Conceived in hope during the days of Colonial Government, the Newfoundland Railway survived 88 years and countless bureaucratic near misses before suffering its first blow in July 1969. With the suspension of passenger service aboard the Newfie Bullet, the 20-year-old CN Railway seemed to be doomed from the start and finally died in controversy in September 1988 with a payout from the Federal Government of Canada that promised to improve the provincial Newfoundland road system.
And so, just like that, a remarkable era of Newfoundland history came to a grinding halt leaving a whole population of people in mourning. The Bullet ~ Stories From The Newfoundland Railway is a compilation of memories, stories and recollections that provides a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes operation of a struggling transportation service and the proud people who lived and died on the tracks.
The Bullet by Robert Hunt is the fifth book following a trilogy of memoirs and a book of short stories that detail the life and times of growing up in St.John’s, Newfoundland, “when many people barely survived on their income.” Readers will be happy to know that Hunt opens this classic piece of Canadiana by detailing the historical context in which the Newfoundland Railway was born. History buffs will appreciate his comprehensive account of all the significant players who contributed to the success and eventual demise of the pre-Confederation railway.
True to form, Hunt writes from the heart in recalling his love for the railway and the people whom he befriended. As I read the 20 plus stories Hunt gleaned from his own memories and various interviews with CN pensioners, I was smitten by the tenderness and admiration that he exuded during his recollections. Transported back in time to an era where chivalry was alive and well and youth respected their elders, Hunt’s passion for the trains and respect for his father, the passengers and the people who worked the rails was clearly evident on every page of this book. Readers will also enjoy amusing side stories characteristic of the time. From train tragedies to transporting prisoners to travelling on the Trouters Special; it is easy to see why this iconic piece of history is still a great source of conversation in Newfoundland homes today. Most notably, however, I particularly enjoyed reading about how Hunt comes to meet and befriend Mr. Tommy Ricketts, a respected Newfoundland soldier and Victoria Cross recipient.
I loved my job. Every chance I got between meals I would find a spot in a coach or stand in between the coaches. I would look out at the scenery while the diesels and coaches zigzagged across Newfoundland. With every mile we covered, the landscape was more breathtaking than the last. The rugged Newfoundland terrain could not be matched anywhere else in the world, I thought. You have to ride a train to truly understand and appreciate the experience. Sitting there as it rolls along, hearing the whistle blow, listening to the sounds of these powerful engines, is a pleasure in its own right.
The Bullet ~ Stories From The Newfoundland Railway by Robert Hunt will transport you back in time with heartwarming stories of hard work, survival, and kindness. This piece of Canadiana is a must-read for all Newfoundlanders and lovers of Canadian history.
Robert Hunt was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He grew up in a time when many people barely survived on their income. When he wrote his trilogy of memoirs—Corner Boys, Townies, and Brazil Street—it was with the intention of showing readers what growing up in that era was like. It was also for the benefit of his grandchildren, who of course are growing up in a much different age. Robert has two children, Stephen Hunt and Heather Johansen, who both live in Alberta, and he is blessed with seven beautiful grandchildren. He and his partner, Marion Penney, reside in St. John’s. Robert can be reached by email at email@example.com.
- Publisher : Flanker Press Ltd (Aug. 19 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 220 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1771178094
- ISBN-13 : 978-1771178099
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