railway lines on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and a dozen stations of the
Intercolonial Railway System, were constructed in the 1880s and early 1890s. Orangedale Station, built in 1886, was the most important railway station between the
Strait of Canso and Sydney. It served the communities of central Cape Breton Island in the two Counties of
Inverness and Victoria and people travelled up to
100 miles (160 kms) to reach the station.
The location of the station had been chosen at what had
previously been a farming community. It soon
became the centre for the developing village of Orangedale, with the station only a
three-minute walk away from the villages wharf at the Bras dOr Lake.
Once limited to time-consuming
transportation by horse and wagon, thousands of people and tons of
freight passed through the station on their way to larger centres of the outside world.
Now enterprises such as the
Glendyer Mills could ship woollen weaving to markets, including the Chicago and San
Francisco Worlds Fairs. Other
businesses could ship lumber, oysters, livestock, bricks, crops, barite and iron ore. Even shipments to Eatons in Moncton could be
delivered in 2 days.
Alexander Graham Bell and his
family were often among the passengers who arrived at the Orangedale Station, to continue
their way from here to Baddeck by road. Everybody was now able to purchase a ticket from Orangedale to any part of the world.
The Orangedale Station is the
only remaining one of the Intercolonial Railway Stations built on Cape Breton Island and
has been meticulously restored and preserved in mint condition.
Orangedale Station on 7 January 1990.
The station was constructed by the Intercolonial Railway in 1886.
The Intercolonial Railway was absorbed by Canadian National (CN) in 1922 and the station
was in continuous operation until January of 1990. The
last two years of the stations operation were under the management of VIA Rail. This station served a very large rural area and in
the early years people came from miles around in their horse-drawn wagons or sleighs, or
by foot to catch the train. In its heyday
(1930s to 1950s), this station was served by six passenger trains (three in each
direction) and up to twenty freight trains daily. This
station was also a busy shipping point for lumber, oysters, pit props, Christmas trees and
other local products. Incoming carloads
included flour, feed, gasoline, western horses, automobiles, machinery, and various
shipments of merchandise for the local stores.
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