All Aboard! Exploring the Newfoundland Railway

Railway / Coastal History

Social/Economic Impact

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From its very beginnings the railway was recognized as an excellent resource for the promotion of tourism in Newfoundland. Travellers could tour the entire Island quickly and easily, access the interior without having to hire guides and carry weeks' worth of supplies. It was the trains and coastal boats that carried visitors to various locations around the Island.

Early attempts to attract tourists to the Island centred around promoting the pristine wilderness of Newfoundland and the abundance of wildlife as a haven for hunters and fishermen. The Newfoundland Railway provided easy access for American and Canadian sportspeople to fish for the abundant Atlantic salmon in rivers located inland, right by the railway track. Special "Excursion Trains" were put on during holidays for tourists and locals to enjoy summer camping.

Group picture of members of an Excursion Party next to the train, 1895.
Excursion Party, 1895. An early Railway excursion, probably and outing to the "end of the track", during construction of the Newfoundland Northern and Western Railway. A.R. Penney Collection.
A group of American hunters, at Howley, c. 1914.
American hunters at Howley, c. 1914. The Railway provided the first easy access to the caribou herds of the interior. Howley quickly became known as a site where getting your caribou was virtually guaranteed. Harry Cuff Publications.