On The T’Rail Of The Newfie Bullet

Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

On The T’Rail Of The Newfie Bullet

Postby NS VIA FAN » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:22 pm

All aboard for a trip into the wilds of central Newfoundland over a portion of the abandoned mainline of CN’s narrow-gauge division.

http://picasaweb.google.ca/ghCBNS/Along ... directlink

The mainline extended 548 miles across the island from the ferry terminal at Port aux Basques to St. John’s. When the Trans Canada Highway was completed in the 1960’s it basically paralleled the railway except for a 63 mile section between Howley (near Deer Lake) and Badger……”The Topsails”……A wild, scenic, high plateau reaching an elevation of 1554’ at the summit.

CN’s mainline passenger train, the “Caribou” (affectionately known as the “Newfie Bullet”) lasted until 1969 and even after its demise CN still provided mixed train service to access this isolated area until the railway was abandoned in 1988. Today the only way in is on ATVs or 4-wheel drive vehicles over the abandoned rail bed now preserved as the “Newfoundland T’Railway Provincial Park” (100 feet wide x 548 miles long!)


I’ve always wanted to visit the Topsails and a buddy I work with who is originally from Newfoundland arranged for a couple of ATVs for the trip. After an overnight ferry crossing from the mainland and a 5 hour drive I reached Bishop’s Falls, a former CN divisional point and the start of the adventure. The mainline was well constructed and heavily ballasted in places and still provides an excellent surface for the ATVs. Most bridges are in place and some are being re-decked to meet accessibility and safety requirements. Near the summit we came across a former sleeper and now a hunting cabin…there’s an abundance of moose, caribou and black bear plus fishing in the area.

It took two days for the 180 mile round-trip from Bishops Falls to Howley with plenty of locations along the trail for camping. And there are no snakes (of any kind) skunks or racoons on the island of Newfoundland……but watch out for the Blackflies!

In winter the Topsails were noted for the efforts it took to keep the line open with rotary plows to tackle the huge snow drifts……but no fear of that today with sun, 30 degrees and dust!


The trip was over too soon and it was back to the mainland on a Marine Atlantic ferry.

User avatar
Posts: 926
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:51 am

Re: On The T’Rail Of The Newfie Bullet

Postby David Benton » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:08 am

GREAT PHOTOS OF A GREAT TRIP .quite a distance to go on Atv's . did you meet any 4wd's ???? i'd imagine they would get up to quite a speed and pose abit of a danger to you ???
Its sad to see the old railroad close , but at least this has been preserved for public access .
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
Posts: 8141
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Return to Travel & Trip Reports

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests