Sunday, December 23, 2007

Projects for Early Spring and Summer 2008

As any part of Canada my home community has a railroad history and so does Campbellton NB which is across the Restigouche River. I live in Listuguj a First Nations Community of a little over or under three thousand residents. In the mid late nineteenth century two brothers had decided to build a lumber mill on the bank of the River which in it's hay day was a major supply line for lumber mills in Campbellton and communities along the river for supplying local mills with lumber, in the winter lumberjacks would cut trees deep in the forests of Northen New Brunswick and along the Gaspe coast and along the Matapedia river and run the logs down river to Campbellton and to Listuguj where the Chapadoux lumber mill was situated behind what is now known as Saint Anne Church. The Catholic Church at the time had ceaded the land behind the church yard to the Chapadoux Brothers to build their lumber mill. The mill was built sometime between 1895 - 1900 The Casapedia Subdivision was built around roughly between 1908 - 1911. A spur line was built to the lumber mill to what was known then and still today as "Old Mission Point"

The Mill built booms all along the shoreline of the Community and they lasted for many many years till sometime after the mill had closed when they were dismantled for safety reasons I'm sure as the Community's chief industry is fishing on the Restigouche for it's world renown Atlantic Salmon.

As part of the several projects I have planned for the early spring and summer of 2008 I am going to post pictures and some history behind this rail spur and other local lines that have been either abandoned or long since been out of use to show what kind of railroad history the area had at one time. The spur which ran from the Cascapedia sub to Old Mission point a shunter would come from Campbellton and pick up the lumber and bring it all the way to Matapedia cross the Restigouch River on the main CNR(At the time) and bring it to Campbellton to ship by rail either to Halifax or Montreal to be shiped from there till sometime in the 1900's when the Chapadoux mill had built a small warf where they could load their lumber onto ships directly from the mill, the spur line was still used for several years till the mill closed.

In Campbellton the CNR had built a half a mile long spur to the warf where lumber could be off loaded to waiting ships and have raw matreals shiped to places all over the world, the chief export was forestry products mostly lumber and paper after the opening of the Fraser mill in Atholville in 1929. (Today is now known as AV Cell)

The Chapadoux mill as well as many other major industries and business's through out the world were hit hard by the great depression which began in October of 1929 and the depression continued on into the 1930's. The Chapadoux mill was hit hard like other mills because of the huge drop in the world market for lumber and other forestry products. Between 1930 and 1939 the mill was closed due to lack of supply and demand and shortly after being closed was burned by either vandals or by other causes. To date I don't know the full story on why the mill burned however I do know it burned down not long after it closed.

Today all that remains of the Chapadoux mill is a few concrete structures one of them locally known simply as "The drum" which it was back in it's opperation a peeling drum to peel bark off the logs that came down river durring the spring log drives. Also a large degrading concrete box of sorts and a few foundations of the mill it self are all that remain of the mill today.

I'm not sure when the spur line was abandoned and the tracks pulled up however my Dad who was born in 1943 recalls when he was young (Around 9 or 10) remembers seeing the rail line where it once was but he could not remember any trains going over it in his time. He isn't sure when the tracks were pulled up though. About eight or ten years ago I was out in the fields walking my Dog (She was a Border Collie) when I came across something that I had seen all my life but never made much of it till I had decided to take a closer look, I noticed something different about some ditches that were dug in the ground and again all my life I've seen them but never made any sense of it nor did I even care till I became more involved in the local history in railroads. I had came across the track bed for the spur line that ran from the Cascapedia sub down to the Chapadoux mill at the old mission point. This spring I'll be sure to take pictures of the track bed however it is now all grown over (Obviously) after seventy years or so of being abandoned. Till then I'll keep you all posted about my other projects that I have in mind as for this summer goes as well as revisiting the former St Quentin Sub. That particular line has a very long and rich history which I will share at a later date. Till then keep chaseing those trains and keep it safe.

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