"I Once Stopped No. 7" - 18 inches x 24 inches - Acrylic on Wood Panel - 2008 David A. Oram
- Doug Phillips Collection.
I use to flag Number 7, "The Dominion" at Wapella, Saskatchewan, in the 1960's.
Normally it was not a regular flag stop, but on Mondays the agent had his days off.
When the agent was on duty a message was forwarded to the agent at Moosomin to be given the Conductor of No. 7 to stop at Wapella for those passengers bound
for Regina and west.
Instructions posted inside the waiting room, which I followed, were to use and wave the green and white flag in a figure 8 motion until acknowledged by three
short whistles from the engineer (Uniform Code of Operating Rules signal for stop at next station).
Canadian Pacific Railway flagstop flag - Date unknown James A. Brown.
This was fun as there was a public crossing just east of the station and a public foot crossing immediately west of the
Two long, one short, then one prolong signal, then came the three short, then again two long and a short plus the prolong signal and the squeal of the brake
shoes on the steel wheels.
The Conductor would be in the Skyline car and down would come the steps as the trap door opened.
The odd time No. 7 was late and the first time I had to do this I mistook a west bound freight for the passenger that evening as it was running on No. 7's
The hog-head gave me a big smile as he passed and leaned out the window and pointed back to the east!
No. 7 was a couple of hours late that day.
Wapella had an unusual location for its train order signal because the enclosed wood water tank located just on the west side of the station managed to block
the view for east bound trains.
If there was a meet at Wapella and one of the trains used the south siding (there were two, one south and one north, just west of the town, and the two sidings
overlapped each other on the main track) and one train was running in sections and displaying green flags, it became even more interesting.
The train carrying green had to whistle off two longs and a short, to identify it had a second section following on its schedule, while the other train had to
acknowledge back with one short and two long.
Standing on the platform with a little green and white flag there would be a symphony of whistle signals that became rather intimidating to say the
To someone not familiar with the language of train whistles it could be very frightening.
In those days the chime of the air horns was a much more pleasant sound than with today's air horns, but in the 1950's with steam, it was an even more
fascinating and wonderful sound.
When the "Dayliner" made its last run between Lethbridge and Calgary in June 1971, I was able to collect (officially) the green and white flag from
the flag stop at Kirkaldy, Alberta.
Wish I had collected the instructions to use it as well.
The flags, which were mounted on a hand-held staff were square, but the colours were on a 45 degree angle running from upper corner to lower corner, half green
Flag stops were identified in the employee timetables with an "f", schedule stops with an "s", and conditional stops with an
"*" with a special instruction in the footnotes.
Public timetables were much the same, but with differences on the conditions.
"Wapella Jubilee" - 18 inches x 24 inches - Acrylic on Wood Panel - 2007 David A. Oram -
Doug Phillips Collection.