• Hunter Cresswell

Save the station

Effort to save Cascades station underway

The proverbial clock is ticking for the old Cascades train station building.

Voie Verte Chelsea – the community non-profit organization may change its name to avoid confusion now that the Chelsea community trail officially goes by the same name – kicked off efforts on Feb. 9 to raise $26,900 to move the over 100-year-old Cascades station building from the former Cross farm between Hwy 5 and the IGA in Farm Point to a parking lot south of Farm Point Park temporarily.

The Cascades train station where it sits today at the old farm at 17 Ch. Cross Loop in Farm Point. A Voie Verte Chelsea organization fundraiser is underway to raise $26,900 to preserve the building by moving it to a temporary site before relocating it to a to-be-determined site along the Voie Verte Chelsea, formerly known as the community trail. Photo courtesy Sandy Foote

The group has until March 10 to raise the funds and move the building, Voie Verte Chelsea president Sandy Foote told The Low Down during a recent phone interview.

“We don’t know where it’s going to go yet. It’s up for consultation with the community,” he said about where the station will eventually end up after the parking lot.

Currently, the organization’s idea is to repair it and put it somewhere along the community trail that will only be accessible by trail users. Around the station would be a rest area with benches, and the station itself would be museum-like, with displays about the history of the local area and the rail line, but no bathrooms.

“You’d have a place to stop and rest and it would have the history of the station and railway. Our whole idea is to remember the nine lost villages and how the rail connected them,” Foote said.

The building dates back to before 1920 and was placed along the railway about 300 to 500 metres south of the current Cascades Club boathouse. It’s original site is underwater because it was built before the Gatineau River dams were constructed and raised the river, which forced the railway and stations to be moved to higher ground, Foote explained.

The Cascades train station where it used to sit along the old rail line in 1920 before the installation of the dams in the Gatineau River forced the railway to be moved to higher ground. Photo courtesy Gatineau Valley Historical Society

It has sat at the old Cross farm since at least 2000, according to the Gatineau Valley Historical Society image archive.

Because of its size, it will need to be disassembled and moved to the temporary site in two pieces using large machinery, which contributes to the cost of the project, Foote said.

By Feb. 20, just over $19,500 had been raised, according to the Voie Verte Chelsea Facebook page.

This is the last of the train stations that use to dot the railway between Gatineau and Wakefield. The only other extant station building is being turned into a garage, Foote said.

Visit voievertechelsea.ca for more information or to donate. As a non-profit, Voie Verte Chelsea gives tax receipts to all donors.

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