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Train Station

In the spring of 1935, W.F. (Bill) and Roxie Scott arrived in Nairn from Westport Ontario with their family. Mr. & Mrs. Scott came to relieve C.P.R. station agent John McCormick, while Mr. Scott also became a relief Telegrapher at the McKerrow and Webbwood stations.


At that time, the train was the most predominant way of travelling and shipping. There were four passenger trains, including one which ran daily between Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie. This train did not stop at all the stations however, and had to be flagged down if someone wanted to board.


Another mentionable train ran from Monday to Saturday between Sudbury and Little Current. This train picked up the mail, express parcels and farm produce. On its return trip to Sudbury it also pulled cars of coal from the stock pile in Little Current and quartz from the quarrie in Willisville. These cars were delivered to the smelter in Copper Cliff. This particular train was also the means of transportation for most people, including Espanola high school students.


The Nairn station, one of the first buildings to be erected in Nairn in 1889, was a large two story frame building with large living quarters attached to the office, waiting room and freight shed. This building was heated by five wood stoves which used an enormous amount of coal and wood supplied by the C.P.R. With no electricity, oil lamps and lanterns were the standard source of light.


Mr. Scott died in February of 1939, leaving behind his wife Roxie and their five children (Bill, Vivian, Dennis, Clayton and Sheila). These were difficult and uncertain years for this widow with five children, especially with many other men competing for the station job. Mrs. Scott proved most capable of holding the position herself though and so remained as express and ticket agent until her retirement in 1960. Before this, however, Mrs. Scott was remarried in 1949 to Herb K. Green.


During Mrs. Scott's tenure, the station witnessed many changes: Hydro came to Nairn along with electricity; Pineland Timber (now E.B. Eddy Forest) began its operations and used the railroad for shipping; the train lines were used to transport soldiers, prisoners and rations during the war; and when Bell telephone came to Nairn, Mrs. Scott became the Bell telephone operator.


During the war, the pace of living increased dramatically and time was now of the essence. People were on the move and faster delivery became required. With the increased use of planes, cars, buses, transport trucks and a new and improved Trans-Canada Highway, the train business began to dwindle until the Nairn station was eventually closed and dismantled in the early 1960's. The railroad, however, will never be forgotten as it was an integral part of many of our lives in Nairn Centre and the surrounding communities.


The second railway to go through our town was the Algoma Eastern Railway, originally known as the Manitoulin and North Shore which extended from Little Current to Sudbury. It was completed in 1912. The C.P.R. didn't go to Manitoulin Island and there were no paved roads. Land travel was limited to trails and usable mainly in the summer months.


The controversy about the correct name of the railroad was cleared when through more research an article was found in the Sudbury Star, November 13, 1995 written by Michael Barnes, entitled "American brought prosperity to Sault Ste. Marie". Which explained that Francis Clergue needed a method of transporting his goods from the Soo to Sudbury, so he built the Algoma Eastern Railway. After seeing samples from a prospector, of his mining claim in Michipicoten, 240 kilometres north of his mill, the resourceful entrepreneur had the Algoma Central Railroad built. Mystery solved!!