Showing posts with label Newfoundland Railway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newfoundland Railway. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Occasional Paper No. 008 - A Social and Architectural Analysis of the Harbour Grace Railway Station

Harbour Grace Railway Station and Freight House c. 1980. Photo by Joe McMillan. 

For the past couple of months, I've been researching the Harbour Grace Railway Station. I interviewed several people who have memories of the station, conducted archival research, and visited the building on various occasions to document its architectural features. The final result of this project is an occasional paper.  

If you would like to download the full PDF click here.

-Katie Harvey

Friday, July 21, 2017

Memories of Historic Places: A Trainful of Mary Brown's Secret Recipe Dough

Over the past couple of weeks I have been researching the Gordon G. Pike Railway Museum and Park. Erected in 1881, this building was once the station for the Harbour Grace Railway. It is a small, one-story, hipped roof building located on Military Road in Harbour Grace. 

I always enjoy hearing people's memories of places, but here on Friday afternoon, as suppertime approaches, one story, as told by Patrick Collins, stands out in particular:

"I remember the train coming down with a load of Mary Brown’s secret recipe.  Aboard were boxfuls of secret recipe dough that they use for the deep fried chicken at Mary Brown’s which is here in Harbour Grace. And I remember that being quite secretive; the owner coming up and saying, 'make sure none of those boxes are stolen.' There was a freight shed that was right next to the station that is gone now and that was very securely looked after."

I can imagine how exciting it must have been for the employees of the station, entrusted with protecting the sacred deep fried chicken formula that has become a staple to many Newfoundlanders. It must have been difficult to resist sneaking a peek of the secret recipe. 

If you or someone you know has a memory of the Harbour Grace Railway station, please contact Katie at or (709) 739-1892 ex. 7.

-Katie Harvey

Friday, April 28, 2017

Launch of "Railway Memories - Stories of the Newfoundland Railway"

In the summer of 2016, I started chatting with Stephen Bonnell and the folks at the Clarenville Heritage Society. The Society, based out of the old Clarenville railway station, was interested in getting involved with the Collective Memories program and safeguarding some of the stories associated with the railway and with the history of Clarenville itself. So off I went, and I helped to interview two local gentlemen, Lindo Palmer and Baxter Tuck. Both of them had fabulous stories of their time with the railway, and I felt that we needed to showcase their memories in some way.

At the same time, I knew there were other oral histories mentioning the Newfoundland Railway which we had worked to place on Memorial University’s Digital Archives Initiative (DAI). And so, with the help of our staff at the ICH office, notably Heather Elliott, Terra Barrett, and Kelly Drover, we put together the next in our ongoing "Collective Memories" series.

Today, we are pleased to launch this, our fifth in the series, designed by Jessie Meyer.

"Railway Memories - Stories of the Newfoundland Railway" is available as a freely downloadable pdf, and contains stories from: Beverley Ann Butler, Patrick Collins, Joseph Cormier, Henry Hutchings, Colin Pike, Lindo Palmer, Clayton Tipple, Baxter Tuck, and Ron White.

Download the pdf here.

Top photo: A break in the line, 1917. Courtesy of the Maritime History Archives, photo #PF-329.042. The Collective Memories Project is an initiative of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, with funding provided by the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development.

Monday, January 9, 2017

#CollectiveMemories Monday - Colin Pike: railway man, woodsman, and lineman

Photograph of Colin Pike (right) and his son, Wayne Pike

In August 2016, we had a visit in the Heritage Foundation office with Colin Pike, and his son Wayne Pike. We sat down for a chat, and Colin told us about growing up and the different jobs he had, including working on the railway, as a logger, and with Newfoundland Power as a lineman. He also talked about his father, including his service during the First World War, and his life as a trapper. Do you know what a railway torpedo is? Colin can tell you all about it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Harbour Grace Railway Memories

Canadian National Train in Harbour Grace. Photo from the Town's website.
On Sunday evening the Heritage Foundation along with the Town of Harbour Grace hosted the Railway Memories and Story Swap. Although we didn't come across any photos of the railway station that evening we did hear some great stories and were told there are a couple of photos in the local museum's collection. If you or anyone you know has photos of the Harbour Grace Railway station or the Conception Bay North railway more generally please get in touch at as we are still on the hunt for photographs!

We arranged a follow up interview with Pat Collins who had excellent stories about his time working on the railway.  He told us about a old railway station in Riverhead, Harbour Grace and suggested several people we get in touch with for more stories.

