May 21st 1949, CPR Man and young lad drown below Souris River Dam

SOURIS RIVER CLAIMED TWO LIVES WHEN BOAT CAPSIZED IN ROUGH WATER BELOW DAM   (Edit­ed clip from Souris Plain­deal­er of May 25, 1949)

It is our sad duty this week to record the deaths of Nor­man Dou­glas “Doc” Croll 45, and Ray­mond Harold Jacob­son, 11 , who met death by drown­ing at the Souris dam at 7:45 on Sat­ur­day evening.

The two were occu­pants of a boat which cap­sized in the churn­ing waters below the dam, while attempt­ing to recov­er lost fish­ing tack­le. Onlook­ers and fish­er­men in the vicin­i­ty were pow­er­less to lend assis­tance as no boats were avail­able for res­cue work. Both vic­tims were swept about 200 yards down­stream in the swift cur­rent. Accord­ing to eye-wit­ness­es Mr. Croll was last seen tread­ing the cold water with the Jacob­son boy in his arms. He sud­den­ly dis­ap­peared and it is pre­sumed he sank from exhaustion.

Drag­ging oper­a­tions com­menced imme­di­ate­ly and the man’s body was recov­ered an hour lat­er close to where he was last seen. Arti­fi­cial res­pi­ra­tion was applied. The lad’s body was brought to the sur­face at 2:30 on Sun­day afternoon.

When the news spread through the town that Nor­man Croll had met his death by drown­ing, it was pret­ty hard to believe, as he was not­ed for his aquat­ic skill. Being an expert swim­mer, he had served as a life­guard in time past at the Souris docks and had assist­ed sev­er­al times in bring­ing bod­ies to the sur­face when bathers had got­ten into difficulties.

Sec­ond son of Dr. and Mrs. H. A. Croll, Nor­man Croll was born in Souris on July 23rd, 1904. He attend­ed the local Pub­lic School and Col­le­giate Insti­tute and lat­er entered the employ of the C. P. R.  At the time of his death he was a yard switch Fore­man. He was a mem­ber of the Train­men’s Organization.

He had an apti­tude for elec­tri­cal work and car­ried on the busi­ness of an elec­tri­cal con­trac­tor as a sideline.

He was a Cap­tain and Quar­ter­mas­ter, 12th Man­i­to­ba Dra­goons, in mili­tia, and Sergeant in the Sec­ond World War (Cana­da).

In his boy­hood days he was asso­ci­at­ed with Boy Scout work and lat­er was a mem­ber of the Souris Cit­i­zens band. He had a mem­ber­ship with the Game and Fish Asso­ci­a­tion. In fra­ter­nal cir­cles he was a mem­ber of the Mason­ic Order.

Besides his par­ents, who were to have cel­e­brat­ed their Gold­en Wed­ding this week, Mr Croll is sur­vived by broth­er and sis­ter. H. Mur­ray Croll and Mrs. R. J. Alley (Eva), both of Winnipeg.

St. Luke’s Angli­can Church was filled to over­flow­ing for the funer­al ser­vice on Mon­day after­noon, May 23rd. The large num­ber of flo­ral trib­utes were silent tes­ti­monies of the high esteem in which the deceased was held. Rev. George G. Mor­ri­son offi­ci­at­ed. Active pall­bear­ers were Har­ry W. For­rest, Lyall McMor­ran, Frank Stock­den, Charles Lewis, George Kempthorne, J. B. Mitchell Jr., hon­orary pall­bear­ers: Harold Fal­lis, Frank Mote, Har­ry Strawn, of the Cana­di­an Legion; C. F. Cooke, John Stevens, James Strawn rep­re­sent­ing the Trainmen.

A Mason­ic ser­vice was con­duct­ed at the grave­side and bur­ial was made in Glen­wood Cemetery.


Ray­mond Harold Jacob­son was a son of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Jacob­son. The fam­i­ly has resided here since the close of the Sec­ond Great War. Mr. Jacob­son was sta­tioned at the Souris Air­port and lat­er took up res­i­dence in Souris to fol­low his pro­fes­sion as photographer.

Ray­mond was born at Midale, Sask. Besides his par­ents, he is sur­vived by two broth­ers and a sis­ter, Jim­mie aged 8, Roger, 5; Nor­ma, 14. He was a Grade VI pupil at the Souris Pub­lic School. At the Empire Day exer­cis­es which were to have been held at the School on Mon­day May 23rd, Ray­mond was to have been pre­sent­ed with a first prize for Art work, giv­en by Plum Creek Chap­ter I. O. D. E.

The funer­al was held on Tues­day after­noon, May 24th at 2:30 from St. Paul’s Unit­ed Church. Rev. C. S. Match­ett and Rev. G. S. Lag­go con­duct­ed the ser­vice. Miss Lydia Williams of Bran­don sang “Safe In The Arms Of Jesus.”  Pall­bear­ers were Gwyn Grif­fiths, Harold Brown, Ger­ald Abrey and Richard Abrey.

Bur­ial was made in Glen­wood Cemetery.


American Morse Code Used on North American Railroads

The Tele­graph machines were invent­ed before the Tele­phone.

