All aboard

Elmira Train Mu­seum at the eastern end of the province turns 40

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEVE SHARRATT sshar­ratt@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/GuardianSteve

Elmira Rail­way Mu­seum cel­e­brat­ing 40th an­niver­sary.

It may be the “end of the line”, but it’s the start of a mighty fine time.

Where else can you still ride the rails in Prince Ed­ward Is­land and even be asked to dis­em­bark when the weight is just a lit­tle too much for the en­gine?

“No of­fence, you are all skinny, beau­ti­ful peo­ple, but we have to lighten the load a bit,’’ jokes train con­duc­tor Car­son De­veaux as the put-put en­gine al­most grinds to a halt.

It’s a Tues­day and the visi­tors hap­pily un­load un­til the sum­mer stu­dent can coax the minia­ture train up to the crest of the hill.

“All aboard,” he cries out as the tourists walk to the crest and re­claim their seats to con­tinue the 1.8-km ride.

It’s all part of the unique of­fer­ings at the Elmira Rail­way Mu­seum, the last whis­tle stop tucked away at the very eastern end of the province.

“We’re at the end of the line,” says site man­ager Lynne Bur­rows.

“Peo­ple al­ways com­ment on the trek, but they are al­ways glad they made it.”

It’s a bit of a jaunt from the main core of the Is­land — more than an hour from Char­lot­te­town — but well worth the drive to the Elmira Road.

Es­pe­cially since to travel through breath­tak­ing part you get the most

of the province and take in the port town of Souris, Basin Head and the singing sands, and the stun­ning views of white caps crash­ing against the sand dunes in South Lake.

It’s a mem­ber of the P.E.I. Mu­seum and Her­itage Foun­da­tion fam­ily and is cel­e­brat­ing its 40th year as a por­tal to the Is­land’s rail­road sys­tem that was de­com­mis­sioned in the 1970s.

Take the minia­ture train ride, view the huge elec­tric train set trav­el­ling the Is­land in one of the in­door pavil­ions, or one of the count­less dis­plays of train gear and mem­o­ra­bilia.

And don’t miss the speeder — a 1983 work­ing ma­chine ac­quired from New Brunswick that can reach speeds of up to 60 km.

The train ride car­ries visi­tors through the forested rail line and past gi­ant mu­rals de­pict­ing some of the his­toric homes, stores and can­ner­ies in the re­gion.

The mu­seum is a true gem, en­thralling train lovers and kids and fam­i­lies and is a work of love sup­ported by the vol­un­teer group The Friends of Elmira, which also care­takes the East Point light­house.

And for those who love the sound of the train don’t worry – there are plenty of whis­tle stops.

STEVE SHARRATT/THE GUARDIAN

Con­duc­tor Car­son De­veaux and site man­ager Lynne Bur­rows lead a load of tourists down the line at the Elmira Train Mu­seum.

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