The 1 December 1905 edition of the Guardian newspaper reported that a fire had broken out in the Railway Yard the previous night. A number of buildings and railway cars had been damaged beyond repair and losses were estimated to cost between 60 000 and 120 000 – well over a million dollars in today’s currency.
The same day, railway workers began to close in one of the roofs of a damaged building, and arrangements were made to transfer operations from burnt buildings into new quarters. Within days, tenders were put out to construct replacements.
Because it had become such an integral part of the Island economy and everyday life, down time was not an option for the Railway. It was not only a major employer, but the main form of public transportation, the mail carrier, and the mover of goods both on the Island and to the mainland.