I was a fireman and I worked mostly on the Lardeau trips which consisted of leaving Nelson at about 9:30 at night on the freight train at Procter. Then while they loaded the train on the barge, I prepared myself for work on the [SS Moyie] boat. I'd go to work at midnight on a six-hour on and a six-hour off deal. That's how they worked on the boat in those days.
That was in 1940. I worked on there in 1940 and 1941. As I say, you usually worked six-hour shifts. When you left Procter at midnight, it was a steady grind all the way up the Lake. Sometimes you went into Kaslo to make a switch, if they had a car of coal for Kaslo or something like that. Then you would proceed to Lardeau. On arrival at Lardeau, you would have, more or less, your six hours in and your relief would take over and you would go and, most of the times, to your room and go to bed cause you'd be all-in from shovelling coal for the last six hours.
They took the train and it took approximately six or seven hours to go to Gerrard and back and do the switching in-between at Marblehead and whatever they had along the way. Howser sometimes. And usually when they came back, loaded up, you were back on duty again. So, it was no easy task. You earned your $2.46 a day, which you got, working out to about two-bits an hour. Eventually we got back to Procter. When they unloaded the barge, we usually rode back to Nelson on the train. More or less got there on a Saturday morning, early.
Well, passenger trains run but you see, Saturday was passenger day and way freight day on the boat. They didn't require the second fireman on passenger days cause they left Procter at 7 o'clock in the morning, Saturday morning, and they did all the local stuff up and down the Lake and passenger stops, when they had passengers. We usually got back to Procter, on that Saturday run, around 4 o'clock in the afternoon. 4:30.
Oh, some of them just went for a ride. It was just an around the Lake ride and others, we'd have some for Johnson's Landing, Argenta or any place like that. Some of them would go in on Saturday and stay a week and come out the next week.
Well, when I was on there, it was approximately ten men. You had two engineers, you had the Captain and the Mate and you had three deckhands and two firemen and the cook. In between, like going up the Lake, the Captain he usually took the boat and barge away from the Wharf and started up the Lake and the Mate would take over and he would steer the boat up the Lake for a certain length of time and then one of the deckhands would go up and relieve him. And everybody took a turn, like the deckhands, in particular, and they all took a turn at the wheel. And then they had other duties too. There was always clean-up here and there. Sometimes they just took the firehose and washed the decks all down. Depending on what they'd been hauling. If they had a load of hay or something like that, they'd just open the gangway doors and take a firehose and wash the deck down. Get rid of all the excess hay. Always something to do.
Audio Clip Description: Lardeau run on the Moyie
Audio Clip Description: Passenger runs on the Moyie
Audio Clip Description: Crew on the Moyie
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