The First Train to Perth–and I Don’t Know if I’m Ever Coming Home! Seriously!

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The First Train to Perth–and I Don’t Know if I’m Ever Coming Home! Seriously!

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On January 21, 1869 smoke billowed out of the wide funnel of the wood-burning locomotive engine of the B & O train (Brockville and Ottawa Railway Company) as the temperature roared 40 degrees below zero and a blizzard blew across Brockville. The two little wooden cars were crowded with excited passengers along with a reporter for this maiden journey to the end of the line– which was Perth.

A week previous a train inspector had ‘thumbed up’ the journey and pronounced it safe and ready for business. But, it had snowed the day before, which inspectors had not anticipated, nor the passengers. The trip was reported as uneventful to Smiths Falls-but from Smiths Falls the journey was described as a ‘heap of trouble’. Snow and ice had caked on the rails of the puffing wood burner and the trains could just not gain any traction. The ‘cowcatcher’ caught all the snow in the centre tracks and turned it over on the rails now rendering progress impossible.

Some decided to go home after sitting there for awhile trusting the Perth Stage to get them home. However, the bolder folks decided to stay put on the ‘iron horse’ that had scorned the old planks roads over the swamps. The second engine had not hauled their passengers every far when it balked.  The engine was now dry and the passengers were instructed to scour the frozen ditches and creeks for water. This chore had to be done again a few miles down the road and then stalled once again barely two miles from Perth.

 

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The last train on the car came to a dead stop as the coupling of the car had given way leaving a car full of passengers all alone until the engine returned from Perth with a rope to hitch to the car. Finally at 7 that evening the engine lurched into Perth with passengers who had been on a train nearly 10 hours to travel 40 miles, and there remained the return journey. The train was supposed to return to Brockville at 8 that night but in the shunting of the train one of the cars had gotten off the track. Three more hours were spent in the cold bleak railway yard before the car was hoisted back on the rails.

 

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Photo by  Smiths Falls Railway History

 

Finally at 11 pm “all aboard” was called and the weary passengers arrived home at half past three that morning never ever to forget their first journey on the B and O Railway. But soon everyone did forget about that disastrous first journey and wanted to travel by rail. In February of 1859 The Bathurst Courier published its first advertisement featuring the first railroad time table and rates. The fare from Smiths Falls to Perth was 10 cents and from Perth to Brockville was a mere $1.50 return. Of course it wasn’t long before the Perth editor was lamenting in his newspaper that the journey to Brockville was taking business away from Perth.

 

historicalnotes

The line was extended to Carleton Place in 1859 and reached the Ottawa River through Almonte, Arnprior, and Sand Point in 1864. B & O turned over the right to build from Arnprior to Pembroke to Canada Central Railway and the line was extended through Renfrew County in the 1870s. Both companies were united under Canadian Pacific Railway Company and linked with a transcontinental network in 1881. Smiths Falls Railway History

 

Saturday October 7th & Sunday October 8th (Thanksgiving) (Tickets on sale September 2nd)

Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario

Smiths Falls, Ontario

 

 

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

 

relatedreading

James Fanning– Robert Nolan– Train Accident

When Trains Crash —Ashton Train Accident 1950

Clippings of The Old Perth Train Station

The Glen Tay Train Wrecks of Lanark County

Did You Know About These Local Train Wrecks?

Tragedy and Suffering in Lanark County-Trains and Cellar Stairs

I was Born a Boxcar Child- Tales of the Railroad

The Lanark County “Carpetbaggers”–Lanark Electric Railway

The Titanic of a Railway Disaster — Dr. Allan McLellan of Carleton Place

What Happened on the CPR Railway Bridge?

Memories from Carleton Place–Llew Lloyd and Peter Iveson

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling — Our Haunted Heritage

So Which William Built the Carleton Place Railway Bridge?

The trial of W. H. S. Simpson the Railway Mail Clerk

55 years ago–One of the Most Tragic Accidents in the History of Almonte

The Kick and Push Town of Folger

Train Accident? Five Bucks and a Free Lunch in Carleton Place Should Settle it

The Men That Road the Rails

The Mystery Streets of Carleton Place– Where was the First Train Station?

Memories of When Rail was King- Carleton Place

 

 

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Friday October the 13th– 6:30.. meet in front of the old Leland Hotel on Bridge Street (Scott Reid’s office) and enjoy a one hour Bridge Street walk with stories of murder mayhem and Believe it or Not!!. Some tales might not be appropriate for young ears. FREE!–

 

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About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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