Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Second Chance at Life!

Victoria BC, July 15, 1960. The end is near for Canadian National Railways 2-8-0 #2141. Clues include the covered stack, and the stencil "D" - 'dead' - on her steam chest. She was born at Canadian Locomotive Company in 1912, and assigned road class M-3-d, sn 1058. She had a tractive effort of 36,920 lbs.


The CNR had two subdivisions on Vancouver Island.
Cowichan Subdivision, which ran into the logging territory at Youbou, end of track, MP 82.9.

“Youbou” was a combination of the names of two officers of the Empire Lumber Company, which operated the first sawmill here beginning in 1914: Mr. Yount, the general manager, and Mr. Bouten, the president of the company.

My Dad’s brother, Alfred McDonald, worked at a logging camp at Youbou as a young man in the 1930’s. And me, as a young man, loved to listen to both my Dad and Uncle Alf relate stories of those days in the logging camp and railroad. One story in particular sticks out in my memory:

Apparently there was a pretty risqué magazine named “Captain Billy’s Wizbang.” It had suggestive stories, and naughty cartoons. You remember the reference to the magazine that Professor Hill made in “The Music Man” points to it as an indication of “a child in the grips of the kind of trouble that arrives with a pool table.” He references it in the song: "Trouble. Ya Got Trouble. Oh, ya got trouble. Terrible, terrible trouble!”

The magazine got passed around the camp at Youbou. The Canadian and American loggers would whoop and laugh out loud at the contents of the magazine. But Uncle Alf said that when the Swedes and Norwegians looked at it, their response was a blank, bland stare. And that elicited another round of whoops and laughter from the Canadians and Americans!

The second subdivision - Tidewater Subdivision, t-boned at Deerholme, MP 58.2, and ran out to Cowichan Bay, all of 7.3 miles. My Dad worked on the CNR B&B gang at Youbou as a young man during the same time period as my Uncle Alf.

Well, this story has a happy ending. The City of Kamloops bought this elder lady for $2,000. She’s building an entire new life for herself, and recently involved a crossing wreck!

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