Camp X Agents Steal Train From Union Station

Posted on Feb 10, 2016

When it came to testing the mettle of their candidates, the officers at Camp X didn’t take it lightly. A potential agent needed to prove they’d be willing to do anything to accomplish a mission — regardless of the risks.

One such story, as related by X Company’s resident historian Lynn Philip Hodgson, recounts the time when three Camp X prospects were ordered to steal a train from downtown Toronto’s Union Station, and not get caught doing it.

None of the men knew the first thing about operating a train, but failure to carry out the order could mean spending the rest of the war in a German POW camp — after all, Camp X had to guard its secrets.

So off they went to Union Station, where they managed to sneak aboard a locomotive without trouble. Figuring out how to get it moving was the next hurdle, so they set to looking over the controls and eventually managed to get the train rolling. Now all they had to do was make it out of the station without getting stopped.

Camp X was only forty miles away, and they joked about driving the train right up to the camp’s northern perimeter, which was bordered by the Canadian National highline, the track they hoped they were on now. Then they realized there were several sets of parallel tracks, making it near impossible to guess where exactly they’d be headed. All they really knew for sure was that they were heading east — and gaining speed quickly.

They were mulling over their limited options when they were startled by a train approaching from the opposite direction — it appeared they were on a direct collision course. Panicked, the agents dove off the train and scrambled for cover in some nearby bushes, just in time to see the two trains harmlessly pass each other by. It turned out the oncoming train had actually been on a parallel westbound track.

The spot at Union Station where Camp X agents embarked, now and then.

Having decided enough was enough, they snapped the photographic evidence they needed and tried to make their escape back to Camp X.

They hadn’t made it far before a voice shot out, “Hold it! Don’t make a move!”, and froze them in their tracks. The Canadian National Police Service had arrived, and believing they’d just nabbed a trio of dangerous enemy spies, placed them under arrest.

They were brought back to Union Station where they were subjected to a fruitless interrogation, these were men trained not to talk. All the Camp X agents would tell the police was “Call the RCMP and tell them ‘S 25-1-1’. Deciding that was all they were going to get out of them, the police finally obliged, and the RCMP was on the scene within moments.

“Good work, we’ll take it from here”, the RCMP officer explained. The CN police protested, but were overruled.

Less than an hour later, all three agents were back at Camp X, likely having a good chuckle over the whole ordeal, and happy they passed the test.

Canadian Media Fund