Omemee, Ont. and "the Old Road"

Omemee first came to be served by a railway in late 1857, when the construction of the Port Hope, Lindsay & Beaverton Railway (as of 1870 the Midland Railway of Canada), worked its way north from Bethany along what is now Ski Hill Road, or Regional Road 38. It crossed King Street West, and then curved west along Deane Street North over to what is now Sibley Avenue North, on its way to Lindsay. 

Lindsay 31D/7 topographical map DND 1931, showing the "Old Road", the junction and the West Omemee siding. The spur to the east of the village was to the Omemee tannery, later the Regal Stationery Company. The building still stands.   Archives of Ontario

Lindsay 31D/7 topographical map DND 1931, showing the "Old Road", the junction and the West Omemee siding. The spur to the east of the village was to the Omemee tannery, later the Regal Stationery Company. The building still stands. Archives of Ontario

Aerial photo 1950s, Omemee Junction. The former roadbed north of King St. (Hwy 7) curves northwest on the west side of Deane St. North, and the former elevator is approximately two-thirds of the way between King St. and the junction itself. The site of the former junction station foundation is also apparent in the gore between the two roadbeds east of the junction. Courtesy Larry Murphy

Aerial photo 1950s, Omemee Junction. The former roadbed north of King St. (Hwy 7) curves northwest on the west side of Deane St. North, and the former elevator is approximately two-thirds of the way between King St. and the junction itself. The site of the former junction station foundation is also apparent in the gore between the two roadbeds east of the junction. Courtesy Larry Murphy

The location of the first Omemee station is not known, but was likely in the vicinity of where the line crossed King Street West, possibly alongside Deane Street. This station was replaced by a new one in 1875 "east of the track, and not more than 20 rods north of King Street".  (A rod is an old Imperial measurement of length. There are four rods to a chain, which is 66 ft. So the second station was not to be more than 110 yards north of King Street.)
The diverging "Old Road" just east of Sibley Ave., formerly Victoria Road. The contour of the "Missing Link" mainline can be seen to the left. The view is looking east towards Sturgeon Road. 2008.

The diverging "Old Road" just east of Sibley Ave., formerly Victoria Road. The contour of the "Missing Link" mainline can be seen to the left. The view is looking east towards Sturgeon Road. 2008.

The George Stephenson Elevator remained for a number of years after the departure of "the Old Road".
The view is looking southwest towards King St. from the approximate location of Deane St. North. 
The "Old Road" track ran south behind the buildings. Arthur Stephenson photo, Michael Stephenson Collection.

The George Stephenson Elevator remained for a number of years after the departure of "the Old Road". The view is looking southwest towards King St. from the approximate location of Deane St. North. The "Old Road" track ran south behind the buildings. Arthur Stephenson photo, Michael Stephenson Collection.

The Port Hope, Lindsay & Beaverton Railway had also built a branch from Millbrook to Peterborough in 1858. At that time there was no direct railway connection between Peterborough and Lindsay, travelers having to go via Millbrook Jct. For a more direct route between Peterborough, Lindsay and Toronto, construction of the "Missing Link" from Peterborough to meet "the Old Road" (the original direct line between Millbrook and Omemee) at Sibley Ave(Omemee West) was begun in 1882. This junction was effected in 1883 just east of Sibley Ave., and the 1875 station was then abandoned. Traces of this junction are still visible today. The first train passed over the new line on November 23, 1883. A new two-storey station and freight house were constructed in 1888 between the diverging tracks east of Sibley Ave.
(Note: The other hindrance to a direct route between Peterborough and Toronto [then via Lorneville] was eliminated by a connection between Manilla on the original Whitby, Port Perry & Lindsay Ry. and Blackwater [Wick Jct.] on the former Toronto & Nipissing Ry. This was completed a year or so previously, and opened for traffic in early 1883.)

The Midland Ry. was formally leased to the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada (GTR) as of January 1, 1884, and was amalgamated into the GTR as of April 1, 1893. The GTR was in turn amalgamated into the new Canadian National Railways (CNR) on January 30, 1923.

Omemee Sturgeon Road station in the 1950s. The view is looking west towards Lindsay. The section house and tool shed appear down the line. Photo: Hilliard Williamson Collection, courtesy Omemee & District Historical Society.

Omemee Sturgeon Road station in the 1950s. The view is looking west towards Lindsay. The section house and tool shed appear down the line. Photo: Hilliard Williamson Collection, courtesy Omemee & District Historical Society.

Omemee Sturgeon Road station about 1971, turned sideways from the right-of-way. Ed Emery photo, Charles Cooper Collection.

Omemee Sturgeon Road station about 1971, turned sideways from the right-of-way. Ed Emery photo, Charles Cooper Collection.

Omemee Sturgeon Road station on the H0 scale (1:87) static diorama by Larry Murphy. 
Charles Cooper photo.

Omemee Sturgeon Road station on the H0 scale (1:87) static diorama by Larry Murphy. Charles Cooper photo.

Copyright © 2014 Railway Pages and Charles Cooper. All Rights Reserved.