New Brunswick currently hosts three railway companies, CN, the New Brunswick Southern Railway and VIA Rail. To get to New Brunswick by rail, you have to take VIA Rail’s Ocean train.
Current New Brunswick Railways
CN‘s main line runs through the centre of New Brunswick through Edmundston and Moncton on its way to its eastern terminus in Halifax. CN also has a branch line from Moncton through Sussex to Saint John.
For more information, please see CN in New Brunswick.
NB Southern operates a short line railway based in Saint John and operating through McAdam to the Maine border, with a branch line from McAdam down to St. Stephen and the Maine border. More details are on this NB Southern page.
VIA Rail operates its thrice-weekly Ocean train between Montreal and Halifax through New Brunswick, following the northern route through Moncton, Miramichi, Bathurst and Campbellton. More information on VIA Rail.
A Brief History of Railways in New Brunswick
The very first railway in New Brunswick was the St. Andrews & Quebec Railway, built to run from the port of St. Andrews through New Brunswick into Quebec. By 1867 it reached Woodstock but it never reached anywhere near Quebec (More information).
Various other small railways were built in the latter half of the 19th century to capture government subsidies and connect communities. Over time several of them were joined into the New Brunswick Railway. This railway covered much of southern New Brunswick, and was eventually leased by the Canadian Pacific Railway to help the CPR become a true transcontinental railway.
The Intercolonial Railway was promised as part of the Confederation of Canada. It connected the Maritimes to central Canada, running from Halifax through Truro and Moncton and along the northern coast of New Brunswick through Newcastle, Bathurst and Campbellton. This route exists today as CN’s secondary line through New Brunswick.
The National Transcontinental Railway was built through central New Brunswick by the federal government to create a second transcontinental railway. This scheme fell through but the line was built and became part of the Canadian National Railways when they were formed. This line is CN’s main line through New Brunswick today.
CP Rail abandoned much of its New Brunswick track in the 1980s, and they left New Brunswick in the mid 1990s. The remainder of their line in New Brunswick was taken over by the NB Southern Railway.
For more detail, please visit our New Brunswick railway history page.