Dear English-speaking visitors,

How should we refer to each locomotive in our precious collection?

For us, there is no problem. In our language, a locomotive - 'lokomotiva' - is a 'she'. That's the way our language works. We have no choice in the matter.

For you, we understand, there is a choice. An engine, like a boat, can be a 'she' or an 'it'. Your great engineers, we note, refer to each of their locomotives quite dispassionately, as 'it'. We know, too, that work with steam engines, whether as drivers, firemen, fitters or cleaners, was often hard and dirty. Yet, in spite of these problems, we see how your enginemen speak of their charges as 'she', as if each were a living thing, an object to be respected, pampered and coaxed.

We like to think of our locomotives in this latter way, as objects to be treasured and cosseted to the best of our ability. So, in making our choice, we will take advantage of the possibilities your language offers and refer to each of our charges as 'she'.

It sounds right to us. We hope that you will think so too.

Railway Museum of the Slovenian Railways

Virtual guide to steam locomotives