Dunster Train Station

Per History of Dunster, “The Dunster railroad station was built 1913, the steel was linked in 1914 and on the 4th day of August, the day on which war was declared on Germany , the first train went through.” This line was originally built and operated by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, but owing to financial difficulties was nationalized by the Canadian government in 1919 and taken over by Canadian National Railways in 1923. More history of the railroad can be found here.

 

Miss Ella Channell at the Dunster station, circa 1920s?

Photo from History of Dunster

Dunster station circa 1940s (or earlier?)

Photo from History of Dunster

 

Originally known only as “Mile 72,” the station (and hence the town) was named “Dunster” by a railroad official after his hometown in Dunster, Somerset, England. The same official named Croydon and Shere (the two stations east of Dunster), also after towns in England.

The Dunster station was a centre of activity in the community until the 1960s, when highways were built through the valley and roads replaced rail as the primary means of transport. By the 1970s, the station had been abandoned.

 

Abandoned Dunster station in the 1970s

 

At some point in the 1980s, Canadian National (CN) Railways began to demolish most of the old stations along its line. To avoid that fate for the Dunster Station, the Dunster community bought the station from CN for a dollar, moved it back from the tracks a few feet (although it is still on CN right-of-way), and started a long process of restoring the building, mostly with volunteer labour and a few grants to help.

As a result, Dunster boasts the “least disturbed” and one of the only remaining examples of a Plan 100-152 (also listed as "Plan A" or “Type E” in some references) station (the most common station architecture for the many small towns along the railroad) still in existence. One other was moved from Penny to the Prince George railroad museum, and one in Alberta apparently converted to a house. The rest – amazingly originally two-thirds of the Grand Trunk Pacific construction of train stations along this line – exist today only in photos. See here and here for more information on this type of station.

Restoration of the station is incomplete (restoration of the exterior is essentially complete, but much remains to be done on the interior), so the building is not in active use as a station or anything else yet. However, Dunster is still a flag stop on Via Rail's Skeena run (from Jasper to Prince Rupert ), and both locals and tourists frequently get on or off the train here. More information about the Skeena can be found here.

 

Dunster station today

 


Photo by David Fraser

Photo by Birgit Stutz

Photo by Bill Arnold

Photo by Curtis Culp

Photo by Bill Arnold

Photo by Bill Arnold

(Click on the picture for larger image)

Photo by Bill Arnold

(Click on the picture for larger image)

Photo by Bill Arnold

(Click on the picture for larger image)

Photo by Birgit Stutz

(Click on the picture for larger image)

Photo by Birgit Stutz

(Click on the picture for larger image)

Photo by Birgit Stutz

(Click on the picture for larger image)

 

Back to top

Page last updated February 17, 2015