Kawartha Lakes Public Library - Digital Collections
Looking Back: Railway
, p. 30

Hooper, John, Author
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Item Type:
Written: 14 February 1997
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.35012 Longitude: -78.73286
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Full Text

I was born on the other side of the tracks out on Lindsay St. S in the house on the north-east corner back in the days when Lindsay was considered a major railway center.

I guess I am a sentimentalist but I sure miss the sound of train whistles and the cinders that used to get in my eyes causing me to rush in to Mom and have her take the corner of a pocket handkerchief and slowly and methodically remove the cinder out that felt like a boulder.

Strange as it may seem Mother could usually forecast the weather just by listening to the train whistle. "We're in for some rain" or "I'll be able to do the washing to-morrow because the weather is going to be nice and clear," she'd say.

The was a gentleman by the name of Shaw whose job it was to place himself in the middle of Lindsay street and with a big sign that read "Stop" warn car and buggy drivers that a train was coming through and to come to a stop.

There was a little hut (folks called it a ducket) about four feet by four feet, that stood just south-east of the tracks where he and "Babe" Heels ( who spelled Mr. Shaw off) used to sit in waiting until the next train would pass through. It was a cozy little shack with leather covered benches on each side of the hut and a pot-bellied stove they used in winter for warmth.

I can still see some of the "section workers" operating a hand-pump trolley car to take them to their work along the line. Sometimes it would be operated by two men and often as many as four depending on how many were riding the rig.

Then there was what we referred to as a "jigger." This machine was a locomotive and, of course, sped along at quite a clip.

I think, however, that the greatest thrill I ever had was seeing a motor vehicle (a Buick I believe) that had been modified so that it bore train in lieu of car wheels on it. Naturally there was no need for a steering wheel but was operated with just a throttle and brakes. They sure could make time with that machine.

I asked one of the section men why they had a car made up like that and his answer to me was "that's strictly for the big shots on the railway so that they can do their inspections in comfort."

There are those of us who still consider those days of the railroad the romantic days.

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Looking Back: Railway