RAILWAY STATION AT MIDDLE MUSQUODOBOIT - BUILDING REMOVED 1975
A Project of TownCryer News
First Issue April 2007
Last Issue July 2016 
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Musquodoboit Railway

The Dartmouth-Musquodoboit railway line, originally called the Dartmouth and Dean Branch, was completed as far as Middle Musquodoboit by 1915. The first plans for it had been made about eighty years before. A 14-passenger car train took an Excursion of Masons over the line for a July 1 holiday in 1915, and by New Year’s Day 1916, the line was open to Upper Musquodoboit. 

The contractors were Cavicchi and Pagano. It was intended to limit cuttings as much as possible; this resulted in many sharp curves and limited speed to 17 miles per hour. There was some difficulty above Musquodoboit Harbour as the road bed kept sliding into the water; this condition was eventually remedied. 

Passengers for the first year found winter travel rather uncomfortable. Each car had a coal stove at the end which gave inadequate heat. The pumps, which supplied water to produce steam to run the train, were often frozen resulting in long delays. For the first year or two, there were no water towers and the pumps were located at Upper Musquodoboit, Meagher's Grant, and Gaetz Brook, which is near Chezzetcook and Dartmouth. 

The train, dubbed the Blueberry Express, left Middle Musquodoboit daily at 5:45 a.m., letting passengers off at the Ferry in Dartmouth about 11 a.m. if they wished to go to Halifax. For the return trip, Dartmouth departure time was 2:45 p.m. On Thursday and Saturday, the train was made up of passenger cars only, but other days freight was carried, as well. [Ref: Mrs. Ira (Grace) McFetridge]

In the early Fall of 1957, the steam engine was replaced by a diesel engine. In 1980, the train made one trip per week picking up wood chips at Middle Musquodoboit from F. W. Taylor Lumber Co., and limestone from Moshers’, Upper Musquodoboit. Over time, highways improved, transportation was motorized, and train travel lost its appeal.

The retirement run was made on January 23, 1960. For some time, an average of only one passenger per trip had traveled on the line.  

The Railway Transport Committee staged a sitting in the Oddfellows Hall, Middle Musquodoboit, Monday Sept. 15, 1980.

"In the matter of the application of Canadian National Railways to abandon the operation of the Dartmouth Subdivision near Imperoyal (mileage 18.50) to Upper Musquodoboit (mileage 81.80) in the Province of Nova Scotia, a total distance of 63.30 miles."  - Chairman, G. Drainville, Commissioner, R. M. March

Numerous very able briefs in favour of retention of the Dartmouth-Musquodoboit line were presented by local people; the Hon. Kenneth Streatch, M.L.A., Robert Taylor, and others from Halifax and Dartmouth.

Sketch (above) courtesy of author and artist, Roberta Annand (1920-2014) from her book Memories, which is available for purchase through Musquodoboit Valley Tourism Association

Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital

  WADDYA KNOW...?

When passenger service on the Blueberry Express first went into operation, passengers at either end of the line would pay a fare of $3.15 for a round trip. At the time of termination of service the round trip fare was $4.95, an increase of only $1.80 over a period of 44 years.


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