I don't really like using the name ephemera for a couple of reasons, primarily because no-one ever knows what ephemera means. How about railroadiana, or railway paper items? No matter what term you use, I've realized that my days of collecting endless model railway equipment, heavy pieces of prototype railway equipment, and even big, thick books are pretty much over. I need something to collect that is more easily jettisoned when my good wife someday has to deal with it. And recyclable! That's it, railway paper! ("Ephemera!", echoes an ever-so-small ethereal voice!)
There are lots of different types of railway paper to collect. Rule books and union agreements are dense but dry, timetables a little more enticing, but I really like train orders because each one, like a train consist gives us a lot of information: a time, a place, events of the day, even who was working on that shift. And of course train numbers, engine numbers, mileages, and other pertinent facts all included together on tissue-thin pieces of paper. The importance of train orders far outweighs their diminutive proportions - they literally can mean the difference between life and death, safe passage or disaster. In this post, I'll share some of these Manitoba missives from my train order collection.
The wartime CP order (top photo) includes more stations and times than most orders, pertaining to a run across Manitoba in 1944. The above order was delivered at East Tower in 1950. The CN operator position there was abolished in 1964 with the advent of Centralized Traffic Control.
Written when Fort Rouge was a terminal (above).
A trip through northern Manitoba, with many of those place names being so interesting and imbued with much history, like Gillam (above) and just northwest of Portage la Prairie, Gladstone (below - belying a Century west of Winnipeg!):
As far north as you can get without hearing a 'splash', Churchill:
CP Neepawa, 1971:
Flin Flon (below). Also at Flin Flon in September 1972, Eng 4253 run extra from Flin Flon to Chisel Lake, and in June, 1972 Work Extra 50419 protected against Extra 1073 South between Cranberry Portage and Simonhouse.
Grandview (below). Also at Grandview in September, 1983 was No 832 Eng 5363 meeting Extra 5205 West and Extra 5564 West at Togo; Extra 5582 West meeting No 832 Eng 5024 at Kamsack; and No 830 Eng 5591 at Meharry,
International Boundary, on the way to Duluth. Note the power, CN M-636 2336. As the Tragically Hip sang, "Ahead by a century":
CP La Riviere:
Morris, note the GMD-1 for power:
Thompson (below). No 95 Eng 9151 had southward trains waiting until it arrived at Thompson Jct in a Form 19R accompanying this clearance. A further 19R had southward trains waiting at Sipiwesk until No 95 arrived at Gillam; then a Form 19Y allowing No 95 to leave Thompson Jct without registering; a slow order; then cars in siding: Thicket Portage 1, Pikwitonei 1, and Ilford 19.
And we'll end the post the same way we began, with an order from Portage copied by CP operator Jack Corbett. My aunt and uncle from Portage knew Jack Corbett. He was a Mason and referred to my uncle as 'Doc'. He also had a large collection of Lionel trains!
It's interesting to have these paper snapshots of history. It's neat to see place-names and stations on the railway that are no longer manned, or no longer exist! In the form of train orders, they live on. Watch for upcoming posts from out West and down East!
It's great to be working with John More-Curran at Our Lakes e-magazine, a newsy e-publication focusing on South Frontenac Township and its lakes. The July Issue includes my inaugural 'Rails & Lakes' column about the Kingston & Pembroke Railway, and August will be the Canadian Northern Railway's turn. Now, when's that deadline? Oh, and did somebody say 'sweets'?
The fast-moving Canada Day fire in Lytton, BC claimed much of the deck of the CN bridge over the Thompson River there. In fact, Lytton marks the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, and both CN and CP pass through on their way to the West Coast. It's expected the CN bridge is out of commission for one week: