Wellington County

Note: Please also see Grey and Bruce, and Dufferin  Counties.

Foreword

Wellington is a “gatekeeper” county in any discourse over the emergence of railways in southwestern Ontario. The Wellington, Grey & Bruce (WG&B) Railway is an example in point. Wellington County was, as most Ontario counties of that day, agriculture-based and therefore had the same interest in the advent of a railway to promote its prosperity. From a development point of view, the advent of the WG&B was the premier railway, followed to a lesser extent by the Credit Valley (CVR) that terminated in Elora (and also passed through Wellington along its southern border) , and then the Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway (TG&B), whose Teeswater branch  passed through Wellington along its northern border.
  Because of its strategic location and the emerging importance of its seat at Guelph, the county also became host to a number of other railways:

The Toronto & Guelph Railway (T&G)
The Galt & Guelph Railway (G&G)
Georgian Bay & Wellington Railway (GB&W)
The Guelph Junction Railway (GJR)
The Guelph & Goderich Railway (Gu&Go)
The Guelph Radial Railway
The Toronto-Guelph interurban electric railway (The Toronto Suburban Railway [TSR])

Toronto & Guelph (Grand Trunk Railway)

Rockwood CNR ex GTR. 1936. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Rockwood CNR ex GTR. 1936. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Guelph GTR. Guelph Public Library Archives

Guelph GTR. Guelph Public Library Archives

The Toronto & Guelph Railway
(with research from Pat Scrimgeour)
The Toronto & Goderich Railway Company was established in 1848 to build from Toronto to Guelph, and on to Goderich, on Lake Huron. The Toronto & Guelph was incorporated in 1851 to succeed the Toronto & Goderich with powers to build a line only as far as Guelph.

The Toronto & Guelph was amalgamated with five other railway companies in 1854 to form the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada. The GTR opened the Toronto & Guelph line in 1856. The Grand Trunk extended its line west from Guelph to Stratford in 1856, to St. Mary’s Jct. in 1858, and to Point Edward, near Sarnia, in 1859. A connecting line under construction from St. Mary’s Jct. to London, the London & Grand Trunk Junction, was amalgamated into the GTR in 1857.

Click here for the 1852 AGM report by the Guelph Advertiser. (The Esquesing Historical Society)

The Galt & Guelph Railway
(with research from Pat Scrimgeour)
  The Galt & Guelph was incorporated in 1852 as an extension of the Great Western Railway’s Harrisburg-Galt branch, which had been authorized in 1850, and became the “springboard” for the start of the Wellington, Grey & Bruce Railway at Guelph, a venture that graduated from interested to tangible support with the GWR.The Great Western leased the G&G in 1854, and took complete control by foreclosing on a mortgage in the 1860s. The line was completed and opened from Galt to Preston in 1855, and to Guelph in 1857. (A branch of the railway to Berlin was separated from the company as the Preston & Berlin Railway Company, in 1857.)

  The Galt & Guelph was an integral part of the Great Western system when the GWR agreed to a deed of union with the Grand Trunk in 1882, and the Galt & Guelph was formally amalgamated into the GTR in 1893.

The Wellington, Grey & Bruce Railway (WG&B)

See also Grey and Bruce Counties

The emergence of the WG&B arose from the fervent need for railway service in its namesake counties, and the solid refusal of the Northern Railway of Canada to build branch lines. The first step in the realization of this need was the incorporation in 1856 (one year after the Northern reached Collingwood) of the Canada North-West Railway Company “to build from Southampton on Lake Huron to Toronto on Lake Ontario with branch to Owen Sound, etc. etc.”.

Sandford Fleming carried out a preliminary survey and endorsed the project. Tight money, as everywhere, remained the obstacle, but in 1864, Francis Shanly, prominent engineer and railway consultant, led the move to a successor company, the Wellington, Grey & Bruce, incorporated in that year “to build from Guelph to Southampton, with a branch to Owen Sound”. The contract for the first section from Guelph to Fergus was with Donald Robertson of Queenston; and beyond Fergus, with William Hendrie of Hamilton. The first sod was turned at Fergus on June 28, 1867 and work began on the 5ft 6in Provincial Gauge. By the end of 1870, the railway had passed Fergus and Elora, and reached Alma.

Its charter was amended in the same year to provide for a change to the 4ft 8½in Standard Gauge, an extension to Kincardine (despite opposition from the Toronto, Grey & Bruce), and lease to the Great Western Railway.

Operation between Guelph and Elora had begun in 1870. By October 1871 steel was at Harriston, the line reached Paisley in June of 1872, and the final 16 miles to Southampton were opened on December 7, 1872.

