Ottawa Valley Mail Crane Problems

From the Renfrew Mercury, June 23, 1 899: "A rather good joke is told on the Almonte people who gathered on Sunday afternoon to see the new Imperial Limited C.P.R. train pass that station to the west. There is always a good crowd at that station, and this day was no exception. Now Almonte is not to be a stopping place for the Imperial, but the mail bags are to be picked up from a crane by an attachment at the side of the mail car. The old mail carrier hitched his mail-bag to the crane, and the Chief of Police importantly told the crowd to "move back;" that there would be a mail bag thrown from the train. The crowd of course moved back. The train came thundering along - and passed by, without so much as throwing out a mail-bag or even deigning to gather up the bag which the mail carrier had hung up! The old man took down the bag, and said that he did not believe that there was anybody on that train!"

It seems that there were problems not only at Almonte but at Arnprior as well. From the Renfrew Mercury, July 27, 1900: "The apparatus on which is suspended the mail-bag for the Imperial Limited to take on the fly is faulty in that the wind sometimes knocks off the bag. Messrs. J.H. Hopewell and Sylvester Grace have invented a contrivance which sets at naught the wind's playfulness and they hope to make some filthy lucre out of it." - Arnprior Chronicle.

This is a follow up from the Renfrew Mercury of November 4, 1904: "From the Cobden Sun. The engineers on the C.P.R. have served notice on the company that they will not drive engines if the cranes used for delivering mail bags to moving trains are not removed. The fireman on the Winnipeg train going east one day last week was struck by the one here. The train was not moving very fast but his cap was removed very suddenly and the mail bag was knocked from its position. The post office department should make it a point to see that these cranes are removed and trains carrying mails are made to stop. In the past few years several mail bags and their contents have been destroyed here by throwing them off and attempting to take them on moving trains."
Bytown Railway Society, Branchline, January 2006.

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