Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

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Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby NS VIA FAN » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:25 am

Time to head for Newfoundland to find what’s left of the narrow-gauge railway that was abandoned just over 25 years ago.......and there’s still lots out there to see!

Living less than 2 hours from the ferry terminal in North Sydney, Nova Scotia......I could easily squeeze a Newfoundland trip into a long weekend......so Wednesday morning I went online and Marine Atlantic had space for my car on the “Atlantic Vision” to Argentia NL that evening. I would do the trip in a loop.....arriving in Argentia near the eastern end of the island....then driving 900 km west across Newfoundland to return on the ferry from Port aux Basques (Port O Bask). The crossing to Argentia is a 14 hour “mini cruise” with cabins, buffet meals and entertainment.

Here’s a link to a map of my route. Google won’t display the ferry going over but is almost a straight line along the south coast between points “D” (North Sydney) & “A” (Argentia)

http://goo.gl/maps/hKdmw

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Early the next morning Newfoundland came into view and we docked near the former United States Naval Air Station at Argentia......passing the abandoned runway on the way in.

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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby NS VIA FAN » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:27 am

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First sign of the old railway was at Placentia Jct where the branch to Argentia had met the mainline. It’s now preserved as the Newfoundland T’Railway Provincial Park........a hiking and biking trail 540 miles long by 100 ft wide!

http://gator756.hostgator.com/~trailway/about.php

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At Whitburne I came across this equipment display along with the restored station

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Then it was onto St. John’s, pop. 200,000, the provincial capital........ and a tour of the Railway & Coastal Museum in the former CN Station.

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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby NS VIA FAN » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:31 am

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Behind the station and under the platform canopy, two old passenger cars have been placed.....

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........and on the inside they’ve been opened up to portray train-travel across Newfoundland in the 1940s:

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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby NS VIA FAN » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:33 am

A mural in the Museum depicts the old RR Shops that still stand behind the Station Museum under a freeway overpass:

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The “Coastal” aspect of the Museum tells the story of the Coastal Boats operated by the Railway that linked the isolated communities around the island that didn’t have access to the railway or highways. The boat schedules were listed in RR Timetables just like a branch line local but with stops at a wharf every few miles or so:

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After the abandonment of the railway, much federal money was poured into highway construction. At St. John’s the most easterly section of freeway in North America ends and beyond that the most easterly point you can drive to at Cape Spear.

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At Avondale there’s Trolley rides offered on a short section of track beside the station (now under restoration) along with a couple of cars.....one in the old CNR colours and the other in the original NFLD Railway paint scheme.

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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby NS VIA FAN » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:35 am

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A slight detour off the highway took me into Harbour Grace where the “Kyle”, one of the old Coastal Boats is aground opposite the town’s heritage park near where Amelia Earhart set out on her transatlantic flight (not in that DC3 but in a Lockheed Vega)

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Clarenville has a display of cars and locomotives. The narrow-gauge GMD NF-110s resemble standard-gauge GP9s

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DRL acquired the CN Roadcruiser bus service which had replaced the narrow-gauge “Caribou” (aka the “Newfie Bullet”) passenger train in 1969. In Gander, the DRL Bus stops at the Airport for meals on its 14 hour cross-island run. The Caribou had taken 22 hours on the twisting narrow gauge track....hence the name “Bullet”...... but it had a full complement of coaches, sleepers, a diner and lounge.

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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby NS VIA FAN » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:37 am

Approaching Bishops Falls, a former railway divisional point where CN was once a major employer. Here, sadly the equipment on display has seen better days but the 100 year old RR Trestle is nicely restored:

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At Howley......there’s an interesting old Drawbridge along the T’Railway:

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Near Corner Brook the 4 lane Trans Canada Highway is now on part of the old RR right-of-way through the narrow Humber River gorge........ and just west of there, a section of track remains with more equipment on display.

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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby NS VIA FAN » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:38 am

At Stephenville, a section of the T’Railway is on a portion of the abandoned right-of-way into the former US Air Force Base at Harmon Field. The USAF operated their own narrow-gauge RR here, connecting with CN at Whites Road. Walk around town.....most streets are named for US States.

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This is Wreck House (below) along the western coast where the tracks ran parallel to the Trans Canada Highway. Winds were known to come down out of the long range mountains here and blow trains of the track. There are still warning signs for trucks.

http://www.encounternewfoundland.com/wh ... ind-gauge/

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Now onto Port-aux-Basques...... Peel back that steel and glass on the Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal and the old brick CN Station is still buried in there. At the back of the building where the tracks and platforms once were (where you boarded the “Newfie Bullet”) ......there’s now bus bays.

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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby NS VIA FAN » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:39 am

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.......Then the 6-hour overnight crossing to Nova Scotia with an arrival back in North Sydney the next morning at sunrise alongside the Leif Ericson:

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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby MACTRAXX » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:26 pm

NS VIA: Interesting pictures from your Newfoundland trip here - I was wondering what would be left of the CN/Terra Transport's ROW...

At least some towns like Whitburne have a display of NFRY equipment - that NF210 has the "Terra Transport" logo...

This looked like a great trip to one of the more remote regions of North America...

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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby NS VIA FAN » Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:01 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:NS VIA: Interesting pictures from your Newfoundland trip here - I was wondering what would be left of the CN/Terra Transport's ROW...
.......This looked like a great trip to one of the more remote regions of North America...MACTRAXX


Nearly the entire Right Of Way is preserved as the “T’Railway Provincial Park”.....540 miles long x 100 Feet wide. You can practically cross the entire island on the hiking/biking/ATV trail except for a section near Corner Brook where a twinned section of the Trans Canada Highway has been built on the old ROW.

http://gator756.hostgator.com/~trailway/about.php

And I really wouldn’t consider Newfoundland a remote region.....From the US northeast, two 8-hour days of driving will get you to the ferry at North Sydney on mostly 4-lane freeway or United Airlines can get you to St. John’s in just over 2 hours....... daily nonstop from Newark. Rent a car and explore along the old railway!
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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby David Benton » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:13 am

Great photos , thanks for posting.
What is the story with the CN buses in your last batch of photos. Are they musuem pieces , or does CN still provide some bus service?
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Re: Adventures Along The Newfoundland Railway

Postby NS VIA FAN » Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:58 am

David Benton wrote:Great photos , thanks for posting.
What is the story with the CN buses in your last batch of photos. Are they musuem pieces , or does CN still provide some bus service?


That photo with the CN Buses was taken in June 1976 and I posted it to show what the Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal (photo directly above it) once looked like. Yes, that old brick building is still in there…just buried under the glass and steel cladding. This was also the CN Train Station when the Caribou (Newfie Bullet) left from and where the DRL Bus in the other photo below it…..is stopped where the RR platform was once located.

CN replaced the passenger train with those “Roadcrusier” Buses in 1969. They got out of the bus business in Newfoundland in 1996 and sold the service to DRL which is still operating it today.
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