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Railway Workers and Builders

Thomas Currah

Over 70 years a faithful member of his church, over 45 years a retired railroad employee, and for 28 years a member a member of St. Thomas City Council, Thomas Howard Currah was born October 30, 1893 at Oil Springs, Enniskillen Township, Lambton County, Ontario. The Currah family hailed from Carrigill, Parish of Alston, in […]

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Peter Laing

Peter Laing was among the last of a vanishing breed. Emigrating from Scotland as a young boy, he found his first jobs in the railway industry. Having a long service record with the Michigan Central and New York Central Railway, he was a gifted machinist, who worked on the massive machinery involved in railway operations. […]

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Chief Crowfoot

Canadian Chief Crowfoot helped to maintain peaceful relationships between First Nations and Canada, and paved the way for the building of the railway across the western provinces. Chief Crowfoot was born Astoxkomi or “Shot Close” in 1839 by the Belly River in what is now southern Alberta, Canada. Shot Close was known for his bravery […]

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Chinese Work Force

About 17,000 Chinese workers came to western Canada during the early 1880s to work on the treacherous railroad route between Port Moody and Eagle Pass in British Columbia. Although some returned home once the Canadian Pacific Railway was finished, many remained on the west coast, making the new nation their home. In 1871, British Columbia […]

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Robert Bandeen

Robert Angus Bandeen was born in Rodney, Ontario in 1930. Attending the University of Western Ontario, Bandeen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science in 1952 Three years later he finished his Ph.D. in economics and statistics from Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. The same year, he began his career […]

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Alton V. Johnston

Alton V. Johnston was born in St. Thomas, Ontario on July 31, 1909. He began working at the Bridge and Building (B&B) Department of the Canadian National Railway in St. Thomas in 1927. He then attended Queen’s University, and returned to St. Thomas to become the Bridge and Building superintendent in St. Thomas. In 1955, […]

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Alfred Perlman

In June of 1954 Alfred E. Perlman was appointed president of the New York Central (NYC.) His first task was to evaluate operations and his conclusions were contrary to those who had preceded him. Perlman felt that the New York Central was not getting enough use out of its new diesel electric locomotives, that the […]

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Donald Smith

The vision of a railroad connecting eastern and western Canada was a dream of many people. Donald Smith decided to act upon this idea. He was involved in the railway in many capacities, including helping to finance the project. Born in 1820, Donald Smith and became a financier and politician before moving to Canada from […]

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James Bell

James A. Bell was born in 1851, in the township of Lobo, county of Middlesex. He received his early education in public and private county schools, during which time he showed interest in maps and planning. In 1875, he graduated as an Ontario Land Surveyor. The following year, Bell came to St. Thomas to permanently […]

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Jack Brumpton

Jack’s career on the railroad started a little differently than most. His interest lay in the telegraph, a vital part of the railroad. Jack Brumpton was born June 16, 1899 on a farm half a mile east of Dexter Corners on Lakeshore Road, south of Sparta. In his early years, Jack worked for various banks […]

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