Going “Down East” by Rail from Montreal to Halifax

I arrived in North America in 1968 and immediately went to work in Ottawa, Canada. Once the “busy season” was over I was asked to move to Montreal. I had been there for a couple of days when I was asked if I would go “down east” to Halifax to help in the office there = “No prob.”  Winter was approaching so i opted to leave my new Beetle in Montreal. I heard some horrifica stories (no doubt meant to scare me) of flying an egg beater (DC3) which popped rivets from the wings (they said). So train it was.

When I got to the Montreal Station for a 5 pm kick off I was horrified to find that my sleeper was in a battered coach. Two engineers were working on the heating piped from the steam loco. The service was nice (albeit) in  Joual – the name (I found out) for working class french. The loco and consist rattled through the night juddering to a stop several times. The breakfast was an enormous plate of pommes frites, oeufs and jambon. Somebody obviously felt I was hungry. The day part of the trip – what I saw of it through the sleeting rain – along the side of the St. Lawrence gave me a notion of the vastness of Canada.

Times have changed as this vid shows:

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