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Maritimes Railways Profiles

The following sections offer background information on each of the railways featured in this site. Constituent railways are not included. If you're interested learning more, we encourage you to search for additional resources and publications.

Canadian National Railway (CN)
CN was formed by the Canadian government in 1923 following the bankruptcy of the CNoR and GTR. CN is Canada's largest railway and maintains operations in both both Canada and the US. learn more

Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR)
The CPR began operations as a transcontinental railway in 1885. It is currently Canada's second largest railway and operates in both Canada and the US. learn more

Cornwallis Valley Railway (CVR)
The CVR was a small branch line that began in 1890. In 1892 it was purchased by the W&A (later DA) which was leased by the CPR in 1911. It was abandoned in 1961 except for a small spur that was used until 1993. learn more

The Cumberland Railway and Coal Company (CD&C)
The CD&C was a coal operation and industrial short line that began operating in 1877. It was acquired by DOSCO in 1910. Reduced traffic and the closure of the collieries led to a gradual shutdown of service in the mid 1950s. The railway was officially abandoned in 1962 however the name remained in use until 1968. learn more

Dominion Atlantic Railway (DA)
The DA or DAR was formed in 1894. In 1911 it was leased by the CPR but continued operating under its own name as a separate division. At its height, it boasted a small chain of hotels and a steamship division. The DAR was sold to a shortline operator in 1994. A small portion remained in service until 2008. learn more

Halifax Southwestern Railway (HSW)
The HSW, which was built and owned by the CNoR, began operating in 1906. In 1918 it became part of CN. In 1982 CN began abandoning the line in bits and pieces. The line is now fully abandoned. learn more

Intercolonial Railway (IRC)
The IRC was a federally owned regional railway that operated in the Maritimes and Quebec. It started operating around 1870 and became part of CN in 1918. learn more

Newfoundland Railway (NFLD)
The NFLD mainline was opened in 1898. It was under private ownership until 1923, when it was taken over by the colonial government due to a large operating deficit. In 1949 it became part of CN. It remained in operation until 1988, when it was abandoned. learn more

Prince Edward Island Railway (PEIR)
The PEIR was built by the colonial government in 1871. It was taken over by the federal government in 1873 when PEI joined confederation and became part of CN in 1918. It continued to operate until 1988, when CN abandoned all rail service on the island. learn more

Sydney & Louisburg Railway (S&L)
The S&L, based in Cape Breton, was built by DOMCO (later DOSCO) in 1895 to transport coal between its various collieries. Passenger service was also offered. With the collapse of the coal industry in the mid 1960s, the railway was taken over by a federal crown corporation (DEVCO). It continued to operate until 1972. learn more

VIA Rail (VIA))
VIA rail was formed by the federal government in 1978 as a rail passenger carrier. It currently provides service to most major cities across Canada. learn more