Enjoyed Supreme Honor On Private Rail Ride, Published 2 November 1957The only railroad which ever accorded me the supreme honor of giving me a private train was the Cumberland Railway and Coal Company. The C.R. and C. operate a train from Parraboro to Spring-hill Junction, both In Nova Scotia, a distance of 32 mile. I rode from the town of Springhill to Springhill Junction where the Cumberland meets the Canadian National.
Earlier I had ridden the Maritime Railway and Coal Company from Maccan to a place called Rector's Crossing. There the railway had thoughtfully made an unscheduled atop, so I could have a quick look at this area before rushing for my rendezvous with the Cumberland. In due course I landed at Springhill, did the town, and in some splendor went down to board my own private train.
Now what was this railway I was about to ride? First of all, the rolling stock today consists of one locomotive, one box car, and one passenger car. It makes its two-way trip from Parrsboro to Springhill Junction every day and averages about five passengers a year. Up till the end of August 1957 it had made only $573.14 in freight this year and it had, in eight months, hauled only 743 tons of coal.
Meanwhile, this mostly empty train has to carry a crew of five to comply with regulations. All in all the line has been lucky, since it has had only one collision and six fatalities in 80 years.
Perhaps the most poignant feature of this forlorn railway is that it has not paid for itself in 15 years.
In this refuge from yesterday there were the oil lamps and the pot bellied stove reminiscent of Macdonald and Laurier.
The train started to roll out of Springhill town with Cross Town as the only passenger. The crew sat near the stove, as we rolled downhill from the town to the Junction. It may not have been the Super Continental but for the minute, I was a sole passenger on a private train.