This book is the third chapter of my story of the Newfoundland Railway. As the first
two books were concentrated on the two subdivisions on the former Western Division
of the railway, we will continue to tell the complete story by now looking at another
of the four subdivisions, the Clarenville to Bishop's Falls section. We will travel this 136-mile line
and also visit the branch lines to Lewisporte and Bonavista. In particular, we will visit the Trinity Loop, built in 1910 and the only known visible train loop on the Canadian National system. This
loop, which circles a small pond, was built adjoining two hills on which the railway line was located,
and on circling the pond after dropping over thirty-four feet, runs down a valley between the hills.
This was done to lower the grade and provide access to a lower elevation at tidewater in the town
of Trinity. Following the closing of the Bonavista Branch in 1983, this section of the railway was
saved and is now operated as a fun park called Trinity Loop Railway Village.
The one thousand miles of railways in Newfoundland, including the Newfoundland Railway
and all its branch lines, as well as all private railways, is described, and dates of construction and
abandonment are provided.
I recall my first trip from Bishop's Falls to Humbermouth with locomotive engineer Kevin
Byrne in July 1949. The majestic 1000-class steam engines, referred to as Mikados or Mikes, are
described, along with several photos.
We meet a few of the men who chose careers with the railway and went on to make their
mark. Several generations of many families carried on the tradition of working and, indeed, devoting
their lives to and around the railway.
As in previous works, I present the inteiwiews carried out with another dozen or so men who
spent their lives working in various capacities with the railway. Many of these retired workers were
employed all along the railway during their careers as they had to move to where they were needed
or to positions that their seniority would entitle them. Some of the stories go back to 1926, and
stories of the 1930's, '40's, and '50's are precious. I let them tell their stories and, in most cases, very little prompting was necessary to get their memories working. These interviews are presented
verbatim, without editing or any rewriting on my part. I believe this is important.
A collection of short stories of the railway and the players over the years tells about personal,
humorous, or interesting happenings in their lives. Where possible, photos are provided to further
illustrate these stories.