Page 2 - Working on the S&L; Railroad Part One
ISSUE : Issue 28
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/6/1
Russell Cunningham, Birch Grove: The S & L was the busiest piece of railroad in North America. And that's not an exaggeration. There were 7 million tons of coal and the empties and all the industrial freight and all the produce and potatoes and all the Newfoundland trade--all came through here. There was a train every half hour, going by anywhere--every half hour. There were passenger trains; there were accommodation trains; and there was what they called the "hobos," the man trains that carried the miners back and forth to work. Like the miners from Port Morien and Birch Grove-- when the pits closed up there years ago, they ran these hobos to the Glace Bay pits and hobos to the Waterford pits, taking one shift of men each run. And when Donkin closed up in 1926,' they ran a train there, back and forth, each shift, three times a day, keeping the men employed in the other mines. That's what they called the "man trains." On the man train nobody paid, it was free. And it was different kind of cars--like a long boxcar with seats all a- long the sides, wooden--steam-heated. The Union got that agreement with the company, when they closed certain pits, that they'd transport the men to other pits by train. And we hauled the coal, you know. Fifteen mines. Louisbourg--that's where all the winter work was. North Sydney was closed to Newfoundland in the winter. Before Christmas, everything closed down. Inter? national piers in Sydney, North Sydney piers--everything closed down and every? thing moved to Louisbourg. Because you had no icebreakers those days. So they opened up Louisbourg before Christmas. And all the trade to Newfoundland, passengers, pro? duce and everything, went to Louisbourg-- back and forth. Louisbourg piers were open year 'round, but they didn't ship much in the summer--only during the war, in the '40s--they shipped a lot from there on ac? count of the submarines. They had to sneak small boats in and out. But all the winter coal went to Louisbourg. And they shipped CONTINUED NEXT PAGE Your Country Homestead! *' Yarns and Needlecrafts Local Handcrafts Many Other Items Is It Properly Insured? Joseph Salter's Sons Ltd. General Insurance Agents Lloyds Agents Ship Chandlers Steamship Agents Marine Surveys For Further Information, Contact JOSEPH SALTER'S SONS LTD., T. W. Sainthill, President, P. 0. Box 188, Commercial Street, North Sydney, Nova Scotia B2A 3M3 (902)794-4719 *yarns 'crafts Light Industrial Park, Port Hawkesbury, N. S. Phone 625-2400 BOE 2V0 Now Available On Record! A LIVE RECORDING OF HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 1980 MUSIC AND COMEDY PRODUCTION Ask at your local record store or send cheque or money order for $7.98 to: The College of Cape Breton Press P.O. Box 5300. Sydney. Nova Scotia. BIP 6L2 (2)
Cape Breton's Magazine