Toy locomotives held an obvious fascination to the children and adults visiting the Stratford Heritage Railway Show on Sunday. Crowds seemed mesmerized by the tiny model trains whizzing round the tracks, past a miniature world of farms, towns and stations all on display at the William Allman Arena.
Vendors showed an array of all things railway; books, paintings, prints, toys and memorabilia. Also on show were night inspection lamps, caboose markers, old glass plate cameras, and photographs of the Royal Visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Stratford Station in 1939.
A slideshow of old sepia postcards narrated by local historian Lutzen Riedstra whose comments of Stratford’s past was definitely not rehearsed, his commentary was natural and heartfelt. Most of the photos shown were from around 1912 when the Stratford railway station was closer to Downie Street on Guelph facing the Dominion Hotel. Stratford was a lively town with the successful and competitive Grand Trunk Railway Shop accommodating the maintenance and repair of huge locomotives.
Ian Taylor, fascinated by trains since he was a young boy, proudly displayed his lifetime collection of thousands of photographs from steam trains to stations, to repairs shops, to the long winding tracks themselves. His wife, Dorothy was happy her husband was finally letting the public admire his impressive collection and making sales of a few pictures as well. Taylor plans on setting up a booth again next year and is presently pursuing permission from City Hall for a Stratford Railway Museum.
Quietly on his own, Albert Herman sat next to his beautiful, hand-crafted model of a 6218, which he explained was the last engine that was repaired in Stratford. Herman was employed in the Black Smith Shop from 1944 to 1958, in the Grand Trunk Railway shop in Stratford. Herman diligently worked on the model for about two years. A beautiful and detailed creation, which he calls his “junk train” made up of bits and pieces of scrap metal found around his yard and garage. A true, recycled piece of railway art.
The Railway Heritage Show was organised by the Perth County Historical Foundation.