The Newfoundland Railway, 1898–1969

A History

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About the Book

The building of a narrow-gauge trans-island railway in nineteenth century Newfoundland was a reckless and even desperate experiment. The island was poor, the population small, and the local politics rife with bitter sectarian conflict. Against these unpromising odds, the Newfoundland Railway came into existence on June 29, 1898, and operated successfully for well over half a century. This book offers a comprehensive history of the Newfoundland Railway, focusing especially on the railroad’s early years and the important early contributions of railway engineer R.G. Reid. A chronology and glossary are also included, along with several appendices which offer eye-witness accounts of the railway as recorded in period news articles, personal correspondence, poetry, and songs.

About the Author(s)

Les Harding, a former academic librarian, has written numerous articles and book reviews and more than a dozen books. He lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Les Harding
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 238
Bibliographic Info: 67 photos, glossary, chronology, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3261-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0839-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. A Somewhat Startling Notion      7

2. The Battle of Foxtrap      15

3. The Great American and Shortline Railway      24

4. The Surveys      27

5. The Harbour Grace Railway      35

6. The Placentia Railway      51

7. Enter RGReid      58

8. Life on the Line      62

9. King Reid      66

10. The Contract of 1898      76

11. The Cross-Country Express      86

12. The New Century      96

13. July 2, 1969, The Last Run      119

14. Railway Mail Service, Dispatching Office, Locomotive Shop, Coastal Boats and More      132

15. Wrecks, Collisions and Close Calls      150

Appendix One: Travelers, Eyewitnesses and Shameless Boosters      157

Appendix Two: To the Old Capitals by the New Way: Crossing the Ancient Colony by Rail, 1899–1900      187

Appendix Three: Poetry and Song      200

Appendix Four: Connections Far and Wide in 1900      204

Appendix Five: Miscellaneous      207

Chronology      213

Glossary      215

Notes      219

Bibliography      223

Index      227