Before completion of the Southampton line, the branch to Kincardine was put in hand with the necessary solicitation of bonuses. A “subscribers’ route” was decided upon, running southwest from Palmerston to serve Wallace and Elma townships and the village of Listowel, then angling to the northwest and heading for Kincardine. The contract was given to D. D. Hay & Co. and the first sod was turned on December 17, 1871. The Palmerston-Listowel section was opened on December 19, 1872, but delays ensued and the line to Kincardine was not completed until December 29, 1874.

Plans for an extension from Kincardine to Owen Sound and a branch from Clifford to Durham were quietly abandoned as the WG&B struggled to meet its operating expenses in the mid-1870s. A traffic agreement was signed with the Great Western in 1873; and in 1876 and 1882 the GWR acquired the bonds of the company. The Wellington, Grey & Bruce was taken into the Grand Trunk system when the Great Western and the Grand Trunk amalgamated in 1882.

The WG&B was formally amalgamated into the Grand Trunk in 1893, which in turn was amalgamated into Canadian National Railways as of January 30, 1923.

The Credit Valley Railway (CVR)

See also Dufferin County

By 1865, George Laidlaw had become a grain merchant in his own right, and his passion for transportation issues (the benefits of the narrow gauge system in particular) and his involvement with railway projects had come to dominate his career. After inception of the TG&B and the T&N, Laidlaw also became a moving force in the Credit Valley and the Victoria Railways. While the disadvantages of the narrow gauge system had not yet become apparent, in the meantime, the 5’6” “Provincial Gauge” was falling economically and politically out of favour. During the 1870s, in order for any railway to obtain the important contribution of the now Government of Ontario grants, it had to be built to the 4’8½” Standard Gauge, making Laidlaw’s hitherto favourite denunciation of railway construction profligacy moot.

In 1870, the Credit Valley Railway was incorporated to build from Toronto to Orangeville, via the Credit River Valley and Streetsville; with branches to Galt, Berlin, Waterloo, etc.; and then had its charter amended in 1873 with power to extend to Woodstock and St. Thomas; entered into amalgamation with the Ontario & Quebec Railway (O&Q) in 1884, and then as the O&Q in 1887 had its charter extended to the Detroit River. By 1881, the newly-engineered Credit Valley was in financial difficulty (as were many other fledgling railways at that time, including the TG&B and the T&N). Laidlaw was commercially and politically very well-connected and in particular was on good terms with George Stephen, who was the driving force behind the CPR syndicate and its secondary ambition for Ontario (the primary one being of course the transcontinental railway). Going by its name, the primary focus of the Credit Valley may reasonably have been assumed to be a connection with Orangeville (although why remains a conundrum, in view of the fact that Laidlaw’s TG&B had already been there since 1871, but perhaps it was the prospective entry into Wellington County to Fergus and Elora), but the CPR’s focus was on the “branch” to Woodstock, as the line’s subsequent extension to St. Thomas and beyond made abundantly clear.

Surveys were in hand by 1873, and construction followed in 1874, a major engineering challenge being the numerous bridges including the iconic trestle across the Forks of Credit. Aside from the straight engineering challenges, the project was plagued by lawsuits over land, labour problems, financing difficulties, loss of supplies at sea, fence and snow-clearing issues, and the extra-ordinarily complex issue of trackage rights into Toronto itself. In the event, the railway was formally opened at Milton by His Excellency, the Marquis of Lorne, Governor-General of Canada, on September 19, 1879. The line to Milton had been open since 1877; and was opened to Galt, Streetsville Jct., to Orangeville, and Cataract Jct. to Elora in 1879. St. Thomas was reached in 1881.


The Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway (TG&B)

See also Grey and Bruce Counties and Dufferin County

In 1849, the Province of Canada passed loan interest legislation that triggered Canada’s railway building boom. Unfortunately, in 1851 the Province of Canada enacted further, inter alia, to create a Board of Railway Commissioners, one of whose duties was to administer the 1849 loan interest guarantee. The Board required that to obtain the loan interest guarantee benefit, any railway had to build to the 5ft 6in gauge, which came to be known as the "Provincial" or "Broad" Gauge.

During this “broad gauge” era of railway development in Upper Canada from 1850 to 1870, one George Laidlaw rose to prominence as an advocate of the economies of the narrow gauge. An emigrant from Scotland, he obtained a position with the Toronto distillery firm of Gooderham & Worts, and persuaded his employers to invest in the narrow gauge concept in sponsoring feeder lines for their business. Accordingly on March 4, 1868, the Toronto Grey & Bruce Railway (TG&B) was chartered “to build from Toronto to Orangeville, Mount Forest, Durham and Southampton; with branch to Kincardine and Owen Sound.”

