This photo of J-3a Hudson No. 5434 is a publicity shot the New York Central set up to highlight the last steam-hauled passenger train on the Canada Southern division on June 16, 1953. The locomotive is shown as though emerging from the east portal of the Detroit River Tunnel in Windsor, Ontario, steam issuing from the cylinder cocks for effect. If, in fact, the engine came through the tunnel it had been pulled by DRT electric locomotives (note the drop coupler in raised position). Possibly, however, the engine was shoved into position from the Windsor terminal, because it is trailed by only one car — a boxcar, or perhaps an express car. The same scene from a slightly different angle appears on page 21 of the fourth quarter, 2010 issue of Central Headlight, published by the New York Central System Historical Society.

The Hudsons regularly assigned to the Canada Southern were of the J-1 class. Use of the J-3a Hudsons in Canada was unusual, although they did appear there on occasion. General opinion today is that steam locomotives were never operated through the Detroit River Tunnel, which was not ventilated until later in 1953 to permit diesel run-through operation and eventual discontinuance of the third-rail electrification. Steam engines rotated from the U.S. for service on CASO likely entered Canada from the Buffalo-Niagara Falls end. This image came to our collection through Tom Rock of Rock on Trains, Cleveland, Tennessee. No. 5434 was among the handful of J-3a Hudsons that lasted into 1956.