Old St. Andrews

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The Railroads of St. Andrews

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Adam Smith House Engine and Turntable, New Brunswick and Canada Railway, St. Andrews. Courtesy Barry Murray

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It is difficult to underestimate the importance of the railway business to St. Andrews. As far as prestige goes, and perhaps as an index of just how well-heeled St. Andrews in its early days, St. Andrews has the honor of having been perhaps the first town in the Province to project a railway. This first came about in 1835 and came to be called the St. Andrews and Quebec Railway, as its ambitious goal was to reach Quebec, icebound in the winter, and become that city's terminus on the Atlantic. This would have been a tremendous boon to the Town, had it come about, but funding problems and a border dispute with Maine effectively put it out of the running with its chief competitor, Portland, but the line eventually made it as far as Woodstock and became an imporant conduit for freight and later tourists to the town. After the St. Andrews and Quebec Railway came the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1888 the great Company finally completed the last link of its Short Line across Maine, connecting Montreal with McAdam, New Brunswick, and thereby with the old St. Andrews and Quebec Railway. Soon the CPR added a good part of the New Brunswick railway system to its holdings, and especially through the Short Line, the Town became a vacation spot of preference for executives of the CPR. The prospect of the completion of the Short Line was also important to the plans of the St. Andrews Land Company, a consortium of American businessmen mainly out of Boston who hope to make the Town a watering place for American fed up with the crowded resorts of New England. Actually, the original idea for a land company depended almost entirely on the railway, as the influx of tourists from New England and Montreal was to increase revenues and allow much needed upgrading of the system.

 

Many smaller railways were going up at the same time as the St. Andrews and Quebec Railway, and as the attached excerpts show, it was impossible to separate one railway from the other. As far as St. Andrews went, the most important related railway was the Western Extension from Saint John to McAdam, completed in 1871. This connected there with the line from Bangor to Houlton, just across the border from McAdam, completed in 1869, and meant that travellers from St. Andrews, Saint John and Bangor were all now on one line of related track. Suddenly it was easy to get to and from Saint John, and doubtless this is the reason Sir Leonard Tilley and Sir Charles Tupper both established summer residences in St. Andrews in 1871. It is no coincidence also that the call for summer hotels begins to increase at the same rate as railway construction, and also for summer amenities such as bathing houses and beaches. This side of the tourist development may be found in related links on this site.