Showing posts with label railway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label railway. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

All aboard! Newfoundland Railway, 1950s. #FolklorePhoto

This photo shows men posing on the Newfoundland Railway boxcar number 1228, close to the old Spaniard's Bay railway station off New Harbour Road in the1950s. What looks like a speeder car can be seen in the distance off to the right.

Photo courtesy Daphne Robinson. Photo collected as part of the "Lassy Days Photo Scanning Pary" held Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 at the Wesley Gosse Heritage Museum. If this photo elicits memories for you, or if you'd like to arrange a photo scanning party for your community, contact Dale Jarvis at

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

Monday, June 26, 2017

#CollectiveMemories Monday - Steve Best, Train Dispatcher and Telegraph Operator

A 19-61. Stalled! Winter scene on the Newfoundland Railway [191-?]. Originally published by Ayre & Sons (St. John's, N.L.). Courtesy of The Rooms Provincial Archives.

One of the interviews recently digitized for Admiralty House Museum and Archives was with Steve Best, a resident of Mount Pearl. Best talks about his childhood growing up in Gambo, telling stories about his family, school, and pastimes. He also talks about moving to the growing community of Mount Pearl in the 1970's. 

Best also talks about his work with the Newfoundland Railway, as a telegraph operator and train dispatcher. He tells stories about the accidents that occurred on the railway, both minor and major, and the problems snow created on the railway.   

To listen to the interview with Steve Best visit Memorial University Digital Archives Initiative.

~ Kelly

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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

#CollectiveMemories Roadtrip: Clarenville Heritage Society

I'm in Clarenville today, meeting with the Clarenville Heritage Society about setting up a Collective Memories project. Above are three of the people I met with today,  Megan Vardy, Stephen Bonnell, and Sam Adey.

We had a good conversation about the work they are doing to preserve the history of Clarenville and surrounding area, and where they might fit in to our new Collective Memories project. After our preliminary discussions, I think we'll be assisting them with two small pilot projects: we'll be helping them sort out the metadata and descriptions for their existing oral history collection and adding it to Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative; and we'll return soon to help them with some new oral history interviews, specifically on the railway history of Clarenville and area.

You can check out some of the interviews they've done in the past here.

We'll post more on the project as it chugs on down the track!

The Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador is looking for community partners to help make existing oral history collections more accessible to the general public, and can help communities start up new oral history projects to interview local seniors. For more information on the Collective Memories Project or how you or your community organization can get involved, email or call (709) 739-1892, ext. 5.

- Dale

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sun kinks and moose on the tracks! Clayton Tipple remembers Newfoundland train derailments

We went off this morning to interview Mr Clayton Tipple about his lunch basket, and ended up having a great discussion about his life on the Newfoundland railway.  The full interview will be posted on Memorial's Digital Archives Initiative, but for now you can listen to a short clip where Mr Tipple remembers a noteworthy train derailment near Flat Bay, and talks about the various things (like "sun kinks" and moose) which would cause a derailment.

Photo by Nicole Penney.