The end of an era 0
LAURENTIAN VALLEY – After efforts to save the Canadian Pacific railway line between Smiths Falls and Mattawa failed, a piece of history is being removed this week.
A 20-member crew from Swift Railroad Contractors Corporation located in Massey, Ont., west of Sudbury, arrived in the area on Saturday to continue the job of dismantling the Canadian Pacific rail line from Meath Hill westward, according to Glen Cappellani, a retired locomotive engineer who is working on the job.
After spending 40 years of his life riding the rails, he is a little sentimental about the rails being removed, but he understands it is the price of doing business.
“I hate to see it taken out,” Mr. Cappellani said. “This is what linked Canada together, one rail at a time. I have mixed emotions because this was our trans- Canada highway. The railway was my passion.”
After experiencing retirement, he is happy to be back on the job, spending time with the other guys.
Along the way, the crew has encountered people sad to witness the removal of the rails. When the train came through on Saturday, there was a gathering in Petawawa, and when the crew was working in Smiths Falls there were also a number of people on hand to witness the sad piece of Canadian history.
On Tuesday, a group of lucky youngsters had an interesting encounter with members of the crew. While out for a walk along the railway Tuesday morning, Jack Schauer, 8, and his cousins Jordan, 10, and Jake Yocum, 8, were surprised to hear a train whistle. They almost couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the engine on the tracks near the railway crossing at Old Mill Road.
The train eventually stopped and the foreman on board encouraged them to approach and eventually board the train, much to their delight.
Jordan was happy to report they each had a turn to sound the horn (also learned how to stop it), and they got a close-up look at the engine, which was loud and very hot, according to Jake. The three were hoping for a ride on the train, but just having a chance to board was exciting enough for the trio.
The children are in the area visiting their grandparents, Don and Judy Schauer. The tracks pass close to their residence and Mr. Schauer remembers many occasions when the children would run out of the water when they heard the train whistle so they could catch a glimpse of the passing train.
Local residents haven’t seen the last of the crew dismantling the rails. If all goes according to plan, Mr. Cappellani expects the crew will reach Greenwood Road within the next couple of days. The crew will continue to remove and number the rails, which are being shipped out west where they will be reassembled.
Since it was announced the rails would be removed, Renfrew and Lanark counties have been working together to acquire the rail bed for future use.
Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist