos were named. "Green Arrow", the famous preserved 2-6-2 express loco was named after the new service - Green Arrow Parcels - but most of the class were not named.
In other cases the theme wasn't consistent - the fastest locos, LNER A4s, were half named after birds (e.g. "Mallard", the fastest of all,) and half after people e.g. "Andrew K. McCosh", services e.g. "Silver Link", and places e.g. "Dominion of Canada".
 

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In the days of steam, most passenger locomotives tended to have names commemorating famous personages such as royalty, the higher levels of the aristocracy and famous railwaymen and locomotive engineers. Poetic names were also in vogue - 'Lady of the Lake' and so on and cities.


The Great Western Railway celebrated Castles, Kings, Halls, Manors and Stars, as well as the odd furry item like the unique pacific 'Great Bear'.

The LNER commemorated derby winners, african antelopes, former parts of the empire or famous people - 'Dominion of Canada' and 'Dwight D Eisenhower', birds of prey and the odd duck 'Mallard' as well as 'Kingfisher', but never 'Turkey' or 'Pigeon', as well as a whole scad of other things. The LMS had patriots, duchesses, cities, heroes and warriors and many other names.

In these days of diesel and electric traction most locomotives are named, too.

I like the idea - it personalises the loco and honours the person or organisation it is named after.

As for naming models. well, the habit of naming things dies hard here. Our many thousands of tiny model steam locos all tend to be named, in both the real world as well as the model world. The practice of naming a loco has nothing to do with sexism though. The names 'Bertie' or 'Mildred' are not there to imply either masculinity or lack of it. A friend of mine has just wo locos on his line - a Welsh-type very short line. One is called 'Owain 'Bach' [Welsh for little or small Owen], and the other 'Owain Fawr' - Big Owen. Named after him and his dad.

I have two tiny 32mm gauge battery dismals of the open type. One is called 'Cwprinol' and the other is called 'Sadolyn'. When asked what the names mean, I say that the first is Welsh for the imaginary season between spring and summer, and the the other a similarly imaginary season between fall and winter. Most English speakers over here would see ttrough the ruse pretty quickly after giving therm a moment's thought.

tac
 

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I know that at times in American railroading names have often been added very recently. Of all the engines in the collection we have at the B&O RR musuem only the very early engines were named "Atlantic, Lafayette (the original, the one we have is a replica,) etc. Most of the other engines that have names were given them for the 1927 Fair of the Iron Horse. Until then the "William Mason" was just number 25. After the very early engines the B&O apparently gave up naming them until the President Class Pacifics.
 

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With the exception of the Super Golwe and the "S" Motor all my locos are named after female members of my family. The carriages are named after my nieces and the guards vans after nephews. I have always seen locos as female...

regards

ralph
 

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Oh, I forgot one.

When a 3 year old visitor was here last year, I ran a LGB 2017D for him. That's the green "Americanized" LGB 0-4-0 tender locomotive, with a diamond stack and red cowcatcher, right? The visitor named him Percy. I need to get a very useful blue engine soon, I think.

Isn't it interesting that names of dogs were not chosen for names of locomotives? There's no Rex's, Cocoas, Fidos, Fifi's, Champ, Lucky, etc.. I guess dog's get a bad rap for generally running only as fast as necessary, but they are reliable and loyal, aren't they? I did name my Bachmann 4-4-0 after my dog. So far, "Estelle" has lived up to her namesake. Runs only as fast as necessary to get the job done, but does it with grace!!

Mark
 

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American locomotives were named for a long time, most often after a station on the line or one of the RR founding or leading members. The B&O was one of the first RRs to give up naming their locos and using a number system (they were also the exception in painting their locos black when most others had colorful liveries). While locos often had male names, they were still considered "female" by the crews.
Chris
 
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reading this thread, names of trains come to mind.
(like "orange blossom special" or "wabash cannon ball")
were those names for trains common?
 

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'Cept for my mallet, my locos seem to be feminine. They are Lucy, Gertrude and Annie. The mallet doesn't seem to have a name, just a title.
 

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Posted By markoles on 10/10/2008 7:10 AM
Oh, I forgot one.

When a 3 year old visitor was here last year, I ran a LGB 2017D for him. That's the green "Americanized" LGB 0-4-0 tender locomotive, with a diamond stack and red cowcatcher, right? The visitor named him Percy. I need to get a very useful blue engine soon, I think.

Isn't it interesting that names of dogs were not chosen for names of locomotives? There's no Rex's, Cocoas, Fidos, Fifi's, Champ, Lucky, etc.. I guess dog's get a bad rap for generally running only as fast as necessary, but they are reliable and loyal, aren't they? I did name my Bachmann 4-4-0 after my dog. So far, "Estelle" has lived up to her namesake. Runs only as fast as necessary to get the job done, but does it with grace!!

Mark

I'm not trying to split hairs. What you say is generally true but you might find it interesting that one small loco on, I believe, the West Side Lbr. Co. was named "Fido". An exception to be sure and probably more of a nickname than an official one. :)
 

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Richard,

As long as it is not the hair of the dog that bit me, I'm not worried about splitting them!!

So, Fido was used as a name of a locomotive. Excellent! I stand corrected!

Mark
 

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The traveling public, especially children, always love knowing a locos name.

On my Heritage Railway we have one 4-6-0 loco (7827 Lydham Manor) with tender that always carried this name given to it when built at Swindon in 1950 (BR days). Another ex BR loco 75014 gained the name Braveheart when running in Scotland before our line purchased it.


However our other locos 2-8-0T and 2-6-2T were never named by the erstwhile Great Western Railway. We have named them Hercules, Goliath and Warrior. Our diesels are Ajax, Titan and Trojan. This is to the delight of our passengers but frowned upon by purists. Purists make noises but don't pay the bills.
 

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I name my locomotive also but the names are not printable in a family forum like this. The vileness of the name is directly proportional to it marked propensity to derailment.
 

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Posted By kormsen on 10/10/2008 8:11 AM
reading this thread, names of trains come to mind.
(like "orange blossom special" or "wabash cannon ball")
were those names for trains common?



Yes, those are names of Passenger trains..the entire train, not the locomotive itself..

(I know you knew that..im just clarifying!)

many many passenger trains had names..and still do to today.

I think most of Amtrak's trains still carry historic names..here in NY we have Amtraks "Lake Shore Limited" and "Maple Leaf"
still running..which are names that date back to New York Central train names..although the Amtrak versions are but a shadow

of their namesakes..

all kinds of famous passenger train names:


20th Century Limited
Broadway Limited

Black Diamond Express

Phoebe Snow

Empire Builder
City of New Orleans (memorialized in song by Arlo Guthrie)

about 50 more "City of ....." trains!
all the Zephyrs..


etc etc..we could name hundreds of them! :)" align="absmiddle" border="0" />

Most american locomotives carried names until about the 1890-1900 timeframe, when the practice started to disappear..
I know the LV gave up all the names in 1905 when they did a system-wide renumbering and reclassification of all locomotives..

every locomotive name disappeared at that time.

the individual names just got too unwieldy especially as railroads started getting really large..





Scot
 
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