that the Bruce area is snow country! This scene is at Laurel, just north of Orangeville
where 4-4-0 woodburner 145
and men pose in a deep cut of snow in March 1896.
Original photograph mounted on cardboard donated by Ernie Jones.
100 YEARS AGO
From the Shelburne newspaper
The Economist. Reprinted 2008 as Dipping Into the Past by the Orangeville
Thursday, February 6, 1908
The storm of Saturday
and Sunday gave the railways a little taste of the conditions of four years ago,
and, incidentally, a taste of what the West had to contend with last winter. Saturday
night the passenger train from Owen Sound due at Shelburne at 5:14 did not reach
the town until about 6:30. It started out bravely for the south and got along
not so badly until the neighbourhood of Laurel was reached, when a big snow bank
proved too difficult for the engine to navigate and she stuck good and solid.
A weakness of the line between Shelburne and Orangeville is that there is neither
telegraphic nor telephonic communications with Crombies or Laurel, so that the
12-mile stretch between Shelburne and Orangeville Junction is a pretty good puzzle
when a train leaves either point and turns up at neither. However, one snow plow
worked its way up from Orangeville during the night and another one down from
Shelburne until they located the stalled train. In the meantime the evening train
from Toronto had reached Orangeville and the passengers had the pleasure of remaining
in the county metropolis at the expense of the CPR. The stalled southbound train
was dug out of its difficulties Sunday night and made its way to Orangeville,
reaching Toronto about 6 a.m. Monday. The line to Shelburne was clear Monday afternoon
and at about 3 p.m. the first train from Toronto since Saturday pulled in. By
Tuesday, the line was clear and everything running in good order again.
All the railways had their little time of it. The Teeswater train met with a mishap
at Teeswater Saturday, the engine and snow plow leaving the rails at an open switch.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardner, of Niagara Falls, were blocked at Orangeville
on their way to attend the funeral of their son in Grand Valley. When they found
they could get no farther by train they started to drive from Orangeville, but
had to turn back after going about three miles, they and their driver suffering
from frost bite.
Thursday, February 13, 1908
Last Wednesday the morning train from Toronto, due at Shelburne at
did not reach the town until 2 p.m., with the engine and
car steps covered
with snow. The train, with over 40 passengers
aboard, did not get away from
Shelburne until 2:10 p.m. Sunday,
Shelburne not getting another train from
Toronto until Monday noon.
An attempt was made Wednesday afternoon to run
an engine from
Orangeville to help to stalled train, but that brave engine
fast at the north semaphore at Orangeville Junction. It took a snow
plow and three engines until Friday night to release this engine.
plow got within a mile of Laurel when it had to go back to
the night. By Saturday night it had only got into
Crow's Cut above Laurel,
about seven miles south of Shelburne.
Finally, at 10 0'clock
Sunday morning, the plow pushed into Shelburne
yard and by 6 p.m. both plow
and stalled train had reached Owen
Sound. Passengers on the stalled train
were guests of the CPR at the
mail from the south via Orangeville by stage Friday and
Saturday and stage
mail was sent to Orangeville for points south on
Victoria Literary Society put on an impromptu program at the
night for the benefit of the passengers on the stalled
train and the Public
Library reading room was thrown open for their
benefit Saturday afternoon.
A couple of sleighloads of passengers
from the stalled train made their way
to Orangeville on Saturday to
catch a southbound train.
Train service into and out of Toronto was reduced by about 60% in
of the various railroad lines being tied up by the snow
storm. The CPR main
line east was badly blocked, there being 18 miles
of track near Locust Hill
filled up with snow. A carload of shovelers
who left Guelph on Thursday morning,
after fighting their way through
drifts all day, reached Toronto at 6:30 p.m.
They reported that the
whole country was covered with immense waves of snow,
depth to eight and 25 feet.
of the late Rev. Geo. Keyes, who died in Orangeville,
February 1, left there
on the train on Wednesday, Feb. 5, for
interment in Chatsworth, but were detained
in Shelburne until Monday,
Feb. 10, on account of the train getting snowed
in. The placing of
his remains in the station is a reminder of other days,
deceased, then known as Rural Dean Keyes, of Chatsworth, and the
Bishop Cronyn, held their first Confirmation service in connection
with is what is now known as St. Paul's Shelburne. This was in 1873
railway station had just been completed. It being the most
in town, the church service was held there on
that occasion and for some time
Thursday, February 20, 1908
Weather got at
its tricks again last weekend. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday it was snow. Saturday
the inevitable freeze and snow storm came along. Trees suffered. So did telegraph
and telephone wires, Shelburne being shut off from the outside world Saturday.
