Narrow Gauge Railways of Canada


Narrow Gauge Railways of Canada is a “survey course” about one of the most interesting chapters in Canadian railway history. The late Omer Lavallee’s original work was published by Railfare Books in 1972, and soon sold out. Long-sought by collectors, historians and railway enthusiasts, his excellent material has now been expanded (over 40%) by the author’s long-time friend and collaborator, editor Ronald Ritchie.

Omer Lavallee’s survey indicates the Province of Ontario, Canada, was the birth place – in July 1871 – of the first narrow gauge steam-operated public railway in North America . . . and the Lingan Colliery Tramway in Cape Breton may have been – in 1866 – the first narrow gauge steam-operated railway in the Western Hemisphere.

Two dozen different railway systems are covered within the book’s twenty-five chapters. There are 192 rare photographs – including a section of 66 full-colour photos – interesting sketches, and informative maps of each line to show route details. These are keyed to an overall map, pinpointing the railway’s exact location within Canada.

Narrow Gauge Railways of Canada contains listings of railway mileage, chronological and geographical facts about each system, and locomotive information. Several other useful features include: time-mileage charts, 50 diagrams, charts and tables, equipment rosters for virtually all the railways, and gradient profiles of three steeply-graded mountain routes.

The book includes a specially-commissioned painting by famed railway artist Wentworth Folkins, illustrating Newfoundland Railway’s “Overland” approaching Port-aux-Basque on the last lap of its 547-mile journey from Newfoundland’s capital city, St. John’s.