'It was a lot of fun': Train engineer brothers take final trip together before retirement
TORONTO -- When VIA train number 70 rolled in to Union Station early Friday morning, it marked the end of the line for passengers on board but for two men in the locomotive it also marked the end of their careers.
“Right on time,” yelled Les Morgan as he held out a pocket watch, stepping out of the train’s cab and on to the platform. He and brother Don have been riding the rails as locomotive engineers for more than 85 years combined and this was their retirement ride.
Although the pair don’t usually work together, they decided to take their last trip with each other as they enter retirement. The final trip took them from Windsor to Toronto.
Don told CTV Toronto that ride involved “lots of reminiscing”.
"It was kind of sentimental, a little bit melancholy, bittersweet but happy for the most part," Don said.
The Morgan family’s ties to trains go much deeper than just the brothers. Their greatbuncle worked for the Grand Trunk Railway, and their father had a long career with CN.
Don followed in his fathers footsteps, but Les says he originally had other plans, until 1981.
“The recession was pretty strong in Toronto. I had a stack of rejection letters this high, and my father said 'Well the railway is hiring.' Two weeks later I’m in a class, hired on as a brakeman and trainman on the railway.”
Since then the two have travelled back and forth across Ontario.
“It’s the best job in the world,” Les said. “You can’t get any better. You’ve got an office with 180 degree windows, you see the change of seasons, the wildlife is great. We saw two bald eagles today and a coyote and a deer and that’s what I’m going to miss the most.”
On today’s trip, family members and friends boarded at stops along the way, and more were waiting to greet the brothers on the platform as they arrived.
Along with spending more time with their families, the brothers say they still plan to travel by train, only now someone else will be driving it.