Posted by: energyblogwalter | September 5, 2006

When 3Rs came by rail :: Toronto Star August 31, 2006

When 3 Rs came by rail

This Toronto Star article discussing the history in the Province of schools on rails in remote Northern Ontario. From the 1920s to 60s rail was used to bring education to remote communities and became a means of keeping everyone informed.

Why is this useful? As we move towards managing energy descent, the issues discussed as quaint reminders of the past also turn out to be a framework of a plan for the future. A bit of Deja Vu all over again. If not a direct plan then at least a note on what possibilities are available.

Railways are very efficient uses of energy versus trucks and cars, only surpassed by canals. As we end up in our planning for more and more rail , how we live around it will also become more apparent.

The “section men” scattered around the province looking after track may indeed have to come back into necessity if more rail is put towards our transportation needs, as surely it must. This would be cheaper to keep manpower local and likely more adaptable in case of problems.
The education trains then remain as a lifeline of communication and a perk for those families as well as the communities that it services.

Also note the length of time for school, from 45 days a year then to 190 today. Given any chores we’re going to need to do (whatever they end up being) might this be the future of education as well? Will we be able to afford keeping all the kids in school all year long? They didn’t have Internet distance education at that time , so we could use distance education to take up the rest of the slack. Maybe not 190 days directly, but a mix might work well.

The future may end up being more active communities, not isolated hamlets.

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