All Aboard! Exploring the Newfoundland Railway

Railway / Coastal History

Newfoundland Railway

Railway History Slideshow

Portrait of Robert Gillespie Reid.

Robert Gillespie Reid (1842-1908), the man who built the Newfoundland Railway. The Reids were successful in their bid to government to build the Newfoundland railway in 1890. Eight years later, on June 29, 1898, the first train left the East End station in St. John's.

Under the new contract signed March 15, 1898, Reid paid the Government $1.5 million in exchange for ownership and operational control of the railway, telegraph system, and drydock in St. John's for fifty years, after which time he would maintain ownership of the coastal service for thirty years, and 5000 acres of land for every mile of track, bringing his total ownership to five million acres - one sixth of the entire Island! Provincial Archives, The Rooms.

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