The objects were (1) to provide a pipeline of grain to the distillery; (2) to break the firewood monopoly of Toronto’s existing development road, the Northern Railway of Canada; (3) to provide increased business from railway access to Grey and Bruce Counties; and (4) primarily, to establish a port for trade and transfer on Georgian Bay in competition with the Northern Railway of Canada, and secondarily, ports for trade on the Lake Huron coast.

The first sod was turned at Weston on October 5, 1869 with Prince Arthur presiding. Construction from Queen’s Wharf in Toronto began immediately, facilitated between there and Weston by a third rail on the GTR’s Stratford-Sarnia line. It then wound its way around the Humber River in Woodbridge, pushing out to Bolton and then addressed the Caledon hills with its innovative but later notorious Horseshoe Curve. It reached Orangeville in mid-1871, and Mount Forest in December of that same year.

The original plan was to build from Orangeville to Mount Forest, with a “Grey” branch from there to Owen Sound; and a “Bruce” branch on to Walkerton, with two lines from there to Kincardine and to Southampton. The politics of municipal bonuses, the premier revenue source, did however lead to a change in this plan. In a deft feint, the new plan for Owen Sound was to build direct northwards from Fraxa Junction, leaving speculators along the anticipated way holding an empty bag. The rails of the Owen Sound branch reached there in June 1873, just over a year later after the Northern reached Meaford with its belated North Grey Railway in April 1872.

As the TG&B had beaten out the plan of the Northern to reach Owen Sound, so however did the Wellington, Grey & Bruce (sponsored by the Great Western Railway) dash the TG&B’s plans for Kincardine and Southampton, so that instead of continuing on from Mount Forest to Walkerton, the TG&B settled for an extension to Teeswater (completed in 1874), that passed through Arthur, Mount Forest and Harriston.

Guelph CNR 1971. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Guelph CNR 1971. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

WG&B

Elora CNR ex WG&B. 1958. J Wm Hood photo

Elora CNR ex WG&B. 1958. J Wm Hood photo

 Fergus CNR ex GTR 1971. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Fergus CNR ex GTR 1971. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Alma GTR ex WG&B

Alma GTR ex WG&B

Drayton GTR ex WG&B. 1921. Ross Gray Collection

Drayton GTR ex WG&B. 1921. Ross Gray Collection

Palmerston GTR. Ca 1910. Ross Gray Collection

Palmerston GTR. Ca 1910. Ross Gray Collection

Harriston GTR

Harriston GTR

Clifford GTR ex WG&B

Clifford GTR ex WG&B

CVR - Elora branch

Erin, CPR

Erin, CPR

Hillsburgh, CPR

Hillsburgh, CPR

Orton, CPR. CPR Corporate Archives A21029

Orton, CPR. CPR Corporate Archives A21029

 Belwood, CPR. Ralph Beaumont collection

Belwood, CPR. Ralph Beaumont collection

Fergus, CPR. 1940. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Fergus, CPR. 1940. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Elora CPR ex CVR station. Elora Tweedsmuir, Ralph Beaumont Collection

Elora CPR ex CVR station. Elora Tweedsmuir, Ralph Beaumont Collection

Elora, CPR. 1955.  Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Elora, CPR. 1955. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Toronto, Grey & Bruce - the Teeswater branch

 Arthur CPR.  Len Appleyard Collection

Arthur CPR. Len Appleyard Collection

Mount Forest CPR

Mount Forest CPR

Harriston CPR. J. Shaughnessy photo. Ralph Beaumont Collection

Harriston CPR. J. Shaughnessy photo. Ralph Beaumont Collection

The Georgian Bay & Wellington Railway (GB&W)
  In 1878, the Georgian Bay & Wellington Railway was incorporated by local promoters to build from Guelph, Listowel or Harriston to Owen Sound. In the light of the fact that the TG&B had reached there five years earlier, this ambition was scaled back to become the Georgian Bay & Wellington Railway with the more modest object of building from Palmerston to Durham, which place was reached in 1882, some 18 years after Frederic Cumberland had spurned the petition of a Northern Railway of Canada branchline to that place.   In 1881, the Georgian Bay & Wellington Railway (among others) was folded into the GTR under the name of the Grand Trunk, Georgian Bay & Lake Erie Railway. The GT,GB &LE was in turn fully amalgamated into the GTR in 1893.

