The 2011 Trip
Part 102 – Thomas the little train engine – HMCS NENE

Friday, March 11th, 2011

No wonder folks around here get excited over a little snow. Every day is the same. A beautiful sunny day. The temperature at 9AM was 71.7F under a clear sky.

Wikipedia has an interesting article on the Arizona Eastern Railway that I should have checked before finishing yesterday's report. It has a photograph of the engine on that train we visited. The engine is an E8 General Motors Diesel Electric Locomotive built in Illinois in June 1953. Its two engines deliver a total of 2,250 horse power, and it is geared for a maximum speed of 85 miles per hour. In other words, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship TUPPER that I was Radio Officer in for several years had the identical power arrangement for its main engines. It was an excellent power arrangement for a light icebreaker.

Robert, G4PYR, sent me the detail on Thomas the Train Engine. This is the very popular little train engine one finds at nearly every train station today. I would like to include this as a follow up to our train excursion yesterday.

Robert States: “Thomas is alive and well, or as alive as a steam locomotive can be!! He lives at The Nene Valley Railway. Back in 1971 the author visited the railway and named our little blue engine "Thomas".
I have attached a picture of him being named. Attached are 3 pictures of the little chap I have taken. The first shows him at platform two at my station. The look on the adults face shows that Thomas is an attraction to all ages. The other two pictures show him at Wansford our main station. Now I should point out we have "Thomas" and that "Thomas the Tank Engine" is a registered trade name and the company who own that trade name are making as much money from it as they can. In my opinion the author will be rotating at great speed in his grave. Now not many people know that the first book he wrote about the little engines actually did not have Thomas in it! One year he was taken on a low loader and switched on the Christmas lights in Peterborough city centre!”
pic2  pic3   pic4

Thanks Robert and now we know! This is at Peterborough, England, if you want to stop by and visit the little engine.

Another thing we should point out here is that a number of the ships in the Royal Canadian Navy were on loan from the Royal Navy. They were called a Canadian ship and given the label HMCS – His Majesty's Canadian Ship – but the fact is they remained British. At least they were British up to the point that the international signal letters assigned to each ship remained British.

The Nene River runs through the Nene Valley. The Royal Navy had a World War II Frigate they called the River Class. They were called this class because they were named after the rivers in the United Kingdom. One of these was HMS NENE that became HMCS NENE and was named for the Nene River. This frigate became one of the seventy Royal Canadian Navy frigates in service during World War II. She retained her British international signal letters – BJTB.

The United States Navy was given the plans to these frigates and they built ninety-eight of them calling them a Patrol Frigate – PF. Actually the first two were built in Canada as River Class and transferred to the United States Navy as Patrol Frigates. This became the basis of their large Destroyer Escort Program.

Joan and I went around Apache Junction and created a little inflation here and there today. We had lunch at the Village Inn then topped up the diesel tank in the truck. That became so confused that even I could not explain it if I tried. One girl got charged and had to pay for $28.99 of my diesel. Anyway, hopefully it was sorted out so that everyone was happy. Oh for the days when an attendant filled your tank, checked your oil, washed your windshield and so on. Talking to a cashier through a glass cage is one hell of a poor way to do business.

We arrived home around 2PM at which time the temperature was 85.9F under a clear sky. The forecast stated it would reach 83F so it looks like we made it okay.

We tuned in 14023 kilohertz when we got home to find another contest well under way with a number of stations simply transmitting their own call sign only. This went on for quite some time. Once in awhile one station would snap a 5NN so that station must have been picked out of the confusion they call a pileup. This contest had ended by 5PM to the point nothing was heard for some time.

By 4PM the temperature was 85.2F still under a clear sky. Fantastic for sitting out swapping stories with one or more of the neighbours. At 5:30PM it was 84.3F and they claim a clear sky but we could see both alto cumulus and cirrus cloud out the trailer window. The Gold Canyon weather station is definitely some distance from this RV Park. At 6:30PM as the sun was setting the temperature was 78.7F and a clear sky according to the weather station. The sunset was a bit better than normal with the cirrus and alto cumulus cloud to reflect on.

It was a beautiful evening to sit out and watch the moon, stars and a multitude of aircraft. Several large ones were coming in to land with a multitude of lights on. Just before dark one could see the aircraft up high leaving very long contrails that seemed to hang in the sky forever.

We watched another movie this evening. There is no TV. We did not get the satellite TV hooked up before leaving. We cannot get anything to watch on the TV. Apparently it is all digital and our TV is so old it will not receive anything. We are getting addicted to these movies but when the one this evening ended the temperature was 62.3F under a clear sky. The clear sky part was probably accurate for the park here as well.

That was the day.

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