Winnipeg Cab History / 7: Ham McMicken (4)
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The Pembina Branch railway came up the east side of the Red River from Minnesota. St. Boniface was the end of the line until 1880 when a railway bridge brought the track into Winnipeg.


Winnipeg from St. Boniface Ferry Landing. Archives Manitoba, Stovell Advocate Collection 191 (Negative N10192).

Winnipeg Cab History / 7

Ham McMicken (4)

McMicken installed a direct telephone line connecting the Connell & Burke stable to the railway station across the Red River. Passengers could wait at the stable in relative comfort until the train was ready to depart or, more conveniently, they could have an omnibus pick them up at their hotels or even at home.

A visiting Englishwoman described her ride in one of McMicken's omnibuses in 1880:

This morning, at about 6 A.M., the omnibus arrived and conveyed me for quite a long drive round and round the city, calling at all the hotels and several private houses, and finding none of the passengers ready. They all came out very coolly, saying, "Wait a few minutes," and then the driver would either wait, calling out "All aboard" at intervals, or go somewhere else, and career round again over the prairie to fetch them. We began to be afraid we would lose the train. Any ordinary train would have been lost, but this one waits till every one is ready, so at last we bounced down on the ferry, nearly sending a waggon into the river, and went over to St. Boniface.

A trip to the St. Boniface station could be even more exciting, as McMicken recalled:

[C.P. Brown, the provincial minister of public works] met me on the street one day and asked me to have the buss call for him as he was leaving on the train. I told him to leave an order in the office but he said no, that I could remember it. I forgot all about it during the day, and when the train was about to leave I saw Brown on the other side of the river, loading his trunk into a dug-out to get across.... He had a narrow escape, the dug-out being difficult to manage, but he reached the other side of the river in safety. He managed to catch the train but had to leave the trunk in the dug-out in the river.


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