Rails To The Lakes
160 pages 8.5 x 11", 160 b&w illustrations, hard cover, colour dust jacket, The Boston Mills Press, Erin ON 1980. Two thousand copies were printed, and the book sold out within two years. Of the illustrations in Rails To The Lakes, 52 did not, for one reason or another, re-appear in Hamilton's Other Railway, and the book is definitely a collector's item.
This began around 1977, leading to the book's publication in time for Christmas 1980. My then newly-developed interest in country stations and a definite curiosity about the already long-abandoned Alliston Subdivision were the sparks that set this project aflame. At that time, I had a full-time job and career, and this was well before the age of personal computers, desktop publishing and the convenience of e-mail. Researching this line provided an understanding of Ontario's pioneer history, and in speaking with as many people of all walks of life as I did, I truly felt that I had become a Canadian. I fondly recall the kindness of so many people who shared their memories and their pictures, not to mention the railway photographers and postcard collectors who opened their collections to me, notably among them Bob Sandusky, Al Paterson & Dick George, Allan Anderson, Wilf Anthony and other members of the Toronto Postcard Club.
As this was my first effort at putting a book together, I was also most appreciative of the Boston Mills Press's encouragement and Ralph Beaumont's editorship.
Essentially Rails To the Lakes is a reasonably accurate portrayal of the Hamilton & North Western's story, although the history of Cardwell Junction was not identified, and the information about other key locations, such as Georgetown, Caledonia and Port Dover, is sketchy in some parts.
From a reference and research point of view, it is recommended that readers cross-verify dates and other details with Hamilton's Other Railway.
The book was named Rails to The Lakes as it is about a major 1870s pioneer railway that connected Lake Erie, Lake Ontario at Burlington Bay, Lake Simcoe at Kempenfelt Bay, and Lake Huron at Georgian Bay. This was the previously unrecorded Hamilton & North Western Railway, with its Lake Erie Division, the former Hamilton & Lake Erie Railway. When this book was being worked on, of the remaining "main line" from Jarvis via Hamilton to Allandale, the section between Garnet and Jarvis had recently been abandoned, and the core stretch of the H&NW north of Georgetown to Beeton was in the process of abandonment. More importantly, the ranks of those who had worked on, and had memories and/or photographs of the line, especially of the earlier-abandoned sections, were beginning to thin out.
Collectors looking for a copy may still be lucky enough to find one in the book section of a hobby store, or on-line, or with a dealer in used books. Try one of these:
Antiques on Kent,
44 Kent St. West,
Lindsay ON K9V 2Y2
Paul the Collector,
31 Tanner Road,
Waubaushene ON L0K 2C0
10920 de la Fresniere,
Mirabel QC J7N 2R9
Lakefield Station Bookshop,
P.O. Box 1551 (Stanley Street),
Lakefield ON K0L 2H0