Witless Bay man working to preserve, restore Newfoundland railway speeders
'It's a special feeling for people to experience the railway,' says Trevor Croft
There is little remaining from the former Newfoundland Railway, but one Witless Bay man wants to keep a part of the province's railway heritage alive.
Trevor Croft does track maintenance for railways on the mainland and is working to find and restore railway speeders once used by Newfoundland Railway crews.
"They can range from something small, like an old make and break engine, one cylinder, two cylinders, to go up to something with a four cylinder Ford engine in it," said Croft.
"It's basically something that the workers used to follow around steam trains with to make sure there were no fires, or go on track patrols or something like that."
The speeders are like small motor cars, not much bigger than an all-terrain vehicle, Croft said, that are no longer used on railways. They have instead been replaced with pickup trucks with rail wheels.
Croft has a few speeders of his own that he keeps in his shed, including a hand pump speeder.
"I have one make and break engine, which I restored this year, me and a buddy of mine, I have the pump car, and I have another unrestored four cylinder speeder," Croft told CBC's On The Go.
There are likely a few dozen speeders left on the island, Croft said, but there's not much track left to run them on.
It's special. It's a special feeling for people to experience the railway.- Trevor Croft
According to Croft, there are about two miles of track left in the Trinity Loop, less than a mile in Clarenville and just under two miles of track in Avondale, where he uses his speeders.
Croft said he gets a good reaction when he brings his speeders out on the track, and people stop and talk with him about the railway.
"It's special. It's a special feeling for people to experience the railway," he said.
Croft has also started a GoFundMe page to help his efforts to preserve and restore speeders from the Newfoundland Railway. He is hoping to raise $15,000.
With files from On The Go