A Newfoundland man is trying to preserve an important part of the island's history by saving and restoring as much of the old Newfoundland Railway as possible.
The now-defunct rail service ran for over a century, snaking across the island and connecting St. John's to Port aux Basques and everything in between.
The narrow-gauge tracks made for slower, less efficient trains. CN took over operations after Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949 and upgraded the system, but the Newfoundland Railway was eventually eclipsed by car travel.
Even though the last train ran on the line in 1988, Croft said Newfoundlanders still get emotional thinking about it.
"Back then the whole interior of the island was just wilderness. There were no towns. And the railway opened all that up," Croft told BuzzFeed Canada.
(Croft's friend Darrell Steele even has a YouTube account devoted to celebrating the Newfoundland Railway. People really, really miss it.)
There are still small stretches of the old tracks spread around Newfoundland. This is a two-mile length in Avondale, which Croft wants to turn into a tourist and heritage site.
Croft already has two speeders and a pump car. A speeder is basically a motorized railcar, whereas a pump car is the kind of manually-driven vehicle you see in old black-and-white movies.
Croft, along with his friend JP Coady, has restored one of the speeders for use on the tracks already, and he wants to keep adding more. He just launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money and awareness for the project, and hopefully collect some more old vehicles.
He's sure there are a couple dozen more out there, and the sooner they are restored, the better.
"We need every bit of help we can get to preserve what is left of the Newfoundland Railway."
Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B
Contact Ishmael N. Daro at email@example.com.
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