Proud of our History – the Newfoundland Railway

by Darrell Mercer

Marine Atlantic, its predecessor CN Marine, and pre-confederation Newfoundland coastal boats have a strong and proud history serving the people of Atlantic Canada through ferry terminals, passenger vessels and rail service.

In this week’s “Throwback Thursday” blog posting we highlight the Newfoundland Railway which was an integral part of Marine Atlantic and its predecessors’ service from 1898-1988.

The establishment of the Newfoundland Railway was vital to allow the first crossing between Port aux Basques, N.L, and North Sydney, N.S., in 1898. With no island-wide road network in place in Newfoundland, the railway was the only practical way to ship goods and people between Port aux Basques, St. John’s and all points in between. As highway networks and vehicle technologies expanded through the decades, new transportation and shipping options became available. A new focus was also placed on using the provincial highway network to allow commercial vehicles to ship goods versus the railway system. The last train operated in Newfoundland on September 20, 1988.

As always, we welcome your photos for posting in a future blog. Please email your photos to including any facts such as the date and location.

In next week’s blog posting, we highlight the SS Random, a Newfoundland coastal boat that operated from 1942-1962.