Sometime in the spring of 1976, I found myself in Dauphin, Manitoba and planned to ride the mixed train to Winnipegosis. This was one of the last mixed trains in Canada and rumors were rife that it would soon be discontinued, I had heard stories that patronage was so low on this train that it frequently left directly from Dauphin Yard without backing into the passenger platform to pick up non-existent passengers.
I bought a round trip ticket to Winnipegosis the previous evening at the Dauphin station and asked the agent to ensure that the train would in fact back into the platform to pick me up. He asked my name.
Next morning, I was down at the station in good time to see the train, a long line of empty grain boxes with a caboose and a combine in the rear, back to the platform - just enough for the rear door to be on the platform, but far enough to make me walk a long way to board. I got in and took a seat, the only passenger. A trainman entered and shouted out in a loud voice, "Is Mr. Churcher here?" I cautiously put up my hand. "OK, so we can go then", was all he said as he took my ticket.
We made our way along the Cowan subdivision as far as Sifton Junction, where we took the branch to Winnipegosis. At Fork River, while some grain cars were being spotted, I took the opportunity to scramble out and take a picture of the rear of the train.
At Winnipegosis there was a fairly quick turnaround to the schedule and it was here that the trainman dropped a bomb. The Cargill elevator wanted to load a car and send it out today so the layover in Winnipegosis would be around four hours. I didn't fance spending that amount of time in that small prairie community so I found a taxi to take me back to Dauphin, I sent the receipt to VIA with an explanation and VIA eventually refunded the taxi fare.
The train service between Dauphin and Winnipegosis was discontinued on 21 April 1977.
Bytown Railway Society Branchline - March/April 2015