All Aboard! Exploring the Newfoundland Railway

Interactive Map


People on platform with train all set to depart Whitbourne Station, 1890s.
Whitbourne was the first inland town to develop thanks to the Railway. It was originally named Harbour Grace Junction. Here was the point at which the branch line to Harbour Grace intersected with the main line. The Newfoundland Railway reached Whitbourne in 1883 on its way to Harbour Grace and Carbonear. In 1893 Whitbourne became a very important town in the railway system. Robert Gillespie Reid had just obtained the contract for the construction of the railway from Placentia Junction to Hall's Bay and Whitbourne became his headquarters. This decision caused the community to develop rapidly. Whitbourne boasted a combined hotel, restaurant and railway station built by a man named Davenport. Railway offices and car shops, a six stall roundhouse, a machine shop required for the construction and maintenance of the railway were also built. As early as 1897 the Reid machine shop built three Pullman passenger cars named after the Newfoundland towns Placentia, Twillingate and Trinity. John Gosse Collection.
People waiting for train at Davenport's Hotel, 1st Railway Station, ca. 1895.
When Reid's headquarters were moved to St. John's Whitbourne lost much of its importance as a railway town. However, it still remained one of the major stops on the main railway line. John Gosse Collection.
Construction of train station in Whitbourne before 1900.
10.12.002 Coll-137 Archives and Manuscripts, QEII, Memorial University.

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