I grew up in the first railway station in this album. My Dad was the Canadian National Railway station agent in Leask, SK from 1956 until he retired in 1974. I worked for CN from 1972 until 1990. When I took these pictures in about 1976 these jobs were on their last legs. I worked in several of these stations. There wasn't very much to do as they were being phased out. I did spend many work days reading the Time/Life Series of Photography books. I subscribed to the series and read them many times cover to cover. Now, most of the stations are gone. Very few have survived. Most of the grain elevators are gone and the railway tracks have seen their last train in many of these locations. The Canadian Prairies were settled in the late 1800's and early 1900's and rail lines were laid everywhere. Now, most of the lines are abandoned and all the grain moves by trucks. The towns that used to be vibrant communities are slowly dying as the family farms disappear and there isn't the population to support businesses.
It's sad to look at these photos and think of how the comings and goings at the train station used to be a centrepiece of town life and now it is all gone.
From time to time I drive out to Leask. The station is gone. There is a new fire hall where the station used to be. They cut down the big trees in the yard that I used to spend hours climbing. A few of my friends still live there but it really isn't much of a place to live in any more. The curling rink is closed. The skating rink is closed. They don't have enough kids for hockey or softball teams. I had a blast growing up there but I don't think the kids living there now would do anything but dream of the day they could leave.