Old Railway Station a Significant City Landmark - Page 3

Train Station

Photograph courtesy of John Leroux

the platform and shoot at ducks as they flew over the old race course on the other side of York Street. 

By 1883, the New Brunswick Railway Company had taken over and four trains a day were running along the Branch Line, some operating through to Saint John without a change. The days of horse & carriage were disappearing. 

By 1890, the Canadian Pacific Railway was in control but, by 1920, there was increased freight and passenger competition from the Canadian National Railway and its new station on lower Brunswick Street. However, both of these major systems were running daily trains into York Street hence the informal use of "union" for the Station. 

When CPR acquired the Fredericton & Grand Lake Coal & Railway Company and the Fredericton-Chipman Line, more office space was needed. Thus, a new station was considered for the York Street site. It would definitely be a Union Station, symbolizing the joint operation of the two major companies; it wold also be a public relations opportunity for CPR President Edward Beatty (who was later knighted) to upstage CNR President Sir Henry Thornton. 

Railway officials, led by CPR Vice-President Grant Hall, were sent to Fredericton in Feb. of 1923 to meet with local delegates led by Mayor J.A. Reid. Both sides wanted immediate action in respect to construction and better passenger service as an end result. Long waits at the Station and overcrowded coaches were significant problems. 

In April, a telegram arrived and the announcement was made: a new station would be built and in use by the end of Fredericton's 75th Birthday Year! At the same time, a tribute was made to "the time-honored wooden structure which has done service for so many years." 

The new building, to be located immediately to the east of the old one, would be similar to the depots at Sherbrooke (Quebec) and Woodstock (NB). But it would be modern in every detail: the outside walls in red tapestry brick with a flush panel effect, a first for Fredericton; the ornamental base border in sandstone, shipped in separate sections from the quarries in Wallace, Nova Scotia. It is interesting to note that the sandstone base, which was shipped in separate sections, was placed in position without and changes in the dimensions or size of the various portions being required, indicating the accurate cutting at the quarries. 

A cupola design for the second floor would provide for office space inside and an attractive appearance outside. Below, at ground level, an octagonal office for the Station Master, the Ticket Agent, and the Telegraph Operator would extend into a bay window and separate two waiting rooms, one for the general public, the other for women only. 

The offices would be finished with Douglas fir and the waiting rooms with pressed "salt & pepper" brick wainscotting. The seats, the doors and the ceiling beams would be of oak, and the floors throughout of gleaming hardwood. The plastered ceiling had a rough finish which, when tinted, did no produce a glazed effect. The washrooms were "of the most modern structure and elaborate in their fittings." Semi-direct lighting was provided in the main section of the station, while direct lighting fixtures were installed upstairs and along the platform space.

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