When will they name a locomotive after ME?

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This just in: David Lustig, one of the most dogged reporters and fluid writers ever to grace the pages of Trains, now has a locomotive in Poland named after him. David, who authors the monthly Locomotives department and also contributes memorable feature stories to the magazine, got the news from Tom Tancula, vice president-mechanical of Rail World, owner of Rail Polska, a freight-service provider in Poland.

The Rail Polska locomotive bearing his name, number 17,  was built in Russia during the Soviet era and just came out of the shop near Auschwitz with a rebuilt Electro-Motive 645 diesel and a fresh paint job. “She glistens and shines like the bald spot on the top of my head,” Tancula emailed Lustig.

You’re probably wondering what David did to deserve this honor. I’ve heard two explanations. One is that this was Rail Polska’s way of saying thank you for David’s participation in the February 2007 Trains cover story about its parent company, Rail World. That was 44 months ago, so I favor the second explanation: Recently, Tancula phoned Lustig with a problem. The shutter of his camera was stuck. Should he throw it away? Not so fast, my friend, replied David, who talked him through getting the shutter unstuck.

“How can I repay you?” Tancula asked.

“Surprise me,” Lustig replied.

Uh-huh.

The only other journalist I know to be so honored was David P. Morgan, editor of Trains from 1953 to 1987. Rock Island GP38-2 4315 bore his name. Within three years the Rock was out of business. So here’s hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.—Fred W. Frailey

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