Another Historic Train Highballs Into Oblivion (The Moccasin), Published 13 August 1958There highballed out of the timetable and into the limbo last week an historic train known as "The Moccasin." Search the timetable of the Canadian National Railways as you will, consult every travel agent that you know, but you will not find in print, any reference to "The Mog", or more properly "The Moccasin."
For about 100 years now - and that's a long time as trains go - the Moccasin has been a household word along "The Front". Ask any housewife from Brockville to Coteau, speak to any of the older commercial travellers, and one and all will light up when you mention this historic, all-stop local. Known bleakly to the CNR as No. 25 and No. 26, it had the slowest schedule from Montreal to Brockville. It took the incredibly slow time of four hours and 10 minutes to do what the International Limited achieves in two hours and 15 minutes.
It, incredibly enough, made every single stop from Dominion at Mile 8.1 to Brockville at 127.1. It even paused at St. Zotique and Bainsville, first station in Ontario. In the old days, it actually stopped at little Farran's Point every day, and it recently took in the new community of Ingleside.
You had to get up early to catch the Mog out of Brockville, since it left at 5.45 a.m. standard for its slow, serene crawl to Montreal. But it was a restful train, and you arrived in Montreal soothed.
Once, my wife rode the Moccasin from Montreal to Prescott. There, surrounded by movie magazines, with her shoes off, we had to check the train to find her, and to hold it to get her off (she said she never had such a restful ride in her life!)
You may be asking by now how the train got the name. Well, a hundred years ago, loggers, shantymen and Indians used to ride the logs to Montreal, and come back on the train, wearing moccasins. The car full of tabac Canadien, and the shantymen full of whisky blanc, the atmosphere was blue in more ways than one, when the boys started to slap the floor with their moccasins, and started to sing: "En roulant, ma boule, ma boule ... ."
When I rode it, in 1922, from Montreal to Cornwall, it was a long train with a small engine. But years have robbed this historic train of passengers, prestige, and revenue.
So the other day. CNR 25 and 26 became merely historic memories. The Moccasin has gone the way of the Rideau Queen, the Calumet and Grenville Railroad, the Imperial Limited.
The old order changeth, giving place to new, and most of us old timers don't like it.