Pontiac Passenger Run At End, Published 29 September 1959
425 at Hull Beemer. There were two further days with diesel 6552 intil 30th September
‘The Age of Steam’ died on the Pontiac, when the last steam train arrived in Waltham last night. Passenger service ended this week after 70 years.
‘The picturesque and historic Pontiac and Pacific Junction started operating trains to Waltham, the end of steel of the line, in January 1887. The railway was originally incorporated in 1880, and passenger service was progressively extended, first to Aylmer, then to Shawville, and so on until Waltham, now mileage 78.9 was reached on a January day 70 years ago.
‘The final run was made with steam, though the train for the past year has functioned with diesel power.
‘CPR train No. 643 described in the time tables as “mixed”, left Ottawa Union Station yesterday at 2:50 p.m. standard time. She carried one express car and one day coach.
‘Strangely enough, the day coach had steam on which could not be turned off, and parboiled passengers clear through to Waltham.
‘Engine No. 426 not only was sounding the death knell of steam, but was getting ready to go on her last mile at the end of the run – to the scrap heap. CPR No. 425 is a 4-6-0 engine, with a wheel arrangement thus: oo-000. It was “outshopped“ in 1913, and therefore is 46 years old.
‘There were some sentimental touches about the last steam train up the Pontiac. Stationmaster Sam Bertand was not only down to wave a fond farewell, but phoned his brother “Cap” Bertrand in Val Tetreau, and the “Cap” emerged from retirement to wave the Pontiac through his home town.
‘At Fort Coulonge, Hugh Proudfoot, former MP, was down to greet the through passengers and mourn at the passing of this 70-year-old train. Also joining the cortege of the Iron horse at Fort Coulonge was William Kenney, the Citizen’s resident correspondent for that area.
‘The gallant little old 46-year-old engine rarely tops 40 miles and hour, but once in a while, she would let herself out to what seemed like a modest 42 or 43 mph, just to show she could do it.
‘Those who have never taken the CPR to Aylmer perhaps fail to realize how beautiful it is in the woods by the river, with a view of velvety golf greens on the north. To the south, Lake Deschenes can be glimpsed, appropriately enough, though the oaks.
‘We “took the hole” at Breckenridge to let a 40-car diesel-hauled ore train go by. We were ahead at Quyon, so there was a pause for pictures.
‘At Shawville, on came the kids. These youngsters go to the good schools of Shawville from towns up the line. Successive batches of youngsters for years have been riding the Pontiac Now the bus will serve them.
‘An interesting ritual was perpetuated at Campbell’s Bay. The boys make a mad dash for the ice cream parlor, buy two cones, and sprint back.
‘Gareth McKnight of Waltham. with two vanillas, won the dash. Bearing two chocolates, Douglas Rabb of Campbell’s Bay was a full eight seconds late. But they held the train. That’s the kind of train the Pontiac is.
‘A mournful few viewed trhe two-car local all along the 79.8 miles like it was the passing of a coffin of a dear friend.
‘Finally the brave little engine, almost cartoon-like in proportions, emerged from the downpour and steamed into the station.
‘On time, she had reached Waltham. She had also reached the end of an epoch.
‘The train crew was: Stanley T. Byron, conductor, 64 Poplar Street; John B. Murphy, engineer, Prescott Highway, Don McPherson, trainman, 15 Irvine Avenue; Erville Coleman, baggageman of Carleton Place.