Cornwallis Valley Railway Reporting mark: CVR
The Cornwallis Valley Railway (CVR) was a regional line built in 1889. This small 13.6-mile (22 km) railway was created not by contractors, or large owners sitting in board rooms, but by merchants and farmers in the area, who desperately needed a railway line. Construction was carried out using local labour, although with professional supervision.
When the CVR opened in 1890, it was an instant success. The CVR ran through the Annapolis Valley, one of the richest apple growing areas in the country. Rolling stock and terminals were leased from the Windsor and Annapolis Railway (W&A) where the CVR connected to the W&A in Kentville.
The W&A subsequently purchased the CVR in 1892. In 1894 the W&A was reorganized and became known as the Dominion Atlantic Railway (DAR), with the CVR operating as a subdivision. Although legally it was wholly owned by the DAR (and later the CPR in 1911), it continued to be known as the CVR.
Under CPR ownership, a 12-mile (19 km) branch line was completed from Centreville to Weston in 1914. Officially the line was known as the "North Mountain Railway Company Limited" and locally it was known as the "Weston Line" or "Weston Spur." The branch line was built primarily to serve the lucrative apple industry.
There were nine stations along the original CVR line and eight along the Weston Spur, along with 12 warehouses for storing apples. At its height, there were 30 apple warehouses along the line. During apple-shipping season, the train made two round trips daily for a total of 14 trains per week. Passengers were also accommodated but the trip must have agonizingly slow. In addition to the eight stations, the train also pulled in at eight sidings to pick up fruit and other freight. During the winter the train also served as a school bus, shuttling rural kids back and forth to the high school in Kentville.
The postwar years, which included the growth of the automobile, improved roads, and the conversion to diesel, led to massive changes in the rail industry. The coupled with the collapse of the apple industry in 1945 spelled doom for the CVR.
The CVR, with the exception of a three-mile (4.8 km) spur to Steam Mill Village, was finally abandoned in 1961. The spur remained in use until 1993 when the CPR officially abandoned the entire railway north and west of Kentville. Today, other than one station at Camp Aldershot, and a few other small remnants, nothing remains of the CVR.