Carbonear Railway Station Site Municipal Heritage Site
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Description of Historic Place
The Carbonear Railway Station Site is located directly off Water Street in Carbonear, NL and includes the former Carbonear Railway Station building, a one-storey, hipped roof, wooden building. It also features the remnants of the train tracks (bed, rails and wooden sleepers and ties), which start at a point parallel to the front of the station building and stretch as far as Pike’s Lane. Along this narrow stretch of land also sit a locomotive, the remnants of the concrete footings of the former freight shed and several track lever switches still fixed in their original places. The municipal heritage designation includes all buildings, structures and artifacts, as well as the footprint of the station building, the stretch of land from the front right corner of the station building to Pike’s Lane, confined to that land area containing the remnants of the train tracks and freight shed, and the lever switches, plus a buffer of one metre from the outermost portion of these features in either direction.
The Carbonear Railway Station Site has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Carbonear because of its historic and aesthetic values.
The Carbonear Railway Station Site has historical value because it survives from a period in Newfoundland history when rail was a primary means of transportation, before the Trans-Canada Highway was completed in the mid-1960s. The railway stimulated economic development in the region and provided many local residents with employment. Carbonear’s first railway station building was constructed around 1898, but around 1915 the construction of a new branch line from Carbonear to Bay de Verde meant plans for a bigger building were required. This second building was designed by John Penney Powell of Carbonear, who was chief engineer for Reid Newfoundland Limited, and completed by 1919.
The Carbonear Railway Station building is aesthetically significant because it exemplifies railway stations erected during the heyday of the Reid Newfoundland Company. It is indicitive of the Reid Newfoundland style of railway station architecture and is readily identified as a building owned by this company. The station is a single-storey, rectangular, wooden building with a low-pitched hipped roof, multi-paned windows, panelled doors, clapboard sheathing, and wooden trims and cornerboards. The large eaves extending over the platform at the front of the building once acted as a weather guard for passengers waiting at the station, and are a telltale sign of the building’s original function. The brick chimney indicates the building’s heat source, and its buff yellow and green paint scheme is also typical of period station buildings.
The station building is enhanced by the railway infrastructure which still exists in proximity to it. Although the station has been closed since 1984, with the cessation of the last railway branches in Newfoundland, there are still remnants of the railway track along its original route, stopping at the front of the station. These include sleepers, rails and ties (upon which sits a locomotive), the “stops” at the end of the track directly in front of the station, the remnant concrete footings of the freight shed, and the track lever switches still firmly fixed in their original positions.
The landmark station building, combined with the railway infrastructure, make the Carbonear Railway Station Site a distinctive feature along Water Street, Carbonear’s historic, waterfront commercial centre. Its aesthetic value lies in this distinctiveness, and in its capacity to evoke the period when rail transportation was key in Carbonear and the region.
Source: Town of Carbonear Regular Council Meeting December 1, 2008.
Character Defining Elements
All original features which relate to the age, style and original function of the building including:
- wooden construction;
- low-pitched hipped roof;
- overhang and projection of roof;
- narrow wooden clapboard sheathing;
- wooden trims and cornerboards;
- dimensions and rectangular plan of building;
- dimensions and placement of platform at the front of the building;
- style, dimensions and placement of wooden, multi-paned windows;
- style, dimensions and placement of panelled wooden doors;
- brick chimney;
- yellow and green paint colour scheme;
- orientation of building towards the railway tracks and Water Street;
Other physical railway elements at the site:
- original route of railway, rail bed;
- extant ties, sleepers, and rails of the railway track;
- “stops” at the end of the track in front of the station building;
- original track lever switches, in position;
- remnant concrete footings of former freight shed, and;
- the site’s location in Carbonear’s historic commercial centre.
Location and History
||Town of Carbonear
||1919 - 1919
John Penney Powell
||20th Century Vernacular