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

The Secret of the Old Swing Bridge video trailer

May 23, 2023

By the spring of 2010, hot on the heels of the Steam Memories of Lindsay release, I felt my attention tugged back toward the CNR's Northern Ontario District. I had already covered this territory in Steam at Allandale, Steam in Northern Ontario, and Steam Scenes of Allandale. Central to these three hardcovers was the junction at Washago, just north of my Orillia hometown.

I had explored Washago numerous times on railfan trips, research expeditions with my friend and research assistant Jeff Smith, and (especially) with my two young sons (Spencer and Duncan). The boys were ten and seven years old by summer 2010, and afternoon trips to Washago to watch trains, play in a community park (near the tracks), and explore the old right-of-way of King's Highway No. 11 through the village captured my imagination.

I yearned to create a mystery novel for kids (and families) as a form of break from the arduous task of researching, writing, publishing and distributing nine railway hardcovers in twelve years. Thus, I conceived The Secret of the Old Swing Bridge, a kind-of hybrid between the classic Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries, featuring a boy and a girl as lead characters.

For this mystery, I mixed together ingredients of the present and the past—the section of abandoned King's Highway No. 11 through Washago, the site of a former road swing bridge across the Trent-Seven Waterway, a former White Rose (Canadian Oil Companies) service station along the old highway, postcard views of nearby (and demolished) Riverview Tourist Cabins, the railway junction itself, President Roosevelt's secret fishing trip (by train) to Northern Ontario in August 1943, and more.

I invite you to watch this short video trailer for The Secret of the Old Swing Bridge:

Introducing The Secret of the Old Swing Bridge

Our video trailer (above) offers a teaser on the scope of The Secret of the Old Swing Bridge.

Now, as a thank-you for having read this post, I offer you a chance to purchase The Secret of the Old Swing Bridge at the original all-inclusive pre-publication price of $19.95 CAD to Canada or $19.95 USD to the United States or overseas (a savings of at least 20% in each case). Click here to request that I send you a custom PayPal invoice at the special price. Alternatively, Canadian readers may remit funds by e-transfer to for the special price.

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