Southport

I’ve always been curious about when rail service to Stratford came to an end. I figured I’d share my assumptions and I’m really looking forward to what others might know. I remember looking through some maps from the Provincial Archives showing the alignment of the railway through the town and I believe that part of that grade is still visible along parts of the Hopeton Road in Bunbury (Stratford) including a very short stretch just across the road from Wendell Taylor’s garage.

I wonder where the station would have been located? Based on a Wikipedia.org article on the Hillsborough Bridge:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_River_Bridge

“In 1950 CNR structural engineers felt the bridge was unsafe for any rail traffic and the rails were removed while the railway instituted taxi service for passengers travelling to Murray Harbour, allowing them to board passenger trains at its terminus near the bridge abutment in Southport.”

There’s a building just off MacDonald Drive and Clifton Road in Stratford that closely resembles a PEI Railway station and I always wondered if that was the original Southport station, moved from it’s original location to this new one. Maybe not moved though, it does paralell the Hopeton Road and wouldn’t have been that far from the railway’s location.

In case you’re not familiar with the area, this link should take you to a Googlemap of the area:

Allan Graham’s book includes pictures of cars being unloaded nearby in Mt.Herbert so I presume that service, at least that far, lasted a while longer than the 1950 date from the Wikipedia article. I’d be interested in knowing how much longer it lasted. Furthermore, I wonder would have that service been only mixed train service and predominantly passenger services to Southport or would have freight been sent to a team track in Southport? The new bridge across the Hillsborough wouldn’t open until 1962 so some sort of service must have been in place for that decade. Thoughts?

Just daydreaming mostly but I can imagine a 44 tonner shoving a mixed train backward down the line to Southport and waiting at the edge of the Hillsborough River and I’ll admit that I rather quite like that image.

Cheers

Chris Mears

Charlottetown, PEI

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4 comments

  1. Pretty sure that the closure of the bridge put an end to it. Even before it was closed only the lightest of locomotives was allowed to cross for a number of years. I have an employee timetable for PEI, released in 1962, and it has no mention of a Stratford or Southport station stop. I wish the railroad had passed closed to our house in Cornwall but oh well, I missed rail service by three years anyway. Always nice to see a fellow Islander interested in trains,
    Taylor.

    1. Thanks for the comment. That’s some really great insight. Does your timetable include service as far in as Mount Herbert? Hazelbrook? I was looking at some timetables over on Steve Boyko’s blog (traingeek.ca) and see that by the early sixties trains on the Murray Harbour sub. had been replaced with bus service.

    2. Thanks for the offer Taylor. I think I’ve been watching some Youtube videos of your layout. You’ve got some great stuff underway and I’ve subscribed to your channel. I am here on the Island and I’ll have to take you up on your offer some time perhaps.

  2. Ah, Steve’s blog, I’ve been reading it almost since he started it. He has some really great stuff on there. I am planning on modelling CN’s Gaspe coast operations down the road and he has some great info on that.

    The date on the timetable is April 31, 1961 and the entire Murray Harbour stop is listed with 16 station stops. Mount Herbert and Hazelbrook are both included. Anyway, if you live on PEI you are welcome to see the timetable if you wanted to get any other info as I don’t have a scanner.

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