Pat also described his fear and embarrassment when he fell asleep during an overnight shift on the Main Line and awoke to the sound of a work train coming through. In his confusion he thought it was a passenger train which was not supposed to come through on the tracks at that time. He put the call over the radio to stop the train but was laughed off the radio instead. Pat was told to go back to sleep  and was informed it was a freight train coming through in the early morning and there was nothing to worry about!

~Terra Barrett

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Railway Memories Photo and Story Swap - Harbour Grace

Harbour Grace Railway Station. Photo by Michael Philpott.
Did you work in the building or on the railway line? Do you know someone or have a family member who did? Do you have memories of taking the train? Do you have old photos or items associated with the Harbour Grace Railway Station? The Heritage Foundation NL, in partnership with the Town of Harbour Grace, wants to know!

We’ll be hosting a Railway Memories Photo and Story Swap in the in the Danny Cleary Harbour Grace Community Centre, 1 Cee Bee’s Way, Harbour Grace on Sunday December 4, 2016 at 7:30pm.

“We are looking for anyone connected to the Newfoundland Railway in Conception Bay North including labourers, station agents, telegraphers, and flagmen, as well as locals with memories of railway travel.” says the foundation’s folklorist Dale Jarvis. “If you have memories or photographs of the Newfoundland railway, we would love to hear from you.”

The oral history project is part of the foundation’s Collective Memories Project. This project is an initiative of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, with funding provided by the Department of Children, Seniors, and Social Development. The Collective Memories Project invites seniors to record their stories and memories for sharing.

Come for a cup of tea, and bring photos, calendars, timetables, tickets, objects to show off. This information will be used in the restoration of the train station. There will be a scanning station there to digitize or photograph everything that people bring, so you can take your originals home with you. The information gathered will be used to help restore and celebrate the old railway station in Harbour Grace.

For more information please contact Terra Barrett with the Heritage Foundation toll free at 1-888-739-1892 ext. 5 or email or Natalie Austin with the Town of Harbour Grace at 709-596-3042 or email  Click here for the Facebook event.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Goose Cove Train Derailment - an update and new photo!

Last week, I posted a story from Baxter Tuck about a derailment along the Bonavista Branch Line. You can listen to that story here.

Heather Rose Russell  wrote to tell me, "The railroader who fell into Beaver Pond Brook was Amos Burge of Bonavista. This was circa 1920. Mr. Burge passed away circa 1959; he and his family lived on River Styx Road in Bonavista, right next door to my grandparents."

Lacking a picture of that particular derailment, I included one from a different derailment along the same line.  Heather had more information on that, as well, noting "the picture shown is the derailment in Goose Cove in 1942 in which baggageman Harold White met his Waterloo."  

One of our Heritage Foundation board members, Lloyd Kane, went one further, providing an photo of the same Goose Cove wreck, from a different angle.

He wrote, "Attached is a photo from our family album showing the same derailment, I think. The
location is Goose Cove, Trinity. My Grandparents house is in the background."  Lloyd's photo is included above!

Lloyd's Grandmother and Grandfather were Joanna and Jacob Kane. Lloyd writes, "Joanna Stone (1901-1979) married 1920 to Jacob Morris Kane (1886-1947). Grandmother was born in Old Bonaventure and Grandfather was born in Goose Cove. He worked for many years as Sectionman on Nfld. Railway, Bonavista Branch."

If you have more information on either of these derailments, or other photos of the railroad era in Newfoundland and Labrador, drop me a line at

Monday, July 25, 2016

Trapped by the heels - a train derailment on the Bonavista Branch Line. #oralhistory

As part of our ongoing Collective Memories project to record the stories of Newfoundland and  Labrador seniors, we've been doing some work with the Clarenville Heritage Society about railway memories.

On 21 July 2016, I had a chat with a couple old railroaders, Lindo Palmer and Baxter Tuck. They were full of stories, as you might expect! We'll post the full interview eventually, but in the meantime, have a listen to Baxter telling one of his father's stories, about the time the mailman was caught by the heels of his boots when a train derailed into a brook on the Bonavista branch line.

Photo Credit:  A derailment on the Bonavista Branch Line.
The roadbed had grown soft, sending the cars into an uncontrolled
rocking motion which tipped them over. Railway Coastal Museum.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: Riding the Rails

This is a picture of my great grandmother, Ethel Peddle (nee Ivany), taken circa 1927-1933. Her father was a roadmaster with the Newfoundland Railway and she would ride the rails with him from time to time. Originally from Bloomfield, Bonavista Bay, Ethel loved the opportunity to go clothes shopping in Clarenville or St. John's on these trips. This snap was taken in Clarenville when my great grandmother was in her late teens to early twenties.