• CP/CAR Champlain Spur (NB)

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.

Moderator: Ken V

  by jwhite07
Looking at a CAR timetable in the latter years of CP's involvement in the Maritimes, I notice mention of a 3.68 mile line in New Brunswick called the Champlain Spur, which connected with the St. Andrews Subdivision at MP 18.12. This spur is not mentioned in any of the CP timetables I have, though I admit my collection is sparse and the latest one I own is from the 1970s. What is the story behind the Champlain Spur? Was it a resurrected older route, or a new line purpose-built to serve some industry? When was it built and what traffic sources did it serve?

I do know the end of the story - the Champlain Spur, as well as what remained by then of the St. Andrews Subdivision, was authorized for abandonment on February 1, 1993, and they were no longer listed in the CAR timetable effective May 2, 1993.
  by Highball
The Champlain Spur served the Champlain Industrial Site, where the Port of Bayside is located. Bayside is on the lower end of the St Croix River basin, directly facing the State Of Maine.

I do not know when it was built....... I'm guessing the early 80's.......however, I do have a listing of CAR commodities from the Spur in the years of 1989, 1990 and 1991........

Inbound : Boards / Fiberboard, Machine parts, Printing paper, Soybean oil, Work Clothing.

Outbound : Canned fish, Fish Feed, Fish oil, Fish meal.

There is / was a fish processing plant located at the Champlain Park. I have often thought the St. Andrews Sub to Bartlett N.B., where the junction to the Champlain Spur was located, should have remained intact, to enhance the Bayside Port, especially pertaining to a measure of modern container business. Presently, the port handles about 200 ships annually.

On June 02nd 1990, I took a few photos of a passenger train entering the Champlain Industrial Park trackage. The occasion involved a passenger excursion sponsored by the 470 Railroad Club from Portland, Me. The excursion travelled from Brownville Jct , Me. to McAdam N.B., thence over the St. Stephen and St. Andrews Subs. to Bayside. The passengers were bussed to the nearby famous seaside resort town of St. Andrews, staying overnight at the former CP Hotel, The Algonquin.

The passenger special overnighted in St. Stephen, where passengers boarded the next day, then returned to Brownville J'c't. The power for the train was RS-18 1864, along with two RS-23's.

The abandonment of the St. Andrews Spur and Champlain Spur, Champlain Industrial Park to Watt, came under Order 1993-R-30.
  by jwhite07
Thanks for the information - exactly what I was looking for! Fantastic. I was debating including the line as though it were eventually taken over by my freelanced model railroad (which already includes a resurrected Eastport Branch)... now I think I will!

I initially guessed the spur was built to serve the controversial Jamer Materials quarry, but your list of outbound commodities reveals this was not the case.

I wish I had known about that passenger train trip! That would have been one not to miss! Alas, that was right around the same time I was graduating high school in Ellsworth, Maine and getting ready to head to Boston for college.
  by Highball
Some further info concerning the Port of Bayside involved gypsum rock traffic received there.

Throughout the late 80's and 90's, gypsum rock arrived by boat from the Port of Hantsport, N.S., destined for a gypsum wallboard plant in McAdam, N.B. The material arrived at Hantsport by rail but was trucked to McAdam from Bayside......the mileage movement about the same at both ends to / from the ports.

" Common sense " prevailed in late 2002 when NB Southern Railway began to haul the gypsum rock into McAdam, thus a complete rail movement from a mine located in Milford N.S., CN interchanges this traffic to NBSR at St. John N.B. Besides having less impact upon the highways, the gypsum rock arrives at the end user with better desired quality, due to less handling.
  by jwhite07
The power for the train was RS-18 1864, along with two RS-23's.
Highball, the two RS-23s on that 470 Club trip were 8023 (painted for CAR) and 8042. Six heavyweight coaches tagged along behind.

How do I know that, you ask?

Well, I've been talking about my research into the Champlain Spur with a office colleague, and I mentioned to him that I'd been told of a passenger excursion on the line in 1990. That sparked his memory - he was on that trip! I have four envelopes of photographs from the trip sitting on my desk right now. None that I can tell specifically on the Champlain Spur (I haven't really looked over them yet), but plenty at Watt and McAdam, among other places.

I REALLY need to get my scanner set up again!!! ;-)
  by trainsinmaine
I remember the Spur very well --- both when it was built and when it was abandoned. It may well have been the shortest-lived piece of railway in North American history.
  by jwhite07
So when was it built? Closest I've been able to determine is sometime in the 70s or 80s.

I presume the abandonment occured because the traffic coming into and out of Bayside wasn't what they expected it to be...