(Please Click your cur­sor on “The Amer­i­can Morse Code” in line 3 below for an expla­na­tion from Wikipedia about Codes)

There were two Morse Codes. The first was  the Inter­na­tion­al Morse Code which was used by “Ham Radio Oper­a­tors”, ships at sea, and the mil­i­tary Army, Navy and Air Force. The sec­ond Morse Code was the The Amer­i­can Morse Code used by North Amer­i­can Rail­roads. There were 10 let­ters dif­fer­ent between the 2 codes. The Rail­road Teleg­ra­ph­er was a very impor­tant employ­ee. He was the mid­dle­man between the Train Dis­patch­er and the employ­ees on the Trains. The Rail­roads required com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the rail­head con­struc­tion site to their head­quar­ters with dai­ly reports on how many miles had been laid that day. Some Rail­road Teleg­ra­phers learned the code by going to Tele­graph Schools. Oth­ers became Assis­tant Agents, and learned from the Agent and prac­tised on the Tele­graph key and mem­o­rized the Rule Book while off-duty. They wrote an exam­i­na­tion on rules, and if they passed that, they were sent out as relief Teleg­ra­phers until obtain­ing enough senior­i­ty to hold down a per­ma­nent posi­tion. Anoth­er posi­tion was the Com­mer­cial Teleg­ra­ph­er, who han­dled Com­mer­cial Telegrams and News­pa­per traf­fic, and also com­mu­ni­cat­ed with Com­mer­cial Telegrams to the Rail­road Teleg­ra­ph­er Agents. The expe­ri­enced Rail­road Teleg­ra­ph­er could advance his employ­ment to becom­ing a Sta­tion Agent, or a Train Dis­patch­er when his senior­i­ty allowed.. They were held in great esteem by the Pub­lic and the Officials.

THANKS EVERYONE for reading this article about Souris great attractions

THANKS EVERYONE for read­ing this article

We hope you like our web­site. In this write-up, it is our desire to tell you about all the nice attrac­tions that Souris has for you to vis­it, when you are in our town.

Of course, one of the great attrac­tions is our famous Souris Swing­ing Bridge. It is the longest pedes­tri­an sus­pen­sion bridge in Cana­da. Todays bridge was opened in 2013, after our great flood of 2011, when it had to be cut loose before the Souris Riv­er washed it away with all it’s anchors, and pos­si­ble impend­ing dam­age to sew­er and water systems.

When you arrive in Souris on High­way #250 from the North, or High­way #2 from the East or the West you will come to a junc­tion with High­way #22 South. On the North­east cor­ner of this junc­tion is the “White­owl Gas Bar”. West of the “White­owl” on the North­west cor­ner is the “Sub­way” cafe and on the South­west cor­ner of this junc­tion you will see “The Rock Shop”. Be sure to vis­it “The Rock Shop” & get a per­mit to vis­it the largest Semi-pre­cious stone & Agate pit in North America.

These busi­ness­es are all quite vis­i­ble. High­way #22 South is also Souris’ 1st St. South. So in order to get to the Swing­ing bridge, go South on 1st St. South. Just past the new 4 sto­ry hotel/condo build­ing on your left, turn left onto Cres­cent Ave. East, and 2 hous­es East will bring you right up to the West side of the Swing­ing Bridge.



Before you turn left onto Cres­cent Ave., East, make sure there is no traf­fic com­ing up the hill towards you. Also at Southend of the new 4 sto­ry build­ing is a pedes­tri­an cross-walk, so you will also have to watch out for pedes­tri­ans cross­ing. There is lim­it­ed park­ing space at West side of Swing­ing bridge, so you may have to park far­ther down that street.

As soon as you turn East onto Cres­cent Ave. East you will see this small build­ing in front of you. It holds an antique horse drawn fire wag­on. To it’s right is Hill­crest Museum.This is the start­ing point of Tourism Row. Behind Hill­crest is an Agri­cul­tur­al Muse­um, and caboose CP 437180, which is also part of Hill­crest, and west across the street is “The Plum” muse­um, which is the old­est build­ing in Souris and hous­es our tourist infor­ma­tion booth.

Below “The Plum” is a Moose stat­ue and at the bot­tom of the hill is Souris Rail­way Muse­um with it’s yel­low track motor sit­ting in front. This Muse­um has no con­nec­tion with Caboose CP 437180 behind “Hill­crest”. Fur­ther South is Vic­to­ria Park & Kid­dies play­grounds and Lions Washrooms.


Also in Vic­to­ria Park at South­west end is a well shel­tered camp­ground and excel­lent swim­ming pool with 3 slides. Also there is a look­out tow­er at South end of the Park which gives a good view of the town. Make sure you have your cam­era. The frog shown below is the Kid­dies slide in our swim­ming pool.





Souris Glen­wood Golf Course is 1 mile South # 22 high­way. It is one of Man­i­to­ba’s most pic­turesque & chal­leng­ing 9 hole cours­es. It boasts a new­er licensed club­house with eat­ing facili­ties. Club rentals & Cart rentals are available.Be sure and phone ahead for a tee time book­ing. Phone # is shown in pho­to at left. Just click your cur­sor on all pho­tos & they will enlarge. We also have a new­er skate­board park which is locat­ed North­west of the schools. Also fish­ing avail­able at the dam which is at East end of Souris, just south off #2 highway.…There’s lots to do in Souris. More than the aver­age  small town in Man­i­to­ba. Enjoy & have fun.

Buffalo N.Y. News Article About Canadians

(This is an arti­cle that was post­ed in the Buf­fa­lo News by Ger­ry Boley. Please read more about Ger­ry Boley at the end of this arti­cle. I received it by e‑mail from a friend on Novem­ber 15, 2015 and although it has noth­ing to do with Souris, MB., I feel it is a most wor­thy item, which requires read­ing by Cana­di­an Cit­i­zens.       Ferg Devins of Souris Rail­way Museum.)

Mis­con­cep­tions in the Unit­ed States about Cana­da are quite com­mon. They include: there is always snow in Cana­da: Cana­di­ans are bor­ing, social­ists and paci­fists: their bor­der is porous and allowed the Sept. 11 ter­ror­ists through: or, as the U.S. Ottawa embassy staff sug­gest­ed to Wash­ing­ton, the coun­try suf­fers from an infe­ri­or­i­ty com­plex. With Cana­da Day and Amer­i­ca’s Inde­pen­dence Day just past, this is a great time to clar­i­fy some of these mis­con­cep­tions and bet­ter appre­ci­ate a neigh­bour that the Unit­ed States at times takes for granted.

