Hey, let’s build a railway!


We’ve all come to recognize that transportation along the Ottawa River is cumbersome, slow and inefficient. It served us well when canoes hauled furs down, and imported manufactured goods up, The Grand Waterway. It also served us as mass transport for rafts of timbers to the shipyards of Britain, but changing fashion and peace in Europe have diminished the markets for those products. Now is the time to consider a bold move into the modern world, by constructing a railroad through the Pontiac, to connect Ottawa and the east to Waltham and Pembroke, and the wide-open Westlands beyond. Anyone with an imagination can see that this will open up trade and facilitate Pontiacers exporting farm and forest products to world markets.

The costs will be minimal, as wealthy industrialists will gladly provide the funding to purchase the right-of-way corridor, and the formidable task of levelling roadbed and laying tracks can be accomplished with cheap imported labourers.  A new era of economic prosperity is just ahead of us!

Detractors may insist that steam-powered train locomotives are pollution machines, but eventually, the steam trains will be replaced by diesel-fuelled internal combustion engines, which are virtually pollution-free. The speed and efficiency of travel along smooth steel rails will bring a tear to the eye of commuters and business travellers, and we will wonder how we got along without it!  History will show us to have been blessed with foresight, and our children’s children will thank us for our timely action.

Author’s note: Oops! I seem to have missed a publication deadline by about a century and a half; however, some aspects still apply.

Robert Wills
Thorne and Shawville