|Thursday, November 6, 1930, Vol. 66, No. 45||The Barrie Examiner||Page 9, col. 4|
Station agent at age of 14
D. J. Quinlan, veteran of C.N.R., recalls the early days.
With the retirement of still another member of theOld Guardincidents in the early railway life of the district are again recalled. The retirement, though announced some time ago, was that of D. J. (Dan) Quinlan, who was honored by nearly 150 fellow employees at a banquet last Saturday terminating a career of fifty years with the Canadian National, G.T.R. and old Northern Railways on the Allandale division.
By a coincidence Mr. Quinlan reached his sixty-fifth birthday, the age when railway employees are retired, after completing exactly fifty years of service starting as a boy of little more than fourteen years of age. He began his career with the Northern Railway in April 1880 as relieving agent and operator at various stations along the Allandale division. In June 1881 he was appointed agent at Hawkestone.Hawkestone at that time was a comparatively busy place, Mr. Quinlan told The Examiner.It was looked upon as an important station, shipping baled hay and grain, while a mountain of cordwood was stacked there for the wood-burning engines.
He was only at Hawkestone seven months when he was transferred to Gravenhurst where be became operator and ticket agent. Gravenhurst was then the northern terminus of the Northern Railway. The line to North Bay had not been built and Gravenhurst was the gateway to the north. All freight for the Muskoka districtwas delivered from there.In the winter teamsters would come for fifty miles away with their teams of horses and the occasional yoke of oxen, and all kinds of conveyances, to get the Muskoka freight. I have seen as many as fifty teams lined up on an early winter morning waiting to load up.
Six months after going to Gravenhurst he was appointed operator at Orillia where he remained for nine months. In 1883 he moved to Hamilton where he became night operator, and which had been the headquarters of the old Hamilton and Northwestern Railway which merged with the northern line to become the Northern & Northwestern Railway about the time he began his railway career. He was only a year at that job when he was promoted to chief billing clerk, also at Hamilton, for another year.
His next move was in 1885 when he became agent at Tottenham, but a year and half later he assumed the same duties at Beeton where he spent still another year and then became agent at Milton.
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Dispatcher since 1888
From Milton, Mr. Quinlan cam to Allandale on August 8, 1888, where he became a dispatcher. Here he settled down after considerable roaming, owing to promotion during those first eight years, and when June 1, 1910 came around he was still in Allandale, but had climbed after 22 years a dispatcher to chief dispatcher on this division. He reached the age limit with his sixty-fifth birthday on June 23, 1930.
Only one senior on staff
Peculiarly enough only one man in the division who remains on the staff is his senior. He is Fred Norman, at present a dispatcher at Allandale, who entered the service one year earlier. Then again there are only two men livng who are his seniors on the division. They are Mr. Norman and P. K. Healey, who retired four years ago as a dispatcher after being in the service in 1878.
In the early days
Comparing the early days with those of today, Mr. Quinlan pointed out the vast changes that have taken place in the hauling capacities of the locomotives. "In these days the mountain type engines used today will haul for to five times the load of the those old wood-burners.
"Owing to the small amount of power then, the road was heavily congested with trains. There were three trains where only one runs today. Allandale, prior to 1912 when the Canadian Pacific railway built a line to Sudbury, was the gateway for colonization from Central Ontario to the Canadian West. On each Tuesday during the months of March and April there was a movements of approximately 200 cars of settlers' effects which would require as many as twelve sections of a freight train as well as eight to nine section of the Toronto to North Bay passenger train. That traffic, of course, was begun when the line was completed from Gravenhurst to North about 1890. When the C.P.R. built their line this traffic was absorbed by them."
A the time Mr. Quinlan entered the service with the Northern road the late Fred Cumberland was general manager and the late James Webster was superintendent. The line was merged with the Grand Trunk Railway in 1887 when he was agent at Beeton.
Hawkestone agent at 14
Mr. Quinlan described an incident that occurred when he became agent at Hawkestone at the age of fourteen.In those days from five to six cars of grain and baled hay were loaded at that station, and loading facilities were cramped requiring a good deal of switching. One morning when the Allandale mixed train arrived I have the conductor written orders where to place the cars. Being a somewhat indifferent man at times, he placed them as he desired and not according to the instructions.
"He was about to start out with the train when two shippers came to me saying they could not load the cars the way they were placed. I told the conductor to cut off the engine and place them properly. He declined to do that and gave the engineer the signal to go ahead. But the latter remained still and pointed to the flag which I had placed on the platform. All trains had to stop when that red flag was up. The conductor finally moved the cars. But I stuck to my guns because I thought, being a young kid, it would go hard against me if I allowed these fellows to go against my orders.
"Any success I may have achieved at Allandale," he stressed, "I attribute to the loyalty and co-operation of the dispatchers, operators and agents along the line and to the trainmen and enginemen."
Thought Mr. Quinlan had not been in good health during the past summer, he was looking fine when The Examiner called at his home before he had arisen Wednesday morning. As he reclined in his bed he recalled his climb in the fifty years to become chief dispatcher. He served under five superintendents: James Webster, W. R. Tiffin, P. J. Lynch, W. E. Weegar and W. B. Way.
Mr. and Mrs. Quinlan are the proud parents of six boys and two daughters. The eldest son, Frank E., was recently promoted to be manager of the Bank of Nova Scotia at Regina. Father Gerald R. is chaplain of St. John's Industrial School, Toronto. Father Allan E. is a teacher in Aquinis College, Rochester, N.Y.; and Horace D., B.A. Sc., is with the Canadian National Telegraphers at Ottawa. Mrs. C. G. Filgiano, a daughter resides in Hamilton, while Miss Agnes is at home with her parents.
Railways: C.N.Rys., G.T.Ry., N.Ry. of Can.
Stations: Beeton, Gravenhurst, Hamilton, Hawkestone, Milton, Tottenham