Ian Wilson's blog

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

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2020

Merry Christmas

Late in 1959, my father, the late W. MacLaren Wilson, took this picture of Hepworth station. It’s on the Wiarton Subdivision, a Canadian National branchline running from Park Head to Wiarton. He and my mom, the late Mary Lou Wilson (nee Edwards) were out for a pleasant Sunday afternoon winter’s drive with some friends of theirs.

The gentleman driving the car (George Duncan) on this outing worked for CN Express in Owen Sound. Oh, what the heck. I’ll show you the other picture taken that day as they stopped to take the picture of Hepworth station. That’s 1959 in Ontario—the world I write about.

At the time, passenger and freight and express and mail revenues were all disappearing from railway lines across North America. My “uncle” George was about to be caught up in “downsizing” (a term not in vogue in 1959) and would suffer half a dozen moves in scarcely more years as he was bumped from station to station.

Yet, you know what? Uncle George told my dad that if he had his choice, he’d finish out his days working at Hepworth station. Can’t say I’d blame him!

On behalf of my family (wife Mary-Jo and sons Spencer and Duncan) and myself, Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. We’ve stuck together through this tumultuous year 2020. Here’s to the year 2021 and what it may bring.

Now, we have news for you concerning book and calendar shipments...

All of the pre-ordered 2021 Canadian Branchline calendars have been distributed. The vast majority were sent by letter mail, and the last 30 (or so) with book shipments.

We took delivery of Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 3 last Friday afternoon.

I think you will be as pleased with the new volume as I am!

Starting Monday, December 21, several dozen copies of the new book have been going out every day.

Those of you who had indicated the book was a Christmas present for someone, we manifested on the first day. We also prioritized shipments which included one of the 2021 Canadian Branchline calendars. Otherwise, we’re packaging and shipping books (blending individual pre-orders with retail pre-orders) according to the sequence they were received.

By Christmas Eve, about 1/3 of the new volumes will have been shipped to recipients. The remainder will go out over the next two weeks.

When you book shipment is manifested, you will received an automated email from Canada Post with a tracking number for you (many of you have already received these). If you paid by PayPal, you will also receive an automated email from them.

If you have any questions or concerns, as usual feel free to reply to this email (I can’t promise to be too prompt around Christmas in replying, but I’ll do my best).

And if you haven’t ordered Speed Graphics and Steam 1958! vol. 3, we have fewer than 100 copies now available (as for the 2021 Canadian Branchline wall calendar, we’re down to fewer than 30).

I’d also like to acknowledge the many wonderful emails I have received from readers over the past few weeks, too many to address individually. Your support and understanding is greatly appreciated, and I look forward to serving you in the New Year.

Once again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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