From Station Stop to Pot au Feu: the Wakefield Railway Station Adapts (*Excerpt from Quebec Heritage News)

Norma Geggie
Claire Earle at the Wakefield station during its construction. (Photo - GVHS)

larger_wakefield.jpgA tourist steam train runs between the city of Gatineau and the village of Wakefield for about eight months of the year, bringing visitors through the wooded hills and along the scenic Gatineau River. As there is no longer a turning point on the restored rail track, a hand-operated turntable rotates the engine and then shunts it to the end of the coaches in preparation for the return trip to the city. This spectacle has become of great interest for passengers, as well as for tourists and other visitors to the village.

When the rail line first reached Wakefield in 1892, a station was built on the site where this turntable is presently situated. In 1929, the station was relocated, and the site then became a busy yard for the unloading and sorting of logs from upriver for transport by train to mills in the Hull area.

The train stop in Wakefield was known as La Pêche, acknowledging its location at the mouth of the La Pêche River where it empties into the Gatineau. When the decision was made to relocate, the station building was by no means old, but there is no record of it having been moved. Photos from a 1929 album show the “new” station nearing completion, although it is possible that this was the original building, relocated, with additions...

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The complete version of this article appears in Quebec Heritage News, Vol. 6, Number 3, Fall 2011.

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