The T'Railway Provincial Park stretches almost 900 kilometres from St. John's to Port aux Basques along the main line of the old abandoned Canadian National railbed. This island-long Park corridor provides access to many of the Island's representative natural and scenic landscapes. The Park also serves as an historical link to our past railway heritage because most of the original railbed, trestles and bridges remain intact. All are reminiscent of the architectural and engineering technology of the day.
The Relay 2000 was a promotional event celebrating the opening of the Trans Canada Trail, of which the Newfoundland T'Railway is an important part. For more information on the relay click Trans Canada Trail.
All terrain vehicles and snowmobiles will be permitted on designated sections of the T'Railway for access and year round enjoyment. Hiking, scenic touring and nature observation will be encouraged and promoted especially to residents and visitors to the Province.
The Newfoundland T'Railway is a part of our heritage and the preservation of its cultural and natural values for future generations is now secure. On June 29, 1898, the first passenger train traveled from St. John's to Port aux Basques; a journey that took some 28 hours to complete. From that day, and until its decommission in September of 1988, many residents and tourists have traveled this route; a journey of adventure and natural beauty that has become a topic of Newfoundland writers and musicians. The adventure and natural beauty can still be experienced; where once a railway ran a park now stands.
The council represents the six core user groups of the Newfoundland T'Railway Provincial Park. These groups are, hikers, bikers, horse back riders, cross country skiers, ATV's, and snowmobilers. The council also conducts upgrade work on the T'Railway and is responsible for resurfacing major portions of the former rail bed and the re-decking of many trestles. This work will continue until the entire T'Railway is completed. The council also works closely with the Parks and Natural Areas Division on promotion and educational initiatives. For more information on the council click Newfoundland T'Railway Council.
The last of the rails came up in 1990, but you won't find much grass growing on the trail. It is now a multi use recreational trail enjoyed by Newfoundlanders and visitors of all age groups. Around communities the T'Railway provides access for people on foot and on bicycles. People use the rail bed to reach new fishing spots, to watch for birds, or just to enjoy the quality time in the wilderness. In winter snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are also popular. As the T'Railway is developed it will create new opportunities for tourists and tourist-related business such as adventure tourism, bed and breakfasts, and guiding services.
To make the most of this opportunity a wide variety of people must work together. Partnerships among federal, provincial, and municipal governments are necessary to achieve this goal. Also of vital importance is the co-operation and initiative of special interest groups such as area development associations, sporting and outdoor associations, and forestry and tourism industries. With this level of co-operation, the Newfound T'Railway Provincial Park will be a showpiece in the longest recreational trail in the world, the Trans Canada Trail. The Trans Canada Trail spans 15,000 km from St. John's to Victoria and from Calgary to Tuktoyaktuk. The Newfoundland T'Railway is our contribution to this national dream.
One of the enduring legacies of Newfoundland's railway era is the island-wide corridor. This hard-packed bed, with its many trestles and bridges is an invaluable multi-purpose recreational resource. It links urban, rural, and wilderness environments to form the unique Newfoundland T'Railway. Another part of the legacy is the remaining station houses and trail cars.
The Newfoundland T'Railway is a relatively new entity with a very long history. Established in July 1997 as a Provincial Park, management of this multi use recreational facility has been a challenging task. As hard as groups and individuals work to preserve the lands along the T'Railway there are those who are working just as hard to profit at the expense of the resource. This rail bed was constructed to support the train as it glided over the rails. The pounding of heavy trucks are quickly destroying the rail bed. In certain areas logging operations have destroyed much of the natural splender. In other areas people have thoughtlessly littered the landscape with garbage.
New developments such as highway expansion have claimed significant portions of the route. Ways must be found to close these gaps. Other areas have experienced a prolong period of unrestricted access and development before the T'Railway was established as a Provincial Park.
Nature too is playing a hand in the damage. Spring run off and flooding rivers are undermining bridges and there is the constant threat of erosion in exposed areas along the coast and elsewhere