NIAGARA REGION'S TRACKAGE: 1853 - 2007

WELLAND OVERALL

     Over thirty years ago, Welland, Ontario (originally named from "River Welland" in Lincolnshire, England), was a very industrialized city. The Welland River, which passes through the area was the real name behind the naming from River Welland in England.
     Prior to the Welland Canal Relocation Project, 1971-1973, the Welland Canal passed through the heart of downtown Welland. Between the ships, trains, and cars, Welland was a very congested place to travel through out. The reason for all of the congestion was the major railroad lines passed through major streets. At many places railroad tracks ran parallel to the St. Lawrence Seaway.
     Trains, day and night, would travel between Fort Erie and Toronto, without slowing down on the tracks through Welland.
     CN, Michigan Central (at the time), TH&B and Wabash were a few of the cities rail providers. CP wasn't in the picture until 1985.
     The city streets that were affected by the railroads included King Street (Michigan Central), Ontario Street (CN & Wabash), West Main (Trolley Service) and East Main Streets (Trolley Service, CN & Wabash), Lincoln Street (CN & Wabash), Riverside Drive (TH&B) and all the minor streets between the ones that have been mentioned.
     The heart of all the rail business was located between Ontario Street from the south to East Main Street to the north. This was where the majority was located -- the CN Canal Subdivision (CN Welland Subdivision then). In late 1996 or early 1997 the CN Canal Subdivision was renamed to CN Canal Spur, because it was closed to traffic north of mile 9 (Welland River, north of Welland). As of September 19, 1999, the line was reopened north of mile 9 for Trillium's use to Merritton.
     During the late 1940's and early 1960's was the time of the big boom of rail traffic in Welland. Many businesses sprung up along the CN Welland Subdivision (TR Canal Spur now).
     Businesses that thrived in downtown Welland were General Tire (now GDX) and Beaver Lumber on the northwest corner (now the property of UAP/NAPA), Barcalo Bedding and Atlas Specialty Steels on the northeast side of East Main Street (Barcalo Bedding was there before Atlas was built; Star Coal and Ice (southeast corner of East Main), Summerville Coal, Welland Iron and Metal, Whiting (all on the south West corner, down the track), Canada Foundries and Forgings (behind Star Coal and Ice) and Goodwillie Saw (at Hagar Street); Diffin Coal (Beside Goodwillie Saw), Vaughn Seed (beside Goodwillie Saw), Christie Bread (beside Vaughn Seed) and Wabaso/Empire Cotton Mill (southeast corner at Hagar St.).
     After the construction of the Welland Canal bypass in the early 1970's, the CN Welland Subdivision/ CN Canal Subdivision (Spur to Line) quickly became abandoned of businesses by 1978.
     All that remains these days are GDX, Atlas Specialty Steels which as of 2002 no longer receives rail service, Whiting-no longer has rail service, Canada Foundries and Forgings-no longer has rail service.
     CN pulled up rail on the CN Canal Spur in 1997 which included the "New yard" (the three yard track beside Atlas Specialty Steels), and a siding up the east side of the CN Canal Spur through Welland, leaving only bits and pieces of track to gain access to the industries.
     The former mainline that once ran through downtown Welland, crossed at a diamond called "Welland Diamond". This diamond was no longer used after the Welland Canal Relocation Project. There was an interchange yard for the two railways. It was designated as the WR zone . The siding which crossed Plymouth Road along the CP Welland Industrial Lead on the south side, was ripped up just before CP handed operations over to CN in the mid 1990's. CP still owns the trackage these days as Trillium uses the line to cross bridge 15 to access the TR Welland West Spur.
     CN serviced the industries in downtown Welland once a week after CP abandoned the line, when it was required.
     Since Trillium took over the TR Canal Spur and TR West Welland Spur switching in September 1999, switching is done everyday in Welland if a business requires so. Switching was sporatic.
     Trillium only operates in daylight hours on week days, running back and forth once a day through Welland to exchange cars for St. Catharines operations.


