All Aboard the School Train Day Thread (3/7)

Just what the title says. School. On a train.

For around 40 years of the 20th century, rural Northern Ontario (as well as other areas of Canada) were serviced by travelling classrooms built inside railcars to educate the children of railway employees, hunters, trappers, and forestry workers in settlements that were either too small or too temporary for permanent schoolhouses. Each car, complete with a teacher, would be dropped off for four to eight days and then get hauled to the next settlement down the line. Students did three weeks worth of schoolwork in that time on average, and would be given homework to do while they waited for the train to come around again.

The classrooms were fully equipped with desks, chalkboards, schoolbooks, supplies, a globe, and a small lending library for both children and adults.

A two-year pilot project in Northern Ontario starting in 1926 with two railway school cars was successful, educating 82 children at 14 stops along two different rail lines. The program for the region grew to a peak of seven cars and over 200 students in the 1940s. The last railway school car shut down in 1967.

Three of these kids didn’t do the reading assignment. I see you hiding, Suzy!

Area children would travel to the schools, often over great distances, any way they could to attend classes.

Heading home for lunch. And no, that’s not a joke.

In the evenings the railcars were used for adult education and social activities for the parents, arranged by the teacher. Many couldn’t read and few spoke English and the lessons they received would help them gain better employment opportunities.

Game night! They’re playing crokinole!

In addition to the classroom each railcar contained living quarters for the teacher and their family.

Yeah. That’s a pet skunk.
A little cramped, but the views were spectacular.

Choo choo!