Thursday, June 30, 2011

The St. Stephen Railway Station

Train station in St. Stephen NB
I was in St. Stephen, New Brunswick this past week and took numerous photographs of the former Canadian Pacific Railway station there. Trains still visit St. Stephen a couple of times a week, but there are no rails to the station any more.

Construction on the current station began on June 1, 1929 and it was completed in late November 1929. The last CP passenger train departed for McAdam on August 16, 1958 (gas-electric CP 9008). After that SMT provided bus service from the station until 1967.

In 1971 the town bought the station and used it for the St. Croix public library. In 1999 the library moved to a new building very close by, and the station became the tourist information centre.

I thought it would be fun to compare current photos against those of days gone by. I found a selection of photos showing the station from the same viewpoint. I did not take a photo of the station from that viewpoint myself, because it would have been directly into the sun.

Here is the station in 2000, after it was a tourist information centre. This is basically how it looks today. This photo is by J.A. Clowes.
St. Stephen train station, 2000, by Art Clowes

Here it is in 1988, again taken by J.A. Clowes. At this time it was still the town library. The station was not terribly clean. Note the derelict rails in the foreground.
St. Stephen Railway Station, 1988, by J.A. Clowes

Now we go back to 1958. The photographer is unknown. Note the awning on the rear of the station, no longer present.
St. Stephen Railway Station, 1958, photographer unknown

The last steam train to visit St. Stephen was headed by CPR 986, a D10 class 4-6-0. It went to St. Andrews and St. Stephen before returning to McAdam as train 51. Its fires were dumped and it joined the dead line at McAdam.

Here is a postcard depicting the previous station in St. Stephen. This postcard is from around 1900. This station was built in 1877 following the disastrous town fire of 1876 that destroyed the majority of the business district. It served as the headquarters of the New Brunswick and Canada Railroad.
St. Stephen Railway Station, circa 1900
I think that is the freight house on the left.

In 2016 the St. Stephen station will be refurbished and upgraded. The tourist information centre is leaving and two new businesses will be moving in (CBC article).

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