Saturday, December 31, 2016

DAR 1949 Digby to Halifax

This post shows photos from 1949 which were taken during part of a vacation my father took while he was employed with the Auditor of Freight Receipts at CPR headquarters at Windsor Station, Montreal. He was probably using a 'box camera' with the typical roll film of the era.

This leg of his trip was from Montreal to Saint John, Digby and Halifax. His actual ticket stubs appear at the end of this post. Unless otherwise noted, the materials are from his collection.

After taking an overnight train over the CPR 'short line' via Maine, he took the CPR ferry SS Princess Helene to reach the DAR train at the Digby wharf which took him to Halifax.

Looking at the Table 9 below, he probably followed the schedule under Train 98 ... leaving Montreal at 1515hr, arriving at Saint John at 0645hr for the ferry departure at 0745hr and departing Digby by train at 1201hr for an arrival on CNR rails at Halifax at 1815hr.

Travel time: 27 hours - Montreal to Halifax.

from: CPR Public Timetable September 1947.

I included Table 9A (above) because it shows the equipment used on various DAR passenger trains. Travelling on an employee pass, my father took a lower berth to Saint John, and was probably in a coach Digby to Halifax. My father's 1949 timetable had been cut and re-constituted so a 'mint' condition 1947 timetable is reproduced here.

Fast 'land bridge' service between Halifax and Yarmouth,
with steamship transportation Yarmouth to Boston,
was an early and longstanding source of passenger revenue for the DAR.
See trains 95 and 98, and the map above.

from: Canada by Canadian Pacific, no date, c1950.

The illustration above comes from my father's contemporary collection of pamphlets. The small advertising image of 'his' lower berth was not really useful so it is not included. Notice the (probably) 'anti-motion sickness' hue of green paint in the drawing room. The clerestory-ceiled parlour and dining car images are included for their woodgrain elegance.

He was travelling just four years after the end of World War Two ... so post-war equipment and marketing decisions were probably still being made, and were gradually being implemented ... after a long period of 'making do with current assets' during the national war effort.

Speaking of wartime exigencies: While it was still being threatened by Hitler's Unterseeboots, the SS Princess Helene usually had some sort of surface or airborne military escort - particularly after the sinking of the Newfoundland Railway's SS Caribou in 1942.

Unused patent 'postcard'.

from: The Land of Evangeline; Dominion Atlantic Railway; 1947.
Gift (1980) of E N Bytalan - an accountant friend of my father's from his CPR days.

A historical digression ...

On the Romantic History of Evangeline and the Acadians

Pictured above is a sort of a railway theme park. The DAR (leased by the CPR for 999 years in 1911) had used both the fictional character 'Evangeline' and her ethnic group 'the Acadians' as passenger marketing attractions. Between 1917 and 1930, this pleasant setting became the new focus of railway and provincial efforts to attract tourism. 

The view in the photo, above, would be seen to the north as passengers detrained at Grand Pre. The guidebook above carefully states that the site is a 'memorial' with a 'replica' church of 'Norman character'. (Today this setting is part of Canada's Grand Pre National Historic Site.)

Coming from France, these French-speaking Roman Catholic settlers had started new-world lives around the Bay of Fundy, and elsewhere in the region, between 1632 and 1653. The extreme tides of the Bay lent the tidal zone to diking and eventual desalination by the settlers ... to produce the rich farmland yielded from these labourious, time-consuming techniques.

To jump ahead a century, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - born in Portland, Maine - wrote a 16,000 word poem, which was published in 1847. Titled Evangeline, it told the story of the 'expulsion' of these Acadians at the hands of the British. (As a teacher of both History and English, and with a Queen's University education, my father would have studied and taught this work.)

Although Longfellow could have been rather more brief about it, he gives the reader the separation of young Evangeline and her betrothed Gabriel as a small-scale personification of a large-scale tragic event during a complex period in history. This poem awoke the English-speaking world to the tragedy of the Acadians ... no doubt French-speaking North Americans would have a persisting cultural memory of these events.

Permanent family separations did occur as the Acadians were dispersed. Several hundred drowned as their transport ships sank. As a shock and awe memory aid that they would not be returning, most of the Acadians' buildings, including their Catholic churches, were torched as they were taken away. Settlers from Connecticut (Longfellow omits) were pleased to help the British authorities make the area more ethnically uniform by taking over the rich farmland thus vacated around the Bay of Fundy. 

A historian would say this was how most European great powers of the day conducted business. Everybody did it. 

Boiling it down:

The Grand Pre theme park is a 1920-era tourism representation 
... of an 1847-era artistic representation ... of complex historical events which culminated in 1755.

... end of digression.

Grand Pre can be seen on the map below - south of the Minas Basin.

from: The Land of Evangeline; Dominion Atlantic Railway; 1947.

Starting my father's 1949 trip to the Land of Evangeline ...

Similarly to my overnight trip to Fredericton Junction in the 1960s, my father took no photographs of his overnight train. The first photo is taken aboard the SS Princess Helene in the low, morning sun of early October. The coal fire is drafting nicely. You can see the three-element steam whistle mounted on the stack. This ship was built in Scotland for Saint John to Digby service and was used there between 1930 and 1963.

In Saint John harbour, the crew is in the process of casting off. Their uniforms were patterned after those of the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy. At the right, a cross-harbour ferry and coal-powered dock cranes can be seen.

Grain elevators and some of Saint John's skyline can be seen as the Digby boat leaves the dock.

This may be Partridge Island - site of the harbour's main lighthouse.
It seems likely that some of the structures were added during the World Wars.
Torpedo nets, guns and other defensive features may have been associated with the island.

Having crossed the Bay of Fundy under calm conditions,
the Princess Helene is probably approaching Digby Gut, and beyond it, the Annapolis Basin.

The ferry has arrived at Digby.

The bridge, masts and single stack of the Princess Helene are seen beyond the railway's harbour facilities.
My father's train probably awaits the handling of baggage, mail and express before departing from the dock into Digby.

On a nearby dock, the A J Falkland takes on lumber.

The ferry's stack and masts are still in sight as the train travels through Digby. With ship and train movements subject to blizzards and ocean storms, local accommodations would sometimes be important for waiting out bad weather and delayed transportation.

The CPR Digby Pines resort is seen from the train.

from: Canadian Pacific Hotels from Sea to Sea; 1950.

This engine at Digby was built for the CPR by Saxon
(Sachsische Maschinenbau AG, Chemnitz) in October 1903.
It was scrapped in August 1952.

The greater Digby area is seen from the train.
The top of an evergreen bisects the Princess Helene at the wharf.
To its right, descending to the right, is the white-fronted Digby Pines resort.

Barrels of apples appear trackside in an orchard.

An apple processing and storage facility.

The Canadian National Hotel Nova Scotian with the Halifax station at the right.

Below, are my father's vacation documents for both ends of his trip as he mounted them in his photo album.
The Lord Nelson is the CPR's answer to the CNR Hotel Nova Scotian.

His trip will continue from Halifax to Yarmouth on the CNR.
Then he will return Yarmouth to Montreal via the CPR.