An Iron-Horse Tale

NMST’s former-CP 1201 leads the Bytown Railway Society sponsored ‘Autumn Valley Express’ eastward across the Ottawa River at mileage 37.8 Beachburg Subdivision on October 7, 1990.   Photo by Raymond Farand.

Have you ever had the feeling that everyone is dumping on you, friends and strangers alike? If your answer is yes, then you might wish to consider what I'm about to relate here with the idea that things can always get worse.

I was standing near the CN bridge over the Ottawa River just west of Fitzroy (Ontario), waiting for the 1201 to return on the final leg of the Ottawa-Pembroke excursion on October 7. With 1201's whistle barely audible in the distance, two teenagers ran towards the bridge. Without breaking stride one teenager asked "Did you hear a train coming?" "Yes" was my reply, "it will be here in about ten minutes." Actually what he had heard was CP Rail Train 482 passing through nearby Arnprior. I expected the two to stop short of the bridge, but they kept right on going out onto the first span of the 3/10 mile long bridge.

Arriving at the nearest offshore concrete pier, the two dropped down and crawled underneath the decking to wait for the train. "Hey, you guys, you probably don't realize that a steam train is coming and you might get scalded by hot water or steam dumping on you." With 1201 approaching the far end of the bridge I yelled "If you guys are too stupid to get out of there, at least go to the other side and out of my picture."

Slowly 1201 and her consist rumbled across the bridge. As the last coach gained the Ontario shoreline I watched for the two teenagers to 'surface'. Much to my amusement, one of the lads was standing on top of the concrete pier wiping at his head and shoulders with a picking motion. I can't be sure, but I suspect that a passenger on the train delivered a very unwelcomed message.

I wish I could have been close enough to see the F-L-U-S-H-E-D expression on his face! They'll likely think twice about climbing under there again.

Bytown Railway Society,  Branchline, November 1990, page 8.

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