In 1907 he secured work on the survey team for the new Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. This included passing through Arva farm operated by John C. Cousins where he met and later married Eunice Cousins. In the Rivers area, the surveyors lived in tents, as the town was only founded by the coming of the tracks in 1908. The railway surveyors (including Bob) were the ones who actually laid out the Rivers townsite!
Robert and Eunice settled in Rivers after the railway started operations and Bob secured a permanent position as Locomotive Foreman's clerk. This was an important job when it is realized that Rivers was the main Grand Trunk motive power and car repair shop in the west until 1912, when the new shops were built at Transcona, just east of Winnipeg. Bob's hard work and ability were recognized and he was given the task about l918-19 of introducing a new accounting system for the Mechanical Department which required extensive travel across the western lines.
In 1920, the bright curtain of opportunity in the new world came crashing down.... Bob was struck by the raging post-war influenza scourge and died while setting up his new system in Saskatoon. Eunice and the children were ill from the same disease in Rivers at the time.
Fortunately, Eunice and the three sons survived. The tree boys are still living (as at Dec. 1997), John Bury Abbott in Calgary, Clifford Renmore in Greenbank, Washington and Patrick Norman in Nanaimo.
Eunice lived in Rivers until about 1935 when she married a locomotive engineer, Fred Oakley, and they moved to Edson, Alta. where Fred could have full time work, whereas because of the depression he could only get 3 days a week on the Rivers yard engine. She died in Rivers in the 1970's while visiting her sister's family, and lies buried beside Bob on the hill occupied by Rivers cemetary. The graves of these two pioneers overlook the busy railway in the distance which was the played a part in their initial meeting and their all too short but happy life together.