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

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 part of the structure was dismantled with removal of the freight shed.

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.

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)


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