Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Back in 1998? I toured Prince Edward Island with my future wife. We spent a couple of days driving around and enjoying the beautiful scenery on this island jewel. One of the places we drove through was Kensington, and I was amazed to see the unique station building there.
This station was constructed in 1905, Kensington's third and final station. There is a great history of the station online. The stone on the outside of the station is from New Brunswick, embedded in stucco. They used New Brunswick stone because the PEI sandstone is not durable enough.
The station served passengers from its construction until the end of railway passenger service on the Island on October 25, 1969. The station was designated a National Historic Site in 1978. It was officially closed by CN in 1983 and became the town tourist information centre in 1984. It is currently the home of the Island Stone Pub.
When I visited, MLW RSC-14 CN 1762 and caboose CN 78431 were located a little ways from the station, and looking pretty shabby.
It seemed like kind of a dumb location for them, several hundred feet away from the station. I understand CN 1762 has since been moved up to sit beside the station. I'm not sure if the caboose is there too.
CN 1762 was built as RS-18 CN 3859 in 1960 by the Montreal Locomotive Works company. It was rebuilt as an RSC-14 in 1975 and became CN 1762. It was one of the diesel engines on PEI. It spent a little while sitting in Summerside after its retirement, before being moved to Kensington. There's a great story of the move of 1762 from Summerside to Kensington, over the remaining rails (and even bridging a gap or two).
CN 78431 was originally a Grand Trunk boxcar, 19908, built in December 1911. It Became CN 342608 and was rebuilt into a caboose by the CN Pointe St. Charles shops into CN 78431. It graced the McDonald's in West Royalty, PEI for a short time before being moved to Kensington.
Follow the link for a tremendous amount of interesting PEI railway material.
To finish, here's a photo of CN 1754 (now at the New Brunswick Railway Museum) rolling past Kensington station in 1987, two years before the end of rail operations on PEI.