Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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RAILROADS

The West could not have been settled without the railroads. It brought the settlers within access of available land. The farming community could not grow without the means of getting their produce to market and supplies brought in. Three railroads came through this area which was a boon to farming.

The first railroad to serve this area was the c.P.R. Varcoe Branch which reached Brookdale in 1902. For the first five years the line came from MacGregor to Brookdale, then it was extended to Varcoe. With the exception of Sunday there was daily train service. It went west three days a week and east on the alternative days. A person could go to Winnipeg by changing trains at MacGregor and to Brandon by changing trains at Varcoe. Later there was direct service to Brandon. The passenger coach had a Quebec heater in one corner for heat during the winter. It is not known when the passenger service was discontinued; it was still available during the 40''s. There was a station at Brookdale and a small building for freight at Oberon. The train service was cut to four trains per week, then two.

Finally, there was service only when needed to transport grain from the elevators.

In 1909-10 the Hallboro-Beulah Branch was built from Neepawa; the first train ran through the Mentmore district in 1911. There was one car used for passengers and baggage. At first you could go by train to Neepawa in the morning and back at night.

Then the service was cut to west one day, east next day. Cream was shipped to the creamery in Rapid City one day and to the Neepawa Creamery the next. There was a small building for freight with a potbellied stove in the corner so waiting passengers could keep warm. There was a wooden loading platform large enough to load four box cars. In harvest time if a farmer was lucky enough to get on the loading platform to load a car of grain it made loading much easier. Otherwise he had to shovel his grain up into the box car from the ground. There were no grain augers in those days. Eddie Bell was an engineer on this line for many years. The elevator was built in 1927.

In 1909 the mainline G.T.P. later C.N.R. reached Ingelow. A station was built at Ingelow. Daily passenger service both east and west was available.

This also provided a closer means of exporting produce for the farmers in the southern part of this area.

In the 1980''s there are huge locomotives on the mainlines of the railways pulling hundreds of loaded grain cars to Vancouver and the Lakehead.

BANDONMENT The shiny iron rails are gone their giant spikes plucked out by modern hands.

Progress - leaving behind an ugly corrugated scar upon the earth and silence in an empty town

 

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