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Edition #240  February 15, 2015


Photographer: George Pitarys

                                                                                   Photos Collection of George Pitarys


In August of 1964 I was rapidly approaching my tenth birthday, my Dad was a reporter for the Portland newspapers, and most (but not all) rail passenger service in Maine had ended almost four years ago on Labor Day Weekend 1960.

One of the services that remained was a summer only, weekend only train between Montreal and Portland to accommodate the tens of thousands of French Canadians who did ( and still do) annually flock to the miles of sand beaches along Maine's south coast. In order to promote this service, the CN called the Portland paper and offered to take a reporter, a photographer and their families to Montreal on the train, put them up overnight, and bring them back to Portland the next day.

The paper agreed, so my Dad, Mom, younger brother Nick and I joined up with the photographer, his wife, daughter and son, and we all boarded the train at Portland, and had an exciting ride through the late summer afternoon and evening, arriving in Montreal late that night.

We were escorted to our rooms in The Queen Elizabeth, the fine CN owned (at that time) hotel that was above Montreal's Central Station.

The next morning company officers picked us up and took us on a tour of the comparatively new Taschereau Yard, and then put us on the caboose of No 394, the regular freight to Portland. Oh, and I should mention they added the president's business car ahead of the van.

Of course we kids refused to ride anywhere but in the caboose, so the adults took turns "chaperoning" us while the others relaxed in the opulent comfort of the business car. When we arrived at Coaticook Quebec, we had to stop for customs, and my Dad took this shot of the four of us kids on the deck of the 4445. I am the handsome young lad third from the left.

Life changed rapidly for me after that, my Dad died five months later, nine years later I went to work for the railroad, and 38 years later I once again found myself reunited with a certain GP-9, the St Lawrence and Atlantic number 68, born as the GT 4445.

I cannot claim authorship of either of these photos, even though I guess I am central to the pictures... My Dad took one, my son the other.

There is a sort of reunion in that too I guess, though they never knew each other, they have me in common

George Pitarys

See my book Seasons of Trains

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