An EWS freight locomotive was heading north round the curve with a container train, its exhaust note oddly flatulent for a weekend morning. Mitsui OSK lines, with the cute alligator logo. I distinctly heard the middle-aged trainspotter say to his mate: "She's giving it some!". That's right, they were looking at the locomotive.
Never having been one for attributing personalities to my machines I've always found it ever-so-slightly creepy. Mainly because in the circles I move in the people who do it are often those who should perhaps get out more. When you park your bike or car up and the otherwise similar one next to it is polished to within an inch of its life in contrast to your own machine's squashed bugs, minor oil leaks and enthusiastically used tyres, you just know that you're about to be accosted by a character in a WWII-style leather flying jacket who's only too anxious to tell you what a right little goer his
I guess there must be machines that deserve a gender. Boats, for example. But why are machines always "she"? Where are... No, don't answer that.
To me a machine is always a thing. A clever assemblage of components designed to do something. I may will it to perform its task, for example I once willed a Volkswagen Polo with all my heart to make it to the other side of a flood (Note to self: NEVER drive under a flooded railway bridge again!), but in doing so I am not assigning personality and least of all gender. Why is it that some people feel the need to do that?