Mile 8.5: 7th Concession Westminster (Stop 8)

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This photo, taken at the 7th concession ( now Manning Road ), shows a typical rural flag stop on the L&PS in the 1920s. Most stops were provided with this type of simple shelter. Passengers raised the flag to signal the oncoming train. The entire right of way was fenced to prevent collisions with cattle and other animals. The original fencing was constructed by the farmers along the route, who welcomed the chance to earn some extra income in the off-season. At each road crossing, trains passed through a gap in the fence which was protected by a grate of metal bars between the ties. The animals are unable to walk on the grates and tended to avoid them. The road grade crossing itself consisted of wooden timbers between the ties and was marked with crossbuck signs. In the 1920's these signs would say 'Railway Crossing'. It wasn't until the 50's and 60's that the term 'Railroad Crossing' came into common use in Canada. A sign with two white dots ( off the photo to the right ) was a warning to the snow plow flanger operators to raise the blade over the cattle guards and grade crossing timbers. Further back from the crossing, a WX sign would remind the engineers to sound their warning whistle. In the 1920's the HEPC ( Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario ) was mandated to electrify the rural areas of the province. The result of that effort is visible here in the line of new utility poles along the concession road. The final detail in this scene is the mileage marker nailed to the telephone pole in the distance. One element that is missing is a sign identifying the stop number or stop name. I'd be quite interested in information on how these stops were typically signed.


I haven't seen any evidence of light poles being provided at these stops and I was interested in knowing how the passengers signalled the oncoming train at night. John Frum kindly answered my query with this interesting story!

from "Trolley Car Treasury" by Frank Rowsome and Stephen D. Maguire.

"As a wide-eyed youngster, perhaps the most exciting experience was the first time you boarded an interurban at night at a deserted rural stop. A grownup relative would come to see you safely aboard. Waiting at the open-sided shed in the darkness, you'd learn that an 'intending passenger' was supposed to show a light. In the distance there would sound the faint hum of electric motors, and in a moment the wire overhead would begin to sing. If no lantern was handy, the grownup with you would roll up a sheet of newspaper and touch a match to it. Down the track the interurban would come rushing at 60 miles an hour, its arc headlight shining with a blue-white brilliance. If by accident the newspaper wasn't lighted soon enough, the car would most likely overshoot, braking to a stop several hundred feet along the track with angry blasts of compressed air. Leaning out his window as he backed up, the motorman would bawl out: 'Hey mister, show that light before I get by you! Think I can stop this car on a dime?' "

Thanks John!


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