1,810-Mile Week-end Trip to Virginia, Published 18 July 1940I had always wanted to take a really good, long week-end trip, and the Dominion Day week-end gave me just that chance. Accordingly, you find me back with my first love, the railway, on CP. No. 33 to Toronto. I was on my way to visit Charleston, West Virginia, my 41st state capital. We rolled out behind No. 2333 and an endless string of cars, and I had the bad luck to get a non-air-conditioned unit. (Please, Leo Sauve, not the next time.) In no time at all, while quaffing a sarsaparilla in the club car. the colored attendant announced that while the rest of the train was going on ahead, our cars were going to be cut off. Here was fun.
I got off at Smiths Falls, and started talking to the switchman, to find out what it was all about. They were going to let our train. No. 33, go on ahead via Peterboro without us, and No. 21, due out one hour and 15 minute later, was going to pick us up. But instead of delaying our trip one hour and a quarter, we were actually to roll into Toronto only 10 minutes behind, because No. 21 moves faster than No. 33, travelling over the crack track of the shore line.
I went into Smiths Falls railway restaurant to eat. I thought to myself how much more pleasant it is down here, amid the trains, the railway employes, the tickatack of the operating wires, the clang of the. yard engines, and the delightful train smoke, compared to the dull main street. Smiths Falls, however sad a spot it may be on the main street, really is something bright and gay at one in the morning down at the depot. It was good to be back in the Falls station again, eating a midnight lunch at 1 a.m., after all these years.
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In due course I crawled back aboard of my sleeper, spotted down the yard, and pretty soon No. 21 rolled in behind 3100, the biggest engine type the Canadian Pacific has east of the Rockies. But she passed us up, and we were picked up by the second 21. and landed in Toronto with plenty of time to catch C.P.R. No. 721. We had a little 2200 type up ahead on the 55 minutes' run to Hamilton.
Now I have to go back a bit. It was thought better this time to use a friend's bigger, faster and newer car than mine, and so we agreed to meet in Hamilton. But I wanted Kamipoulos to go on ahead with the car. and this is what I did. Earlier on Friday. I got. out my own Olds, and rushed down to Prescott. There I met Ray Jacobson, head of the Iron Fireman in Montreal, who, with Mrs. Jacobson, Kamipoulos and I, were to make the foursome. We picked, of all places, the Prescott C.P.R. station on Highway No. 2 to meet. The puzzled and bewildered CP. ticket agent at Prescott came out and tried to shoo off my Swedish-American friend, telling them there would not be a train here for seven hours.
"That's all right," said Ray, "just looking for a friend."
The agent gave up after that. We arrived a moment later. Kamipoulos jumped into the blue Packard, and I came back to Ottawa. Thus I made 120 miles earlier in the trip, as a prologue to the larger journey. Incidentally, two friends of mine may wonder why I didn't call. Dr. Lonnie Nuttall of Prescott, perhaps is curious. The truth is that I never did get into Prescott at all, but the C.P.R. station, and I was there about one minute. I was back in Ottawa for the House of Commons opening at 3 p.m. The same goes for Dr. Oswald F. Beamish, Kemptville, whom I have not seen in a mere 20 years. I looked for his Aesculapian shingle as I breezed through Kemptville. but missed it. If I had seen it, I should have had to keep moving anyhow. You are shaving the seconds pretty fine on a trip like that.
Anyway, here we are in Hamilton again, and we have caught up with the Jacobsons in Hamilton's modernistic Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway station. (The T.H. & B. is Canada's second largest privately owned railway, but the chances are even, you never heard of the railway till now.) The 100-mile system, including branches, doesn't throw its weight around much.
We started off by going to see Janet Board, who was to marry Douglas Hopkins of Montreal that afternoon. We could not possibly stay for the wedding, but we saw both the groom and the bride separately, and the first thing we knew, the peach trees were going by us. and we were climbing Hamilton Mountain on Route 20. On the way out there we passed the traffic light at the Delta, installed in 1924. and Canada's first traffic light. The Ambitious City is always on its toes, and I can remember when people motored down to the Delta to see the light work, with an accompaniment of bells.
It was no time till we got to the Falls. I found out that soldiers and barbed wire prevented us from getting up as close as we used to. This was almost the last day of the unpassported frontier, and so tourists were moving back and forth freely. Niagara was alive with Americans, spending their money freely.
I am not going to write a word about the Falls as a scenic treat, except to say that it is always worth seeing. Then we crossed to the rather grubbier American side, had a ham on rye with dill pickle, berry pie a la mode and coffee, and were ready for our next stop. Chautauqua.
We found an excellent, short-cut over a toll-bridge, and arrived in Buffalo, it seemed, in a matter of minutes. Then we fought the traffic a bit. and finally landed down at that terrible lake end of Main street. There is no street anywhere worse than the lower end of Buffalo's Main street. We turned a corner at the Lackawana terminal, and soon found ourselves heading out of town again, with Lake Erie in the offing, and steel mills going full blast on all sides of us.
This looks like a good place to stop. In my next in famous Chautauqua and beyond. millions