Rail family did most of their traveling by train

from our March 2013 issue

By June (Wacks) Patrick – Bowden, Alta.

I was raised in Wilkie, Sask. in northwest Saskatchewan, which was a booming railroad town many years ago.

My dad was a trainman conductor with the CPR. We didn’t have a car in those days so most of our travelling was done by train.

I have a lot of good memories travelling with my dad on the train. One trip in particular was to Lone Rock, Sask.

Dad was travelling further down the line to Lloydminster so he dropped me off at the station agent’s home which was in the Lone Rock station.

I stayed overnight with them and their daughter who was my age. Dad picked me up the next day on his way home.

Waved from window

I loved travelling with dad, especially when I was allowed to climb up the ladder in the caboose to the cupola.

I’d sit up in the cupola and wave out the window, pretending there was someone there.

There was nothing there except a wheatfield, cows, and horses. I pretended I was the Queen waving. I loved the caboose.

My dad cooked our meals on the old cook stove which was coal and wood. He was a fantastic cook.

Almost every summer I travelled by train to Lanigan, Sask., to visit my grandparents. My dad put me on the train in Wilkie and the conductor, Mr. Webster, looked after me and made sure I got on the right train in Saskatoon where I had to change trains.

My bicycle travelled with me in the baggage car. I loved my balloon tire bicycle.

We used to travel as a family on the train to Vancouver. I loved that trip, especially when we could sleep overnight in a berth and wake up the next morning and see the mountains.

What a beautiful sight, especially in the eyes of my brother and myself.

A family business

My grandfather and uncle both worked for the CPR, as did my father-in-law. I also worked for the CPR telecommunications department for 6-1⁄2 years after I left school.

I have lots of good memories of my childhood days living in a small town and travelling on trains.

I now live in Bowden not far from the railroad tracks and love the sound of the train whistle. When I see a train go by, I think of my dad who is now deceased.

I recently visited The Canadian Museum of Rail Travel in Cranbrook, B.C. and seeing the caboose and old cars brought back memories.