More than one hundred Grade 7 & 8 students from Chimo Elementary school in Smiths Falls spent countless hours going through museum photographs and artifacts, learning the art of interviewing, designing a set for the interviews and channeling their energy and enthusiasm into the following 12 vignettes. Each of these interviews provides a unique view of railway history that is engaging and memorable.
Clarence worked as a yardman, brakeman and switchman before becoming an engineer on the Winchester Subdivision in 1954.
Mechanic, fireman, engineer
Burt comes from many generations of railway men. He started work in the car shops eventually becoming a fireman and engineer.
Engineer for 33 years.
During Tony’s 33 years with the railway, he saw some major changes including women being hired and the disappearance of the caboose.
Jim first began working on the ships before joining the railway in 1947. Jim missed being hired with the CNR after letting his friend go ahead of him in line.
Ron is a long-time resident of Smiths Falls and has many fond memories of ‘riding the rails’ as a child.
Jack hitch-hiked his way from New Brunswick to Toronto before running out of money. He eventually found work with the CPR; Jack was infamous for his pranks.
With 45 years of service to the Canadian Pacific Railway, Lyall worked on the section line replacing damaged ties and later as a brakeman and conductor.
War bride, married to railway carpenter
Kay arrived in Smiths Falls by rail from England in 1946 as a war bride. When her husband Lyle met her at the station, she barely recognized him without his uniform.
John worked for both CPR and CNR. He left the railway to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher.
Jack joined the CPR in 1945 and became an engineer in 1952. Proving the railway is one big family Jack ended up marrying the daughter of a locomotive engineer.
"Blondie" took a summer job at the John St. roundhouse cleaning & repairing steam locomotives when he was 16 years old. He retired from his ‘summer job’ in 1992.
George Elwood Palmer
Elwood, a WWII veteran, was an aero-engine mechanic during the war and instructor for the Tiger Moth airplane. After the war he started work with the CPR in Smiths Falls, eventually becoming a conductor.