Carbonear hopes to spruce up train
Most of the tracks no longer exist and the only train left in Carbonear may not run, but the town is still known for its railway station that operated for nearly a century before closing in 1984.
After $250,000 in renovations in 2010, the station, now a museum, looked crisp and inviting. It’s been a registered heritage structure in Newfoundland since 1987, and continues to be a big tourist attraction in Carbonear.
But only a few hundred feet away from the station, another part of railway history sits. Locomotive 803, a former section of a 1956 Terra Transport train, has found a home there. It has been painted numerous times since it was retired to the track across from the beach next to the Conception Bay Regional Community Centre.
It has been over a decade since it saw its last coat of paint. The rust stains are starting to bleed through and the railings are wobbly. It is in rough shape.
Carbonear Coun. Ed Goff has been at the forefront of a discussion to renovate the train to make it presentable.
“It’s dilapidating and becoming an eyesore,” Goff told The Compass last week. “We have to do something with it. It could be a real nice piece.”
But it has reached the end of its days for touch ups. A new plan has been in the works for several years, which would involve having the train sandblasted and repainted from the bare structure.
Goff would like to see it happen before it’s beyond repair.
“It’s no good to just paint it anymore. Get some longevity out of it. Council has got to do something with it, one way or the other.”
After such an extensive project on the train station, Goff would like the train to be a landmark, drawing people in from far and wide. He has some ideas on how to get that to happen.
“Ideally I would like to see rope lighting on it, so that it’s lit up in the nighttime,” he said. “But I guess you try to prioritize that in terms of spending. That’s why each (department) gets a budget.”
A specific dollar figure wasn’t available for the cost of the project, but a quote a few years ago came in quite high, Goff said. The town is now checking with other municipalities with trains on display to see how much they spent on revitalization and restoration efforts.
Locomotive 803 sits for eternity beside the Conception Bay Regional Community Centre in Carbonear.