Tuesday, August 5, 2014

An unusual train ride for a Tuesday

I have to take a partial break from crafty stuff to show you a train I visited recently in the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario.  I am fascinated by trains because of my parallel fascination with the history of the first half of the twentieth century.  Trains are not only a huge (literally) part of that story, you can climb inside them and get a very personal sense of what time was like then.

This particular train though?

It did its most important work standing still.

Converted from a sleeper car, it was fitted out to be, in part, a residence - complete with kitchen.

Super compact, super controlled - like you'd expect to see on a ship, with protection for the dishes from rocky movements.

There was a huge effort to make even the hallways look like a house...

And I can imagine sitting in dining/living room to knit, can't you?  (not least because my parents chose the exact same lyre-back chairs for their dining set.)

Tiny bathroom,

Tiny bedroom,

Very large DENTAL CHAIR...

dental train

Man, I would feel so ripped off if my mom told me I was getting to climb onto a train today and instead of going for a ride I had to sit in a tiny waiting room and then go get fillings.

Fortunately kids don't make rules about stuff like that, because obviously mobile dental care in remote  communities was a huge medical advance that helped a lot of people.


I apologize for not retaining the exact dates this train was in operation, but I believe it started in the 1930s and stopped in the 1970s.  Like the school trains that ran and provided children in small remote neighbourhoods with a week or two of classes, then a break, then another week or two as the train came back in the other direction, these trains brought specialized professionals to the people who needed them.

One of the early dentists who worked this train had a wife and child with him though - AND a dental nurse.  The nurse's bedroom was a little smaller than the dentist's, and she had to walk all the way past the dental chair and the dentist's room every time she had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, which would have been a drag for Some People let me tell you.  But fitting in a toddler and another full-grown human as well?

That makes my tiny house look like a mansion.

(and where on earth did they keep the yarn stash??)

Okay, off you go, and I'll see you tomorrow!

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