The Trinity Train Loop
Trinity, Bonavista Peninsula
For 90 years the Newfoundland Railway was a vital way of transporting people and services across the island. The main railway line from St. Johns to Port Aux Basque was later joined by several smaller "branches" that connected many populated areas along the coast. In November of 1911 the owners of the Newfoundland railway, the Reid Newfoundland Company opened a line on the Bonavista Peninsula. For the most part, the railway line was fairly easy to design because of the low elevation changes found on most of the peninsula's interior.
One problem arose however when they attempted to bring the train into the town of Trinity. The town is located along the coast and is surrounded by steep hills which would have made it impossible to get to by train. The solution was a two kilometer extension that would loop around a nearby pond (later named "Loop Pond") and gradually lower the railway tracks to an acceptable elevation. To do this the Reid Company hired the engineer J.P. Powell to design what would become known as The Trinity Loop.
Powell designed a system where the incoming tracks in the northwest would cross over a valley, circle around the outside of a pond and then pass under itself while leaving the valley. The circumference of the loop was a little more than 2000 meters, the total elevation drop was around 10.3 meters and it rotated the tracks a total of 310 degrees. The loop was very unique and unusual feature to Newfoundland but was similar to features commonly seen in the mountain passes in western Canada.
But shortly after hearing the news former railwayman, Clayton Cook began organizing campaigns and petitions to preserve the loop. With the help of several politicians, Terra Transport eventually transferred the loop over to the town of Trinity. It was too long after this that Francis Kelly purchased the land and turned the area into an amusement park which included boat rides, accommodations, amusement rides, a museum, and even a train ride around the loop. In February 1988, the Trinity Loop was registered as a heritage structure helping to preserve its history and structure from drastic change.
Between 1910 and 1911 the loop was constructed and was used up until the Terra Transport Company closed the Bonavista branch line in 1984. The companies plan was to dismantle the loop and sell it for scrap.
The park operated successfully for a number of years but as time went on, peoples interest in the park slowly declined and in 2004 the park was shut down. But even today there are still many people who want the loop to remain preserved and there are many who wish to see it saved from destruction.
About the Area Today
In September 2010 Hurricane Igor blew through the province earning it the title as the most destructive tropical cyclone to the hit the island. The storm was devastating for the Trinity Loop. Extensive rainfall caused the river flowing through the park to wash away nearly 100 feet of tracks and deposit rocks and sediment over any remaining features of the amusement park.
Not everyone has given up on the park. After the previous owner defaulted on payments shortly after the park's closure the land was transferred over to the provincial government and has since been considered crown land. Several people over the years have attempted at reopening the park but none have been successful. Although there is a huge number of people on the island who would love to see the train carrying people around the pond again and the amusement park running, there are some who believe the loop has seen its last day.
Sources & Further Exploring
Clarkson, M. (n.d.). Province doesn’t want The Loop. The Telegram.
Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador (2011, January). Trinity Train Loop (Trinity). Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site. Found at https://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/society/trinity-train-loop.php.
Parks Canada (n.d.). Trinity Train Loop. Canada’s Historic Places Website. Found at https://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=2175.
Smallwood, J. R., & Pitt, R. D. W. (1981). Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador. St. John's, N.L.: Newfoundland Book Publishers. (Article: “Loop, The”. Available online through the Centre for Newfoundland Studies collections database)