Whistle Posts West

Everybody has a train story. Whether it comes from a distant relative who worked on the railways or from a family train trip that formed a lasting impression of the Canadian landscape, trains inspire a sense of wonder and nostalgia. They are embedded in the history of Canada as a whole and western Canada in particular, and for generations they were how most people travelled and saw the country. Today, trains get the most attention in the context of tragedy, in the aftermath of rare but catastrophic derailments. However, train stories go beyond these modern-day disaster tales or romantic glimpses into the past. Whistle Posts West presents a compelling array of stories that illustrate how and why the railways continue to capture our imaginations. From the heartbreaking to the humorous, from the awe-inspiring to the absurd, this fascinating collection of railway tales from BC and Alberta is sure to please.

Table des matières

Table des matières
Whistle Posts West 1
Authors’ Note 10
Contents 11
Foreword 13
Introduction 15
Time Tunnel 20
Whistle Post One: Routes and Rails 27
Pathways to the West 28
From China to the Rails of Gold Mountain 33
The Craigellachie Kid and the Four “Last Spikes” 37
Promises, Promises 44
As Smooth as Silk 50
Poetry in Locomotion 54
Whistle Post Two: Desperation and Disasters 65
“This is a Holdup. Give Us Your Coal!” 66
Terrorism on the Tracks 72
Caboose on the Loose 82
Eighteen Seconds to Hell 88
Bridges and Barges Don’t Mix Well 95
Whistle Post Three: Working on the Railroad 101
Building the Kettle Valley Railroad 102
Whistling Up a Warning 111
Leaving Town 117
A Day Out ofthe Ordinary 129
Which Piece Goes Where? 137
Whistle Post Four: Trackside Bedtime Stories 147
Billy Miner’s Missing Loot 148
Sunken Engine Creek 157
A Royal Locomotive Rides the Rails 161
The Train With No Name 167
Women at Work—and Play—on the Railroad 179
Whistle Post Five: Riding the Rails into the Future 189
The Mountaineer 190
Interurbanation 196
Afterword 203
Western Canada Rail Experiences 205
Sources 207
Acknowledgements 211
Index 213
About the Authors 222