On April 6, 1910 a train engineer named G. Whitehouse began his life as an engine driver in Regina, Saskatchewan. 102 years later, while rummaging through a box of bits and bobs, I found a small envelope with the words “First Train Ticket & Train Orders I got April 6th, 1910. G. Whitehouse” written upon it. Tucked inside were four pieces of paper saved from his first day on the job. Now if this isn’t ephemera I don’t know what is.
Hastily scrawled on these scraps of paper are the instructions for G. Whitehouse and his Fireman, H. Norris. Three pieces were issued by the Canadian Pacific Railway (view the third CPR orders) while the fourth set of orders were from the Canadian Northern Railway. The paper used for three of the orders is as thin as tissue paper and it’s a wonder it has survived all these years.
While I haven’t deciphered all of the writing I enjoy them for what they are: a momento from a railwayman’s first day on the job more than a century ago. I know nothing about G. Whitehouse but I suspect he must have loved his life on the rails.