The Last Train(s) Into Fredericton

In my sparse railway video collection,I have a VHS tape entitled “Last Train into Fredericton”. This was produced by Digital World Productions, of Manawagonish Road, Saint John. Digital World was (is?) a store selling used musical instruments, CDs, and computer stuff. I have no idea why they made this video but I’m glad they did.

The tape features a few of the last trains into and out of Fredericton, New Brunswick, in 1994 and 1995. The Canadian Pacific’s “shortline” Canadian Atlantic Railway had ceased running into Fredericton in November 1993. CN limped along into 1994.

CN’s route into Fredericton ran from the main line at McGivney, south through Cross Creek, Taymouth and Durham Bridge into their yard on the north side of the Saint John River at South Devon.

The portion of the CN Oromocto subdivision from South Devon to CFB Gagetown was also used for these last trains. The full subdivision ran to Westfield Beach, where it met the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Digital World filmed the last CN movements into Fredericton in 1994. The Canadian Armed Forces wanted to move a collection of vehicles (tanks, armored vehicles, etc.) to CFB Gagetown in Oromocto.

Part 1

A train of flatcars was filmed leaving the CN main line at McGivney, NB on August 3, 1994. Two M-420 locomotives, CN 3558 and 3559, led 60 cars down the CN Nashwaak subdivision into the CN South Devon yard on the north side of Fredericton.

Scenes I recognized from this portion of the video included:

  • McGivney
  • Passing through Nashwaak Bridge
  • Taymouth
  • Marysville (25 Canada Street) at 18:54 on the tape
  • South Devon yard

Part 2

I believe this was another military train, likely a day or two after the previous one. This one was led by CN 3573 and 3518. Scenes I recognized:

  • Lincoln Road, by Aquarius St.
  • Lincoln, Railing Road south of Scotts Nursery
  • Oromocto, under route 102
  • Burton, route 102 crossing near Sobeys Distribution Centre
  • Pushing into Camp Gagetown, dropping cuts of cars off

The rails in CFB Gagetown were so overgrown that you can see the plow of the locomotive “plowing” the grass covering the rails. Amazing.

They had to try a few times to get the last string of cars in, as the locomotive wheels spun on the weed-covered rails. There was lots of commentary by the videographer, and he spoke with the CN crew quite a bit.

Part 3

Those military trains were not the actual last trains into Fredericton. Six months after the military trains, another train ran into Fredericton.

CFB Gagetown had its own power plant for heating. It used to receive coal by rail, but it was supposed to be converted to oil in 1994 or early 1995. The conversion ran late, they ran low on coal, and CN was asked to bring several trains into Gagetown.

The videographer said that approximately six trains of coal were delivered. Since no trains had run all winter, the Nashwaak subdivision had to be plowed before trains could run on it. All of the crossing signals had been deactivated in 1994, so each crossing had to be protected by a crewman.

Approaching University Avenue. The CP tracks that went to Fredericton Junction are on the right.

On April 27, 1995, the very last train left Fredericton. It had CN 3519 and 3550 (?), 4 coal hoppers, a snowplow, a spreader, and more coal cars.

The scenes featured were:

  • Crossing the Oromocto River into Oromocto
  • Lincoln – near St Francis of Assisi Church?
  • Lincoln – by L&A Metalworks behind East Coast Wheels
  • Lincoln Road, by Aquarius St.
  • Lincoln Road, by Research Centre
  • The University Avenue crossing
  • CN portion of York Street yard near the station. They stopped to pick up the snowplow and spreader used to open the line up.

The final scene of the video shows the train at the west end of the Saint John River bridge, at 11:40 AM, crossing the river into history.

Just One More Thing

Unfortunately “The Last Train out of Fredericton” is not available online.

However, this video “CN Military Train” is. It’s a brief clip showing a CN military train near Stanley, New Brunswick in 1991.

This video, also uploaded by “railcrew12”, shows one of the last coal trains to Fredericton in Penniac, NB. This one had one locomotive, CN 3553.

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