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 Been thinking...are Trains male or female?
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Lou D

Posted - 2009 April 03 :  08:24:38 AM  Show Profile
I'd kinda figure any steam loco with a water scoop on the tender is a male...

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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  08:30:55 AM  Show Profile
Envision the classic scene of the train going into the tunnel.............

Bill Pearce

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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  09:34:17 AM  Show Profile
Originally posted by flagler

I think its up to who is doing the refering.
She said ,"Look at that Big Boy go"
and he replied " She's all steamed up"

I tend to agree with flagler.

But, some people think locomotives are like horses, mostly, if not all... male horses;

And, what about an engine named for a man, like the J.G. Porter (4-4-0), the A.G. Dewey (4-4-0), and the H.H. Paine (2-6-0)...
...does the locomotive name change the sex of the whole train?

Last, what about the names on trains themeselves...
"The Chief"...male?
"The Zephyr"...female?

As an old school male, I have always looked on favorite vehicles as being female...something you take care of, and it takes care of you.

A shrink would have a ball with this thread!


Edited by - SkipFranandFun on 2009 April 03 09:37:45 AM

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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  09:49:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit el3637's Homepage
I have always wondered why the English language never adapted the genderization that is prevalent in most European, Latin-influenced languages. When an inanimate object is given gender in English, it's almost always just a tradition or slang, it's not an official part of the language as it is in the others.

I guess I think of trains, and most other inanimate objects as male. I suppose a psychologist could have a field day with why, but it goes back as far as I can remember. The feminine to me always seemed very human, whereas the masculine applied to everything else. Feminine was mom, grandma, teacher, nurse - masculine was dad, uncle, car, train, tools, etc. Even tools traditionally used by women like mixers, hairdryers, etc. I think of as masculine. Maybe two exceptions: those helmet type hairdryers are feminine. And an oven is feminine, for pretty obvious reasons although I thought of it that way before I ever knew about the obvious part.

I also read lots of train stories as a kid, which personified choo choos. They were almost always male. Notable exceptions in the story of The Little Engine That Could. IIRC, the engine that breaks down at the beginning of the story is female. All of the engines who refuse to help are male, but the little engine that saves the day is female. I think - I had this on a record, and the voices were clearly female. I don't know if the original story intended that. There must be a message in there somewhere - if you're trying to get a load of toys to the kiddies, don't count on any help from the guys.

I never really perceived gender in animals until I was older. All pets were "he" to me. I had to accept the fact that my mouse had babies however. It wasn't until I was in my mid-late teens that I really began to perceive the very different personalities between male and female cats. My female kitty was very loyal and generally shy to anyone outside the family... male cats tend to be extroverted and friendly to all.

If I ever personified a train thing, it was the NYC Niagara. It is strongly associated with my dad. He may have taken some of the last photos ever of a Niagara, when the 6015 was in the scrap line in Indianapolis in 1956. He built a brass Niagara from a kit, and I grew up with that loco. It was the biggest and most powerful loco we had. So even though the Niagara and steam locos in general are considered female, the "fat lady" ends up being male in my book.

The only thing I can really visualize as female in the train world is a station. Cincinnati Union Terminal has many aspects of the feminine.


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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  09:53:44 AM  Show Profile
It depends if the engineer is putting on makeup, combing hair, and talking on the cell phone.

I insist that Victor gets his Atlantic now!

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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  09:54:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit el3637's Homepage
I should also mention that the upcoming generation of train nuts will probably think of trains as largely male. This is because, near as I can tell, most of the characters in Thomas are male. I haven't paid that much attention to the details, but IIRC there are a couple passenger cars that are female, and pretty much everybody else including the locomotives - big and small - are all male.


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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  10:42:45 AM  Show Profile
I ran from a girl named BIG RED


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Steve Wagner

Posted - 2009 April 03 :  11:07:20 AM  Show Profile
Andy (and others),

Technically English has what is called "natural" gender. That is, words for persons or animals that are female are feminine, those for male creatures are masculine, and all other nouns are neuter. (Calling ships or locomotives "she" is a sentimental and affectionate exception.)

Gender in German is sometimes independent of gender in nature. Thus knife is neuter, fork is feminine and spoon is masculine. An extra complication is that a "diminutive" ending (one that adds the meaning of "small" to a noun) automatically makes the word it's attached to neuter. The two most common words for girl, Fraeulein and Maedchen, are neuter because of the "lein" and the "chen" (akin to "kin" in English, as in Munchkins).

One of Bill Peet's great books for kids, "The Caboose That Got Loose", featuers "Katy Caboose".

In English gender comes into play with pronouns but hardly anywhere else. In Latin, German and many other languages it, along with considerations of "case" (which barely still exists in English but is alive and well in the Slavic languages in particular) and "number" (singular or plural) also dictates the endings of adjectives.

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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  11:26:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit seanm's Homepage
For the models, you have to turn them upside down and examine them closely. I think Victor or Ron would be good candidates to answer the question. Maybe it varies by model.

Sean B. McCaskey
"No man is a failure
who has friends" ---Clarence

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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  12:13:32 PM  Show Profile
I just don't want none of you messin' with my trains, got it?


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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  2:09:09 PM  Show Profile
Trains are big, strong, tough, dangerous, loud, smelly... seems pretty masculine to me.

And I've never been nagged by a train

Mike LockWood (MLW)

Atlas, Please Release a CN GP40-2L(W) in N! To do one in HO and not N is just mean

My Railroad Photography
And some more here

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Rob de rebel

Posted - 2009 April 03 :  3:34:56 PM  Show Profile
Here is a primary reason why "marie Jane" shouldn't be legalized! Yes lets intellectualize the ballony! However, in the spirit of things, I should venture a guess that "bills answer" is the best!


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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  4:53:35 PM  Show Profile
I've heard old engineers refer to a steam loco as a "she", but I don't recall ever hearing a diesel referred to as a "she". I've also heard of ships and some airplanes having the same reference. Again, as an earlier post says, referring to an inanimate object as a she is a sign of affection.


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Trevor D. CSX Crr fan

Posted - 2009 April 03 :  5:44:07 PM  Show Profile
My three sons say "Just ask Thomas and Friends"

Trevor D.

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Posted - 2009 April 03 :  7:30:33 PM  Show Profile
I would imagine that using the term "she" is a token of endearment


Santa Fe all the Way....Middle Division Emporia Sub Circa 1976 - 1986
Hoping someone someday will make a quality ACF 4600

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