With the excep­tion of the occa­sion­al glac­i­er, ski­ing in Cana­da in the sum­mer just isn’t hap­pen­ing. Frigid north­ern win­ters, how­ev­er, have shaped the tough, fun-lov­ing Cana­di­an char­ac­ter. When it is 30-below, the Canucks get their sticks, shov­el off the local pond and have a game of shin­ny hockey.

The harsh win­ters have also shaped Cana­di­ans’ sense of humour. Cana­da has some of the world’s great­est come­di­ans, from ear­ly Wayne and Shus­ter, Mike Myers, Leslie Niel­son, John Can­dy, Mar­tin Short, Eugene Levy and “Sat­ur­day Night Live” cre­ator and movie pro­duc­er Lorne Michaels.

The sug­ges­tion that Cana­di­ans are soft on ter­ror­ism is a myth. Prime Min­is­ter Pierre Trudeau backed down the Front de Lib­er­a­tion du Que­bec ter­ror­ists dur­ing the1970’s. And the 9/11 Com­mis­sion report­ed that ter­ror­ists arrived in the Unit­ed States from out­side North Amer­i­ca with doc­u­ments issued to them by the U.S. gov­ern­ment. Like­wise, the Cana­di­ans in Gan­der, New­found­land coun­tered despi­ca­ble ter­ror­ist acts with love and car­ing to their U.S. neigh­bours when planes were divert­ed there.

Amer­i­cans glo­ri­fy war with movies, but it is the Cana­di­ans who are often the real “Ram­bo.” The Cana­di­ans are any­thing but paci­fists and their his­to­ry is cer­tain­ly not dull. Be it on the ice or bat­tle­field, this war­rior nation has nev­er lost a war that it fought in — War of 1812 (ver­sus the Unit­ed States), World War I, World War II, Korea and now Afghanistan. Dur­ing the ’72 Sum­mit Series, Sovi­et goalie Vladislav Tre­ti­ak said, “The Cana­di­ans have great skills and fight to the very end.”

In hunt­ing the Tal­iban in Afghanistan, U.S. Com­man­der and Navy SEAL Capt. Robert Howard stat­ed that the Cana­di­an Joint Task Force 2 team was “his first choice for any direct-action mission.”

Con­trary to Thomas Jef­fer­son­’s 1812 com­ment that, “The acqui­si­tion of Cana­da will be a mere mat­ter of march­ing,” the wily Native Amer­i­can leader Tecum­seh and Maj. Gen. Isaac Brock cap­tured Brig. Gen. William Hul­l’s Fort Detroit with­out fir­ing a shot. The Amer­i­cans nev­er took Que­bec and when they burned the Cana­di­an Par­lia­ment Build­ings at York, the White House was torched in retal­i­a­tion. Cana­da con­sid­ered its sta­tus as a war­rior nation dur­ing World War I bat­tles at Vimy Ridge, Pass­chen­dale, Somme and the Sec­ond Bat­tle of Ypres, where sol­diers were gassed twice by the Ger­man but refused to break the line. By the end of the war, the Cana­di­ans were the Allies’ shock troops.

In the air, four of the top sev­en World War I aces were Cana­di­ans. Crack shots, the names William “Bil­ly” Bish­op, Ray­mond Coll­ishaw, Don­ald McLaren and William Bark­er, with 72, 60, 54 and 53 vic­to­ries, respec­tive­ly, were leg­endary. These were the orig­i­nal Crazy Canucks, who reg­u­lar­ly dropped leaflets over ene­my air­fields advis­ing Ger­man pilots that they were com­ing over at such and such a time, and to come on up. Bish­op and Bark­er won the Vic­to­ria Cross, the high­est award for gallantry.

The pilot who is cred­it­ed with shoot­ing down the Red Baron, Man­fred von Richtofen, with a lit­tle help from the Aus­tralian down under, was not Snoopy but Roy Brown from Car­leton Place, Ontario.

Dur­ing World War II, Win­nipeg native and air ace Sir William Ste­hen­son, the “Qui­et Cana­di­an,” ran the under­cov­er British Secu­ri­ty Coor­di­na­tion under the code name intre­pid from Rock­e­feller Cen­tre in New York, as a liai­son between Franklin Roo­sevelt and Win­ston Churchill. Stephen­son invent­ed the machine that trans­ferred pho­tos over the wire for the Dai­ly Mail news­pa­per in 1922. Amer­i­cans were not aware that the BSC was there or that it was stocked with Cana­di­ans secret­ly work­ing to pre­serve North Amer­i­can free­dom from the Nazis.

Also lit­tle known is that intre­pid trained Ian Flem­ing, author of the James Bond series, at camp X, the secret spy school near Whit­by, Ontario. Five future direc­tors of the CIA also received spe­cial train­ing there. It is sug­gest­ed that Flem­ing’s ref­er­ence to Bond’s 007 license to kill sta­tus, his gad­getry and the “shak­en not stirred” mar­ti­nis, rumoured to be the strongest in North Amer­i­ca, came from Stephenson.

When Wild Bill Don­ald­son, head of the U.S. OSS, fore­run­ner of the CIA, pre­sent­ed intre­pid with the Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Mer­it in 1946, he said, “William Stephen­son taught us every­thing we knew about espionage.”