Palmerston, looking south from the footbridge. 1957. Jim Shaughnessy photo

Palmerston, looking south from the footbridge. 1957. Jim Shaughnessy photo

Palmerston yard. 1960s. Palmerston Railway Museum

Palmerston yard. 1960s. Palmerston Railway Museum

Palmerston CNR. Ca 1970.  Ed Emery photo

Palmerston CNR. Ca 1970. Ed Emery photo

Palmerston CNR ex GTR in retirement

Palmerston CNR ex GTR in retirement

The Guelph Junction Railway (GJR)
In the 19th century, the first order of business of any ambitious community was to attract a railway to secure its economic survival and to enhance its status with the surrounding burgeoning places. With that accomplished, the next order of business was to encourage another railway connection to break the monopoly stranglehold of the first.

  Guelph had been fortunate to be well-placed in line with the Grand Trunk Railway’s ambition to get to Chicago, with the opening of the Toronto-Guelph Railway (newly-assumed by the GTR) in 1856.

  Unlike some other places that had to wait for more than a decade to get to the next order of business, Guelph was favoured the very next year, no less, with the arrival of the Great Western Railway-sponsored Galt-Guelph Railway, which not only provided a link to a major competitor to the GTR, but also proved to be the gateway to access to the Huron coast with the pioneer Wellington, Grey & Bruce, also eventually folded into the GWR with a traffic arrangement in 1873.

  As many other Ontario communities discovered, the luxury of two railways competing for their business did not last long. In 1882, the Grand Trunk Railway took over its major Ontario rival, the Great Western, and Guelph was back to a “one (iron) horse” town, and Guelph businessmen immediately began to look for a solution. The main line of the recent (1881) Credit Valley Railway (CVR) from Toronto to Woodstock passed just to the south of Guelph, and was on the verge of being absorbed into the Canadian Pacific. Unfortunately the CVR was in tough financial shape and not in a position to build a branch to Guelph, but the year 1883 brought good news. The CPR was working on entry into Ontario and the key was its catspaw Ontario & Quebec Railway (O&Q), then under construction between Toronto and Montreal. The O&Q in turn leased the CVR (among others), so that Guelph’s renewed chance at competitive railway service was a direct link with the O&Q that came to be leased to the CPR in 1884. In the same year, a charter was introduced for the Guelph Junction Railway GJR), with power “to build from Guelph to a point of connection with the Credit Valley Ry between Milton and Galt; with power to extend line to a point on Lake Ontario at or near Burlington etc. etc.” which  authorized a connection between the CVR main line and Guelph, with power to extend southeast, to Lake Ontario at Burlington (amended in 1887 to include an extension to Goderich). The charter required that construction begin within two years. The winter of 1886 had arrived, and the deadline loomed.

  Fearing that Guelph might be overtaken economically by other cities on the CPR’s Ontario network, Guelph City council decided in February 1886 that the line, at least the portion between Guelph and the Canadian Pacific connection at Campbellville, should be built at the city’s expense.  In 1887, the City of Guelph took majority ownership in the GJR, which in 1891 was leased to the CPR for 99 years. City council agreed to allow the Priory, the first building in Guelph and erected by the Canada Company in 1827, to be used as a passenger station. With financing to be obtained, some necessary negotiation with the GTR over land disputes, and the route itself to be decided on, construction was begun and completed in 1888, when the line opened from Guelph to a point west of Campbellville, called Guelph Jct. The City of Guelph purchased all of the shares of the GJR in 1901 and 1910, and still owns the railway today.

The Guelph & Goderich Railway

Goderich became connected to the emerging Upper Canada railway network by means of the Buffalo & Lake Huron [B&LH] (formerly the Buffalo, Brantford & Goderich) Railway in 1858. As a developing port of importance on Lake Huron, Goderich had been fingered by Buffalo commercial interests as a logical portage point to shorten shipping time diagonally across southwestern Ontario between there and Buffalo, thus cutting off two sides of a substantial triangle through the southern part of Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair itself and the whole length of lake Erie.

  The plan was a bold one, encouraged by civic interests in Brantford which had felt snubbed by the Great Western Railway (GWR), as its mainline had bypassed that city to the north.

  Unfortunately, two major factors conspired against the success of that plan.

  The first was that the B&LH traversed relatively sparsely-populated territory (except for the emerging centres of Brantford and Stratford), so that its intermediate stop revenues were uneconomic.

