How many children get to play with trains their entire life? I imagine the number dwindles as the age increases. Not the case for Jimmy LeFrense. His house and yard were located by the train station and it was where he played with his friends and the workers. When Jimmy was 18 in 1973, he discovered the plan to tear down the train station. He attempted to get the village to buy it. They saw it as a tax burden and not an opportunity. Therefore, he proceeded to go directly to CN in Monkton and purchase it. Of course, Jimmy could not use the station until the trains stopped running on the tracks. Whereas they were supposed to stop in a month, the delay extended 14 years.
“How did you get the money at 18 to purchase it?” was my initial question. Jimmy told our IFWTWA group that, at 7, he knew the schedules and had a lemonade stand set up to sell lemonade to the trainmen. By the time he was 14, he had learned about photography and started selling his work. He purchased a photography business from his teacher for $100 and proceeded to open a shop in the corner of his parent’s bakery. He also started buying and selling antiques from garage sales. The result was Jimmy had enough money saved to purchase the train station.
During his 14 years of waiting, Jimmy got married to Shelley, and continued working at flea markets, farmers markets, and saving. By 21, he was importing containers of antiques from England and owned four antique stores. In 1987, Jimmy and Shelley started the task of renovating the station, with plans to open a bed and breakfast.
Their business started slowly and they kept saving. Jimmy started buying old rail cars from CN, as they became available. He acquired the first two cabooses in 1994 and, through a great deal of work and red tape, they opened as additional guest rooms in 1995. Jimmy has continued to add a car or two every year. In 2001, they purchased a dining car and began dinner service with terrific food.
The Train Station at Tatamagouche is a business of passion, from a little boy holding on to his dream and developed by it with his wife’s support. Jimmy has won many awards and has had many guests, including the Governor General of Canada. He is successful in business that is also his lifetime passion.
When our group of journalists pulled up to the Train Station, everyone smiled. One of our members was thrilled to be sleeping in a caboose, others in freight cars. It was a delightful assortment of renovated train cars. Our experience was just fun.
Norm and I were in a caboose, and we were thrilled. My own experience with trains started with my first train ride at 2-weeks old, visiting freight yards with my father as a child and teenager, and exploring special train rides worldwide.
Jimmy and Shelley have continuously grown the B & B and do many catered events for dinner. Janette Thompson, Food & Beverage Manager of Train Station Inn, was nice enough to share its lobster pot pie recipe. We will feature another recipe soon.
Lobster Pot Pie (makes 4)
1 pound cooked lobster meat (knuckle and claw)
Hollandaise Sauce (see recipe below)
One egg white
Individual casserole dishes
Scatter the lobster meat over the bottom of the casserole dishes, covering the bottom. Spoon about 1/4 cup of hollandaise over the lobster and top with puff pastry.
Trim pastry to fit dish and prick with holes to allow steam to escape.
Brush with egg white and cook at 425 F for approximately 20 minutes or until pastry is golden.
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 tbsp cream
1 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp lemon juice
Melt butter and whisk in egg yolks and cream.
Add the other ingredients.
Stir constantly until thickened.
We would highly recommend a visit. If you go to their website, the directions are quite good.
Train Station Inn
21 Station Road, Tatamagouche, NS BOK 1VO, Canada
902 657 3222