Amer­i­can mil­i­tary writer Max Boot wrote recent­ly in Com­men­tary mag­a­zine that Cana­da is a coun­try that most Amer­i­cans con­sid­er a “dull but slav­ish­ly friend­ly neigh­bour, sort of like a great “St. Bernard.” Boot needs to come to Cana­da, have a Mol­son Cana­di­an beer and chat about Cana­di­an his­to­ry. He owes his free­dom to Canucks such as Stephen­son and the coura­geous sol­diers and fliers of the world wars who held off the Ger­mans while Amer­i­ca strug­gled with isolationism.

Cana­di­an inven­tions such as the oxy­gen mask and anti-grav­i­ty suit, the fore­run­ner of the astro­naut suit, allowed U.S. and oth­er Allied fight­er pilots to fly high­er, turn tighter and not black out with the result­ing G‑force. The 32 Cana­di­ans from the Avro Arrow team helped build the Amer­i­can space pro­gram and were, accord­ing to NASA, bril­liant to a man. The most bril­liant, Jim Cham­ber­lin, chief design­er of the Jet­lin­er and Arrow, was respon­si­ble for the design and imple­men­ta­tion of the Gem­i­ni and Appo­lo space pro­grams.        ( Read­ers please note… Don “Kayo” David­son of Souris.MB. worked on the Avro Arrow in Cana­da, before it was scrapped…he lat­er moved to Cal­i­for­nia and worked for Avro.…FD)

Although Cana­di­ans have had a free, work­able med­ical sys­tem for 50 years, they are not social­ists and there are not long line­ups, as some politi­cians opposed to Oba­macare sug­gest. This writer (Ger­ry Boley) has had a rup­tured appen­dix, hip replace­ment, pinned shoul­der, blood clot, twist frac­ture of the fibu­la and bro­ken foot, and in every case, there was zero cost to me. Cana­di­ans have and val­ue a med­ical sys­tem for all Cana­di­ans that is free with min­i­mal waits. That is not social­ism; that is car­ing about Fel­low Canadians.

Amer­i­cans may be sur­prised by the Cana­di­an con­tent in their life. Super­man — “truth, jus­tice and the Amer­i­can way” — was co-cre­at­ed by Cana­di­an Joe Shus­ter, the dai­ly Plan­et is based on a Toron­to news­pa­per, and the 1978 film­s’s Lois Lane, Mar­got Kid­der, and Super­man’s father, Glenn Ford were both Cana­di­ans. The Cap­tain of the star­ship Enter­prise was Mon­tre­al-born William Shat­ner. Toron­ton­ian Ray­mond Massey played Abra­ham Lin­coln in 1956. And as Amer­i­can as apple pie? Ah, no. The McIn­tosh apple was devel­oped in Dun­dela, Ontario, in 1811 by John McIntosh.

Many of the sports that Amer­i­cans excel at are Cana­di­an in ori­gin. James Nai­smith  from Almonte, Ontario, invent­ed bas­ket­ball. The tack­ling and ball car­ry­ing in foot­ball were intro­duced by the Canucks in games between Har­vard and McGill in the 1870’s. Five-pin bowl­ing is also a Cana­di­an game. Lacrosse is offi­cial­ly Canada’s nation­al sport, and hock­ey — well, Cana­di­ans are hock­ey. And Jack­ie Robin­son called Mon­tre­al “the city that enabled me to go to the major leagues”

To make every­one’s life eas­i­er, Cana­di­ans invent­ed Pablum, the elec­tric oven, the tele­phone, Mar­quis wheat, stan­dard time, the rotary snow­plow, the snow­blow­er, the snow­mo­bile, Plex­i­glass, Oven clean­er, the jol­ly jumper, the pace­mak­er, the alka­line bat­tery, the caulk­ing gun, the gas mask, the goalie mask, and many more.

Cana­di­an infe­ri­or­i­ty com­plex? That is anoth­er myth. Nev­er pick a fight with a qui­et kid in the school­yard. Nev­er mis­take qui­et con­fi­dence for weak­ness. Many a bul­ly has learned the hard way. Cana­di­ans are self-effac­ing and do not brag. That does not mean we do not know who we are. We are car­ing but tough, fun-lov­ing but polite and cre­ative, and we share with each oth­er and the world. Our his­to­ry is excit­ing but we don’t toot our horn. The world does that for us. This is the third year in a row that Cana­da has been vot­ed the most respect­ed coun­try in the world by the Rep­u­ta­tion insti­tute glob­al survey.

Per­haps once a year around our col­lec­tive birth­days, Amer­i­cans can raise a toast to their friend­ly, con­fi­dent neigh­bour in the Great White North.

(Ger­ry Boley is a Uni­ver­si­ty lec­tur­er and writer liv­ing in St. Cather­ines, Ontario, Canada)

Conductor Angus “Mac” McDonald

27 years on the Reston-Wolse­ley Mixed Train.

Please click on this news item shown here, and it will give you a great news clip­ping from the Reston Recorder dat­ed Jan, 4, 1934, about Train Con­duc­tor Angus McDon­ald, an amaz­ing and beloved man, and some of his his­to­ry. He had 25 years ser­vice with CPR pri­or to tak­ing over the Reston-Wolse­ley mixed, for a total of 52 years service.

Souris Rail­way Muse­um attained his col­lec­tion of mem­o­ra­bil­ia from the com­mit­tee of “The Caboose” CP 437180, which they had in stor­age, and with no place to exhib­it them. We have the orig­i­nals of this mem­o­ra­bil­ia safe­ly locked in our strong box. Among these arti­facts are 26 train orders from 1891 and 1892, an engine haulage capac­i­ty book from 1926, which illus­trates all the sub-divi­sions  and sta­tions of the for­mer Souris Divi­sion, a time bill (today it is known as a sched­ule) dat­ed 1895 show­ing sched­ules from Fort William,Ontario to Don­ald, B.C. and all branch lines con­nect­ed. One train order and one page of time bill #31 are dis­played on this page. All Train orders can be seen in our library, pho­to­copied in a binder. (Click your cur­sor on each illus­tra­tion insert­ed in this arti­cle for enlarged viewing).


