All Aboard! Exploring the Newfoundland Railway

Railway / Coastal History

Newfoundland Railway

Railway History Slideshow

Lok 191 (460) with crew c 1920.

This slide show gives you a brief glimpse into the colourful history of the Newfoundland Railway. Hop onboard!

The Newfoundland railway operated for a little over a century. From 1882-97 the trains ran over completed portions of a projected trans-insular line. The first passenger train across the Island ran in June 1898. Regular passenger service ceased in July 1969, and the last freight ran in June 1988. The railbed has since been designated a "T'railway" and a linear provincial park.

Built to narrow (3'6") gauge for reasons of economy, the Newfoundland railway was the longest such line in North America, and was regarded with particular affection by railway buffs (its gently mocking nickname, "the Newfie Bullet" dates only from World War II). The main line was 548 miles, from St. John's to Port aux Basques. Numerous branch lines increased the length of tracks in the peak years (1915-31) to 906 miles.

The railway gave Newfoundland a "new" interior region and its first towns "out of sight and sound of the sea," from Whitbourne to Deer Lake. It also gave an expanding hinterland to the older population centres of the east coast. Like its North American neighbours, from 1898 Newfoundland had a West. Completion of the railway contributed to the settling of French Shore issue, opened the west coast to further settlement and provided a tangible link with the rest of the country. Cnsphoto2401001.

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