Railway Stories from the Ottawa Citizen.

The Bear Said "Ba-Ba" Yet Phil Roy Ran

Ottawa Citizen 31 January 1931 (OTS - Old Time Stuff - a regular Saturday feature at that time)
In November 1880, when Phil Roy, now of Ottawa, was working in the Q.M.O.& O. shops at Montreal, and was then only 16 years of age, H.A. Pangborn, master mechanic of the new Canada Atlantic Railway, then under construction visited the Q.M.O. & O. shops looking for somebody to look after construction at night.
Young Phil Roy was recommended to him.  Thus did Phil Roy become connected with the C.A.R. - a connection which was to last for many years.
Young Phil soon found himself at the Moose Creek gravel pits.  All that winter and into the spring of 1881, he kept steam up at night on an engine and had it in condition for the next days work.
Moose Creek was a mighty lonesome place in the winter of 1880-1881 and the youth found the nights not at all to his liking.  There were plenty of bears around Moose Creek at that time, and the youth was always afraid a bear would climb into the cab for the warmth it might afford.
Talking about bears, it can be told that in the winter of 1880-1881 the bears were so bold that they ventured on to the construction rails, even in daytime.  Mr. Roy tells how a construction train crew on one occasion tried to run a bear down on the tracks, but the bear got off the rails just in time to save its hide.
In the summer of 1881 young Roy got promoted to fireman on a ballast train. The crews were working late at night to hurry up the ballasting of the road.
On one occasion Roy's crew made the last trip at 2 a.m. and young Roy started for his boarding house a mile from the pit.  To reach his home he had to pass through a bush about half a mile thick.  There was a forest path.  On the night in question Roy did not have a lantern.
In a Dark Spot
Suddenly in a park part of the bush, he fell over something which jumped and moved into the bush.  And not a gun!  Young Roy started to run.
Bang!  Over another he fell.  He picked himself up in a big hurry and was just about to yell lustily for help when the thing bawled 'baaaaa".  It was a calf.
Just the same he did not let his legs lag till his home was reached. After that he made sure he had a lantern.

Bytown Railway Society, Branchline, October 2010.

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