Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 49 > Page 57 - Billy James MacNamara of Evanston

Page 57 - Billy James MacNamara of Evanston

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/8/1 (310 reads)

around 10 years old, I guess. I was born in 1892, and that was started in 1901. Well, it was kind of an experience to us young fellows, the first train we ever saw. We thought it was a glorious thing to see those old puf? fers coming into the station. They all ran by coal that time. You could hear them miles away, puffing, coming. We used to go up to the station just to see them there... At the gtart of constriACtipn; Cape Brgton Railrpad. PQint Tupper Qn the Strait of Canso. August 1901 Well, the biggest part of it was jmade by dump carts and horses. They hadv'i''ry little machinery. They might have had a little digger, I don't know. But the biggest part of it was horses and dump carts. All those dumps and hollows were all dumped with horses. They had dozens and dozens of hors? es dumping it. And blowing it, with black powder, blowing up the mud with black pow? der and dynamite. They might have had a small digger on it, but I don't remember ever seeing any. They could have. But the most of it was all done with pick and shov? el. So was the Intercolonial Railroad from Halifax to Point Tupper, when that was first built in 1880 or something like that. When that road was first built, that was mostly done with pick and shovel work and hand work. (Were local people here working on it?) Oh, yeah. A dollar and a dollar and a half a day at that time. It was cheap wages. My father worked at it. In the spring of the year he used to leave to go fishing--he'd make way more money fishing. Out in the bay here: mackerel fishing, lobster fishing, cod fishing, herring fishing. He used to leave. Probably they were through fishing around August--he had no trouble--they were always looking for men. He'd go back again for the winter.... Three years at it. The whole--pretty near every community worked onto it. From other places too--from Inverness, some from New Brunswick, some from different parts of the country. No, there must have been over a thousand, 15 00 men worked on it. I saw a piece (in the newspaper) here not long ago, a couple of years ago. It was taken from the railroad, 1901 or '02, at Hastings. "A thousand men wanted." I said to Clara (Billy James's wife) there, "God, there's lots of work-- some of them looking for work now--there's lots of work--I never noticed that much." "A thousand men wanted. A dollar a day for boys"- -1 think it was. "A dollar and a half for older men." And I think, "Two and a half for a man with a dump cart and horse!" ... For the railroad that went through here. It was cut from an old (issue of the) Record, an old paper. But I just skimmed over it, I thought it was happening now, at the time! They built a bridge across the river--the train had to cross. That was the second year, I think. They built a construction bridge across the river for the trains to go back and forth on, while they were building the regular bridge, an iron bridge. They built the iron bridge right alongside of it. But this construction bridge, (they) were going back and forth on Historic Open Fireplace Comfortable Dining Room Telegraph House A chanmng Victorian House, where Dr. Graham Bell chose to stay and royalty still chooses to dine, features rooms with period decor as well as modem motel units. Eiyoy home cooked meals in our licensed dining room, beside the warmth of open fires. Est. 1860 - Five Generations of the Dunlop Family Baddeck, Nova Scotia BOE 1 BO Telephone (902) 295-9988 COIVIPLETE INDUSTRIAL SUPPLIES FOR CONSTRUCTION ?? INDUSTRY ?? HOMEOWNERS Phone 539-0631 Miller industrial Sales rs' Complete Line of Hydraulic Hoses & Fittings ?? Honda Power Equipment Hand Tools, Saws, & Shovels ?? Stihl Power Saws ?? Rainwear Industrial V-Betts ?? Rope-Poly & Wirerope ?? Complete Paint Supplies 803 GRAND LAKE ROAD ?? SYDNEY & Service
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