Reminiscences of a Railroader. Real life experiences of a C.P.R. shop and fireman from the steam era of railroading.
I am pleased to welcome a new writer to the web pages of OLD TIME TRAINS. W.H.N.Rossiter is a retired railroader whose name has appeared as a credit under, many fine photographs including those in three of his own books.
To many, railroading was a way of life, to some it was just a job, but to a few it was something to be experienced and documented. Newton Rossiter is one of those very few who took an interest in his vocation beyond work hours, he went out and photographed trains, in some instances the very engines he had worked on in the roundhouse just hours earlier. Some of these photographs have appeared many times over the years in various publications.
Newton began railroading in April 1946 at John Street, a passenger roundhouse in downtown Toronto. He began as a labourer doing various jobs including greasing, wiping, lighting up etc. following which he was set-up as a fireman, but soon came to dislike the unpredictable hours of spare board work and lacking seniority to hold assigned jobs he relinquished his fireman's position and reverted to being a shopman with steady hours and days off. He worked as a machinist's helper and later on the boiler gang where he spent most of his years before dieselization began the cut backs which in May 1958 affected him. He was able to bump into the Back Shop at West Toronto for a short time and then in the spring of 1959 he went to Lambton roundhouse. Further cut backs caused him to transfer to the Car Dept. as a helper where he worked until the opening of Toronto Yard (in Agincourt) in April 1964 where he worked as a carman doing inspections of outbound or inbound trains. This he did until he retired in October 1986 with over 40 years of service with the C.P.R.
His real life experiences were written about in three very interesting books published some years ago by the BRMNA of Calgary and still available. Visit our LIBRARY for more information.
I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I have.