Riding the Rails of the D.A.R.


The Dominion Atlantic Railway (D.A.R.) was the product and culmination of forty years of investment in, and development of, the railways of western Nova Scotia. Until the D.A.R. finally provided a practical rail link between Yarmouth and Halifax, the overland transportation of goods or people between these locations was difficult, challenging, and expensive.

  1. “.... To be jolted and tossed about in an inferior vehicle, with lean horses, over a notoriously rough and sometimes dangerous road, for the distance of 200 miles; to be exposed during this journey, occasionally in an open conveyance, to the pelting storm, and to be compelled to vacate your seat over and over to help the poor horses drag the coach up the hills––huge, rough, dangerous hills––the Port Lebarre hill, for instance, of which all travellers retain so distinct and painful a recollection––and in all the three days’ hard toiling to get almost no sleep; to have to bolt your food at the different stopping places––and, besides all, to be asked to hand over for this rough usage a pretty good sum in hard cash––to endure all this requires no ordinary amount of nerve ....” [1, p. 88]

Because most viewers of this album will be Yarmouthians, rather than Haligonians, I have given preference to images at the western end of the D.A.R.’s route, such as photographs of the Western Counties Railway (W.C.R.), which was the westernmost segment in the amalgamation that became the D.A.R.

References and Notes

    [1] Marguerite Woodworth, History of the Dominion Atlantic Railway. Kentville Publishing Co., Ltd., Kentville, NS, October 1936. 159 pp.

    [2] Gary W. Ness, Canadian Pacific’s Dominion Atlantic Railway (Volume One). The British Railway Modellers of North America, Calgary, 1988. 26 pp.

    [3] Gary W. Ness, Canadian Pacific’s Dominion Atlantic Railway (Volume Two). The British Railway Modellers of North America, Calgary, 1995. 26 pp.

    [4] I thank archivist Lisette Gaudet, of the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives, for providing access to the photographs and archival material concerning the D.A.R. All photographs labeled Yarmouth County Museum and Archives (YCMA) are copyrighted. Please contact the Archives if you would like to acquire a photo. Copies of references [1–3] are in the library of the Archives.

    [5] Wilfred Allan kindly allowed me to display an image of one of his postcards. I acknowledge my great debt to Gary W. Ness’s fascinating contributions [2–3] to the visual history of the D.A.R.

William Day (1 November 2013)