Caraquet and Gulf Shore Railway Company

Incorporated 1911 (1 George V Cap 122)
Mileage 74.97 miles

History

The Caraquet and Gulf Shore Railway Company was formed on April 13, 1911 as an amalgamation of the Caraquet Railway Company and the Gulf Shore Railway Company. The combined railway stretched from Gloucester Junction on the Intercolonial Railway main line near Bathurst, N.B. to Tracadie, N.B. with a branch line from Pokemouche Junction to Shippigan, N.B.

Before 1911 the two companies operated jointly, as many of the principal investors in the two companies were the same people.

In 1901 the two companies carried 5610 passengers and 18904 tons of freight, at a loss of $1046. By 1906 they carried 10629 passengers and 22655 tons of freight, with an increased loss of $3663.

The C&GS had a three-stall engine house at their Bathurst station, a turn-table at Tracadie, and wyes at Shippigan, Pokemouche Junction and Gloucester Junction near the Bathurst station.

It was reported in 1905 that the Caraquet Railway and the Gulf Shore Railway together had ”three locomotives, two passenger cars, five box cars, 22 flat or platform cars and one snow plough. Two of the locomotives are of good size and in good running condition. The third, which is a small machine, is now in the shop undergoing slight repairs. There is a first class passenger coach and a combination second class and smoking car in two compartments. Box cars and flats are in very good repair. A great deal of freight is handled in the Intercolonial Railway freight cars.” (Report on Branch Railways)

Absorption into CGR/CN

The Caraquet & Gulf Shore had a short life, as it was absorbed into the Canadian Government Railways system on June 1, 1920. Soon afterward, it became part of the Canadian National Railway system by Dominion Order-in-Council P.C. 115, dated January 20, 1923. It became the Caraquet Subdivision.

Initially operations continued as they had been when the Caraquet & Gulf Shore was in existence. As time wore on services were gradually reduced. Somewhere between 1954 and 1957, the regular passenger service was terminated and replaced with busses. The regular freight service disappeared from the CN timetables between 1954 and 1959, although a report from 1962 said that freight service continued three days per week.

Reports from the Economic Expansion Commission of the Peninsula, Inc. stated a rail relocation project in Tracadie was completed by 1980. This involved persuading current CN users to find other modes of transportation so that the land used by the railway could be put to other uses.

Abandonment

On August 8, 1983 CN applied to the Canadian Transport Commission to abandon the Caraquet Subdivision. On September 21, 1984, CN amended the application to retain the first 4.34 miles of trackage from Gloucester Junction. The Railway Transport Committee (RTC) of the CTC held a public hearing in Bathurst on October 21, 1985. The RTC subsequently issued Order No. R-39217 (1986/04/01) ordering CN to continue operation on the Caraquet Subdivision and noted it would review the application again in 1988.

On December 2, 1988 the National Transportation Agency (NTA) issued a Public Notice that it was reconsidering CN’s 1983 application. Intervenors noted that all train service ceased on the line by November 1986.

On March 3, 1989 the NTA issued [http://www.cta-otc.gc.ca/rulings-decisions/orders/1989/R/1989-R-40_e.html|Order No. 1989-R-40], authorizing the abandonment of the Caraquet Subdivision.
Post-Abandonment

The Subdivision became the Caraquet Spur and consisted of the first 4.34 miles of the original Caraquet Railway Company right-of-way, from Gloucester Junction to East Bathurst.

In 1997 CN sold the Caraquet Spur (as well as its entire Newcastle Subdivision) to the New Brunswick East Coast Railway.

The spur was known as the East Bathurst spur. It was cut back to before the Miramichi Road crossing (around mile 4.0) and all track was lifted in 2005.