(The last train through Stittsville on its way to the west coast, January 14, 1990. The man waving was Phil Barton, and he was greeting his best friend Lorne Blackburn, the train’s engineer. Photo: John Bottriell.)
Twenty-nine years ago today, if you turned your head, you missed it. All it took was a few moments and the last VIA transcontinental passenger train, (No. 6409) was quickly glimpsed by those present to take in this monumental last pass through Stittsville. It was 12:47 p.m. on Sunday, January 14, 1990 when Stittsville said goodbye to The Canadian, as it was known, for the last ride on our tracks as it headed to Western Canada.
A group made up of Stittsville residents and train buffs alike were there to take in this last historical passing of the train as it crossed Main Street. As of January 15, The Canadian would no longer be riding the rails because the federal government of the time deemed that cutbacks were to be made to rail passenger service.
Here is a link to a previous story on Stittsville Central, content from the Goulbourn Museum, with some history of the trains in Stittsville. The article includes the perspective shared by Lorne Blackburn’s family of the local engineer’s last historic ride on The Canadian.