Thursday, December 13, 2012

Train Toys and History

Thursday, December 13, 2012
                    (sunny and mild)

Train Toy & History

     Today was one of those days where I did not know what I was going to write. I should do more planning in the new year, but of course, I 'll break that resolution on the first day. I decided to go with trains, and then thought about archive sources, then the Canada Archives, and wow! What a fine discovery I made. It's a great resource for mostly photos, maps and other paper materials, and I was able to download some nice historical photos.

    The development and expansion of Canada and the USA had to do a lot with the railroads. In canada, the 2 major players (CPR and CN (Canadian Pacific Railway, and Canadian National) were given large tracts of land as well as money to build the 2 railroads.  Sometimes, the trains near me make noise and when my brother-in-law and sister visit from Toronto I mention to him (a former  PR person with CP) that the trains are noisy. No sympathy from him on this topic. He always says that the trains were here first!

    When I think of trains, there are those old western with trains, the Burt Lancaster movie (The Train), and  the Songs" Pardon me Boy, Is that the  Chattanooga Choo-Choo" , and Johnny Cash's "I hear the Train a-comin".  I also once took a train ride to Toronto in a sleeper car with my grandmother in the later 50's when I probably was 5 or 6.

(please click on the above address to be redirected to the site)

In those days, the "royals" or the Royal Family as they were called
 then would travel on private cars with their own train engines of course!

(please press on the link to see the nice selection of trains that were sold)

     Children and adults have always been interested in train collecting. I've seen marvellous train "cities" in Toronto at a toy convention, where an entire village and many complete trains and cars were set up overnight for the visitors to the show.  I do see trains pass by near my house when commuters are travelling to the western end of Montreal, and I see the freight cars with their loads mostly of containers for ships. Occasionally, I 'll even see the new car train carriers, but now they're all blocked so graffiti "artists" or vandals can't damage the cars.  I'll even see the rarer 
mega-capacity liquid car carriers with their special reinforced frames protecting the hazardous contents. 

    In Outremont, we also lived near the train tracks, but in those days, you could actually go on to the tracks. I did the "place the penny on the track to turn it into a flat piece the size of a dollar! I can't remember if I crawled under a fence opening or not. However, I wasn't interested in trains that much. In the mid-1950's that was the beginning of the end of the coal  steam engine trains, and the new gas (kerosene) engines were starting to come on to the rail lines.  Also, about 1954-56 was the end of the electric wooden streetcars in Montreal, to be replaced by busses.

   They always say "those were the good old times", and probably so, but each generation has and will have their own memories of their generation. I sometimes wonder what this generation will remember,when they're so busy Twittering, Face-booking, texting, and e-mailing?

Thanks for Dropping by,

and have a nice part of the day 
wherever you may be.


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