Wartime At Turcot Yards

From The People’s Railway by Donald MacKay (discussing World War 2).

Douglas V. Gonder, later a vice-president but then a young locomotive foreman in charge of CN’s biggest roundhouse at Turcot, Montreal, had 450 machinists, boilermakers and others working at 30 pits. He remembered a condfidential letter warning of sabotage and holding foreman personally responsible for locomotives under their care.”We had to watch everything. For instance, a bar of soap thrown into a tender full of water would make the engine foam and cause breakdowns on the road. But we had little sabotage. Some agents came ashore on the Gaspe from submarines, including one fellow who had a plan to blow up the bridge at Matepedia, which would have knocked out trains to Halifax, but they were discovered. At Turcot we had quite a few Italian boys and all of a sudden I lost several of my best men. They just didn’t show up. They had been incarcerated for the duration because someone questioned their loyalty.” P134

There has been much publicity of the internment of Japanese people on the west coast during that war, but what of all the others picked up and held as potential conspirators, saboteurs, terrorists?

The Government of Canada has offered amends.

And then the war was over.


Whenever I look at old pictures like this I realise
just how filthy urban life must have been when
trains ran with coal. Here we see Turcot Yards
looking like it is just so thick with soot and the
air with all that smoke from trains must have
been of a poor quailty. As hard as it may  be
to believe with all the cars in the city today,
it sure looks a whole lot cleaner!

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