Thursday 23 July 2020

Samson (Canada, 1983)

So I started from the premise that Samson was a brand or generic model of locomotive but no, this one was significant and famous enough to be officially called Samson.

Samson’s journey began in 1838 in the North East of England where he was designed and built by Timothy Hackworth. It was commissioned by the General Mining Association in Canada along with two other locomotives, Hercules and John Buddle. I wonder if John Buddle got the brains whilst Samson and Hercules got the brawn… (aah it turns out John Buddle was a businessman and investor based in the North East of England, so presumably his investment gained him the naming rights…).

Samson and siblings arrived in Canada by ship in 1839, along with two engineers whose job was then to construct the locomotives. One of those engineers then stayed in Canada and worked on / with Samson for the rest of his career.

Samson worked from 1839 to 1867 hauling coal along a 6 mile route for loading onto ships. He was described as slow but “of great power” and very reliable. After semi-retiring in 1867, he continued to work part-time until 1885 before going on display in Chicago’s National Exhibition of Railway Appliances. He moved back to Canada in 1927 and remains on display there, the country’s oldest locomotive.

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