Bill Leggett, Sr

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Jim Leggett posted on

The photo on the left is my grandfather Bill Leggett, Sr (A.W.L.) in his basement shop on Bolton Avenue in St-Lambert, across the river from Montreal. On his bench is the beginnings of his 10-wheeler. AWL was the designer of these 4-6-0 locomotives and I think my great uncle Harry Turnbull made the patterns. Castings were often poured at Hooker Foundry in Huntingdon Quebec. They closed their doors just two months ago. This photo is one of many "selfies" AWL took with his trusty 4x5 Sped Graphic camera.
The photo on the right is my grandmother Myrtle, wife of AWL and my father's mother. The locomotive is a 3/4 inch scale Berkshire that AWL designed around his own cylinder and wheel castings and a cast bronze trailing truck from my uncle's CPR Hudson pattern. Ed Ratcliffe designed his 4-6-4 while working in the railway's drafting department.
AWL never finished this project, probably because it grew too big as he was growing older, and it always fascinated me as a child. When he died it disappeared in the sale of the house. Years later an ex-member of my club showed up and pinned an ad to the clubhouse bulletin board… Berkshire for sale! The engine appeared after decades. I called right away with the intention just to view the Berk in real life but my wife knew better and approved my cashing out an insurance investment and the loco was mine. I still have it today.

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