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Remembering Newfoundland Railway trains

By | February 18, 2021

The Newfoundland Railway is Classic Trains' Railroad of the Month for February 2021

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Caboose at rear of freight train in open country
Workers manipulating boxcar inside a warehouse.

Gauge-to-gauge transfer


Workers inside the transfer shed at Port-aux-Basques guide a boxcar being hoisted from standard-gauge trucks to narrow-gauge trucks so it can travel across Newfoundland. This practice was later abandoned in favor of jacking up cars and rolling trucks out and in.

Canadian National photograph
Workers manipulating boxcar inside a warehouse.
Caboose with open door at the end of a long freight train amid low, rolling field and forest land.

Cross-island freight train


Fifty miles out of Port-aux-Basques, an overheated locomotive has temporarily halted to St. John’s-bound freight train 204 on July 25, 1976. The 44-car train is carrying automobiles for Grand Falls, oil for Lewisporte, limestone for Lethbridge, lumber for St. John’s, and a carload of soap for Cupids.

James B. Armstrong
Caboose with open door at the end of a long freight train amid low, rolling field and forest land.
 
Three CN locomotives take the lead of a passenger train in a rail yard.

Last run for the 'Caribou'


The final run of the cross-island Caribou departs the rail-marine terminal at Port aux Basques on July 2, 1969. The “Newfie Bullet” went out with a bang: behind the diesels are a steam generator car, an express car, four coaches, two diners, and eight sleepers.

R.J. Sandusky
Three CN locomotives take the lead of a passenger train in a rail yard.
Steam locomotive at the head of a passenger train in a rail yard.

'Overland Limited' at St. John’s


Mikado 1024, the last steam locomotive acquired by the Newfoundland Railway before it became part of Canadian National, is ready to depart St. John’s with the Overland Limited for Port-aux-Basques, 546 miles and 27 hours away.

Canadian National photograph
Steam locomotive at the head of a passenger train in a rail yard.
Uniformed railroad worker pulls a loaded dolly up a ramp to an express car.

Notre Dame Junction, mid-1950s


The head brakeman and conductor (back to camera) of St. John’s–Port-aux-Basques train No. 1 load express shipments during the stop at Notre Dame Junction. The locomotive beyond them is on the connecting train to/from Lewisporte. “The train crew really works on this road,” noted the photographer.

William H. Schmidt
Uniformed railroad worker pulls a loaded dolly up a ramp to an express car.
Two trains on separate, converging tracks appear in one view with a house like structure at the apex.

Main line, branch line

In the mid-1950s, train 1 from St. John’s (left) stands on the main line at Notre Dame Junction, where it connects with a branchline service to/from Lewisporte (behind station).

William H. Schmidt
Two trains on separate, converging tracks appear in one view with a house like structure at the apex.
Soldiers in loose formation wearing what appears to be winter clothing in front of a mixed train.

World War II troop train


The quaint Newfoundland Railway became a strategic asset during the First and Second World Wars. In this 1942 view, U.S. troops gather after disembarking from an ancient wooden coach.

U.S. Army Signal Corps
Soldiers in loose formation wearing what appears to be winter clothing in front of a mixed train.

All through February 2021, Classic Trains editors are celebrating the heritage and quaint perseverance of the Newfoundland Railway. This week, we are exploring Newfie trains in black and white images in this photo gallery.

We hope you enjoy!

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