July 3, 2014
I'm looking out at the Galt station and recalling the events of 43 years ago today.
I started to rattle off an account of the experience, then remembered that I'd done so in the text of Canadian Pacific - Stand fast Craigellachie. Herewith, if you care, is that account.
On July 3rd, 1971, I stood on the platform at Galt as CP RDC2s 9110 and 9115 pulled into town with No. 338, the morning Dayliner to Toronto. The Overseas, the Chicago Express, maroon heavyweights, RPO’s, through cars from Chicago and connecting buses to Kitchener were long gone. Indeed, the A&D board at Galt, which had listed no less than ten trains short years before, now held just two: Windsor-Toronto No. 338 and its westbound counterpart No. 337. In less than 12 hours, they too would be gone.
Ticket in hand, I made my way up the aisle of the 9110 and took up position in a walk-over seat near the front of the car. As the twin 275-h.p. Detroit Diesels slung beneath the floor accelerated No. 338 out of town, memories of that first encounter with the Overseas came flooding back, but, the ticket I was holding was not for the trip of those childhood dreams. It was a ticket to ride the last run of the last scheduled eastbound passenger train to call at Galt.
Chills ran down my spine as No. 338 paraded into Toronto for the last time, the engineer tugging triumphant blasts on the horn all the way from Parkdale to Union Station. In a cacophony K3LA’s, single-note Air Chimes and other horns, CN and CP switchers, other passenger trains and transfers tooted back in salute. Sectionmen, switch tenders and tower levermen waved and the conductor walked the aisle, calling “Toronto Union” for the last time. “Keep them,” he said of the tickets that had gone uncollected, “... keep them as souvenirs.”