Old Sights, Sounds Welcome to Traveller, Published 3 June 1952Some trips are just as, pleasant in repetition. As you get older, you relish the familiar, enjoy the anticipation of seeing spots remembered, just as much as you appreciate first glimpses of far-off sights. No one can be indifferent to that first glimpse of the red sun as it hits the high-up church in Barriefield, seen over the reeds of the Rideau. The little waterfall that the train rushes over a mile a minute at Napanee is always an optical treat. For this and many other reasons I enjoyed my trip the other day to Toronto.
So you find me sitting in the new, brightly painted CPR parlor car. I've made the trip a thousand times, and I have never tired of it. We crept past Nepean Point. People who had visited Ottawa but apparently could not recognize it from the river side kept saying "What's that?" As better informed passengers replied "The Justice Building" or 'The Supreme Court". Then they look up in surprise 10 minutes later to say: "There's Ottawa." Visitors never can figure out how you can leave Ottawa and somehow come back to it, as you do at Scott Street.
CPR engine 1227 has the run down to a science. She starts to kick up her heels as she settles down to a mile a minute run just about Island Park Drive and after hurtling through, jet propelled, at Britannia Park she starts to slow down as she climbs the long grade to Stittsville. Then before you know it, here it is Carleton Place. The company has gone back to the old business of having us pass the Pembroke local at Carleton Place instead of that hick railroading meeting at Ashton siding.
It is Smiths Falls before you know it, and very soon you see the spires of Brockville. The CPR swings in with a show off motion like a circus pony. It likes to show that it can get its connection there for the Canadian National.
Often the Ottawa passengers get an older diner while the Montreal trade get one of those swank 1330 class diners. But this time the Canadian National really did it up in style. They cut in diner 1331. Then for good measure they gave us what I consider the outstanding steward the CNR has. He is K. G. Rutledge, 2049 Gerrard East, Toronto.
I caught him one time In 1945 when he was on the special train out of Halifax, bringing back General H. D. G. Crerar, head of the Canadian Army, from the war. Steward Rutledge by the tastiness of his meals, the friendliness of his service and by his own personality impressed me. Occasionally I have caught him, but not often enough. I was lucky this time. I emphasize the diner because good diners impress the public more than box car loadings, operating ratios, and revenues per mile. True, they may lose money, but they are goodwill builders. Perhaps you could write them off to advertising.
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On the way back I got W. Andrews another efficient railway veteran. He was in car 1325. His No. 1 waiter was the old timer type who anticipated everything and who served you as if you were a duke. Up ahead we had CNR 6252. He ran easily to oddly named Manitoba Yard, then he let out a blast, pinned his ears and started to run. It always seemed we were at our stops before we expected them. True, our man merely maintained his time, which is the fastest schedule in Canada, but the engineer somehow made you feel you were getting a real run for your money.
Old sights, old sounds, even old smells yet always welcome. The crowds at Kingston along the elliptical platform, the stop at Belleville coai chute, the lights below you at Port Hope, the neon signs of General Motors at Oshawa, the acceleration of the lights passing outside as soon as you are atop Scarboro Heights. The ding-dong of level crossings, the waiter making his "Last Call", even the smell of liquid soap and sometimes of soft coal. If you like a railway you like it all.
Old sights, old sounds, even old smells. But always welcome.