Student Activity Page

From Montreal to Laconia by Rail

This Activity Page, aimed at Belknap Mill’s younger members, currently tell the story about the Bedard family, who left Saint Perpetué in 1914, to work in the Belknap Mill:

Paul, Angelique and the rest of the Bedard family arrived nearly exhausted in Montreal. It was dinnertime, and they had been riding in the wagon since dawn. They had heard stories from relatives about Montreal, and they were excited to see the big city for the first time, what the city was like. The city was noisy and crowded. Some people were wearing fancy clothes.

Paul and Angelique were the oldest of their six children. They could take only what would fit in their suitcases. They carefully packed their favorite things.

The train station was huge and very beautiful. They walked with all their precious belongings to the Station Master’s window. Father checked for their tickets, the departure track number and time of the next train to Laconia, NH. Mother gathered the six children and settled for the evening in two rows of polished wooden benches near their point of departure - Track Number 6. Mother gave out a dinner of bread and cheese that she had packed earlier in the day. The children savored each bite. They were hungry and tired. Paul and Angelique looked at a train schedule their father had given them. They were disappointed that they would be traveling at night and would be unable to see most of the scenery along the way. They were on their way to America and their new life.

Can you read a train schedule?

Here is a copy of a train schedule that was given out at the Laconia Passenger Station in 1915. It tells the kind of train, time of departure, the direction traveling and the destination. It even gives Sunday’s special schedule. To use a train schedule, you need to know this information:

  1. What is your destination?
  2. Are you heading North or South?
  3. What time do you plan to leave Laconia?
  4. What time should you leave home to arrive at the station on time?

You do not want to rush or miss your train.

Train Schedule

Questions and Activity

  1. What are the two directions the trains ran from Laconia?
  2. Name the seven cities that were destinations.
  3. If you traveled by train on a Sunday from Laconia, where could you go?
  4. What train left Laconia to go north at 8:21 p.m.?
  5. What train left Laconia to go south at 7:05 p.m.?
  6. What do the following words mean: “Express”? “Sleeper”? Today, “Accommodations” mean lodging. In 1915, it meant the opposite of “Express.” Define “Accommodation” in 1915 terms.
  7. If the Bedards traveled at night, what kind of railroad car do you think they road in? Why?
  8. If the Bedards left Montreal for their 5-hour trip to Laconia just before midnight, when would they arrive in Laconia so that other passengers could take the train into Boston?
  9. The Truland Brothers Printers at Casino Square in Laconia printed this schedule. What is Casino Square called today? Where is it located?
  10. Where is the train station located in Laconia today? How is it used today?

Click here for the Answer Page

This story was written by educator, Chris Lewis, with funding from the Institute of Museum & Library Services. It is loosely based on records of the LaPlante family, who moved from Sainte Perpétue to Franklin about 1903. The images are from the Morin Collection, Belknap Mill.

Other Student Activity Pages:

Main Student Activity Page
Montreal to Laconia by Rail
Paul and Angelique Pack for Laconia
Hidden Word Puzzle & Pocket Watch Teaser
Be a History Detective
Hidden Word Puzzle & Pocket Watch Teaser