Train at Whitbourne Railway Station, with a posed group of men, women and children outside the station. Photographer unknown.
The Newfoundland Railway reached Whitbourne in 1883 on its way to Harbour Grace and Carbonear. It was originally named Harbour Grace Junction, and was the point at which the branch line to Harbour Grace intersected with the main railway line.
In 1893, the town became very important in the Newfoundland railway system, as it was chosen as railway headquarters by engineer/contractor, Robert Gillespie Reid. As a result, the town experienced rapid development. Whitbourne boasted a combined hotel, restaurant and railway station, railway offices and car shops, a six-stall roundhouse and a machine shop, required for the construction and maintenance of the railway. By 1897, the Reid machine shop had built three Pullman passenger cars named after the Newfoundland towns of Placentia, Twillingate and Trinity.
R.G. Reid’s headquarters were later moved to St. John’s, which caused Whitbourne to lose much of its importance as a railway town. However, it remained one of the major stops on the main railway line.
Scanned from glass plate negative.