In the latter part of the 1980's the Bytown Railway Society organized several passenger train excursions with former Canadian Pacific Railway steam locomotive 1201 assigned to hauling the trains. The 1201 was the star attraction and the raison d'etre behind organizing the trains.
Kie and I were fortunate enough to have been passengers on most of those special adventure journeys that operated, however, as is often the case, the first trip was the most memorable.
The first trip we rode was from Ottawa to Pembroke return over CNR's former Beachburg Subdivision. Autumn colours were at their best on that first weekend of October. A cool, clear and cloudless day only added to everyone's excitement and enjoyment.
The excursion was an all day event that started in Ottawa at daybreak and ended in the same place at sunset. For us, before and after also included drives to and from Ottawa from Montreal's West Island.
Perhaps the most unusual event of the day was the one that had not been planned. As the train neared Pembroke an elderly man became ill and passed away. An ambulance was waiting as the train pulled into the station. Later in the day I overheard a crew member remark that the passenger had died doing what he had wanted and went as he would have wished.
|Not too far beyond the western outskirts of Ottawa, a CTC signal informs the head-end crew of clear track ahead.|
|With the tender refilled and a few straggling passengers remaining to be boarded, (photographer included) the 1201 and train are waiting for the signal to proceed.|
|Beachburg, Ontario. With most passengers already on the ground and staking out locations from which to take their pictures, the 1201 has just been given the okay to back the train to prepare for the "run-by."|
|No one was in the way when Kie took this picture after the train had charged by the excited spectators...literally under a full head of steam. A TV camera crew was on top of that water tower in the background recording the run-by.|
In looking back, these unique railway excursion adventures were genuinely well planed and carried out by the Bytown Railway Society and the host railway. Again these many years later, I can only say thank you to those who worked tirelessly to make these events happen.
The Oddblock Station Agent
Addendum August 18, 2013
|One more look at 1201|