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About the Newfoundland T'Railway

In 1988 the railway line running across the Island of Newfoundland was abandoned. As the last train pulled into the station at Port aux Basques, an important chapter in the province's transportation history drew close. But a new one was about to begin. Across North America, thousands of kilometres of railroad have been decommissioned over the past three decades. Coinciding with this decline, however, has been a growing awareness of the value of these converted right-of-ways as public trails suitable for various outdoor recreational activities. The roar of diesel locomotives is being replaced by the sounds of hikers, bicyclists, ATVers, cross-country skiers, horseback riders and snowmobilers - people of all ages and many different interests escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In Newfoundland, 883 kilometres of abandoned railbed provide the basis for a trail link between Port aux Basques on the west coast and the capital city of St. John's on the easternmost edge of the Avalon Peninsula. The Newfoundland T'Railway Provincial Park, as it was officially proclaimed on July 10, 1997, is being developed as a multi-use, all-season recreational trail by the T'Railway Council in conjunction with the provincial and federal governments, various municipal councils and local service districts, and the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. The T'Railway development was carried out in several phases as funds became available. In 1996, work began on the section of rail bed between Glenwood and Benton, the stretch between Bishop's Falls and Badger in Central Newfoundland and a portion of the T'Railway under the auspices of the Grand Concourse Authority starting at the former CN Railway Station (now the home of the Railway Coastal Museum) in the west end of St. John's. Upgrading was also started on the Wreckhouse Trail, paralleling the Anguille and Long Range Mountains on the west coast. Much of the initial work along the T'Railway involved brush cutting and general clean-up. Ditches were cleared of accumulated debris, and trestles and bridges were repaired. About 3.5 kilometres of bridges are along the trail, the longest being the 282.5-metre trestle crossing the Exploits River near Bishop's Falls. Maintaining these crucial links is essential to the integrity of the entire trail system since replacing them today would be prohibitively high. The heavy aggregate or ballast initially used on the railbed to support the track is unsuited for walking or biking. A finer-grade material was spread to provide an even and well-compacted surface. Maintaining the rail bed is a never-ending and expensive task. During the spring runoff, culverts can become blocked, causing severe erosion and major washouts requiring immediate repair. Overly enthusiastic beavers are also a constant headache. If left to their own devices, these super-sized rodents would flood large areas of land bordering or even including the trail itself. Maintaining 883 KM of trail is very expensive and time-consuming. In recent years hurricanes, significant rain events and storm surges have made this task even more challenging. The council established a charity to help raise much-needed funds. Please consider donating.

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