Plans to save Murray River train station derailed

Steve Sharratt
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Murray River council rejects heritage building's restoration

The old train station in Murray River is slated for demolition in the next few weeks.

MURRAY RIVER — The bones of the old train station here are up for picking after the local village council voted last week to tear the structure down.

In a nearly unanimous decision, the council has turned thumbs down on a planned restoration for the building that has been part of the community since 1904.

“It’s just heartbreaking to me,’’ said village chairman Garnet Buell, who had no vote in the decision. “Only one of the councillors supported me.”


While Buell saw a diamond in the rough, others saw an eyesore in the dust.

The train station was visible only after a demolition project last fall took down some other empty buildings.

The station had been attached and used as storage facility for a former grocery outlet since being decommissioned more than 40 years ago.

“It looked rough,’’ said Buell. “But you have to see the potential in things and most people didn’t, I guess.”

Buell had hoped to access heritage funding for the restoration and said many were incorrectly afraid that it would become a tax burden on the community.

One councillor at the meeting said there was no need to spend money and maintain a heritage building in Murray River. However, The Guardian was unable to expand on that point of view since his phone has been temporarily disconnected.

“We’re always tearing things down ... why not save something?’’ said the 81-year-old Buell, a former CN rail man.

A public meeting was held during the winter but failed to secure major support. One man even built a fence in front of his house so he didn’t have to look at the station.

“Don’t use my name because my neighbours will start growling, but if the station had been fixed up and a couple of shops opened up, people would have said what a great idea,’’ said one resident.

P.E.I. Heritage Foundation director David Keenlyside told The Guardian in an earlier interview the station had merit and would contribute to public heritage in the village.

Buell said efforts to sell the building privately have fallen through due to the moving costs and now heritage hawkers have been showing up to save some parts of the structure before demolition sometime in the next few weeks.

Organizations: Murray River council, The Guardian, CN Heritage Foundation

Geographic location: Murray River

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Recent comments

  • Larry Tweed
    June 19, 2014 - 11:50

    Rather than being restored, maybe preservation is a better idea. There are only two other similar wooden train stations like this left on the island, one at Fredericton Station (poor shape - the roof partially collapsed this past winter) and one in West Devon (a little better shape). At one time I imagine these trains stations were everywhere. A plea to the citizens of Murray River: Please protect the Murray River station until it can be determined if it can be preserved. It could become a tourist draw if it was preserved with displays about the history of the Murray River station and the PEI Railway.

    • Concerned resident
      June 21, 2014 - 22:04

      Shouldn't you be more concerned about the growing drug problem, and local so called green houses set up on Main Street?? For the safety of our children and to attract more families before this community really dies ? These are not work buildings in the local residents back yard.... Maybe the money should be spent on more visible police presence.."

  • Concerned resident
    June 17, 2014 - 22:00

    But you still have the ugly fence hiding the local drug dealer..... People wake up and see what is going in in your community ....

  • Barry
    June 17, 2014 - 15:24

    Thats it i am sure the tourists come to see the old fallen down train station and the like

  • Len O'Hearn
    June 17, 2014 - 14:39

    I guess this should have been restored eons ago. Sort of like the other building in Murray River which housed shops and I believe the movie theatre. Hard to believe that was torn down for yet another ugly strip mall. I'm sure the same fate will befall the large building on the harbor next to Brehauts. People don't look to restore buildings with any historical value until they have fallen down or are about to especially on the South Shore.

  • Stewart Smith
    June 17, 2014 - 13:50

    Once we have torn down our last heritage building, built on our last remaining piece of coastline, ripped up our last old church - only then will we realize that tourists will leave as there is nothing left to see.