The next sum­mer after Angus McDon­ald retired, a pic­nic was held at what is now called Kenosee Lake in hon­our of Con­duc­tor McDon­ald and at which there were over 2,000 well-wish­ers in atten­dance. Peo­ple from all over who had trav­elled on his train in those 27 years. Anoth­er news item is dis­played here, illus­trat­ing why the crew of the “Peanut” were well liked by the trav­ellers on the Reston-Wolse­ley mixed.

An illus­tra­tion of the cov­er of a book, titled “The Peanut”, by Edi­tor Gilbert McK­ay of the Moo­somin, SK.,World-Spectator is also illus­trat­ed in this write-up. One sto­ry as to how this train became named the “Peanut” is about a set­tler stat­ing every time he heard this train’s whis­tle it remind­ed him of a peanut ven­dors whis­tle as he ped­dled his peanut machine, back home in England.

We are very thank­ful to the descen­dants of Angus McDon­ald from Reston, Man­i­to­ba for their gra­cious dona­tion of his mem­o­ra­bil­ia to the his­to­ry of Souris Rail­way Muse­um. Writ­ten by Ferg Devins.



THE RUNAWAY FLATCAR by Gordon F. “Red” McIntosh

The run­away train came down the track and hit the sta­tion a a hel­lu­va whack! 

Remem­ber that old song? Well, let me tell you about the run­away flat car that missed the sta­tion and went for an unevent­ful down­hill ride. These are the circumstances.

I was the Cana­di­an Pacif­ic Rail­way’s Sta­tion Agent at For­rest, Man., dur­ing the peri­od 1961–65. Trains passed For­rest, locat­ed on the Rapid City Sub., on reg­u­lar timetable sched­ules and branched off to 3 oth­er sub­di­vi­sions, viz; Lenore, Var­coe and Miniota.The Rapid City sub., passed over the Cana­di­an Nation­al Rail­way, at For­rest Trans­fer over which traf­fic was inter­changed. The paper­work for such move­ments was han­dled by the CNR staff at Rivers, MB., and the CPR Agent at Forrest.

Trans Cana­da Pipelines main­tained a pres­sure sta­tion North of For­rest, and with plans made to enlarge this facil­i­ty, sev­er­al flat cars loaded with gigan­tic com­pres­sors and duct work arrived at For­rest from East­ern Canada.

Arrange­ments were made with CPR, TCPL and con­trac­tor Ernie McLean of Este­van, Sask., to have loads hauled up at rear of the Min­io­ta train and left on the main track at a spot where they could be dri­ven to, and unloaded by McLean’s dragline crane. This was done. Road­mas­ter Downes instruct­ed Sec­tion Fore­man Savich to fol­low along and assist where required, and to ensure hand brakes were applied to the emp­ty cars as they were unloaded. This he did. How­ev­er, it became evi­dent after sev­er­al cars were unloaded and pushed down, the cou­pling between first and sec­ond flat was not com­plete­ly made and the first car out began to roll away, even though the hand brake had been applied, and smoke was evi­dent from the brake shoe fric­tion. Sec­tion­man Deleau ran after the flat, until he dropped, but could not catch it.  .…(Edi­tor’s note for your info, this sec­tion man Tony Deleau, would be a broth­er to Fireman/Engineer W.H. “Pete” Deleau of Souris MB,).….

From the point of release South­ward, lay some 14 miles of down­hill grade. The flat picked up speed, pass­ing over Provin­cial Hwy #25, over CNR main­line at For­rest Trans­fer, over numer­ous Munic­i­pal cross­ings, past For­rest sta­tion, over Provin­cial Hwy. #10 and South­ward at an esti­mat­ed speed of 30 MPH, ulti­mate des­ti­na­tion CPR main line at Chater.

After the flat whizzed by my office win­dow, I attempt­ed to advise the Train Dis­patch­er in Bran­don of what was hap­pen­ing, but Art Grant, Road Fore­man of Engines, was speak­ing to some­one on the Dis­patcher’s phone about a prob­lem, so I rather rude­ly inter­rupt­ed him and told him the drill, that should the flat car run over the knoll at Barager, it could run out onto the main­line at Chater. I was told Mr. Grant and Gor­don Ding­wall & Divi­sion Mas­ter Mechan­ic vacat­ed Com­pa­ny premis­es in Bran­don and broke all speed lim­its dri­ving out to the Men­tal Hos­pi­tal Spur at Barager, arriv­ing in time to see the flat come slow­ly to a halt. It was their inten­tion to derail the flat by any means they could, like­ly open Barager switch to put the flat  on the ground.

After advis­ing Mr. Grant, I tele­phoned the Plains West­ern Gas Plant at #1 Hiwy., and asked a per­son to watch for the run­away and flag #1 Hwy., cross­ing, even though the cross­ing was pro­tect­ed with sig­nal lights. A lone flat car trav­el­ling at any speed would not be seen and #1 was a busy high­way. The cross­ing was flagged and the flat­car passed over.

So, a cat­a­stro­phe had been divert­ed through good for­tune. All cross­ings at grade were passed over and won­der of all won­ders a CNR train was not pass­ing For­rest Trans­fer. The Min­io­ta train on return, nosed onto the emp­ty cars on the main track, pushed them down to For­rest, ran around them, picked up the run­away at Barager, pro­ceed­ed to Bran­don yard and tied up.

It appeared the sec­tion crew was in for a cita­tion, how­ev­er cool­er heads must have pre­vailed, inas­much as Sec­tion crew was not “Run­ning Trades” per­son­nel and no injury nor loss of equip­ment result­ed. The case was closed. In con­ver­sa­tion with Super­in­ten­dent Lowe next day, I asked him if he would write Plains West­ern Staff a let­ter of thanks. which he agreed to do.