WELLAND JUNCTION - DAIN CITY

     Welland Junction was once located a few miles south of Welland on the abandoned channel of the Welland Canal, in a village formerly known as Dainsville but now as Dain City. In the NS&T days, this was a farming community that developed because of the railroads, the Welland Canal, and Forks Road. At one time Forks Road was one of the longest roads in the Niagara Peninsula.
     Dain City is a former home to a CN/NS's Intermodal yard on CN's Canal Spur, prior to Trillium taking over to the line. During the mid 1970's, this yard was relocated from East Main Street in Welland. Dain City is easily identified by the two lift bridges no longer in operation. The vehicle bridge towers are now removed. Both bridges cross the old canal on the south side of an artificial dam that prevents a current into the city of Welland from the south. The area south of the dam is mainly used as a recreational waterway for rowers.
     The former CN Cayuga Subdivision and CP Hamilton Subdivision cut through the cut in the waterway. Both tracks are now owned now by CP. The CN Cayuga Subdivision is now CP Brookfield Siding.
     A dead end wye still exists in the back end of the yard, of Welland Junction. It was used prior to the Welland Canal Relocation Project came into effect. The present TR Canal Spur was back then the CN Cayuga Subdivision through 'downtown' Dain City, heading east joining in with the present location of the CN Stamford Subdivision at CN Yager West. The original CN Humberstone Subdivision headed south from the diamond at Dain City to Port Colborne across the land of the present Welland Canal at the north end of Port Colborne. The CN Welland Subdivision went directly north from the CN Humberstone Subdivision Jct. at Welland Junction on the present Canal Spur as far as the present Hwy 406 crossing, then headed to Port Robinson across the property of the Welland Canal Bypass.
Eastward as just mentioned, the track has been torn out, but this was part of the Canadian National mainline to Fort Erie and across the border (CN Cayuga Subdivision). At one time crossing the canal to the west would lead you to St Thomas, eventually reaching Windsor and Detroit. This was a preferred route by Canadian National's former U.S. partner, the Grand Trunk as a shorter more direct route connecting two major cities, Detroit to Buffalo. Great Western build this line back in the late 1880's.
     In October 1998, the Dain City Intermodal service pulled out and the property lay quiet until Trillum came to town. M J Jones Trucking moved onto the location and put up shop. I don't know fully what all of their operations are about, but I do know they were now involved with placing pipe from now Lakside Pipe in Welland, onto those center beam flats with the fingers along the side. I'm meaning the cars that are used to haul logs.


WELLAND DIAMOND - WELLAND

     Located near the southern end of the city of Welland, at Ontario Road. It was Welland Diamond and at one time was probably the busiest junctions east of Hamilton. The diamond once served CN, TH&B, and Michigan Central (until Penn Central). Previous railroads either in whole or part had ownership of the Michigan Central and TH&B routes that ran east and west. These railroads include most recently CP, Conrail, CN.
     The north to south line still exists intact today as TR's Canal Spur operated on by Trillium. Today it is mainly served to handle industries within the city of Welland and to move cars between St. Catharines and Port Colborne. At one time prior to the new canal, this was part of a main line that went North to Port Robinson which is now covered by the CN Stamford Subdivision. As mentioned this line was entirely reopened in September 1999 for Trillium to access their operations in Thorold and St. Catharines.
     Ironically enough the section between Welland and Allanburg is the newest portion, dating only to the early 1970's.
     As I just stated above, I say that the line was reopened. CN had shut down the line to rail traffic between the north end of Welland and Bridge 10 where the line connected to their old CN Thorold Spur which is now the TR Thorold Spur.      There were three actual lines that run east to west. The line from the west that crosses an eyesore of a relic swing bridge 15 on the old channel and is bound for extinction if it wasn't for one plant on the west side of the canal. The plant is Vesuvius. This line was once the old NYC/MC/Penn Central main line trackage, though it isn't part of today's CN Caso Subdivision at all. It is the CP Welland Industrial Lead. It is just the area at Welland where the original line passed through. West of Welland, the line was ripped out in 1996 to CP Welland yard on the CP Hamilton Subdivision.      Getting back to Welland Diamond, and the two lines that split off east of the diamond no longer exist, including the trackage of the main line, but only one track of the former yard acts as the line in Welland from west of King Street, eastward to WR99 which is the track that connects to TR Canal Spur. Regarding the two lines that headed east from here from Welland, both originally were leased by Michigan Central including the main line, but the line that went due east had TH&B mainline running rights. The line to the northeast was Michigan Central's main line to Niagara Falls. Both lines now are replaced by CP's Hamilton Subdivision to Niagara Falls, through the Townline Tunnel. The line to the southeast was the line to Fort Erie on the present CP Stevensville Spur (formerly the CP Fort Erie Subdivision).
     The busy junction called WX is just a memory, as the activity is all but gone except one train north and South by Trillium on the TR Canal Spur 5 times a week.
     There The tracks split east of WX Tower is now a plaza and a parking lot is now where the tracks once lay. There are obvious remnants of the two lines east of Southwork Street just east pf the Ontario Road intersection. I believe a hydro line now follows the Niagara Falls bound line and the Fort Erie bound line is just sitting among the weeds.


