Summerside - Historian Allan Graham offers the public a rare glimpse on P.E.I. railways this week.
A valuable book written in the 1870’s that dissects the construction of the railway stations across the Island, including the material, labour, dates, costs, etc., alphabetically, will be on show during the presentation.
Greg Deighan, who plans to attend the event, has many fond memories to share on the heavy steam trains that once crawled along the tracks.
“I was on the platform, and the train was just pulling down the track. A tourist asked the guy standing on the platform if he had missed his train, and if he could run and catch it. The guy (on the platform) said if you run you would pass it.”
Deighan recounted his special connection to the railways.
“My father (Ernest) joined the railways at 17-years-old in 1917 and he retired in 1965. He went from working at Port Borden, when it was being built, and he ended as an engineer working in Summerside.”
He added, “The railway employed a lot of people. It was a big part of the economy on P.E.I., and when it ended it was a double whammy.”
Island historian George Dalton, who has the valuable book in his possession, and also shares the views of Deighan on preserving the past for future generations said, “We’re under threat with our heritage.”
He added, “Progress doesn’t bother me. It never has, but you need to blend the two together because people who lose their heritage can lose their identity.”
The first segment on the P.E.I. Railways presentation is scheduled at the Eptek Centre on Thursday at 6.30 p.m. Participants are asked to bring any memorabilia to the event, as well as share their stories.
Stage two and three of the presentation will be hosted by historian John Perry at the same location on Sunday 29 at 1.30 p.m.