Tracks in Time

A troop train leaves Hamilton, Ontario in 1914.
(Photo: Library and Archives Canada e011084104)

Choo! Choo! In times of war, thousands of Canadian soldiers were transported across our vast country by train on their way overseas. Animals travelled by train, too! My great grandmother Winnie met Lieutenant Harry Colebourn at the White River train station in Ontario during the First World War. Harry, from Winnipeg, liked her at first sight (she was such a cute cub) so he named her after his hometown and brought her on board the train as a mascot for his regiment!

Not only troops were transported by trains. Food and supplies also had to be taken by train across Canada to be shipped to the front lines. In fact, did you know that they even had to transport actual railway lines overseas? Tracks were needed on the battlefields to bring ammunition and food to the front lines, and also to take the wounded soldiers back for medical help.

Thousands of kilometers of tracks needed to be laid on the battlefield. Our country responded by sending the Canadian Railway Troops. They were so efficient at laying the tracks that the European engineers were amazed!

Sadly, some of these men were killed or wounded doing their duties. We don’t often talk about this special group and the important role they played in the Allied victory on the Western Front. Let’s get back on track and remember them!

Win the Bear
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