Family did most of their travelling by train

from our March 2013 issue

By June (Wacks) Patrick – Bowden, Alta.

I was raised in Wilkie, Sask. It was a booming railroad town many years ago. My father was a conductor with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). We didn’t have a car in those days and most of our travelling was done by train.

I have many memories of travelling with dad on trains and I loved travelling with him. He’d let me climb up the ladder in the caboose to the cupola. I’d sit in the cupola and wave out the window, pretending there was someone to wave to. There was nothing but grain fields, cows, and horses for miles.

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

We used to travel as a family on the train to Vancouver. We would sleep overnight in a berth and wake up the next morning and see the mountains. What a beautiful sight, especially in the young eyes of my brother and myself.

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 suppose we were a ‘rail family’. Where I now live in Bowden, I am not far from the railroad tracks. I love the sound of the train whistle and when I see a train go by, I think of my dad.

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