Valley railway anniversary today: 24 years since last Dayliner

Wendy Elliott
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During the final week of passenger rail service through the Valley two-year-old George Slipp took his first and, to this date only, train ride from Wolfville into Halifax. - File photo

It was on this date in 1990 that Wolfville Police Const. Blair MacMurtery had to arrest three protestors for mischief. They were blocking the railway track on the final day of passenger service in the Annapolis Valley.

There are those who say the construction of Highway 101 sealed the fate of the diesel dayliner service. Changes to the VIA Rail schedule and competing bus service were also blamed for the decline in passengers.

On Jan. 15, 1990, the last dayliner travelled through the Valley. Passenger trains had begun running back in the 1860s and were critical to bringing students to Acadia University and for military service during two wars.

Railway historian Gary Ness of Wolfville, who has a new book coming out, has said the 1990 federal government cuts to the VIA Rail operated service spelled the end for the Halifax-Yarmouth service.

Waterville resident Stuart Johnstone noted in the Berwick Register that there was a time “the trains were so loaded with passengers, man had to stand until others got off at various places. Very often, the conductor couldn’t make his way through the cars to pick up fares.”

Organizations: VIA Rail, Acadia University, Halifax-Yarmouth Berwick Register

Geographic location: Wolfville, Halifax, Annapolis Valley

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  • Cynthia Morrison
    January 15, 2014 - 19:02

    haha...some of us think 24 yrs ago was like only 14 I went on the train from Kentville to Halifax to visit my Aunt Joan several times when I was only 12 yrs old (52 now)...all by myself!...The conductors took good care of me & I got to sit up front with the engineers whom were my friend's Dads....John Dewolfe....Clyde Earle...others, forget their names now.....What a great experience! I saw Nova Scotia in a totally different way...the view! ....I'll never forget...little stops in the middle of 'nowhere' ....really cool. It's a shame it's gone. The best way to travel!

  • Floyd Priddle
    January 15, 2014 - 11:56

    1990 was 24 years ago not 14 - typo in headline.