  The second was the attraction of the substantial profits that were to be had from the border-to-border transshipment of US goods between the States of New York and Michigan across southern Ontario. Competition for this traffic became the major focus of the two major railway companies in southwestern Ontario – the Great Western and the Grand Trunk (GTR).

  As the B&LH’s financial woes increased, so did the interest of the GTR in that railway, as its line between Stratford and Fort Erie/Buffalo stood to provide the GTR with the necessary section of track to compete with the GWR for the border-to-border traffic. In the blizzard of this east-west traffic flow, the original notion of a portage railway from Lake Huron to Buffalo faded away.

  In 1864, the GTR struck a joint management agreement with the B&LH which provided financial support in exchange for control. (Part of that agreement required the B&LH to lay a 4’8½” standard gauge third rail between Buffalo and Stratford to facilitate the movement of standard gauge US freight cars over the 5’6” broad gauge of the GTR and the B&LH. Because of the extreme financial constraints of both companies, this never came about.) In 1870 the GTR’s ownership of the B&LH became absolute, and the Stratford-Goderich stretch was confirmed as a branchline in a GTR empire that had its priorities elsewhere.

  Goderich prided itself on being economically progressive and ambitious, and while the city worked with what it had, it continued to chafe under the monopolistic regime of the GTR. Goderich and Guelph had been “sister” cities from the Canada Company days, and Goderich watched the efforts of Guelph to escape from its own GTR stranglehold by means of the Guelph Junction Railway (GJR), which was chartered in 1884 to connect Guelph with the CPR’s mainline at a point west of Campbellville. The CPR had its own reasons for wanting to expand its influence in Ontario. In 1887 an extension of the GJR to Goderich was approved, and interest on the part of CPR gathered momentum to the point where the CPR signed an agreement in 1904, allowing it to build an extension to Goderich under the authority of the GJR. To that end, the Guelph & Goderich was incorporated that year; and leased its line to the CPR for 999 years.

The first sod was turned at Meneset across the river from Goderich in 1904, and the line was opened in stages from Guelph to Elmira, to Millbank, and then to Milverton, all in 1906. A branch to Listowel opened in 1908, but plans for a further extension to Stratford were shelved. Getting the line across the Maitland River into Goderich proved to be a real engineering challenge, but the railway opened to Goderich in 1907, somewhat to the chagrin of the GTR which now performed handsprings to compete with its newly-arrived competitor.

As with many other railway age enterprises, a 999 year lease proved optimistic in the extreme. The G&G performed well, although not as bountifully as the CPR had expected, but in any case fell victim to the end of the Railway Age. “Mixed” train service ceased in 1962, intermittent freight service continued into the early 1980s, and the line was abandoned from Guelph to Goderich in 1989.

The Guelph Radial Railway (electric) 
with information from William E. Miller

  The Guelph Radial Railway was incorporated in 1895 as the Guelph Railway Company to build a street railway upon the streets of Guelph, with power to extend the line to the Ontario Agricultural college grounds and to the Union cemetery in the Township of Guelph, etc etc.

  Construction began in April 1895 and the initial route was south along Woolwich Street, through the downtown and along Dundas Road, with a second line running from the Sleeman owned Silvercreek Brewery on Waterloo Avenue, to the Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk (later Canadian National) Railway stations. Total distance of these two lines was approximately 4-1/2 miles. Operation began on September 17, 1895 with 20 minute service being provided between 5 am and 11 pm, Monday to Saturday. New lines were soon built including Suffolk, added in 1896, O.A.C (Ontario Agricultural College) in 1902 and York Road in 1911. Sunday service did not begin until July 25, 1921.

  With new owners in 1902, the name was changed to the Guelph Radial Railway, as they proposed to extend operations to municipalities outside Guelph, but none was ever built. In 1903, the City of Guelph purchased the street railway for $78,000, which included eight miles of track, eight closed and three open cars. Freight service had been introduced in 1900, with traffic being interchanged with the Grand Trunk Railway. A second freight interchange was added on Suffolk Street in 1915 and a connection was made with the new Toronto Suburban Railway line in 1917.

  Both the Canadian Pacific Railway and Ontario Hydro made offers to buy the Guelph system. Ontario Hydro won out and took title to the Railway, under the name Ontario Hydro Electric Railways - Guelph District, on May 21, 1921. Some lines were rebuilt and some extended.

