Ian Wilson's blog

Welcome to the blog of Ian Wilson, author of the award-winning books on 1950s Canadian steam railway operations.

Oh, to be in Barrie in July of 1958...

July 21, 2015

Roundabout this time every year, since the summer of 1982 when I learned of the legendary forays of photographers John Rehor and Don Wood to the province of Ontario, my mind drifts back to a time I wish I had known. I've always thought that the reason I was born just a smidgen too late to witness the railway steam era in my home province was this: that I would be so moved to experience that time period I'd seek to do it any way I knew how. Eventually, I found two ways. Firstly, through a process of self-hypnosis, whereby I projected myself back in time in my imagination and experienced everything moment-to-moment. And secondly, through the medium of writing, whereby I transcribed those moment-to-moment encounters for the benefit of thousands of readers. You can see dozens of photographs, taken by the aforementioned Rehor and Wood, in all the books in my railway steam series. The one here was taken by my friend Herbert H. Harwood Jr. on July 18, 1958. That's Rehor & Wood in the picture, beholding the ready track at the Allandale (Barrie), Ontario roundhouse in the morning. All those Ten Wheelers and Consolidations are ready to head out for a day's work on the network of branchlines radiating from the division point. Travel in distance? No thanks, not for me. Give me time travel—to the railway steam era—instead.

Read More:

Back to the Blog