Page 9 - Remembering the "Judique Flyer"
ISSUE : Issue 19
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1978/6/1
Neil MacKinnon, Section Man: In those days when there was a wreck, they didn't have the rigs they have today to take them out= We used to set winches. And then an engine would haul on that, haul it up so far, till they got her up on the old bed of the track • then we'd upright her and get her on the track and out of there. Today they'd get on both ends and haul her right up with the big cranes. In those days they didn't have the riggings. But you take if a train went off the track in the winter? time, it'd be all ice • and then it'd be easier to get her hauled in and get the replacers under her • they were hanging on the tender • and she'd crawl up on the re- placers when you'd get her handy enough, and drop on the rail. Then, you'd only temporary fix the track till you know that it was safe for the next train to go over. Then you'd go back at it and you fixed her up permanent. Hard work in those days. All handwork. Really no equipment like today. I was section man. I served as foreman but I never bid on that job. And I looked af? ter the yard in Inverness when the winter would come • look after all the snow shov? elling. Get the track in repair and all cleaned up and get the turn-table cleared of snow for the engines to turn. All had to be turned to go back out. Today they just reverse them. I was a regular section man • putting in ties, putting in rails, servicing track and all that. We'd ride along the track, looking for any damage, broken rails or any flaw in the track. Just with your eyes. Afterwards a rail-tester and all that came out • but there was no such a thing at first. You'd be looking for a broken rail, a broken pair of angle bars, or a low spot • and you'd fix it up. You'd have rails in places along the track. You'd go and get your rails. And in them days there was only the 56-pound steel. Liable to snap them any time. I remember one day after I went to work in Mabou I picked up five broken rails. I got to Ma? bou, to the gang, and I says, "We'll have to put the push car and get the motor car going and get in those rails." Foreman said, "Strip her out." I said, "No, the way freight is coming." And next thing, the train was in sight. Where was he going to be with a rail out of the track? That happened once in Sydney. They sent a flag? man out and he didn't stay at the flag • and the train came, and they just got the rail in and one bolt in each end. Only half-spiked the rail in a hurry, when they saw the train coming. But it took the train. We had to watch the water tanksj anything wrong that we could fix. Or get the plumb? er down. We kept the fires in the water tanks, every day when we patrolled. We had the .stove and coal and kindlings, and the pipe was going up through the water tank and out the top. I never saw the water frozen. The old coal company tanks were liable to freeze • only the tub set up with iron bands all around. The newer ones were double. I remember southwest of Port Hood they put the train off the track. Then they un-r hooked the engine and tried to come in with the plow and put the plow off the track and half of the engine off the track. I went out 2 o'clock in the morn? ing. Got her on the track around 7 o'clock the next evening. Worked all night and all day. Called out one night to the southwest for a wreck. I saw the engine going in alone. Well, I knew something was wrong. I went up to the track and waved the driver, Steve Gillis, aind got on. We got the aux? iliary car but. Jimmy Deagle was in charge of that. There were all blockings and AVIS Rent a Car Try Our Weekend Special $13.95 from Friday Noon to Monday 9 A.M. 90 a mile 564-8341 / 564-8265 WE TRY HARDER TROPICANA Restaurant &Lounge; STDNET SR0FPIN3 MiOL Prince Street 9 'dher Restaurant Hours 11 AM • 10 TM Lotsnge Hours 11 AM • 1 AM TOP BANDS NIGHTLY
Cape Breton's Magazine