All Aboard! Exploring the Newfoundland Railway

The Museum

Museum Treasures

Keith Collier - Steamer Trunk on Display

Keith Collier speaks of the Steamer Trunk on Display

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Length: 1:49 Min
File Size: 6.9 MB

This is a steamer trunk. It's one of several that we have here at the Railway Coastal Museum. It's also one of the larger artifacts we have on display here. What we can learn from something like this is get a real live sense on how travel has changed over the past 50 to 100 years. This is the type of luggage that people would've used back in the age of rail and steam that we really try to bring to life here at the museum.

You can see it is pretty well designed. A lot of thought went into making good use of space. In the front here we have a large compartment designed to hold things like starched shirts, and somber business suits. That type of thing. It's got compartments in the back for... um... more delicate items, compartments here for shoes. And around to the back, we have some other compartments here that slide out to give you access to smaller things, toiletries and articles like that. So you can see from the size of this thing, it's not the type of thing you can easily throw into the trunk of your car and take to the airport. Back in the time when you would use a piece of luggage like this to travel with it would've taken much more time to get from point A to point B. For example, if someone was going from a station here in Saint John's to a business meeting perhaps in Montreal, or someplace like that. Starting here in Saint John's, first off they would be 24hrs to get into Port aux Basques. Then you are looking at a overnight crossing from Port aux Basques to North Sydney and from there, about two days I think, to get - from - on a train from North Sydney to Montreal. So before you even get to your destination you are looking at 4 days of travel. So even the shortest of trips back in the days of rail and steam it would've taken the better part of at least two weeks to complete a round trip. So a piece like this would give you the space to store everything you need for a trip of that length.