Bill Linley – Author / Photographer

Trackside in the Maritimes

Trackside in the Maritimes

From the Bay of Fundy to the Pacific Coast, Bill Linley has been photographing and writing about trains for over fifty years. He was introduced to train watching by his father in his native Toronto in the early 1950s and began photographing trains on the Quebec Central in 1959 while living in Ste Foy, Quebec.

Bill shot the first of some 100,000 colour slides in April 1962 with a photograph of the Canadian Pacific’s Ottawa West Station. He began to focus on the CPR and particularly on the changes to railways in the Ottawa region, which he photographed extensively until 1970.

While studying geography at Carleton University, Bill worked as a message router at the Sparks Street Office of Canadian Pacific Telegraphs. He later worked as a reservations clerk and ticket agent for the CPR at Ottawa Union Station selling their train travel experience. Bill made trips across Canada in the late 1960s trying to catch the last of traditional railway operations in PEI, Newfoundland and British Columbia. Always a fan of MLW/Alco locomotives, he pursued these engines far and wide, notably the FPA-4s on VIA in the 1980s.

Following graduation from Carleton University in May 1969, Bill began a 33-year career in economic development with the governments of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. His career took him across Canada where he often managed to photograph trains in the off-hours. He moved to Fredericton and Halifax where he was a director and oft-times treasurer of church and volunteer organizations.

For a dozen years he owned CN caboose 79510 and a boxcar that continue to welcome guests as part of the Train Station Inn in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. The caboose and a boxcar were re-modelled to provide first-class guest accommodation for persons seeking a unique railway experience. In 2009, Bill was featured as a waiter in the Train Station Inn’s dining car in an episode of CBC TV’s serial The Week the Women Went.

Morning Sun Books published his first book: Canadian Pacific in Color: Volume 1 – Eastern Lines in 2003 and it sold out in 2008. He has recently released the sequel, Canadian Pacific in Color Volume 2, Western Lines. Bill describes the period 1948 through 1968 when steam engines gave way to diesels across the country.

His photos and writing have appeared in a variety of magazines in Canada and internationally. As well, he is keen to contribute to the work of others engaged in the preservation of railway and industrial heritage. In 2002 he completed a brochure and contributed the text and photographs for an award-winning website on railway heritage for the Nova Scotia Railway Heritage Society of which he was a founding director. He recently stepped down as a director and treasurer of the Orangedale Station Association that owns and operates Nova Scotia’s oldest railway station.

Current interests include completing another book for Morning Sun and cataloguing thousands of his colour slides and digital images taken over more than fifty years. As well, he serves on the Finance and Investment Committee of Pine Hill Divinity Hall in Halifax and is actively involved in the rejuvenation of Fundy Hall, a former Temperance Society facility, in Port Lorne, Nova Scotia.

For over thirty years he has operated a home-based business, Signal Graphics, which deals in quality Canadian railway books, DVDs and images. He and his wife, Marilynn, live in the historic Captain John G. Charlton house in Port Lorne on the Bay of Fundy near the Dominion Atlantic Railway.