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Mixed Train M716 is standing at Walkerton station, prior to its 1:00 p.m. departure for Saugeen Junction and Orangeville on August 20,1954. This is one of the very few branch line photographs that I took, and involved a drive of about 100 miles to reach Walkerton. I remember being slightly disappointed when I saw No. 434 on the head end as I had hoped to take a shot of D6b No. 526, the only surviving D6 then left in service. Unfortunately, this locomotive had gone to Toronto for some boiler work.

I had a close association with Train M716 in early 1947, when I fired a couple of trips on that run with Nos. 526 and 536. My first trip on the Walkerton run was a memorable one. It was March 1947, and the countryside around the Lake Huron snow belt was deeply covered in snow. At Orangeville I was introduced to No. 536 and engineer, Al Coffey. The trip to Walkerton with M715 and the ensuing events regarding the return trip are too long to relate here in detail. Suffice to say, No. 536 and crew, myself included, were marooned in a cut a couple of miles from Walkerton, when the biggest snowstorm on record, up to that time, swept through the area. We were on a plough Extra that had been called to clear the line prior to our departure from Walkerton with M716. After two days in the snow, Coffey and I managed to walk along a partially cleared country road to the town, and spent the week awaiting the plough from Orangeville, which arrived with three engines. A few weeks later, I received another call to fire the Walkerton run. This time we had No. 526 and the trip was relatively uneventful.

No. 434 was a D4g, built by the CPR in December 1912. Her last regular service was on the Dranoel to Bobcaygeon Mixed Trains, which she hauled from at least 1956 through to the end of 1958. On April 22, 1959, she met her end at Angus. Light engines of the D4 and D6 classes were almost mandatory on the Walkerton branch because of the bridge over the Saugeen River, a few hundred feet from the Walkerton station. The bridge could not accommodate anything heavier and the situation was rectified in 1957 when facilities were moved to the other side of the river.

The Walkerton branch was originally incorporated as the Walkerton and Lucknow Railway in 1904. In 1907, the line was leased to the CPR, which completed it the following year, from Walkerton to Saugeen Junction, a distance of 37 miles. Passenger service was started a short time later with four trains a day serving the branch. In 1912, these four trains had their numbers changed and two became Nos. 715 and 716.

Through the years passenger numbers declined and by 1932, only trains Nos. 715 and 716 were left and they were reduced to mixed status. Withdrawn in 1957, they were replaced by two freights, Nos. 71 and 72, which ran until October 26,1968. The branch only saw irregular service in its last years. W.H.N.Rossiter

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