Railswestern.com, launched September 1st, 2017, is the successor website to Westernsreboot.com, and reflects a shift by this writer toward increased rail-related content and advocacy for passenger rail in North America. The geographic focus of rail items is westward from Northern Ontario (Canada) and the US Midwest. The new site still provides select Western genre news, as I continue to teach three different Western genre courses for two Canadian community colleges.
In terms of background, I am from the small rural village of Iron Bridge, Ontario (population 700), close to the north shore of Lake Huron in Northern Ontario. Iron Bridge is located some 70 miles east of Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario/Michigan). My interest in passenger rail advocacy began to grow in 2014, after selling my car and moving “full throttle” into the public transportation lifestyle. Thru my travels, I immediately experienced the significant gaps that existed in the North American rail travel network, gaps that were in fact once served by passenger trains.
One family connection I have to that network is that my great-great grandfather (W.J. Beharriell) ran a boarding house, general store & post office adjacent to the Canadian Pacific tracks at Dean Lake, ON (between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie). Serving those arriving and departing by train, he began that business in 1911, when one could travel thru the Dean Lake station from Montreal, Quebec, to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
It is evident that a resurgence in passenger rail is underway in North America, as the continent’s two largest demographic groups (the Baby Boomers and the Millennials) move away from car ownership while seeking a safe, reliable and energy-efficient way to travel. For professionals like myself, the ability to travel and work simultaneously, and in comfort, is just one attractive feature of passenger trains.
Further information about the rail advocacy groups I am a part of, the National Association of Railroad Passengers (US), Colorado Rail Passenger Association, and the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (Canada), can be found at the respective links NARP, ColoRail & CAPT. As well, I am a member of the Western Literature Association and their site can be accessed via WestLit .
Those interested in taking the Western genre courses that I teach, whether in-class or online, can find registration information via the links for St. Clair College (Windsor, ON) & Sault College – Con Ed (Sault Ste. Marie, ON). Potential students can also visit the College Courses link for the most recent listing of Western classes I am teaching.
My email is provided below for those that wish to correspond directly with me.
Thanks for your time in reading this and I hope that you travel this way often!
Chad Beharriell, MA