HistoryThe town of Whitbourne has a special place in the history of Newfoundland's railway, as it was founded as part of the original railway construction on the island and became Newfoundland's first inland town.
Prior to the construction of the railway, there were very few inland roads on Newfoundland and communities were connected to each other by the sea. There was a great desire to diversify Newfoundland's economy beyond fishing, and therefore to develop the timber and mining resources in the interior of the island.
|Whitbourne station/hotel, 1890|
Whitbourne rapidly increased in importance as the first branch line was constructed to Placentia from Whitbourne in 1887. When the Reid Company took over the railway, it established its headquarters in Whitbourne and built car shops and other facilities there.
Whitbourne's railway significance declined after the Newfoundland Railway moved its headquarters to St. John's, but it remained an important junction until near the end of the railway when the branch to Placentia/Argentia was closed.
|Whitbourne train station and railway cars|
The station is a nice little building. I am not sure how old it is but it is clearly not the original station. It was closed up when we were there on a grey Sunday morning.
The rolling stock consists of the ubiquitous snowplow, an NF210 engine, an express baggage car, a coach and a caboose. They are not in great condition, as you will see.
|Snowplow and other equipment in Whitbourne, NL|
As an aside, people on Instagram seem to love snowplows. The above photo was one of my all-time highest rated images on Instagram.
|Terra Transport #940, Whitbourne|
This locomotive is unfortunately exposed to the elements (and vandals) and its cab is not in good condition.
|Cab of CN/TT 940|
CN 931 at Corner Brook. The hood doors were ajar on TT 940, showing the empty, graffiti-marred interior of the long hood.
38 of these NF210 locomotives were built, each with a 1200 horsepower prime mover. They were operated on the main line and on the Placentia branch, but were not permitted on the other branches due to the light rails still present.
Six are preserved on Newfoundland and eleven were sold to other countries. I hope a few still soldier on in narrow gauge service elsewhere!
|Express car 4147 / 1602 / 242|
|Ex Newfoundland Railways coach 33|
|Ex CN caboose 6053|
|Terra Transport and me|
I hesitated to point out the condition of the display in Whitbourne. I know it is difficult to find dedicated volunteers and many railway museums struggle with funding and staffing. I hope that the town and interested persons can rally to maintain the station and rolling stock for many years to come.
- The Avondale Railway Museum
- The Railway Coastal Museum
- Virtual Museum entry on Whitbourne
- Whitbourne Museum