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Leaving Port Credit station in June 1957

February 28, 2023

We’ve become familiar with Toronto–Hamilton commuter train 79 in the past few weeks. And also with the subject engine in this photograph taken by my dad in June 1957.

Dad was about to marry my mom in a week or so. He was a school teacher, and classes had just ended. For the upcoming honeymoon, he’d borrowed my grandfather’s (on my mom’s side) 35mm camera. To familiarize himself with the camera, he ventured around Port Credit late afternoon, close to the longest day of the year.

Dad was taking pictures of anything and anyone in sight—his childhood home, his parents (my grandparents), a couple of local girls who brought their tiny kittens over, dredging operations at the harbour... and some action down by the tracks. The idea was to burn through a roll of slide film and have it processed right away, to see if he’d made the right guesses on exposures, etc. (it was his first time working with colour film).

This picture always quickened my pulse. Dad is standing adjacent to Stavebank Road, which is one major street west of Centre Road (Hurontario Street/King’s Highway No. 10) at Port Credit. He’s looking east, toward the CNR station. A diesel road switcher (probably with the Second Clarkson Switcher) is waiting on a siding. And here approaches Mountain 6027 with commuter train 79.

What is it about this picture? I think it’s that delicious anticipation we all feel when a steam locomotive approaches. The smoke and steam rising skyward, the ever-intensifying sound of the locomotive, the increasing speed of the train, the moment your heart quickens and your finger trembles on the shutter because you’re torn between the exhilaration of watching this magnificent locomotive to imprint her on your memory, or devote your attention to the viewfinder for the benefit of a thousand tomorrows.

Thanks, Dad, for choosing the viewfinder on this day.

Mom and Dad were married a week after this picture was taken. They moved a couple of times over the next two years, then settled in Barrie. While their house was being built, Dad renewed his acquaintance with the familiar CNR Mountain 6027. Only... this was for the last time. She was in derelict condition in the deadlines at Stratford, out of service for a year. She would languish there being put out of her misery in August 1960.

A tale of two Steam Through Port Credits

What will it be for the proposed Steam Through Port Credit? A wallowing end like the 6027 at Stratford... or the exciting anticipation represented by the same engine accelerating out of the station with number 79? A “no-go”... or a “go”?

In the past couple of days, a few readers have quietly confided in me that they’re watching the numbers, they want to see Steam Through Port Credit materialize, and they’re willing to help push the project over the top. I mention this to you readers apprehensive about putting your money down on a project that may not be a “go”.

Go on, Ian, gimme the goods on what you're gonna do

Well, I’ll say this now—Steam Through Port Credit WILL BE A GO.

How can I assume this? The readers mentioned above, sincere in their support. My own analysis of past online campaigns, knowing the proportion of orders that come in over the last 48 hours. And anticipating that the numbers will be “close enough” to put in a final push to close the deal. So, push those buttons now (click the book title link anywhere in this broadcast to go to the book page). I give you my assurance we’ll make Steam Through Port Credit a go.

Here’s where we are now

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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