Plains West­ern staff were pleased with the let­ter and to have received some recog­ni­tion. The plant Man­ag­er advised me that they had been on the CPR “bad list” as short­ly before this inci­dent they had flared-off some excess prod­uct and had melt­ed the tele­graph wires on a CPR pole near­by, and had received an angry blast from the CPR linesman.

As Robert Burns so apt­ly put in his poem; ‘the best laid schemes o’mice and men.…gang aft a‑gley’

  The North Branch­es are aban­doned now !.…Writ­ten Decem­ber 2004.



****Edi­tor’s note.…In the 1950’s a car­load of grain escaped from Franklin, Man­i­to­ba and ran all the way to Glad­stone before it came to a stop. No oth­er details are available****




Author Unknown

Like Rudolph, the red-nosed rein­deer, The C. P. R. snow plow, sent out from Souris on Mon­day, May 8, 1950 to clear the line on the Lyle­ton branch, “will go down in history”.

The rem­nants of last week­end’s snow storm in this part of the province hung around so long that it was found advis­able to have the plow sent to the branch line to clear the track of snow, which in some places reached a height of sev­en feet.

May 8th is believed to have estab­lished itself as a record date for snow plow to be called into action in these parts.

Mon­day’s train crew was made up as fol­lows: George Stokes, Con­duc­tor, John­ny Rae­side, tail-end train­man, and Harold Topps, head-end train­man; Andy Pet­rick, engi­neer; Ray John­son, fireman.

Gordon McIntosh’s RR Experiences


 To begin this sto­ry, let me say that I am a third gen­er­a­tion rail­road­er (Cana­di­an Pacif­ic) fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of both my Father and my Grandfather.

My rail­road career com­menced in June of 1944.  As WW11 was rag­ing , every per­son of mil­i­tary age was away in the forces and high school stu­dents were wel­comed to alle­vi­ate the labour short­age. My Father was Sec­tion Fore­man at Mac­Gre­gor, MB. It was under his guid­ance that I sur­vived the first week on the gov­ern­ing end of a track shov­el for 10 hours, 6 days a week.

The pur­pose of this sto­ry, is not to gar­ner glo­ry for the labour­ers of the days gone by, but rather to pass on to some, to per­haps bring back mem­o­ries to the ‘old timers’, of just how labour inten­sive things were on the rail­road. Our coun­try was just over a great depres­sion and mon­ey for enhance­ment of rail­way roadbeds, rolling stock and facil­i­ties were taxed to the lim­it. On the prairies, for the most part, the 100 lb. steel and cre­osot­ed ties sat on very lit­tle bal­last, most­ly mud, and so heaved in win­ter and pumped into slush when it rained. In win­ter months the track would  heave off-lev­el with the heavy prairie frost, and was “lev­elled up” by plac­ing hard­wood shims between the tie and tie plate and respik­ing. with the arrival of warm weath­er these shims had to be removed. Imag­ine putting in and sub­se­quent­ly remov­ing 20,000 shims each year, as was done on the Mac­Gre­gor East, and oth­er sec­tions. When the shims were removed and the first frost gone, the Fore­man marked the ties to be replaced, and the new tie was dug in, tamped into place with shov­els, tie plate placed in posi­tion and tie fur­ther tamped up by use of a tamp­ing bar, 8 strokes on each side of the rail, at base of the tie. Now, this was labour!  You devel­oped stur­dy arm mus­cles on this one. Spikes were dri­ven and then on to the next tie. It was said a good pair of work­ers were capa­ble of replac­ing 16 ‑18 ties per day, how­ev­er, my part­ner and I attained 12 one day, nev­er slack­en­ing. They must have been much bet­ter men to attain 16.

Can you imag­ine unload­ing cre­osot­ed ties from a box car, as the train moved slow­ly, in the heat of the sum­mer? It was ‘hell’. The Fore­man rode atop the box car and struck the roof with a pick han­dle to indi­cate a tie should be pushed out the car door, usu­al­ly 2 or 3 ties per tele­graph pole length. The cre­osote burned your skin and the air was foul. Some of the gang wrapped their boots and pant legs with jute sacks and tied them with twine to stop them from being ruined. The Com­pa­ny lat­er loaded ties in slat­ted stock cars, but this was frowned upon as the cre­osote was harm­ful to the ani­mals, should they come in con­tact with it. What about the men load­ing and unload­ing? The Fore­man did get a small bot­tle of calamine lotion from the Com­pa­ny sup­ply car, which proved of lit­tle use.

I vivid­ly remem­ber hun­dreds of pas­sen­ger trains of that era. Many stopped for water, some high­balled through. There were many spe­cial troop trains with ser­vice per­son­nel at win­dows wav­ing. There were also pris­on­er of war trains, all coach win­dows drawn. When the train stopped for water, armed Home Guard sol­diers stepped down at each coach stair­well, to sur­vey train for escapees.

These were war years, every­one worked hard. While the glo­ry and acco­lades might have gone to Com­pa­ny offi­cials, many of whom were detest­ed by the aver­age work­er, it was the labour­er who faced the win­ter cold and the sum­mer heat. I was paid 28 cents per hour, the Fore­man received about 35 cents per hour, and we were active­ly solicit­ed to buy war bonds. My ‘First Sum­mer Job’ became a per­ma­nent job until 1947, at which time I trans­ferred to a Class B rail­road ter­mi­nal, with a view to learn­ing teleg­ra­phy, but there­in lies anoth­er sto­ry for anoth­er time.

