For a broader view of the subject of the history of the railway in the Souris area, click here.
Elmira Train Station was was built in 1912, while the line itself was built in 1908. Elmira Station was the easternmost terminal of the Prince Edward Island Railway, and was also the last extension on the Island to be completed. There was only one full time employee, the station agent.
Buildings and Tracks Edit
Elmira had five sets of tracks running off the main line. Railweights were 56lbs, 65lbs, and 110lbs, whereas off Island weights at the time were 220lbs. Weights were eventually changed over the years to accomodate larger freight cars on a wider gauge.
Since Elmira was the end of the line, it also had a turntable which was used in the early years of the station. It is said that this turntable was very easy to operate. The engine would be driven onto it, resting on rollers. Once in place, it would be turned by three men who would grasp the turntable by wooden handles.
In later years a 'Y' section was built, which was basically a large loop on which the train would turn itself around. This replaced the need for a turntable. The Y was large, running from the station almost to the Tartantum Road.
A pit located below the turn table was used for oil changes and minor repairs.
Across from the turn table there was a two room engine house where the engines were stored at night, especially during the winter months. In the coldest of winter nights, large pots containing seal oil would be lit and placed underneath the engine to keep it from freezing.
There was a large, two hundred foot coal shed which was capable of storing enough coal for both railway and local use. There was also a barn on site to shelter horses, a bunkhouse for crews and sectionmen, and some small shacks which were provided for the conductors and engine crew.
Of note, it is said that the Elmira Train Station was the only one on the Island which had two waiting rooms, one for men and one for women; however it is noted that the women's waiting room was most often used for card play or as a place to store bags.
Water towers were in place along the route, although at times conductors would simply stop alongside brooks or streams. When this occurred, passengers were free to get off the train and pick berries while they waited.
The train station was powered by wet cell batteries, which were used to light the station. Elmira used 50 batteries, while large stations could use up to 200. Batteries were also used to light passenger cars.
Notable Events Edit
When the train pulled into the station and stopped before the Y, it indicated that someone was bringing home the remains of a loved on recently deceased. When this happened, as a sign of respect, all passengers would remain on the train until the family was safely off.
In 1931 an incident arose when a conductor from Nova Scotia, who was presumed to be unfamiliar with the area, failed to stop at the end of the line and powered the train through the end of the tracks, crashing through the barrier and skidding across the road, only to come to a stop in the ditch.
The people who had been waiting for the train, as well as those who had been attending a nearby farmers meeting heard the deafening noise and rushed to help. In the end a wreckage crew from Souris and from Charlottetown was required to clean up the mess. This led to a new rule being implemented in 1935, which stated that only conductors familiar with an area were permitted to guide the train.