When Robert Faught and Wilfred C. Muske stepped off the "Dominion Limited", the Canadian Pacific Railways crack passenger train at the Chapleau station in August, 1950, "something unique in local railroading" was happening, according to the Chapleau Post.
In the case of Mr. Muske, the engineer of the train, "climbed down off the engine to be greeted by a large circle of friends, he was culminating 43 years railroading with the CPR."
The Chapleau Post reported that a similar scene was being enacted on the station platform where a group of relatives and friends gathered to greet Mr. Faught, an ex-Chapleauite conductor who was now living in North Bay.
In the case of Mr. Faught he set a record in Canadian railroading at the time, according to the Chapleau Post. He was completing 55 years service with the CPR. (I wonder if anyone ever equalled or matched Mr. Faught's 55 years.)
Mr. Muske was completing his service when Number 7 arrived but Mr. Faught left Chapleau on Number 4 that evening for North Bay as the conductor, arriving in the early morning hours.
However, the press was at the Chapleau station for the "double retirement" which was called unique in CPR history -- two on the same run retiring essentially at the same time. Bteween them they had 98 years of service on the CPR.
The newspaper report by Ben Ward in the North Bay Nugget described Mr. Faught's arrival in North Bay. "... just after midnight, the CPR's fast eastbound passenger train roared into the North Bay station. Down off an end car stepped a small, brisk man. clad in the neat blue serge of a train conductor. He waved farewell to a group on the coach platform, turned and entered the station office to report his trip.
"A few minutes later he emerged to to watch the train move off into the darkness."
Mr. Faught had finished his last run.
Here are details of his 55-year career with the CPR. He started as a boy by lighting the switch lamps for the railway at a place called Thorncliffe, a few miles east of North Bay. "A boy of ten and still going to school, he was required to rise at dawn to extinguish the lamps and to re-light them at dusk. For that he was paid the handsome salary of $3.00 a month."
In the following years he worked as a timekeeper, hatch boy on coal boats, coach lamp lighter, brakeman and conductor all with the CPR.
He liked to recall those occasions when the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII; the Emperor of Japan and Prime Minister Lloyd George of England travelled on his trains.
By 1904, Mr. Faught was working as a brakeman at Chapleau, and by 1908 was a conductor. For the next 26 years, he took freight trains east and west out of Chapleau, "sometimes in winter storms that sent temperatures down to 60 and 70 below (F)"
He reached the "top rung" when he became a passenger train conductor, and for six years worked on trains from Chapleau to Fort William, now Thunder Bay. In 1940 he was transferred to North Bay and by 1947 his runs were to Chapleau on the Dominion Limited.
The Chapleau Post noted that "in his wallet he carries the prize possession of Canadian railroading - a 50-year service pass honoured as passage on Canadian pacific trains and steamships. With him too, are memories of more than half a century of Railroading across Northern Ontario." My email is email@example.com