Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 24 > Page 4 - When the Employees Owned the Trams

Page 4 - When the Employees Owned the Trams

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/12/1 (380 reads)

big man. Roddy Anderson, Benny Ferguson, Dan IVfecAulay, Angus Smith • they all went over 200 pounds. Usually, if you were in? side and there was trouble--two fellows fighting • well, you couldn't do it alone. You had a signal you'd give the motorman • the bellcord went through for to signal for the stops • they wouldn't allow the passengers to pull it, you had to let the conductor know, and he'd pull the bell. That was the custom anyway. So three raps on the bell meant there was something wrong inside. And the motorman would go in and help him out. Big Dan used to tell the story about the night him and old John MacLeod were on. John MacLeod wasn't that big a man, but he was quite capable of looking out for him? self. They left Sydney this night and just after they left Victoria Road," from there to Reserve there was a stretch of about 6 miles • it was just through the woods, an odd house or something • a bunch got into a fight. Dan says, "I got the signals. I got the three raps, so I just put the control on the first notch" • well, on the first notch you'd just crawl along • "and I went in. Well, from there till the Chief's Cut," he said in a whisper, "we put 8 of them off." Car was going slowly. If you did those things today, you'd be hung. If you threw a man off a moving car today, you'd be shot for it. (Would the trams break down?) Oh yes. Mostly motor trouble. (So it's the middle of winter and you're going through the country and the tram stops • what do you do?) You had a kit box and tools and you could usually manage to get along. One pair of motors went bad, you could take her home on the other pair. If you were really stuck, you could usually do some- ' thing. But we did get stuck. Perhaps one of the big cables underneath would burn off • there was nothing you could do. Have to go to the nearest telephone, call up, send another car out. They'd fix it or usually tow it in. I slept out often in the wintertime. Snowbanks. It was electric heat, so we were warm. There was nothing you could do about it. Snowbanks would pile up 5-6 feet high. Drive into that and go as far as you could and then die out. You'd try getting back to get out of it, and perhaps you couldn't • so you'd stay right there. Go to a telephone and tell them you were stuck. Wait till the plow came. We'd do a little shoveling, but usu? ally a car coming at any rate of speed in? to a bank • I've seen banks land up high as the car. You'd drive in, hoping to go through. Perhaps get half way through. Well, you'll never shovel your way through that. I spent a night out where the air? port is now, like that. Coming along, snow piled right up to the window. But I kept going, kept going • oh, I must have gone for about a mile before she finally quit. Nothing I could do. Couldn't go back be? cause she filled in right behind me. The people would just stay with you. We were often lucky. The last trip and few on and perhaps they'd be near home and could walk the rest of the way. We used to get ter? rible storms then. We don't get winters like that now. SPECIAL SMOKEY SCHUSSERS AT KELTIC Starting DEC. 22, call your travel OJ agent or call Keltic 1-285-2880 OPERATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM Province of Novo Scotia
Cape Breton's Magazine
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