Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Navvies

"We are the navvies who work upon the railway
Swinging our hammers in the bright blazing sun
Living on stew and drinking bad whiskey
Bending our backs til the long days are done"
- "Canadian Railroad Trilogy", Gordon Lightfoot

You may recall that the provincial and federal governments announced $18 million in funding for the NB Southern Railway last July. I saw some of that money being spent this past Thursday (March 18). I was driving along the line and at about mile 8 I saw the strangest sight... a toilet on wheels.

The port-a-potty was being pushed by an MOW vehicle and it was headed for Saint John. Less than half a mile away, a maintenance-of-way (MOW) crew with several vehicles was hard at work replacing track.
Swing Master crane in Grand Bay NB
There were about eight guys hammering away while a machine nudged the new rails into position. Beyond that, spiking machines finished the spiking job and ballast resurfacers went to work.
MOW equipment at Grand Bay
I spoke with one gentleman, from McAdam, and he said they were working their way out from Saint John. They have a long way to go!

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