The N.B liquor store on York street now occupies what used to be the VIA Fredericton railway station. It’s been twenty years since the last train left the station.
If you’re a citizen in Fredericton now, it’s awfully hard to get out of the city if you don’t have a car. The train and bus stations are both out of commission and the airport is a twenty minute drive out of town.
The passenger train first arrived in Fredericton in 1869 and ran on and off in the city for over 120 years. It’s only the recent generation that’s never seen a train go through the capital of New Brunswick.
Most people who live in New Brunswick have heard of the ‘Ocean.’ It’s the only remaining passenger train that goes through the province. It travels from Halifax to Montreal, stopping in four New Brunswick cities along the way, Moncton, Miramichi, Bathurst and Campbellton. It wasn’t that long ago that there was the ‘Atlantic,’ that used to travel the province as well.
The ‘Atlantic’ ran through Saint John, Fredericton and bits of Maine to get to Montreal.
Current CN Montreal Train Master, and former New Brunswick Train Master, Scott Johnson says there are many reasons the ‘Atlantic’ doesn’t exist anymore.
” It’s just like any business, if you’re not getting the people, it won’t last. The problem with the Atlantic was that not a lot of people were using it. It started to seem like a waste to go all they way to Montreal with barely any passengers on it. Another problem for that train in particular was the fact that it crossed over to the United States. That was never a problem in the early 1900’s, but as passports and other things became stricter, VIA just wasn’t making any money from that train.”
In the past twenty years there’s been talks that Fredericton would someday get their passenger train back, but now that seems almost impossible with the ‘Ocean’ being cut down from daily to three times a week. It just doesn’t look as though there’s much of a place for trains in the capital of New Brunswick.
University of New Brunswick student Matthew Waldriff says a lot of people in Fredericton would use the passenger train, especially students. “I would use it, especially where I don’t have a car and I’m a student, It would be convenient to travel longer distances for a good price.”
This November will mark the 20th anniversary of the last passenger train to leave the city.