PORT ROBINSON

     Port Robinson, at one time was the main link to the northeast, via Niagara Falls. At Canby St., there once stood an old train station which is long gone. More details about what there is now can be found under CN's history under the link on the previous page.
     The line, that now runs directly south of the village is referred to as the CN Stamford Subdivision. This line once cut across at Biggar Road in Port Robinson and headed directly towards Welland and tied into what is now the TR Canal Spur at Hwy 140. The CN Stamford Subdivision prior to the early 1970's didn't pass along the east side of Welland.
     Now that the new bypass of the Welland Canal is in place (1972), the CN Stamford Subdivision passes over the Aqueduct on the south end of Port Robinson and heads directly south through CN Cambridge, CN Southern yard, CN Netherby-Diamond (Diamond no longer exists), and CN Yager. By coincidence, back at the Aquaduct, look to the north west on the corner of the point of the hill is where the old CN Welland Subdivision was once located. You can still see the ROW through the bush.
     At CN Yager, the CN Stamford Subdivision turns off to the east. The next passing point is CN Robbins West to the west leg of the former CN Cayuga Subdivision which is now the west leg of the Robbins Connecting tracks to the now realigned CP Hamilton Subdivision, east from Robbins West, the line eventually passes through Stevensville and Fort Erie, where it then crosses over the International Bridge into Black Rock (an area of Buffalo).      Back on track... regarding the line that used to connect at Hwy 140 to the wye at Port Robinson West, the CN Stamford Subdivision took the wye to Niagara Falls. The line that headed north from that wye turned into the CN Thorold Subdivision and passed by Hayes Dana and over the Allanburg rail bridge # 10. Once over the bridge the line split again. The CN Thorold Subdivision to the north and the CN Canal Subdivision to the south. This was Thorold Jct. The CN Canal Subdivision continued south from mile 14 to the location of Hwy 406, joining in with the present Canal Spur. This track from Thorold Jct. to Hwy 406 was installed during the Welland Canal Relocation Project.
     At the new Hwy 406 grade crossing of the CN Canal Spur, looking northeast, you can see where the old line was once located. There is a big shed on the former ROW.
     Between 1992 and 1999, this line, the only 'new' unused section of the CN Canal Spur sat quiet. Prior to this a few locals used the to get to Port Colborne. No traffic passed on it except 334 once in 1995 due to a derailment at Southern yard on the CN Stamford Subdivision.


COYLE YARD AND ABANDONED TRACKAGE

     The Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo operated within Niagara, as the name says.
     The TH&B once had a yard on Riverside Drive near Lincoln Street in Welland. This was Coyle yard.
     They had trackage from Waterford, Ontario, up through Brantford and into Hamilton where the present CP Aberdeen yard is, then down to the Niagara Region at Welland, via Smithville. To Buffalo, they had running rights on the New York Central/Michigan Central/Penn Central line through Stevensville to Buffalo.
     In the mid to late 1980's, the TH&B was taken over by CP. CP soon abandoned the line from Waterford to Hamilton, leaving some trackage still in place north of Waterford to Brantford, but never was run on again. This trackage was not accessible. In early 2000 or 2001, the trackage was removed shortly after i photographed it for my site. But some trackage was left in at Brantford for the use of the companies with rail service. CN Burford Sub's bridge over the river was abandoned and access over the river was by way of the TH&B trackage.
     Now backing up a decade or so to the late to early 1960's to 1970's, the TH&B line from Hamilton to Welland's Coyle yard was rerouted due to the Welland Canal Relocation project.
     At Church Street in Fenwick, Ontario looking south, is where the TH&B line was relocated directly south across the Welland River to Riverside Drive to the present day CP Welland Yard.
     Once the new line was built and connected to the present CP Hamilton Subdivision between Hewitt Road and Phillip's Road in Wainfleet where the present CP yard is, this yard was joint ownership between Penn Central and TH&B.
     The original line south from Church Street in Fenwich headed for Colbeck Drive west of Webber Road/Lincoln St. (Same road). From here the line then went across the Welland River just up the road from Lincoln Street to Coyle yard at Riverside Drive.
     At Coyle yard was a connection to the New York Central/Michigan Central/Penn Central mainline where the old Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto crossed just west of bridge 15 over the old Welland Canal in downtown Welland.
     At Coyle yard, there was an interchange yard with CN or the NS&T. The Interchange yard still exists, but it is now a dead end towards old Coyle yard. See my page on the TR West Welland Spur for some photos of this yard and the CN Welland Subdivision covering Coyle yard.


