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How One Man Is Trying To Restore The Glory Of The Newfoundland Railway

The Newfie Bullet!

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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.

Trevor Croft

Trevor Croft is a railway worker who does track maintenance across North America. But in his spare time, he's trying to restore speeders and pump cars that once ran on the Newfoundland Railway, and put them back on track.

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.

Trevor Croft

Croft wants to save as many old railway vehicles as possible and put them back into use.

"The ones that are in people's garages or used as lawn ornaments, I'm hoping to take those and if they can't be restored, to use them for parts to restore others," he said.

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 Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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