Canadian Atlantic Railway

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Canadian Atlantic Railway
Logo of the Canadian Atlantic Railway.png
LocaleNova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Maine
Dates of operation1988–1994
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
HeadquartersSaint John, New Brunswick
 
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Canadian Atlantic Railway
Logo of the Canadian Atlantic Railway.png
LocaleNova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Maine
Dates of operation1988–1994
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
HeadquartersSaint John, New Brunswick

The Canadian Atlantic Railway (CAR) was a Canadian and U.S. railway that existed from 1988 to 1994.

The CAR was created in September 1988 as a business unit of CP Rail System (CPR) to serve the Maritime Provinces and state of Maine.[1] Its creation was predated by several years of declining traffic during the 1980s on CPR's eastern mainline from Montreal to Saint John and its supporting branchlines.[1] In 1994, the CAR was shut down, and the Canadian American Railroad took over operations on the line.[1]

Lines[edit]

The CAR included all lines operated by CPR east of Megantic, Quebec on the following routes:

Nova Scotia

The Dominion Atlantic Railway was a wholly owned CPR subsidiary which was operated by CAR. It included the following lines:

History[edit]

The routes comprising the CAR system were created by the European and North American Railway, New Brunswick Railway, International Railway of Maine and the Dominion Atlantic Railway.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the CAR abandoned almost all of its branch lines in New Brunswick and Maine except for the St. Stephen Sub, leaving the railway with its core industrial lines in western Saint John and the mainline McAdam, Mattawamkeag and Moosehead Subs. connecting the Maritimes to Montreal.

All branch lines in northern New Brunswick and Maine were abandoned except for a small industrial spur in Grand Falls, NB.

In Nova Scotia, the CAR abandoned the western part of the Dominion Atlantic Railway from Kentville to Yarmouth following cancellation of Via Rail services in January 1990.

By 1993, traffic had declined on the CAR's Saint John-Montreal route to fewer than 25,000 carloads per year (including Via Rail's Atlantic). This amount of traffic was unsustainable for the route, forcing CP Rail to apply for abandonment with U.S. and Canadian regulators, however the company was denied in lieu of selling the track to another operator. Several short line railroad companies subsequently entered into negotiations with CP Rail to purchase the entire CAR.

Negotiations for purchasing the lines in New Brunswick, Maine and Quebec with the short line operators fell through in early 1994 and CP Rail reapplied for abandonment with regulators for its line across Maine between Saint John and Farnham, QC. An abandonment date of December 31, 1994, was established should no purchaser be found in the interim.

Meanwhile, in August 1994 the CAR sold the track of its Dominion Atlantic Railway subsidiary to Washington, DC-based short line operator Iron Road Railways, which owned the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad; the new operation was called the Windsor and Hantsport Railway.

As the abandonment date for its lines in New Brunswick, Maine and Quebec drew nearer, it became apparent that CP Rail did not have a short line operator in line to purchase the route. Despite vociferous protests by communities along its route, Via Rail announced the cancellation of the Atlantic effective December 17, 1994, merging the train's equipment and crews with its Ocean route.

CP Rail had entered negotiations with the privately owned New Brunswick-based industrial conglomerate J.D. Irving Limited and Iron Road Railways in December however a purchase agreement could not be reached before the abandonment deadline passed, thus the CAR was formally abandoned and sat dormant for the first week of January 1995 until a sale agreement was finalized.

Sale[edit]

The resulting sale of the line from Saint John to Farnham was divided as follows:

J.D. Irving established two companies to operate its lines:

Iron Road Railways established one company to operate its line:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Confalone, Mike and Posik, Joe (2005). Rails Across New England, Volume 1. Goffstown, New Hampshire: Railroad Explorer. p. 19. ISBN 0-9725320-1-3.