Ian Wilson's blog

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

CNR steam helper service at Burlington

February 24, 2023

Thought you would enjoy a short sequence of pictures taken by my late friend Jim Shaughnessy. This is the kind of action which took place on the Oakville Subdivision, and which will form part of the Steam Through Port Credit story.

It’s Saturday, August 18, 1956. Jim has taken refuge in the Brant Street crossing watchman’s shanty at Burlington. Here’s a map for reference:

It’s a murky day and the photography is not optimal under these conditions. But... we can’t go out there and experience it today, so we’ll take it!

In this short selection, we see a freight train off the Beach Subdivision headed by CNR Mikado 3416. The Beach Subdivision allowed trains between Toronto and Niagara Falls or Fort Erie to bypass Hamilton yard.

In this instance, the road engine is getting an assist up the grade from Mountain 6027 on the tail end.

The passenger locomotive is laying over at Hamilton off commuter train 79 from Toronto, an assignment we will showcase extensively in Steam Through Port Credit.

Say, Ian, what if you don't reach your fundraising goal for the book?

A reader asked me this important question yesterday. If Steam Through Port Credit is not a “go”, what happens to the money collected?

My answer: If the funds aren't successfully raised by the deadline, they will be returned FULLY and IMMEDIATELY and the project SCRAPPED.

If we're close—say at least 85% of the way—by the deadline, I'll probably extend it a day or two with one last pitch to see if we can push it over the top.

So, no worries to you in plunking money down now. I have a stellar reputation with readers and PayPal which I have no intention of jeopardizing, so your funds will come right back to you.

As I write this, we’re past the 38% mark on the way to reaching the threshold. That’s in the touch-and-go category, based on patterns from previous online launches.

If you don't succeed, what will you do next?

This is the larger issue. If Steam Through Port Credit is not a “go”, I will leave the field.

Oh, you may see a calendar issue from me later this year, and I’ll contemplate whether or not to offer e-book versions of my five hardcovers which are out of print.

But, if Steam Through Port Credit does not succeed in reaching the threshold—in six days?

It will be over for me in the field of producing extensively-researched hardcover books on Canadian railway operations in the late steam era. This book, and any others which may have materialized, will be relegated to the “It Might Have Been” category.

Sometimes it takes a crowd

That’s why I urge you all to participate in the successful execution of this Steam Through Port Credit vision. Ideally, that is through purchasing one of the offered packages. Additionally, you can spread the word far and wide to your network. The time is now. A week from now will be too late.

Frankly speaking, we’re into the era of crowd funding for artistic works nowadays, especially those for small niche markets. You readers are as passionate about the material as I am—but with such a tight focus, we’re a small group. That’s why I’ve set up the opportunity for readers to not just purchase a book per se, but to contribute to this project seeing the light of day, in a larger way.

Thank you for all consideration!

One more thing, Ian—did you receive my order okay?

In the next while, I’ll send out some acknowledgements of having received your individual orders. Auto-replies for orders received were something I hadn’t set up before the “open cart” phase. But the mechanism is in place to do that after the fact.

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).

If you haven't already, please subscribe to my Canadian Branchline email list. You’ll find signup boxes on the principal pages of this website, such as at the bottom of the landing page Most of my online content eventually appears on my blog or (less occasionally) in a social media post, but email subscription is the only guaranteed way to see the material—and immediately upon release, at that.

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