Wednesday, 31 October 2012

CPR Scotstown


When Via Rail reinstated the Atlantic in 1985, this was not one of the station stops restored to the schedule.

Scotstown, Quebec.

Today the station name boards are no longer on the building. The planked platform has disappeared. All doors have been padlocked and most windows have been covered with plywood. Windows and frames not protected have been smashed with stones. Much of the wooden structure is severely deteriorated from a desperate need of a coat of paint. The building appears to have been deliberately ignored for at least the last twenty-five years. How much longer can this railway station survive? Will it crumble from neglect before CP Rail, or successor, has the opportunity to demolish it?

Scotstown has the distinction of being the only train station I ever spent the night in while waiting for a train... and this was by choice. In the early 1970's, one way for me to link two favourite pastimes, train travelling and hiking, was to ride on CP Rail's "Atlantic Limited" to Scotstown and then hike into the MacKenzie camp at Mountain Brook after getting off the train. For those of you who know the locations or read old CP Rail schedules: the answer is yes, we did our hiking in the dead of night, up that big hill and passing by the gates of Riverview Cemetery overlooking the town. All was quiet.

Near the end of one particular weekend trip we made, the skies clouded over in the late afternoon. Rather than risk the prospect of having to hike in the rain during the night, Ted and I decided to pack up early. We headed to Scotstown in the evening to wait out the dawn (04:37) arrival of the westbound "Atlantic Limited" in the station. The station was no longer manned but the waiting area was open for passengers.

The benches inside were too short to use as bunks so we spread our sleeping bags out on the floor of the waiting room. Hard as the floor was, sleep came eventually. After what had seemed like only a short while, I was awakened by the blast of a train's horn. The eastbound "Atlantic Limited" did not stop and the stainless-steel four-car consist flashed by the windows. I got up for a minute, unrolled the green and white flag and hung it outside to signal a stop for tomorrow's westbound passenger train.

Sleep had just returned when I was awakened again, certain the floor was vibrating. It was. A westbound freight, probably 981, was approaching. The motive power thundered by, rattling the windows and shaking the entire structure. Each car in succession pounded out its distinctive bang-bang as the wheels rolled over the nearest rail joint. Only then did the thought occur to me that we were as close as possible to sleeping on the track without actually being on the track. The pounding ceased and quickly faded. Even more amazing was that my brother appeared to be sound asleep and oblivious to the fact that a lengthy freight train had just passed.

The next morning as we waited for a late Train 41, I asked Ted how he had managed to sleep through the noise and shaking caused by that passing freight train. 

His reply was, "Is that what it was? I thought someone was snoring."


(Written autumn 1992)
 The Oddblock Station Agent


Addendum
Addtional photos of CPR Scotstown


CPR Scotstown - the east end of the building as seen from the north side of the track.


CPR Scotstown seen from the rear. As both the foundation and the newer wood siding on the eastern end reveals, years earlier a part of the structure was dismantled with removal of what was serving as the freight shed.

 A footnote uncovered in November 2017...

No doubt this addition was the same section later dismantled.



Addendum October 21, 2014


1862 westbound at Scotstown, Quebec. This scene was recorded in July 1992 when the railway shown was still part of CP Rail's Montreal - Saint John route. If this image seems remotely familiar to anyone, perhaps the reason is because it was the cover photo on the January 1993 issue of Branchline.


October 2014 with with the camera facing eastward at Scotstown, Quebec. 

Although twenty-two years later, this image was taken at the exact same location as the previous one starring 1862 westbound. 

Recently operated as the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway and now operating as the Central Maine & Quebec Railway, the former CP Rail right of way here (my opinion) is worn looking with mud oozing up through the ballast.






Although not shown on this MM&A map, Scotstown is located between Bury and Nantes.



October 2014 with the camera facing westward at Scotstown, Quebec. The former station building at Mile 25.0 was located immediately across Highway 214 and on the south side of the track; directly behind the Oddblock Station Agent.


The following link to YouTube shows some photos and video (recorded August 26, 2014 by Andre St-Amant) of an eastbound CM&Q train at Scotstown (MP25.0) again at McLeod's Crossing (MP 18.7) and lastly at Milan, Quebec. (MP14.8)


 

Addendum November 18, 2017

An undated image of CPR Scotstown I stumbled upon while surfing the net...


No doubt about the time of year but no details were provided where I discovered and copied this scene from.

The train order signals are still in place, the black and white wooden station name is still hanging and a speeder is out of the way on a snow-cleared platform. I shall venture to guess this image dates from the 1970's when the Atlantic limited would flag stop at Scotstown.


The following photo was also discovered while researching something else on the internet...

At first I thought the location of this incident was looking eastward at the eastern connection of the former siding because that out in the woods geography looks much the same, however the telegraph poles are/were located on the south side of the CPR mainline, as the other images in this posting confirm. Thus for this to have been an eastward facing photo, the poles shown here would be on the wrong (north) side of the railway.

The western end of the former main siding is definitely out for the same incongruous reasons, as well as having been situated beside the lumber mills in the town itself.

Therefore the photographer must have been facing west, but try as I might, I haven't been able to identify this location, so I set aside this image for a rainy day. 

A couple of days ago I discovered two footnotes in a totally unrelated source and it just happens that today is raining... but I still haven't identified the location.


The only details provided by the Quebec-based website source, "Train wreck Scotstown, Ontario, Canada." 

I have no idea why Ontario was given because Canada's only Scotstown is indeed in Quebec.

The following footnotes appeared in a completely unrelated on-line publication, and again without accompanying details or link to any website or blog whatsoever.




While neither incident recorded is linked with the wreck shown, those damaged boxcars do match equipment in use during that 1916-1918 time period.




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