Bonavist Line, The
DESCRIPTION: An old man tells of the workers' hardships imposed by the "red roaring devil" management while building the line. Outrageous amounts are charged for trivial services. Awful food: pork can drive you mad and flour is like lime. The old man will quit
EARLIEST DATE: 1951 (MUNFLA/Leach)
KEYWORDS: sex food hardtimes railroading nonballad worker
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Peacock, pp. 768-771, "The Bonavist Line" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Leach-Labrador 92, "Riverhead Line" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Roger deV. Renwick, _Recentering Anglo/American Folksong: Sea Crabs and Wicked Youths_, University Press of Mississippi, 2001, pp. 82-83, "The Bonavist Line" (1 text)
Bernard Houlihan, "Shoal Harbour Line" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
James John, "The North Shoreman's Line" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
The North Shoreman's Line
The Shoal Harbour Line
NOTES [136 words]: Peacock says the Bonavista Line serving the tip of the Bonavista peninsula and Riverhead Line serving Conception Bay are spurs of Newfoundland's now defunct narrow-gauge trans-insular railway.
Whichever branch line is in question, the complaints are the same. Sometimes the old man is omitted and the complaints are the singer's own.
For the history and a map of the Newfoundland railroad branch lines see "The Branch Lines" at http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/economy/railway-branch-lines.php, accessed Febraury 25, 2017. According to that article the Bonavista Line operated from 1911 until 1983. - BS
For a little more on the Newfoundland Railroad, which was simply not economically viable because the population was so scattered that it didn't pay to run the trains, see "The Wreck of the Steamship Ethie." - RBW
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