  Operating losses began to climb beginning in 1927. The Suffolk line was removed in 1929 due to its poor condition and the cost of rebuilding, being replaced by bus service. In 1926, Ontario Hydro tried to sell the system back to the City of Guelph, but was refused. Finally, in June 1937, City Council recommended the discontinuance of the streetcars, September 30, 1937 being the final day of operation, buses replacing them the next day. In 1939, the Ontario Legislature passed a bill transferring the system to the newly created Guelph Transportation Commission (now Guelph Transit). Electric freight service continued to operate until May 26, 1939.

The Toronto Suburban Railway (TSR)

The TSR was originally incorporated in 1894 as the Toronto Suburban Street Railway Company upon acquiring the Weston, High Park & Toronto and the Davenport Street Railway Companies, giving it 7.5 miles of lines in the northwestern suburbs of Toronto. Its name was changed to the Toronto Suburban Railway in 1910, and its charter was amended to allow it to extend to Guelph.

Beginning in 1911, William Mackenzie, part owner of the original Toronto Railway Company and the quickly-expanding Canadian Northern Railway system, bought control of the Toronto Suburban. Under Mackenzie, ambitious extensions were undertaken north to Woodbridge and west to Guelph.

The TSR opened to Guelph on April 14, 1917, operating two trips per day into that city on Guelph Radial Railway (see above) tracks. By 1917, the Toronto Suburban was over 65 miles long.

On September 23, 1918, the Dominion Government acquired the Canadian Northern Railway. The last year of profitability of the Guelph line was in 1921, and it was then that the original TSR started to break up, with the portion within Toronto reverting to the city, and the portion outside the city being reconfigured as the Canadian National Electric Railways - Toronto Suburban District, by merging it with the partially constructed Toronto Eastern Railway.

Nevertheless, the prospects of the TSR were still considered to be favourable (as they were for all radial operations), and by the mid-1920s service had been increased to a two-hourly schedule with a trip time of two hours between the two cities.

By 1931, however, the Great Depression had shattered this optimism. The railway was in serious financial difficulty, defaulting on a debenture interest payment due July 15. All operations ceased on the Guelph line on August 15, 1931. A section of the line has survived as the Halton County Radial Railway Museum just south of Rockwood.

Mount Forest, GTR

Mount Forest, GTR

Guelph CPR first station. Priory House

Guelph CPR first station. Priory House

Arkell CPR (GJR). Ross Taylor Collection

Arkell CPR (GJR). Ross Taylor Collection

Moffatt GJR (CPR). Ross Taylor Collection

Moffatt GJR (CPR). Ross Taylor Collection

Guelph Jct. CVR. CPR Corporate Archives, Joseph W. Heckman photo

Guelph Jct. CVR. CPR Corporate Archives, Joseph W. Heckman photo

Guelph Jct CPR .1954. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Guelph Jct CPR .1954. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Guelph Jct CPR .1958. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Guelph Jct CPR .1958. Al Paterson Collection, CRHA Archives, Fonds Paterson

Guelph CPR second station

Guelph CPR second station

Guelph CPR in 1978 as the Chamber of Commerce office

Guelph CPR in 1978 as the Chamber of Commerce office

Guelph Radial Railway cars in St. George's Square. William E. Miller Collection

Guelph Radial Railway cars in St. George's Square. William E. Miller Collection

Toronto Suburban Railway #107 coach and #108 combine car, on the Guelph run. Raymond L. Kennedy Collection

Toronto Suburban Railway #107 coach and #108 combine car, on the Guelph run. Raymond L. Kennedy Collection

 Toronto Suburban Railway combine car #108 in storage. J. D. Knowles  photo

Toronto Suburban Railway combine car #108 in storage. J. D. Knowles photo

Chronology

1848 – the Toronto & Goderich Railway Company is established to build from Toronto to Guelph, and on to Goderich, on Lake Huron.

1849 – the Province of Canada passes loan interest legislation that triggers Canada’s railway building boom.

1851 – the Province of Canada enacts further, inter alia, to create a Board of Railway Commissioners, one of whose duties is to administer the 1849 loan interest guarantee. The Board requires that to obtain the loan interest guarantee benefit, any railway has to build to the 5ft 6in gauge, which comes to be known as the "Provincial" or "Broad" Gauge.

1851 – the Toronto & Guelph is incorporated to succeed the Toronto & Goderich with powers to build a line only as far as Guelph.

1852 – the Galt & Guelph Railway is incorporated as an extension of the Great Western Railway’s Harrisburg-Galt branch, authorized in 1850.

1854 – the Great Western leases the Galt & Guelph Railway.

1856 – the Grand Trunk Railway opens the Toronto & Guelph line and extends it west to Stratford.

