The Montreal & Southern Counties
The Montreal & Southern Counties Railway, with its 50 miles of track, was the key to the opening of the South Shore.
The railway built their platforms at each subdivision where people had congregated. Each station was given name, and the railway complied with the name on the platform or station and on the tickets and timetables. There were about four trains each way daily, with specials on holidays and limited on weekends.
Coming from Montreal the stations were in this order:
The M&SC Railway was the making of the South Shore communities. The train crews were friends of the people. We even knew and called them by their names: Mr. Cyr, a long service conductor; Maurice, a new young man; Mr. Day, a motorman; and the section gang who pumped up and down the track several times a day, keeping the line in perfect condition. They always waved to us, and as sleepers were renewed as part of the roadbed they would leave the old ones in the ditch hoping someone could use them.
When my father was building, there was no way to get lumber except from Montreal. It was loaded on the M&SC at McGill Street and brought out on the freight. Instead of taking it right into the station, it was put off opposite our house by the train crew. This saved us a lot of hauling, as my brothers and I would carry it home one board at a time, the short distance of 200 ft., then pile it up in triangle fashion to dry out in a field near the house.
The M&SC kept good time even in winter. Great snow ploughs with extending wings kept the track clear. However, one day during school hours as we were all at school in the station house, the plough came along in a terrific blizzard visibility was nil. The operator failed to pull in the side wing. This solid iron wing struck the platform. It shot about ten feet up in the air and smashed all the planks.
We in the station house had a grandstand view without realizing the danger. No one was hurt, but after that warning signs were put on the railway some distance back from the station, and all the windows were whitewashed so that we never saw what was going on.
I remember the Central Vermont Railway, which used to run past our house. There were two very light steam engines, nos. 55 & 66, which were painted black and white. They were beautiful little engines and always brought along two lightweight carriages.