Memories of train ride trumps queen’s coronation

 In Opinion

In June, 1953 we were given a school holiday to celebrate the coronation of our new queen, Elizabeth. How should I celebrate?

Recently I have watched the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth and have also read that Creemore’s Station on the Green is marking 20 years. It seems appropriate to tell you of my celebration of the coronation: a train ride from Creemore to Collingwood.

The local train was very important in my young life. Six days a week, twice a day the train passed my home just to the north on the other side of a hayfield. My sister, Ruth and I always ran to the front step to wave to the men on the train. They waved back and sometimes the engineer gave us a toot, toot.

The plan for the trip to Collingwood included Ruth, my friend, Christina and Ruth’s friend, Diane. Ruth and I walked to Creemore and met Christina and Diane at the station in time for the arrival of the one o’clock train. We each bought a ticket at the price oftwenty-five cents.

When the train arrived there was a great deal of activity as mail bags, cream cans and freight were unloaded. Perhaps a passenger left the coach. In turn mail and freight were loaded for delivery up the line.

There was time to talk to the train man, Gordon, a nice looking young man. Through him arrangements were made for us to leave the coach at the Glen Huron station which was near Smithdale Corner and to climb into the engine to ride to Collingwood. What a thrill. It was exciting to see the unfamiliar scenery as we chugged uphill to Duntroon, then to Nottawa and on to Collingwood where we entered the town along the side of Walnut Street. Occasionally there were people to wave to.

When the train reached First Street it stopped to wait for the signal to proceed. We left the engine and sat on the rails talking to two of the train men. When the signal came we reentered the coach. The train crossed First Street and went along the north side of the road until it reached the vicinity of the shipyards, crossed the street and then eased into the station.

The plan was to enjoy the Collingwood festivities but as we were young teenage girls the real plan was to look over the Collingwood boys. Christina’s father drove us home in the evening. Funny, I have no memory of the festivities or even any Collingwood boys. Just the details of the train ride.

Helen Blackburn is a retired teacher, avid gardener and a long-time contributor to the Creemore Echo. She writes about local history.

Photo: The CNR train on its way through Websterville in the 1952.

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