1856 – the Canada North-West Railway Company incorporates “to build from Southampton on Lake  Huron to Toronto on Lake Ontario with branch to Owen Sound, etc. etc.”

1856 – the Buffalo, Brantford & Goderich Railway is reorganized as the Buffalo & Lake Huron Railway.

1857 – the Galt & Guelph Railway opens to Guelph.

1864 – the successor company Wellington, Grey & Bruce incorporates “to build from Guelph to Southampton, with a branch to Owen Sound”.

1864 – the Buffalo & Lake Huron Railway signs a joint management agreement with the Grand Trunk Railway

1867, June 28 – first sod of the Wellington, Grey & Bruce is turned at Fergus.

1868, March 4 – the Toronto Grey & Bruce Railway (TG&B) is chartered “to build from Toronto to Orangeville, Mount Forest, Durham and Southampton; with branch to Kincardine and Owen Sound.”

1870 – the Wellington, Grey & Bruce has built past Fergus and Elora, and reaches Alma, and operation begins to Elora.

1870 – the Credit Valley Railway is incorporated to build from Toronto to Orangeville, via the Credit River Valley and Streetsville; with branches to Galt, Berlin, Waterloo, etc.

1870 – the Buffalo & Lake Huron Railway is assumed by the Grand Trunk Railway

1871 – the Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway reaches Orangeville in mid-1871, and Mount Forest in December of that same year.

1871-1872 – the Wellington, Grey & Bruce reaches Harriston in October 1871, Paisley in June 1872, and the final 16 miles to Southampton were opened on December 7, 1872.

1872, December 19 – the Wellington, Grey & Bruce's Palmerston-Listowel section is opened

1874 – the Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway settles for an extension to Teeswater, that passes through Arthur, Mount Forest and Harriston.

1874, December 19 – the Wellington, Grey & Bruce completes to Kincardine.

1873 – the Wellington, Grey & Bruce signs a traffic agreement with the Great Western Railway

1873 – the Credit Valley Railway is empowered to extend to Woodstock and St. Thomas

1876 and 1882 – the Great Western Railway acquires the bonds of the Wellington, Grey & Bruce.

1878 – the Georgian Bay & Wellington Railway is incorporated by local promoters to build from Guelph, Listowel or Harriston to Owen Sound.

1879 – the Credit Valley Railway opens to Elora in 1879.

1880 – The Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway comes to a financial arrangement with the Grand Trunk Railway re the necessary re-gauging to the Standard Gauge.

1881 – The Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway is re-gauged to the Standard Gauge.

1881 – the Georgian Bay & Wellington Railway (along with others) comes under GTR control with the formation of the subsidiary Grand Trunk, Georgian Bay & Lake Erie Railway (which in turn was fully amalgamated with the Grand Trunk Railway in 1893).

1882 – the Wellington, Grey & Bruce is taken into the Grand Trunk system when the Great Western and the Grand Trunk sign a deed of union.

1882 – the Georgian Bay & Wellington Railway, now part of the Grand Trunk, Georgian Bay & Lake Erie Railway reaches the more modest object of building from Palmerston to Durham.

1883 – The Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway is ceded by the Grand Trunk Railway to the Ontario & Quebec Railway (O&Q).

1884 – the Credit Valley Railway amalgamates with the Ontario & Quebec Railway (O&Q)

1884, January 4 – the O&Q is leased to the CPR for 999 years.

1884 – the The Guelph Junction Railway Company is incorporated to build a connection from Guelph to the Credit Valley Railway at a point between Milton and Galt, and to extend to Lake Ontario.

1887 – the charter of the Guelph Junction Railway is amended to allow for an extension to Goderich, etc.

1887 – the City of Guelph takes majority ownership in the Guelph Junction Railway, and arranges for the line to be leased to the Canadian Pacific following its completion.

1888 – the Guelph Junction Railway opens from Guelph to a point west of Campbellville, called Guelph Jct. The railway was then leased (in 1891) to the CPR for 99 years.

1893 – the Grand Trunk, Georgian Bay & Lake Erie Railway , WG&B and the Galt & Guelph are formally amalgamated into the Grand Trunk.

1895 – the Guelph Radial Railway is incorporated to build a street railway upon the streets of Guelph, with power to extend the line to the Ontario Agricultural College grounds and to the Union cemetery in the Township of Guelph, etc etc.

1904 – the Guelph Junction Railway and the Canadian Pacific sign an agreement allowing the CPR to build an extension to Goderich under the authority of the GJR. To that end, the Guelph & Goderich is incorporated that year; and its line leased to the CPR for 999 years.