Saturday morning's passenger train came from Toronto three hours late with two
engines. South of Melancthon Station as a snowbank took the outfit to its chilling
embrace and kept it there until a snowplow came to the rescue Sunday forenoon.
An attempt was made to run a train from Owen Sound Saturday afternoon but a drift
welcomed it three miles from the Sound and a yard engine and shovellers had a
circus getting it out and back to its starting point. Saturday night's train from
Toronto reached Shelburne Sunday forenoon and was taken on through after the plow.
The train that had been stalled near Melancthon was taken back to Toronto.
There was no telegraph communication with the south until Sunday morning, the
wires being down. This in itself made the running of trains a ticklish business.
Many of the passengers on the stalled train walked back to Shelburne Saturday
Thursday, February 27, 1908
o On Wednesday
of last week another blockade commenced on the Owen Sound branch of the CPR. The
morning train south did not reach Shelburne until 2 p.m. and there was no train
north on that day. A train that afternoon started from Owen Sound but got stalled
near Corbetton and remained there all night, the passengers passing the night
in the coaches. On Thursday the snowplow from the south got through and was followed
later by a passenger train which reached Shelburne at 3:30 p.m. The mixed train
that had been stalled at Corbetton left Shelburne about 4:00 p.m. for the south,
taking a couple of cars of livestock that had been loaded on Wednesday morning.
The regular southbound evening train on Thursday , due about 5:14 p.m. did not
get down until about four hours later and met the up train in Shelburne. On Friday
evening the southbound passenger train arrived at 9:20 p.m. and the train for
Owen Sound did not reach Shelburne until 12:30 Saturday morning, having been delayed
by the snowplow getting off the track near Orangeville Junction.
o The weather
this week is of the changeable variety. Sunday night was clear and cold and on
Monday morning the temperature stood at 22 degrees below zero F. It was a clear
and bright day but got very windy Monday night with a rise in temperature. Tuesday
was warmer but it started to storm in the afternoon and continued all night. On
Wednesday morning the temperature was only 2 degrees below freezing but the snow
was piled up again in all directions and it looks very much like another blockade
for the railway. The depth of snow at the present time beats anything on record
in this locality.
o Says the Owen Sound Sun: There is indignation in Owen
Sound and all the towns along this branch of the CPR at the irregularity and uncertainty
of the service this winter. For the last few weeks the smallest flurry of snow
would block up the road for days, while other roads - the locally branch of the
GTR, for example - would continue business as usual. The CPR has apparently neglected
this road with the property snow-fighting facilities, with the result that the
business of the railway and the towns served by it has been demoralized for the
last month. It is claimed by some that the local line is improperly manned. Early
in the winter Mr. Nelson, the new division superintendent, closed up a number
of stations, turning them into flag stations for the winter, and dismissed dozens
of men - chiefly section men and yard hands. With so many men laid off the present
siege of snow has found the road sadly crippled for help, and those in charge
without the proper number of hands to keep the road open. There appears to be
no definite organization for snow fighting at this end of the line, and most of
the work has been done by crews from the south. A snowplow should be kept constantly
in Owen Sound in readiness for service. The businessmen of Owen Sound and towns
along the line are certainly justified in making complaints of the train service
More blockades disrupted service on CPR line
YEARS AGO Thursday, March 5, 1908
o A prediction last issue that another
blockade was almost certain was correct. The noon train north on Wednesday was
the last to arrive until Thursday evening, February 27. The train that left Owen
Sound on Wednesday afternoon for Toronto went into the siding at Corbetton to
let the snow plow pass. Astock train going south with 13 cars of cattle, pigs
and horses, was stuck at Shelburne station. The snow plow got stuck the same afternoon
near Laurel, so there was a complete tieup until Thursday evening. The stalled
plow was liberated by another plow from the south and five engines on Thursday
afternoon, and the latter arrived here at 5:40 the same evening. Shortly afterwards
the passenger train arrived and went through to Owen Sound. The train that was
stuck at Corbetton arrived at Shelburne at 7 p.m. and continued the trip to Toronto.
The stock train went south the same night. The storm on Sunday caused another
tieup, and no trains arrived in Shelburne until Monday night.