Choo-choo screamed the Short Line 101 train, as it rumbled up to people who were not-so-patiently waiting to take their turn for a ride.
© Mickey Djuric
Henry Gallen, along with his father David, blow the Short Line 101 train whistle, during Saskatchewan Days at the Western Development Museum. Times-Herald photo by Mickey Djuric
“People get very excited. Whether someone is five or 95, they both act the same way when on the train,” said Dean Redman, who operates the train during the summer at the Western Development Museum (WDM).
During Saskatchewan Days at the museum this past weekend, riding the Short Line was a favourite among visitors despite other activities being offered, and rightfully so. On Sunday, the only thing people were in love with more than the province was the train itself.
For 100 years this train has been in operation, and today it acts as a symbol to Saskatchewan. They’re both strong, sturdy and trustworthy. It remains a reflection of the people who have lived in the province, and the changes both have made throughout time. When the train was first in operation, it was used to transport coal. Conductors would stop in towns and run across the street to hotels to get cleaned up and hit the town.Today, people take pictures out its windows with smartphones and iPads. The Short Line may hold a different meaning, but the importance was never lost among residents of Saskatchewan.
Everyone has a special place in their heart for trains, but also for this province, and this was apparent during Saskatchewan Days at WDM.
“It was really fun,” shouted Jason Ryder, who’s in his 30s but still asked to blow the train whistle. He’s one of many people who showed pride for the strong Saskatchewan symbol.
“Last year we had a woman who was 89 come back to ride the train. Her father used to run the engine on this train, and she wanted to get to ride the train as a passenger this time around, instead of riding as a little girl who rode while her father worked,” said Redman.
The Short Line 101 is a part of our history and culture, and residents who attended Saskatchewan Days were very proud to show it off.
“Saskatchewan Day was a family day to raise awareness about Saskatchewan and we wanted to celebrate the province,” said Daniel Odendaal, who organized the event.
“It’s a source of pride to know where you come from, and what this province is about. We can only hope people took away some of that,” said Odendaal.
Mickey Djuric can be reached at 306-691-1263 or follow her on Twitter @Mickey_MJTimes.