 My Rec­ol­lec­tions of Souris, 1950 — 1952

I vacat­ed the night Car Check­er’s posi­tion at Minnedosa and moved to a day posi­tion as Assis­tant Agent, Souris, sum­mer 1950. Har­ry Casey was Agent. Jim Ker­by was Freight Clerk. My job was, morn­ing Jan­i­tor, viz. sweep the floors, sup­ply the wash­rooms and pre­pare for arrival of high­way truck from Bran­don. Usu­al­ly around 10 a.m. Unload, write up bills, trans­fer express to local dray­man for town deliv­ery, Jack Bur­nett and Ralph Sopp. Tend wick­et for deliv­ery of express and pre­pare for after­noon traf­fic: four pas­sen­ger trains passed through dur­ing after­noons, viz. 137–138, Bran­don-Este­van/ 55 — 56 Win­nipeg-Regi­na. In addi­tion to these the Lyle­ton pas­sen­ger depart­ed and lat­er the Reston-Wolse­ley mixed arrived. As a result of these arrivals and depar­tures, I nev­er saw so many 5 gal­lon cream cans, both full and emp­ty, and dis­trib­ut­ing emp­ty cans to prop­er car­ri­er took a few days to mas­ter. It was incum­bent on me to place signs stat­ing which train was for such and such des­ti­na­tions. If I ever slipped up, or missed plac­ing signs, I was rather harsh­ly rep­ri­mand­ed by the Assis­tant Super­in­ten­dent, who as near as I can recall, was of very lit­tle use to the ter­mi­nal. I pre­pared the account for Souris Cream­ery, on a week­ly basis, approved by the Agent and sub­mit­ted for pay­ment. With the advent of the Christ­mas sea­son, I was to bill express by weight and in most cas­es at min­i­mum charge iof $1.50. Here again I nev­er ever han­dled so many frozen turkeys des­tined Win­nipeg, 1 pa frozen poul­try, etc. I enjoyed my posi­tion and when it was time to move on, I was thanked with remarks like “Sor­ry to see you go”. In 1952 the 40 hour week became the law of employ­ment for non-oper­at­ing trades on the rail­ways in Cana­da. As a result there were Teleg­ra­phers posi­tions cre­at­ed and I bid on them all, land­ing the Bin­scarth, Shoal Lake, Minnedosa swing shift. So I moved my fam­i­ly, wife and daugh­ter to Bin­scarth. With time pass­ing I bid in the Agency at Mor­ris, MB. and in 1971 the end came (all Man­i­to­ba CPR sta­tions were closed down). I was for­tu­nate to receive a job with Mar­ket­ing & Sales, 150 Hen­ry Ave., Win­nipeg, first as Freight Tar­iff Com­pil­er, Rate Ana­lyst, Super­vi­sor Freight Tar­iff pub­li­ca­tions, Inter­mod­el Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Win­nipeg & Saskatchewan, Freight Tar­iff Pub­li­ca­tions Offi­cer, retir­ing in 1985, 3 months short of 40 years con­tin­u­ous ser­vice. I reside in Win­nipeg and try to keep active and in touch with CP pen­sion­ers. At times it was a “tough go”, no expens­es on the road, but my wife helped more than I could ever tell. We were both chil­dren of Rail­road­ers, she was the daugh­ter of Road­mas­ter Ivan M. West. (Edi­tor’s note Gor­don’s wife passed away a num­ber of years ago, and Gor­don died a year or so ago. He helped us with mem­o­ra­bil­ia for our muse­um and also his Rail­road­ing his­to­ry above…FD…Jan.1, 2018) More names that come to the mind of Gor­don F. “Red” McIn­tosh, 1950–52 are as fol­lows                  Jim Ahern, Loco­mo­tive Fore­man,     Frank Shanks, Car Fore­man    Buck MvLaugh­ry (should be Car Fore­man)     Jack Bur­nett Dray­man,    Ralph Sopp dri­ver for Bur­nett, Tee­nie Brown & Mrs. Shand Lunch Counter Pur­vey­ors,    Art McCart­ney, Line­man,       Steve Bal­anyk, Teleg­ra­ph­er,     W,G, (Bob) Kil­patrick, Telegrapher…Steve Bal­anyk used to encour­age me to learn and mas­ter teleg­ra­phy and it was with his assis­tance I was sent to Deleau, MB. to start my Senior­i­ty August 5th 1950. This dis­course could apt­ly apply to so many men. In ret­ro­spect, I am sat­is­fied it hap­pened and though the Rail­road has changed so much, the mem­o­ries linger on!    Gor­don F. McIn­tosh #183817, Assis­tant-Agent, Teleg­ra­ph­er-Agent, Freight Tar­iff Pub­li­ca­tions Offi­cer, West­ern Lines.….…“AMEN”


Some songs and their mem­o­ries by Ferg Devins


  1) Song #1, “Cowboys,Horses, Hoboes & Trains” sung by Box­car Willie remind me of the “Dirty 30’s” when we were kids. Trains would pull into York­ton and the tops of the box cars would be cov­ered with men rid­ing the rails They were called “hoboes”. They were the unem­ployed of Canada.They had no jobs and no mon­ey. One Sun­day in 1938 such a train stopped and the men got off and start­ed walk­ing up the back lanes, look­ing in garbage cans for food. They knocked on back doors beg­ging for a hand­out, and offer­ing to work for food. My Mom hand­ed out sand­wich­es until her sup­ply of bread ran out, and then she had to turn them away from her door, with tears in her eyes. She said that when­ev­er she helped some­one out, some­thing good always hap­pened in her life. And my Dad got a job the next day. After WW2 start­ed the unem­ployed joined the armed forces and thus a whole new era began.

