The train from Weyburn to Winnipeg

Flatlander reader Chris Boyle shares his story about taking the train to Winnipeg in 1955, which was a 16-hour trip back then.

We spent Christmas 1955 in Uncle Al and Aunt Wilma’s house on Jessie Avenue in Winnipeg.

My Grandpa Butters, Mom’s Dad, had passed away the previous March, so this was a very significant Christmas for the family.

We got to Winnipeg by taking a passenger train travelling east out of Weyburn.

We left at 6:00 a.m.

The weather was so cold that the crew was under “slow orders” due to a concern about cracking the rails, so we didn’t arrive in Winnipeg until 10 p.m. (We now make the same trip by car in about six hours).

Pictures of the Boyle family on their trip to Winnipeg. SUBMITTED.

I remember when we got to Winnipeg, an old locomotive was covered with Christmas lights, and the ones on the wheels made it look like they were going round and round. It was the Countess of Dufferin, the first locomotive to operate in Western Canada in the 1870s (When we moved to Winnipeg in the 1990s, I looked for the location that was in my memory from age six– the Union Station just didn’t fit. After several years, I stumbled across the old CPR Station on Higgins – that fits!)

During the train trip, I remember my Dad pulling a big duffel bag from between the train seats. I didn’t know it at the time – but I have since concluded that that was Santa’s Sack!

The adventure started the day before we boarded the train in Weyburn. The 20-mile car trip took all day. I remember that my sister, Sally Boyle, crashed into the back of the front seat when the car hit a hard snow drift. Sally injured her mouth. This was in the days before seat belts.

After a few more miles, the car got stuck, and Dad had to walk back to Colgate and get Mac Kitson and his team of horses to pull us out.

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