1906 – the Guelph & Goderich Railway is opened in stages from Guelph to Elmira, to Millbank, and then to Milverton, all in 1906.

1907 – the Guelph & Goderich Railway opens at Goderich. 

1908 – the Guelph & Goderich opens a branch to Listowel.

1910 – the newly-named Toronto Suburban Railway is allowed to extend to Guelph.

1917, April 14 – the Toronto Suburban Railway opens to Guelph.

1923, January 30 – the GTR is amalgamated into Canadian National Railways.

1931, August 15 – the last day of operation of the Toronto Suburban Railway's line to Guelph.

1932 – passenger service discontinued on the Teeswater branch in favour of "mixed" service.

1957, August 3 – "mixed" service is discontinued on the Teeswater branch.

1962 – "mixed" service is discontinued on the Guelph & Goderich Railway (CPR). 

1988 – Orangeville to Teeswater is abandoned and the track taken up.

1989 – the CPR between Guelph and Goderich is abandoned and the track taken up.

Sources and Recommendations for Further Reading

For reference to 1880 County Atlases, please click here and then click on 18 for Wellington County.

Andreae, Christopher: Lines of Country: An atlas of railway and waterway history in Canada, The Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ont. (Then an Affiliate of the Stoddart Publishing Co.) 1997

Beaumont, Ralph: Steam Trains to the Bruce, The Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ont. 1977

Beaumont, Ralph and Filby, James: Running Late on the Bruce, The Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ont. 1980

Bowers, Peter: Two Divisions to Bluewater – the Story of the CNR to the Bruce, The Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ont. 1983

Clarke, Rod: Narrow Gauge Through The Bush, self-published, 2007

Currie, A.W., The Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, U of T Press, 1957.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: http://www.biographi.ca

Dorman, Robert: A Statutory History of the Steam and Electric Railways of Canada 1836-1937, Canada Department of Transport, Ottawa, ON 1938

Filby, James: Credit Valley Railway – The Third Giant, The Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ont. 1974 #1 Credit Valley Series

Gilhuly, Brian: The True Story of the Provincial Gauge, Branchline (May/June 2017), Bytown Railway Society, Ottawa, Ont.

Grand Trunk Railway: Building and Structures Inventory Montreal, Que., 1907

Guay, David R. P.: Great Western Railway of Canada, Dundurn Press, Toronto, Ont. 2015

Hardy, John R.: Rusty Rails – a photographic record of the branchline railways in Midwestern Ontario 1961-1996, self-published 1999

Hopper, A.R. and Kearney, T.: Synoptical History of Organization, Capital stock, Funded Debt and other General Information CNR Acc'tg Department, Montreal Que., 1962

Lavallee, Omer S.A.: The Rise and Fall of the Provincial Gauge, Canadian Rail (February 1963), CRHA, St. Constant, QC.

McIlwraith, Thomas F.: The Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway 1863-1884, Upper Canada Railway Society, Toronto, Ont. 1963

Mull, John; with Hooton, Dave; Thorning, Steve; Beaumont, Ralph: Rails to Goderich - A History of the CNR and CPR Lines from Stratford/Guelph Junction to Goderich, self-published, distributed by the Credit Valley Railway Company, Mississauga, Ont. 2017.

Scrimgeour, Pat: Historical Outlines of Railways in Southwestern Ontario. UCRS Newsletter July 1990. UCRS, Toronto, Ont.

Smith, Jeffrey P.: CNR Ontario Research http://cnr-in-ontario.com

Stamp, Robert M.: Riding the Radials – Toronto’s Suburban Electric Streetcar Lines, Boston Mills Press, Erin, Ont. 1989

Stevens, G.R.: Canadian National Railways, Volume I, Clarke Irwin, Toronto, Ont. 1960

Trout, J.M. and Edw.: The Railways of Canada, Toronto ON 1871 (reprinted 1970, 1974)

Walker, Dr. Frank N.:1854 Centenary, Buffalo, Brantford & Goderich Railway, Upper Canada Railway Society Bulletin 39, January 1954. Toronto, Ont. Reprinted UCRS Newsletter July-August 1975.        

Wellington County History – Railway Issue, Vol 4., Wellington County Historical Research Society, Fergus, Ont. 1991

Wellington County History – various railway topics, Vol 20, Wellington County Historical Research Society, Fergus, Ont. 2007

White, James: Altitudes in Canada: Commission of Conservation, Canada. Second Edition, Ottawa, Ont., 1915.

Wilson, Donald M: The Ontario and Quebec Railway, Mika Publishing Co., Belleville, Ont. 1984

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