Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Temiscouata Railway Train Orders

Ken Secrest posted two train orders to his web site from the old Temiscouata Railway. These are rare indeed!

What was the Temiscouata Railway? I'm glad you asked. It was a railway that ran from Connors, NB through Edmundston, NB and on to Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec. It began operations in 1889 between Riviere-du-Loup and Edmundston, and added the Connors-Edmundston section a few years after the first section began operation.

Temiscouata Railway 1933 timetable, page 1

Over time the railway found itself changing because of new railways being built in New Brunswick. The National Transcontinental Railway (NTR) paralleled the Temiscouata Railway (TMCR) west of Edmundston, and after numerous washouts a section of the TMCR was abandoned and they acquired running rights between Baker Brook and a point just west of Edmundston.

CN ended up taking the TMCR over in 1950, and it became the Temiscouata and Connors subdivisions. Over time the Connors sub became the Connors spur and was eventually abandoned. The Temiscouata subdivision was abandoned in stages during the 1980s and the 4.9 miles in Edmundston is called the Edmundston spur.

Interestingly, Google Maps still thinks the Connors sub exists. It shows as the line south of route 120. The satellite view shows the roadbed has no tracks but the map shows them.

Noted New Brunswick railway historian Wendell Lemon has a great article on the history of the Temiscouata Railway (also published in the February 2009 Branchline magazine).

If you drive west from Edmundston on the Trans-Canada, you will see and/or cross the former right-of-way a few times as you pass through the towns such as Cabano and St. Louis du Ha Ha. I kid you not, that's the name of the town.

I have two public timetables from the Temiscouata Railway in my collection.  The first is from December 1, 1933 (#85): page 1pages 2-3, and page 4.  The second is from April 25, 1938 (#96) and is smaller: page 1 and page 2.

A few railway photographers took some shots on the Temiscouata, including Fredericton's Ken MacDonald and my friend Bill Linley. I'll see if I can dig some up.


Unknown said...

Many people don't realize that approximately 1 km of the temiscouata railway still exist, from Riviere-du-Loup (FF.Soucy on Delage street), it cross a bridges over the riviere du Loup, and have branch going to JM Bastille (steel recycling) and the original line that goes to the back of Premier Tech industry. I remember Premier used the train for a long time to ship their production, toward the early 2000 they only used the rail to ship scrap metal to Bastille with a few wagons. I have no idea if Premier use the train anymore, but Bastille still receive scrap metal from time to time. I suppose operation will completely cease to exist when the bridge require too much money to repair.
Another small part of the line also exist in Edmundston to connect to the paper mill. I am still left to wonder if an industry like Cascade or GDS would like to have access to rail nowadays, considering the increase in transportation cost... Specially since the only interesting part of this bike trail is between St-Louis and Degelis, following the temiscouata lake. The rest of the trail is buried deep in the forest, alone, no service, or thrue the swamps of cherry river. I rarely ever meet anyone in those lonely places, will Cabano/Degelis can be very busy in july/august.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, PN, for that update on the Temiscouata! I didn't realize there was a small piece left in Riviere-du-Loup. I remember seeing the piece of it in Edmundston for the paper mill.