CPR Section House

CPR Section House

Monday, February 28, 2011

McKerrow Section House

  The section house at McKerrow , Ontario was located south of the CPR line but very close to the track. The front door was about 10 feet from the main line . The main line was about 15 feet from Hwy 17 -The Trans Canada .

The house itself sat in a depression beside the track which flooded during spring melt and was marshy during the summer . The back yard was Cattails...so the house was slowly sinking at the back . It had a noticeable tilt from the outside . Inside , Mum said , you could place a ball on the floor by the front door and it would roll through the front room straight to the back wall in the kitchen ; then it would roll to the left and come to rest in the corner.

Being so close to the track , the house shook as in an earthquake with every passing train . Since there was no crossing , it was full speed through McKerrow. However , it did have electricity...there was a light bulb hanging from the ceiling in each room . That meant the coal oil lamps could be put aside for emergencies . They soon realized that could be regularly as passing trains caused the lights to flicker on and off . They got into the habit of crossing their fingers that the current train wouldn't be the one to 'do the electricity in'.

Needless to say , there was no place for a garden . In front there was sand and cinder rail bed and the back was muck . The clothesline pole at the back had a precarious lean west and Mum kept close watch on those good drying days lest the pole gave up under the pressure .
 Late spring until late summer was a continual plague of mosquitos . My sister who was two years old spent little time outside .
 Without a car , there was no getting anywhere for sight-seeing and picnics . But there were still blueberries to be had a few miles walk down the track...just less often . My parents learned that there was a great deal of difference between section houses ...and location was the most important .
 Luckily , there was a little store and neighbours but the friendliness of Snake Creek was not there . Mum said that Tabarette may have been isolated but she would take it anytime over McKerrow..."besides - it had great floors...and they were level ."
Dad was still a section man (now in the Webbwood subdivision) doing the same laborious work as before for the same meager pay . Times were about to get tougher for Mum announced in March that she was pregnant again ... due in December .

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