Towards Boundary Creek

RESEARCH NOTE 1. Boundary Creek

Let’s begin. Let’s begin with trains.

This beginning fell on my head before dinner, which I enjoyed.
First solid food in days, roast beef, baked potato, vegetables for show and the family vegetarian. For sharing her cheese cake and my grandson, she can be any thing she chooses.

Let’s begin with steam engine trains on the prairies, always searching for a tunnel and nerving finding out. not finding happy a any. I assume this accounts for the relative absence of trains in prairie fiction, though I have just obtained The Secret Life of Railroaders, a collection of poems by Jim McLean, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

By the time Jim got to the railroads, it was all diesel, diesel, diesel, and more diesel. Oh, you say, what about x, what about y, and z-ed.

I can’t remember any prairie novels where trains, steam trains where anything important, I didn’t read about steam trains on the prairies, because all the steam trains in the books I read ran the rails in England. Come to think about it, not many tunnels in England either, not much sex in their literature. Except in underground Victorian pornography. Wait a minute. They didn’t have tunnels, so they dug them under the city. No need for that here, not even now.

I actually saw steam engines when I was eight, nine years old. Lots of sugar beets to move that year, and not enough diesel engines to draw the beets to the Roger’s Sugar Refinery in Winnipeg. I couldn’t help but see them. We lived on Miller’s Road, next to the tracks. The trains didn’t stop until we stopped living on Miller’s Road.

Let’s get back to the beginning. The beginning of steam engines. A moment came in 1763 when James Watt took the simple steam engine designs of Thomas Savery and Thomas Newcomen and introduced crankshaft that could transform power of steam into circular motion.

This begets Yeats’ eternal spiral, Elliot’s we arrive at the place we started and know it for the first time, if you don’t believe look it up, and the dates they wrote that shit, but most importantly Lowry’s assertion in the angels mind there are no trains that stop. Lowry was no angel but he visited their minds regularly, and he knew the power was not in the rails connecting the dots, but in the engine, circular motion harnessing power going around and round, Lowry wheeling off over and over.

It’s not time for Freud. We don’t begin with Freud. We’ll get there –

you figured without tunnels, we might escape Freud?
Freud, steam Engines, tunnels 1880s, Clinton’s cigar a century later, look it up.

Trains. Steam trains. Where we start, and our point of departure. Ha.

1881, February 15 – Canadian Pacific Railway Act receives the Royal Assent. A Royal Charter pursuant to the Act was granted on February 16th – this incorporated the company. The principal terms provided for the payment to the railway of a subsidy of $25,000,000 and 25,000,000 acres of land, plus the railways (Port Arthur-Selkirk-Winnipeg-Emerson and Port Moody-Savona) already contracted for by the government, upon their completion.

188l, August 26 – First train into Winnipeg over the Red River Bridge.

1882, January 1 – William Cornelius Van Horne is appointed General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Van Horne succeeded in laying 480 miles of track across the Prairies in the summer of 1882.


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