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Credit River bridge on Friday, August 10, 1956

March 02, 2023

Imagine fishing in the Credit River on the morning of Friday, August 10, 1956. It’s almost 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (Railway Time), but going on 9:30 a.m. for the general populace on Daylight Saving Time.

However you read the clock, it’s an idyllic summer morning. We’re heading for a high of 85F today. Best get the fishing in early. We’re looking westward, where there is an older gentleman in front of us, on the riverbank. He’s on the east side of the watercourse, watching his line. There’s a boy making a cast on the opposite shore.

A little ways downstream, at the harbour on Lake Ontario, dredging is underway. A new deep-water wharf is under construction for ships to berth at Port Credit. Trucks are bringing in and dumping some 2,200 tons of stone fill per day. A steam-driven hammer, wielding 15,000 ft.-lbs. per blow, is driving sheet piling into the lake bottom—to a depth of 56 feet. Oh, the noise, noise, noise, NOISE! No wonder we’ve sought refuge upstream.

Oh yes, it figures my dad would get a picture of the dredging. Remember that test roll of film he ran off in a hurry?

But back to those fishermen. They’re so intent on catching a grass pike or a white bass that they are oblivious to what’s overhead. I’m as inclined to enjoy a morning's fishing as anyone else, but when number 14, the Chicago–Montreal International Limited, is passing through behind Northern 6232?

The prototype modeller in me is salivating over those head-end cars on number 14 alone! A Santa Fe express box, three CNR express reefers (probably loaded with fruit and lifted by number 10 at Jeannettes Creek, between Windsor and London), a box-baggage. At speed, no less, because from Oakville to Sunnyside it's non-stop!

As for number 6232, she’s a Toronto (Spadina) engine, racking up 9,118 miles this month on premier trains. Alas, she’ll be handed off to Sarnia for freight service in March 1957, in the wake of passenger diesel deliveries. We already saw how Jim Shaughnessy will be five days late next winter to catch her ilk on number 14.

Nearing the end of our offer

Where do we stand on the $42,000 online launch target for Steam Through Port Credit at this moment? First, thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered, to whatever degree. It’s all helping. We’re not there yet, though. Here's the current picture:

Based on patterns of previous online campaigns, there will be a flurry of orders tomorrow. They’ll perhaps take us into the high 30,000s territory, about 10% short.

What can we do?

Keep in mind, the overall price (including shipping charges and applicable tax) will go up 15-20% after the deadline. What we’re creating here is a limited-edition 192-page hardcover on the finest archival glossy paper stock available, printed and bound by long-time family businesses here in Ontario, Canada. For our small niche market, this is a premium item. Steam Through Port Credit will also be highly coveted when our stocks sell out shortly after release.

And I’m adamantly against cost-saving (but quality-suffering) measures such as less expensive paper stock, reduced page count, softcover binding, eliminating the 24 pages of colour I intend to include, printing offshore, or doing without the services of my photo-finisher Beky with whose work you're already familiar. This book must match the masterpiece criteria of the other Ian Wilson hardcovers on your shelf.

I mentioned before that if we’re close, I’ll try to move heaven-and-earth to push us over the top. If you consider yourself a potential “benefactor” for this project, now’s the time to think about stepping forward (kindly email me at and I’ll apprise you of the situation and discuss how you can help).

This posting is part of the background for the Steam Through Port Credit hardcover (click on the book title to go to its separate page, where you may order a copy).

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