Tuesday, July 2, 2019

CP Stanbridge Subdivision - Railfanning & Layout Ideas

A recent surge in layout planning due the hobby room being almost completed lead me to resurrect my old layout concept about a derelict CP branchline in Southern Quebec during the 1980s.

This time, Stanbridge subdivision running for about twelve miles south from Farnham to Bedford and Stanbridge Station caught my attention. For once, without distorting reality, I was able to find a prototype branchline that handled all the freight I wanted, provided the possibility to fully replicate the railway operation and having mundane yet interesting "railroady" details.

Since last weekend was long due to Canada Day, I proposed to Louis-Marie to make an impromptu railfanning trip to Farnham area. He jokingly suggested to bring my passport in case we would want to railfan further in the United States... Little did I know I would venture into Marty McGuirk's territory and railfan some parts of Richford! Now I know why he choosed such a fabulous area!

The funniest part was telling the border agent at Morse Line that we were going to Richford for tourism... The best part being when he replied it was the first he ever encountered someone going to Richford for such a reason!

Here's the full rendition of this railfanning trip (part 1) and the possible implications for a future layout.


To be noted, I'm on the hunt for information and photos of Stanbridge Subdivision. It can be trains, locomotives, structures, depots, industries, etc... I highly suspect RS3 and RS18 were used as motive power.

So far, I've been able to locate a few pictures at BAnQ, but not enough to go forward!


  1. Hi,

    Check this one from fmnut on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Fg0J8_6hak
    At 11:20, you’ll see a train back from Bedford with an RS18U Leading a short 5 Hopper Cars consist with a caboose. Caboose were in the 434900 International Service Series. Also look at the other excellent videos from fmnut. I’ve also seen High Nose RS18 at the same spot, in front of Farnham station.
    Of interest, there’s also a wooden trestle over a small creek at Mystic, a short walk south from Chemin Walbridge.

    From Tell-Tale Productions, on DVD; Rails Along the River 3: Richford to the Richelieu (TT-033), you’ll see the Bedford Station still standing behind an MMA GE doing business work at the mill.

    Hope this will help.

  2. Thanks a lot for these information, extremely helpful! I didn't know Bedford Station survived for so long. I've see aerial photographs in Quebec National Archives that show long cuts of CP Rail triple bay hoppers at Bedford Quarry (Graymont). The lime plant wasn't yet built and it seems the stone was simply quarriede and shipped raw.

  3. Hi Matthieu,

    Some background information for you about Stanbridge Station. I
    have been interested in the railways in the Bedford, Stanbridge
    Station, Philipsburg area since I was small (I'm now 75!!) but I
    am no expert.

    I come at it out of an interest in the Philipsburg Junction
    Railway that ran from the Quarry and the Government Pier at
    Philipsburg to meet both the CP and CV at Stanbridge Station. My
    mother was raised in Philipsburg and my Grandfather and his
    brother worked for the marble quarry. My interest is/was more
    towards the steam era.

    Some of the PJRR track around the Quarry was still in place when
    I was small but most disappeared when the line was closed about

    The Central Vermont line through St-Armand and Stanbridge Station
    to St-Jean ceased operation about 1958 and the track was raised
    soon after. The station in St-Armand remains as the town hall. I
    vaguely remember a ride on a CV passenger train about 1955 from
    Montreal to Stanbridge Station in wooden non-airconditioned
    passenger cars.

    So while you look at Stanbridge Station as "End of Steel", it
    actually has a history as a one time active. although maybe not
    vibrant, railway junction.

    By the time I did a little investigation in 1970, the traffic on
    the remaining CP line to Stanbridge Station was non-existent.
    Maybe an occasional LCL boxcar. The traffic from the Greymont
    quarries and Levesque's Mill continued to provide some traffic
    but this gradually lost out to trucking. Recently the Federal
    dept of Transport condemned the line to Bedford as unsafe. At
    many level crossings, while the cross bucks and signal equipment
    remain, the tracks have been asphalted over. I expect that soon,
    the scrap metal value of the rails will be recognized and they
    will disappear.

    There is, in issue 310, November 1977 of Canadian Rail (CHRA)
    magazine, a bit of history of the PJRR and it includes a plan of
    the interlocking trackage at Stanbridge Station linking the three
    railways. It has a Photo fo a CP D4g 4-6-0 with a 2 car passenger
    local ready to depart the "Union" station at Stanbridge Station.
    Unfortunately, no diesel information in the article.

    On the back flyleaf of Derek Booths book "Railways of Southern
    Quebec Volume 2" there is a photograph of the Central Vermont
    station at Stanbridge Station with a 4-4-0 locomotive of the
    Philipsburg Junction railway. circa 1920.

    Issue 405, April 1988 has historical information on the CP at
    Mystic, Quebec, just north of Bedford. I have not done a search
    on Bedford. There may be more information available.

    I have some photos of the Bedford station taken in 1970. It was
    pretty dilapidated at that time. If you are interested, I could
    dig them out and scan them. They are not great but give a general
    impression of the area.

    I enjoy your blogs. Good luck with your project.

    John Surridge
    jsarchphotos at gmail dot com