The Arcadia Creek and Woodbury Railway (AWRy) began in the Pacific Northwest as a dock at Elberta Cove along the northwest inland waterway and later, a ferry that connected the mainland with the Pacific coastal islands and major ocean ports to the south. When the gold and silver rush began in the 1890s, the need to transport goods into and over the coastal mountain range demanded conversion from wagons and mule teams to rail service.
Rail service began when the Wesley Dock and Transfer Company laid enough rail to move freight from the wharf at Elberta cove to Arcadia Creek just a half mile from the cove. The company eventually built a ferry dock capable of allowing a car ferry carrying full carloads of freight to offload cars directly to WDT’s line into town.
A new railroad company, the Arcadia Creek was created to replace the wagon road serving the miners with claims scattered up Boulder Canyon along Arcadia Creek from the town to Sweetwater Pass at the summit ridge of the coastal mountain range. Business grew and many of the mines were consolidated into Midwest Mining.
Beyond the coastal range in the central valley the Grand River provided passage into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The owners of the Arcadia Creek Railway saw the opportunity, changed their name to the Arcadia Creek and Woodbury Railway, and began extending the little railroad. The AWRy became the connection at Woodbury with the riverboat traffic to the north.
A thriving rail business developed carrying goods inland and goods to the coast for shipment on steamers and eventually car ferries to ports north and south from Arcadia Creek via the Elberta docks and the Wesley Dock and Transfer Company.
Decades later the Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railroad partnered with the Canadian National Railway to push a branch line north over the mountains and through the wilderness to Woodbury and smaller river towns along the Grand River. The AWRy connected with the GN Grand River Branch at Grand Junction (Grand River Landing) on the eastern edge of Woodbury, providing links with the small communities to the north and major cities with their intercontinental traffic to the south.
As the mining claims gradually played out the stone quarries of Midwest Mining and logging camps of Wesley Woods Lumber Company took over as the source of many natural resources, providing building materials for growth along the line, the coast and the river. Woodbury grew as a farming community and center of commerce while Arcadia Creek expanded its role as a fishery and seaport.
After the First World War the Arcadia Creek Railway found opportunities to invest in upgraded equipment following USRA standards, but just a dozen years later the Great Depression dealt the economy and growth in the northwest a major blow. The Second World War did not help the area much, but a minor postwar economic recovery engulfed the area and the AWRy saw increased shipments into the northwest. Moderate growth brought increased passenger service as well. The admittedly frugal railroad was careful with its investments, keeping aging equipment serviceable as long as possible, but investing in diesel locomotives seemed like a good move.
Today finds us in the early 1950s. GN is providing limited freight and passenger service up the Grand River Branch as far as Woodbury. AWRy is providing connecting service to the coast with limited car ferry service to a few islands. Arcadia Creek, Woodbury and the natural resources and agricultural industries in the area are experiencing growth. New settlers are moving in and business is picking up.
An Imaginary History of the AWRY — No Comments
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