end of an era
Government announces complete closure of railway service in Newfoundland
It was the
morning of June 20, 1988. A public meeting was held in the Radisson
Plaza Hotel in St. John’s. Premier Brian Peckford and International
Trade Minister John Crosbie were there to give short speeches.
Can you guess the occasion?
right – the official announcement of complete railway abandonment
in Newfoundland. For most, it was merely the confirmation of a
long-expected reality : its beginnings go back a long way, and
the signs of its coming were detectable (by some) for years leading
up to it.
would say the fate of the railway was determined as early as Prime
Minister Sir William Whiteway’s choice to build a narrow-gauge
railway in 1880. The rest of North America was using standard-gauge
track, where the rails were placed 56½ inches apart. Newfoundland’s
narrow gauge of 42 inches complicated the transportation of freight
from Canada to Newfoundland. In fact, a large shop was built in
Port aux Basques to replace the standard-gauge trucks on the bottom
of every freight car coming into Newfoundland with narrow-gauge