Salem and Hillsborough Railroad
The Salem and Hillsborough Railroad ran from Salisbury to Harvey. Today, as you go up the road to the Big Stop from Salisbury’s Main Street, you cross the main rail line between Moncton and Saint John. The spur line from Hillsborough joined the main line there. Trains stopped overnight at Hillsborough Station where a hotel was available. The end of the line was Harvey Bank across from Riverside-Albert, near the then-active wharfs. Most of the remnants of the line are part of ATV trails today.
As the air cleared, the people inside looked up to see the prisoner give a wave as he leaped out of the window and landed on a passing rail-car roof. He crouched down as the train gathered speed and departed the village. A race to Albert Mines station found no sign of the escapee. I cannot recall the end result. Presumably he was recaptured, but the area around the gypsum mines had a long, slow, grade climb and somewhere he parted company with the train or found a less visible hiding place. This is oral history only. My father had more colourful details, but memory fails me.
Traveling south and east in a snaking, crooked line about five kilometres from the eastern edge of Salisbury, the engineers encountered the vast, marshy spread of the Turtle Creek chasm. One hundred years later, the Turtle Creek watershed has become the present-day water source for Moncton. The Turtle Creek Trestle was south and east of the present Turtle Creek hamlet highways crossroads. The location felt remote and in the middle of nowhere, as I recall.
Trestles required a significant investment of time and labour. The massive trestle was considered a marvel of engineering at the time due to its great length and the depth of the chasm. I cannot recall the exact depth of the chasm, but I sensed that it was a few hundred feet deep.
Weldon is a blip on the current Route 114 but was once thriving. The bridge (later metal-sided) had to withstand the strong, tidal-ice action of the creek. I once read a document (later lost in a fire) that recounted finding rare minerals when the bridge anchors were being dug.
The Hiram Trestle, as I recall, was named for a famous rail engineer who was from the area. It was located immediately beyond the Downey saw mill on Dawson Settlement Road. The trestle was about 5-6 stories high and was a feat of 1800's timber-and-post construction with massive bracing at intersecting angles. These were notched and bolted in patterns to prevent and withstand the pounding vibrations arising from the steel wheels of the pumping motion of the steam locomotives. Think of your car on unbalanced tires at 60 mph and you get the idea of the destructive force on man-made supports spanning a distant point of land with what looked like a weir of matchsticks.