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Timmins history: Passenger train en route here stuck in snow 5 days in 1917

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Last week in our look at Timmins history, we told you about an epic snowfall of over 70 cm in 1938.  Museum director-curator Karen Bachmann says at least there were trucks and plows to help the clean-up.  Not so in 1917.  One snowfall, which wasn’t measured, closed the few roads there were into and out of town.

Trains were stuck on the tracks, including one headed to Timmins that couldn’t get past Englehart “Lots of people on the train there ran out of money. They couldn’t buy food,” she recounts from the archives. “There were ladies with children. There was all kinds of things. It was a really big disaster for that area.”

Members of the Canadian Travellers – the travelling salesmen of the day – were also on that train, and did what they could to help.

Bachmann says it It took five days to be dug out, so the train could go on to Timmins.

“They discovered when they arrived in Timmins that somebody on that train had smallpox,” says the curator. “Everybody had been stuck on that train with this person, so there was a little bit of a kerfuffle and people were panicked and it was kind of a sad kind of scenario.”

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