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Trail Into History

COATV Club Members near Drocourt Ontario • Credit: Mark Hamerton
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Trail Into History

An ATV mission to an abandoned train station

A co-worker and good friend of mine often spoke of the many years he worked for the railway as a telegraph operator at  Drocourt Station. As a rail fan myself, I was fascinated with the stories of steam-powered trains thundering through Northern Ontario, and the thought of discovering where this station was intrigued me.

After many hours of compiling data from aerial photographs, top maps, and internet research, I had a pretty good idea of how we could ATV in to this station. With GPS units loaded with every bit of information I could find, we headed north to embark from Lost Channel.

There were seven of us on the trip, as my stories of the mysterious telegraph station appealed to the others as well. This was, for most of us, our first experience ATVing in a completely unknown, unmapped area, and let me tell you, it was a thrill.

The trip began on gravel roads, then ATV trail, and eventually we were pushing between the trees on a very overgrown trail. It is a different feeling navigating by GPS with very little trail to follow; several times we stopped to walk around and find the trail again.

Our anticipation was peaking as we saw the rail line come into view on the GPS screen. Minutes later we could see the rails, and finally we arrived.

ATV trip to Drocourt Ontario 2Droucourt Station, only accessible by ATV

Our disappointment was slight as there was little sign of the structure left, but you could tell from the land and the trees where it had been. All that remained was a trackside sign post displaying the name.

We all felt triumphant, and spoke of the months of research and planning that had gone into our trip. We had succeeded, following clues. We were many miles form the nearest road, but knew exactly where we were.

What a great time in history we live in, that we can pre-plan an ATV trip on a PC to a location that is completely uncharted.

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