Gleaming in brilliant August morning sunlight, the Dominion Atlantic Railway's new "Dayliner" 9058 glided into Halifax Station to be met by a battery of newspaper reporters, TV cameramen, and radio announcers. On hand, too, were Provincial and civic officials, for this was the morning of 15 Aug 1957, opening day for "the tour of the Dayliner" as it was to become known throughout Western Nova Scotia.
The four day tour, during which the new equipment was introduced to the public all along the Dominion Atlantic's main line from Halifax to Yarmouth, was reminiscent in many ways of the first trip of "The Canadian". To be sure the crowds that greeted 9058 were on a lesser scale, but there was no lack of enthusiasm.
In all, more than 11,000 persons turned out for a look-see at the spanking new train, and many hundreds more gathered along the right-of-way to wave her along as she passed farmlands en route from station to station, and at every town that boasted a newspaper or a radio station there was a representative on hand to record transport news in the making. Civic officials, too, turned out to see the new rail diesel car. The pensioners brought their grand children to see this marvel of modern transportation.
Throngs Turn Out
In some towns more than half the population turned out to inspect the new transportation facilities, first brand new passenger equipment to be seen on the route in many a moon. At both Digby and Yarmouth the car had to be kept on display longer than the announced period so that those waiting could be accommodated.
They came, they saw, and they were impressed, for even today, after the hectic post-summer vacation travel season, the standing room only sign has to be hoisted once in a while on the 89-seat RDC-1's. Two of the units have gone into service, taking the place of four Steam trains and providing new services in addition.
The public response is perhaps the most tangible proof of the greeting which Dayliner service introduced to Nova Scotia by the D.A.R. on 20 Aug 1957 received. But there was other proof.
Both daily and weekly newspapers front-paged the coming of a new era in rail transportation. Radio Stations presaged the event, and one, CKEN in Kentville, gave hourly news bulletins of the progress of the car through the Annapolis Valley and figures of how many persons had visited it at each stop.
Another radio station. CJCH in Halifax, commissioned H.B. Jefferson. a former newspaperman now working for the provincial government, to write a play on the last steam train. "Last Train Through Paradise" (There was once a station on the Annapolis line named Paradise.) was the tiitle given by "Jeff" to his epic of D.A.R. history, and the play was presented the day before the Dayliner took over the passenger business. The play has since been reproduced in full in the Yarmouth Herald.
The last steam train out of Halifax, number 97 on Saturday, 18 Aug 1957, had as a passenger Alvin "Doc" Savage of the editorial staff of the Halifax Chronicle Herald. He recorded his impressions for his paper on 20 Aug 1957.