Maritime (Joggins) Railway
(1887 - 1961)

The Maritime Railway was a 12 mile steam powered line which operated in Nova Scotia from 1887 until 1961. The line ran between the coal mines in Joggins and the I.R.C mainline at Maccan. The line began operation as the Joggins Railway, being incorporated in 1883, and opened for operation on November 3,1887.


With the completion of the Intercolonial Railway of Canada through Nova Scotia in 1872 the major coal producing areas of Nova Scotia had an avenue opened for them to ship their product to markets in other parts of Canada. The Pictou coal fields were already served by rail and the Springhill mines were beginning to out produce the mines of Joggins, due in part to the completion of the Spring Hill and Parrsboro Railway. If the Joggins mines were to become more productive a railway would have to be constructed to connect with the I.R.C. It would take another decade before funding would be be put into place to begin construction of the railway.

Construction of the line posed few engineering obstacles, the only ones being the two bridges and trestles that had to be constructed. These bridges were needed to cross the River Hebert, and Maccan River, both of which were flooded twice daily with up to 30 feet of water from the Bay of Fundy tides. The Maccan bridge consisted of two spans of 125 feet each and the River Hebert crossing was a single 150 foot span. Both bridges were Howe truss style. There were also two trestles constructed, the first being the 180 foot Lawrence Mine trestle at Maccan and the other being the 300 foot long Little River trestle at the Hillcrest between Joggins and River Hebert. Despite these obstacles the line opened on time with all structures completed including the stations, and freight sheds at Joggins and River Hebert, and the engine facilities at Joggins.

Less than two years after it opened the Joggins Railway Co. and the Joggins Coal Co. amalgamated to form the Joggins Coal and Railway Co. The mines and railway would remain under joint ownership for the remainder of their existence, although under different corporate names. At this time the tracks at Joggins were extended approximately one mile to a new terminus and engine shed located on lower Main St.

In 1892 the mines and railway were sold to the Canada Coal and Railway Co., although the railway remained known as the Joggins Railway. The Canada Coal and Railway Co. sold to American interests in 1904 and the name of the new company became the Canada Coals & Railroad Company. The major difference being the term Railroad in place of Railway to reflect the US influence in the line. In 1907 the line changed hands for the last time when it was sold to the Patrick and David Mitchell owners of the Maritime Coal Railway and Power Company of Chignecto. The line became known as the Maritime Railway. Under this merger one company could now produce, transport and use the coal from the mines of Joggins as the MCR&P Co. also owned and operated an electric generating plant at Chignecto. In 1931 the company built a new generating plant at Maccan and abandoned the Chignecto plant and five mile rail line to Chignecto in 1934.

The railway at one time boasted of having about 25 miles of track which included the original 12 miles of the Joggins line along with the five  miles into Chignecto and the five mile Minudie branch they acquired from the Minudie Coal and Railway Co. At one time there was also a one mile spur up the east bank of the River Hebert to Young's Mill and a gravel pit which was also owned by the company as well as a one and a half mile spur into the Maple Leaf mines between Joggins and River Hebert.

The MCR&P Co. continued to operate the line until September 23 ,1961 when it ceased operations for good. Two of the company's last three locomotives were sold for scrap and # 5 a ten wheeler was sold to the Canadian Railway Museum at Delson, Quebec where it
remains to this day.

Locomotives of the Joggins Railway

No. Type  Disposition
4-4-0 17X24 cylinders 60"drivers Scrapped prior to 1923
2 4-4-0 16X24 cylinders 66"drivers    Destroyed in collision at Maccan 1904
70 4-4-0 16X24 cylinders 66"drivers Wrecked on snow  plow train at  Hardscrabble Hill    1908
4(1st) 2-6-0 18X24 cylinders 54"drivers Scrapped 1918
4(2nd) 4-4-0  Scrapped 1920
4(3rd) 4-6-0 18X24 cylinders 57"drivers Scrapped 1930
5(1st) 2-8-0 Scrapped 1914
5(2nd) 4-6-0 18X24 cylinders 50"drivers Retired 1961 Canadian Railway Museum Delson,Quebec
6 2-8-0 20X24 cylinders 40"drivers Fell into Maccan River 1919 Scrapped 1952
8 2-8-0 20X24 cylinders 50"drivers Scrapped August 1940
9 2-6-0 19X26 cylinders 50"drivers Retired 1961 Scrapped 1961
10 2-6-0 19X26 cylinders 50"drivers Retired 1961 Scrapped 1961
Distance
from
Maccan
miles
Elev.
above
mean
sea level
feet
Maritime Coal, Railway
& Power Co.
Distance
from
Maccan
km
0.00 31 Maccan
switch at junction with ICR
0.00
0.34 34 Maccan River bridge
rail 6 feet 2m above high tide
0.55
3.20 216 Summit 5.15
7.00 27 Bridge over River Hebert,
rail 9 feet above high tide
11.26
7.15 29 River Hebert station 11.50
10.20 191 Summit 16.41
11.60 58 Joggins station 18.66
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