|Harry R. J. Home (2002)
Robert John Home began his career with Canadian National Railways on July
28, 1949 at Boston Bar, British Columbia, working on a signal gang for 86¢
per hour. In the fall of 1949, he returned to school in Kamloops where his
family resided and worked in the railway's shops. His father, John Cameron
"Jack" Home, was a main-line locomotive engineer with the CNR, beginning
his career in 1913 on the Canadian Northern Railway. Following in his father's
footsteps, Harry too would become a locomotive fireman, and later a steam
locomotive engineer on the CNR. He recalls his first "pay-trip" as a fireman
on Second 406, with engine 4303 on a trip east out of Jasper, firing for
an engineer named Jimmie Robb. "I waited over 19 years for that day to come,"
remarked Harry in the summer of 2004, recalling that 51 years had past since
that glorious summer day.
Being the son of a locomotive engineer, Harry's childhood was spent at places
like Jasper, Kamloops, Hanna, Big Valley, and Edmonton. Later he would work
out of many of the same terminals as an engineer on the CNR.
As an employee, Harry will always be remembered as a safe, honest, and valued
railroader. The younger generation looked up to him and enjoyed his company,
and his spinning of yarns on the history of the railway. However, it is
Harry's passion and dedication for the preservation of CNR steam locomotive
6060 that has given him national and in fact international recognition.
Since 1960, Harry has worked to preserve the 6060 - a CNR "Mountain-type"
steam locomotive, which once hustled transcontinental passenger trains across
our country. Today, thanks to Harry's vision and leadership, it has been
preserved operationally for the benefit of future generations. Harry retired
in May 1998 after a wonderful career at CN. Crowds gathered at the CNR depot
in Jasper as he brought in a modern CN intermodal train from Kamloops. On
the occasion of his induction to the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame, CN further
honoured Harry with the naming of a control point just east of Jasper as
wonderful ambassador for the railway, a talented locomotive engineer, a
good union officer, and a respected man in the community - Harry Home is
a true example of a railway hero, and the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame
was honoured to induct him accordingly.
Photos: S.I. Smith