All Aboard! Exploring the Newfoundland Railway

Railway / Coastal History

Dining & Entertainment

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Whiling away the hours...

Social life onboard revolved around the lounge or "smokeroom". People played cards and told humorous tales of their travels and experience. "With baccy smoke from twenty pipes the atmosphere was blue. There was many a 'Have another b'y', and Don't mind if I do'," (Ted Russell, The Smokeroom on the S.S. Kyle). Many ships had pianos onboard and these provided a much-appreciated means of entertainment, as passengers gathered to sing popular folk songs.

Sometimes the trip to Labrador was made eventful by the appearance of "King Neptune" as the S.S. Kyle crossed the Straits. Someone would dress up in character and pretend to capture and shave passengers who had never crossed the Straits before. This custom, similar to British naval games while crossing the equator, gave more than one unsuspecting passenger quite a fright.

The long trips on the boats brought people together. Many friendships were forged during those long trips and many a couple first met on board.

Detail of galley stove with rail.
The stoves in the galleys were railed in order to ensure that pots and pans stayed in place when the going was rough. Railway Coastal Museum.
View of the inside of a Steamer trunk on display at the Railway Coastal Museum.
This kind of steamer trunk was used for travel by well-to-do passengers. It has many compartments to organize one's wardrobe. Railway Coastal Museum.