Video: Daniel Matthews
Audio: George Parker
Video editing: Cobourg Museum Foundation
Text appears on screen: “Scale model (1/20) of the Cobourg and Peterborough Railway as it passes by Cobourg Harbour”
Voice over begins:
The story – we have to go back to the 1850s, and of course this part of Northumberland County looked very different. It was all covered in first growth forests. Umm. Railways were just beginning to make their presence.
A scale model old fashioned railway engine, pulling a flat car loaded with lumber, a passenger car and a caboose, passes in front of a large yellow building. The building is a model of the original Cobourg station.
Voice over continues:
But the people in Cobourg recognized that this was a new technology that was going to be a game changer. All of the rules that they knew about shipping things and people getting around – they recognized that things were about to change. This – the railway was something big and the folks in Cobourg didn’t want to be left behind. And the idea, of course, was to build the railway to Peterborough.
Now the reason Peterborough was so attractive was the main commodity that this railway was going to haul was sawn lumber. And, as I say, there were still forests throughout the area and there were sawmills dotting the landscape.
The train approaches from a distance, passing the station and coming toward a number of black iron ore cars. (These ore cars are part of the Railway’s later story.) It then passes a red roundhouse as it heads off into the distance.
Voice over continues:
So the idea was that this sawn lumber would be brought down to Cobourg harbour and then exported on lake schooners across Lake Ontario to Rochester, Oswego, places like that and then would find its way into the U.S. market and that the U.S. market for our lumber was booming. So the folks in Cobourg thought this is a great – this is a great opportunity. We can’t, we can’t let this pass us by.
Text appears on screen: “Model Railroad by George Parker; Text & Narration George Parker; Courtesy Northumberland Radio 89.7; Special Thanks Erin Walsh – Port Hope Archives; Photographer Daniel Matthews”