2) Song #2, “The Log Train” sung by Hank Williams and the part where he sings “Mom­ma said, get the sup­per on the table, here comes the Log Train” makes me think about how the wives of rail­road­ers were among the unsung heroes of rail­road­ing. My Mom always had the large meal of the day when Dad was home. If he was going to be out on the job at sup­per­time, then she had the big meal at noon hour or vice ver­sa. And then  in the song the words, “Every morn­ing at the break of day, he would grab his lunch buck­et and be on his way”. Who the hell got up one hour ahead of Dad, took the 2 hour call from the call-boy and fixed his break­fast. You bet, it was good old Mom. Makes me think about the state­ment, “that behind every suc­cess­ful man, is a sur­prised wife” ha, ha.


3) Song #3, “My Dad­dy was a Rail­road man”, sung by Box­car Willie, is about the sec­tion men . Prob­a­bly the hard­est work­ing man on the Rail­road, and the low­est paid. yet he was the back­bone of rail­road­ing. They kept the trains run­ning on safe rails. This song may not have catchy music or words, but it high­ly deserves mention.


Song #4 “The wreck of Old 97” played by Flatt & Scrug­gs & sung by Box­car Willie, reminds me when I was Sta­tion Agent at Nes­bitt. One night I had to curl in Souris. After the game was over, both teams went for some beer, and played many more extra ends in the beer par­lor. We end­ed up on a farm near Car­roll and I had the host sing this song many times. I got home about 2 a.m. (fair­ly pick­led) and went upstairs singing the last words of this song, “All you ladies take fair warn­ing from this time on and learn, nev­er speak harsh words to your true lov­ing hus­band, for he may leave you and nev­er return”. The next morn­ing, I was work­ing in the office when my wife woke up and came down stairs singing “there’s a stranger in my home”. (ha, ha).


 5) Song #5 “Jim­mie Brown, The News­boy” sung by Lester Flatt & Earl Scrug­gs, reminds me of all the paper boys, down at the sta­tion, in Souris. The Assis­tant Super­in­ten­dent was in charge of about 200 employ­ees and yet it seemed to me that the only thing he ever did was stand around at pas­sen­ger train time and give the paper boys hell for not pick­ing up the scrap paper and putting it in the trash bar­rel. I had a few dif­fer­ent paper routes. The one I liked best was my route to the air­port dur­ing WW2. The pay was real good. On evening of May 7th or 8th in 1945, return­ing to Souris on the air­port bus, we could hear all the steam engines at the Round­house blow­ing their whis­tles. It was the end of the war in Europe. I was only 15 years old but what a night that was in Sours. We played in the town band and marched up and down the streets… Anoth­er News­boy Story…I was a Relief Dis­patch­er in Bran­don, 1952 or 1953. There was this large, over­weight teenage paper boy, who seemed to always be on the sta­tion plat­form when­ev­er Pas­sen­ger Trains were stopped for ser­vic­ing. It was about 17 O’clock and there was a Spe­cial Pas­sen­ger Extra East stopped at the depot. It was a pas­sen­ger train car­ry­ing “Shriners” from all across Cana­da. It had start­ed out in Van­cou­ver, pick­ing them up all along the way. Des­ti­na­tion, a con­ven­tion in Toron­to. One of the Shriners took all the news­boys papers, and went down the sta­tion plat­form sell­ing them to oth­er Shriners. When he had sold them all, he took the mon­ey and gave it to the paper­boy. Then before the train left the sta­tion, he went and retrieved all the papers and returned them to the news­boy. Bless those Shriners.


  6). Song #6, “Take this Job and Shove it”, sung by John­ny Pay­check. I’m sure all Rail­road­ers felt this way at one time or anoth­er. I know I did, after 29 years on the CPR. And I did quit. But Rail­road­ing gets in your blood and you can’t shake it. This song reminds me of a call-boy (no names, please, so he says) who had only been on the job for a cou­ple of months. He had to call a train crew for a Bran­don turn. It had been rain­ing all morn­ing. A nice steady rain (remem­ber this fact). The crews were ordered for 13:30. The call-boy had con­tact­ed all the crew except the head­end brake­man, who did­n’t answer his phone at home. So the call-boy went to the brake­man’s house, knocked on the front door and there was no answer. So back to the shops he goes. Bor­rows a Fire­man’s truck and pro­ceeds to ride around town look­ing for the brake­man. He even went down to the dam to see if he was fish­ing. He still did­n’t find him. As time was get­ting short, he then called anoth­er brake­man off the spare­board to fill in the crew. When the reg­u­lar brake­man found out he had missed a call, he put in a “run around ” tick­et, claim­ing pay for not being called, say­ing that he was out work­ing in his gar­den and that the call­boy should have come around to the back yard look­ing for him. NOW REMEMBER IT HAD BEEN RAINING,  ALL DAY, so who the hell would be work­ing in a gar­den? Any­way, the Assis­tant Super­in­ten­dent left a mes­sage at the shops for the call boy to come to his office. The call boy goes to the Assis­tant Super­in­ten­den­t’s office, and the “super” asks the call­boy, “What are you going to do about this run-around tick­et?” Now imag­ine, the call-boy is like­ly one of the low­est paid employ­ees on the CPR and they are want­i­ng him to pay it out of his wages! The call boy replies “How would you like to stick your job up your ass?” and walks out. Anoth­er sto­ry that adds to this item is about my Grand­fa­ther David Munro Fer­gus who arrived in Cana­da in 1883 from the Orkney Isles in Scot­land at the age of 17 years. When he arrived in Bran­don, he took a tri­al trip as a fire­man on the CPR. The main line was built as far west as White­wood, SK. Fuel back in those days was wood­en logs. Any­way after he returned to Bran­don, he had enough of that job, and I like to tell folks that this song “Take this job and shove it” must have been what he was think­ing. And that my friends, is why I remem­ber this song.….(John Fer­gus Devins)