Scoudouc River piers were part of first railway in New Brunswick

6 days ago
scoudouc-river-piers-were-part-of-first-railway-in-new-brunswickScoudouc River piers were part of first railway in New Brunswick

Down a little path through the woods, off a recreational trail in Shediac, stone piers stretch across the Scoudouc River, an unofficial monument to New Brunswick’s railway heyday.

“This is actually quite a big deal and it just sort of sits here — like a lot of things,” said James Upham, a roadside history columnist with CBC’s Information Morning Moncton.

The Shediac-to-Moncton railroad tracks were the first to go into service in New Brunswick, said Upham.

The inaugural run took place on Aug. 20, 1857.

A black and white sideview photo of a procession of a few dozen people and some horses to the left and a train engine at right. The foreground is a snowy open field. The background is a line of snowcovered evergreens against a light gray sky.

The first locomotive being brought to Shediac from Pointe-du-Chene, by sledge, in the winter of 1857. (New Brunswick Provincial Archives P37/19)

A project that began earlier, to link Saint Andrews and Quebec, had stalled because of a border dispute.

The company behind the Shediac-Moncton project was called the European and North American Railway.

It went on to build many other lines in the province in the decades that followed, including the route between Moncton and Saint John that continues to operate to this day for freight. 

Passenger service on that line and beyond, through southwestern New Brunswick and Maine to Montreal, ended in 1994, after which a lot of the track was removed.

A black and white photo of a wooden station house with decorative mouldings beneath the overhang. A man in a suit and hat with his hands in his pockets on the platform. Two sets of empty tracks in the foregound.

Apohaqui Station, in Sussex area, was on a line built for the European and North American Railway in 1859. (Provincial Archives of New Brunswick P58/154)

“This is so hard to explain in a world where we can just hop in a car and drive 120 km/h to get a burger,” said Upham.

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