All Aboard! Exploring the Newfoundland Railway

Railway Workers

C.N. Pensioners

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CN Pensioners Association

The CN Pensioners' Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is made up of retired employees of the Canadian National Railway and CN Marine. Members have worked in every facet of the railway, coastal boat, and communications system on the island. The organization's statutes state that "Members in this Association shall be limited to persons retired in the service of CN and whose application and admission has received the approval of the local. Wives of pensioners and CN employees or widows are eligible for membership in Ladies Auxiliary and can hold office. Retired CN employees not located in Canada may become associate members by paying their regular dues. Retired CN employees residing in areas where no local exists, may become members of the association by payment of their annual dues directly to the Treasurer."

The Formation of the CN Pensioners Association

After the railway closed in 1988, Newfoundland Railroaders decided they did not want to lose the comradeship they enjoyed during their working lives. The CN Pensioners' Association, Newfoundland Provincial Council, was established January 16th, 1989 in St. John's when over 100 former railroaders met and voted to organize the "Newfoundland Railway Pensioners' Association." The mandate of the Association is to support the social well-being of its members and preserve the historical memory of the Newfoundland Railway. The first article of their statutes reads: "This Association shall be known as the Newfoundland Provincial Council of CN Pensioners Association, affiliated with System Council of Canadian Pensioners Association Inc. which Association was granted a Federal Charter and Recorded under Film 439, Document 109 at Ottawa, February 28, 1974. The Newfoundland Provincial Council is to be a non-profit organization with its own autonomy and finances."

Local chapters have formed in former railway towns such as Port aux Basques, Bishops Falls, and Corner Brook which hold regular meetings and report to the St. John's branch. Today there are a total of 838 members.

Finding a New Home

So far, the Association is able to stay in buildings that were formerly owned by the Newfoundland Railway. Prior to the move into its present location at the former St. John's Railway Station, the Association had been operating from a former CN Railway Headquarters building in the west end of St. John's train yard not far from the Railway Station building. When the Johnson Family Foundation took over the Railway Station Building from the City of St. John's in 2002 the CN Pensioners Association was included in a special lease agreement, guaranteeing them the space on the second floor of the three story building. After renovation of the building the CN Pensioners Association moved into its new home.

Founding members of the CN Pensioners Association NL posing with train car, 1988.
Founding members of the Association, 1988. CN Pensioners Association.
Three Board members of CN Pensioners Association seated at the CN Pensioners' Club, 2007.
Working hard for the CN Pensioners' Association: Board members (l-r): Larry Hickey, Fabian Kennedy, Wayne Greenland, 2007. CN Pensioners Collection.
Photograph of former meeting place.
The old meeting place in a former CN Railway Building. CN Pensioners Association.
CN Pensioners Association logo.
The logo of the CN Pensioners Association represents all aspects of railway and coastal boat history in the province. CN Pensioners Collection.
Side entrance of the old Railway Station in St. John's.
The entrance to the CN Pensioners' Club Room in the old St. John's Railway Station. Wayne Greenland Collection.