NIAGARA, ST. CATHARINES & TORONTO TROLLEY LINES

     The NS&T had many trolley lines throughout Port Dalhousie, St. Catharines, Port Weller, Welland and and Port Colborne.
     The NS&T had a main terminal in St. Catharines where all of the lines came together in some way.
     Over the late 1800's to mid 1930's, the NS&T had two lines to Port Dalhousie which one became the CN Port Dalhousie Spur from the GM plant back to the TR Grantham Spur which went under the old Queenston Street bridge which is now a grade crossing.
     The Port Dalhousie line was from Ontario Street in St. Catharines to Port Dalhousie was removed years prior to the 1992 removal of the line from Ontario Street to the TR Grantham Spur near Yale Cres.
     There was a line to Port Weller. This later became the CN Lakeshore Spur. This line originally went to Niagara-on-the Lake. This line was removed around 1931 between Port Weller and Niagara-on-the Lake. The line to this date still exists from the TR Grantham Spur to approximately half way to Port Weller. On the east side of Bridge 1 at Port Weller is some rail still left in the pavement along the road.
     In Thorold, there were several lines. South through Thorold, from St. Catharines, there was a line that went up to Townline Road. This became the CN Townline Spur. I unfortunately don't know how it went at the top of Townline Road, but there is an abandoned ROW there to the south. This line may have head to Substation Jct. where the line to Niagara Falls went. The Niagara Falls line was known as the Falls Division. It was removed in the late 1940's or early 1950's. You can still see remnants of the Falls Division within Niagara Falls. At the present Welland Canal beside the paper plant in Thorold South you can see part of the old bridge abutments.
     Back in St. Catharines the Grantham Division joined to the Port Dalhouisie Division as just mentioned, and went south connecting to the Townline line which in NS&T days was nicknamed the High-Line. The Grantham Division led right into Merritton yard, which still partially exists to this day. Merritton yard is also accessible to the CN Grimsby Subdivision.
     Now, from the Ormond Street area in Thorold, the Welland Division was later built around the early to mid 1910's to go from Thorold to Port Colborne.
     The Welland Division was built south across Collier Road to Beaverdams Road where it then headed for Fonthill to Station Street. From Station Street, the Welland Division continued along Clare Avenue in Welland then cut across Woodlawn Road, Thorold Road, Fitch Street, Colbeck Drive, Riverside Drive, Lincoln Street, then continued on what is now the TR West Welland Spur. South of the TR West Welland Spur, the line used to cut across the Michigan Central/New York Central main line and headed south along Shaw street in south Welland then across where the present CP Hamilton Subdivision and former CN Cayuga Subdivision are. These two line which the CN Welland Subdivision looks like it also crossed, didn't. The CP Hamilton Subdivision and former CN Cayuga Subdivision are part of the Welland Canal Relocation Project.
     Returning to the Welland Division heading south, the line now went through a bush and came to a diamond with the former CN Cayuga Subdivision which later became the CN Canal Spur and now the TR Canal Spur. South from here, the line paralleled Elm Street into Port Colborne. When the Welland Division got down north of Main Street (Hwy 3), the line went into the middle of Elm Street and continued South and wrapped around to the West and joined into the former CN Dunnville Subdivision which is now part of the TR Harbour Line. In the early to mid 1980's, the Welland Division was cut in several places and the names changed. From Thorold at the north end, the line became the CN Fonthill Subdivision/Spur and went down as far as possibly the business on the present day TR West Welland Spur. Later this portion in 1981 was abandoned south of Fonthill meaning that the line was removed from Hwy 20 to Welland, just north of the just mention business on the TR West Welland Spur.
     The reason for the removal of the trackage was due to the condition of the old wooden trestle over the Welland River. In the final year of 1980, I was told that empty cars were used to span the bridge to service the one industry because CN was afraid that the 7100 series diesel would be too heavy to straddle the bridge.
     Now that the line was abandoned, the business which used to get service was lacking rail service. So CN contacted Conrail, who at the time owned the CP Welland Industrial Lead (former New York to Penn Central main line) and asked to have Conrail build a connection onto the CP Welland Industrial Lead. This new portion plus the former NS&T line beside the business along Prince Charles Drive and the former Interchange yard with the TH&B became the West Welland Spur.
     South of the present day Welland Industrial Lead, the line was removed to just north of Forks Road at Dain City, where it used to cross the present day Canal Spur and there was a also a diamond here. In 1985 the line from here was connected into the TR Canal Spur and became the CN Port Colborne Spur to mile 1.9 where it then bent around eastward and the line was built over to Robin Hood on Sherwood Forest Lane and ended at Elm Street. When the Welland Division was abandoned in 1981, the Elm Street Spur was left in to service Robin Hood. Once the CN Port Colborne Spur was complete, the Elm Street Spur was removed.
     NS&T trackage still in existence is now operated by Trillium except the Townline Spur which has been shut down to traffic due to one of the small bridges being arsoned in March 2007.
     In 2007, the Lakeshore Spur was torn out from mile 0.77 northward.      In 2007, the Townline Spur was abandoned due to arson on the Abott St. bridge, located behind the old Domtar plant.


NIAGARA FALLS TO WELLAND AREA

     CN and CP both operate within Niagara Falls via their own trackages, but until December 2001, CP used to pass through the tourist section of the city, which was Clifton Hill. Mainline CP trains passed several times daily through an area called Clifton Hill where the bulk of tourist activity was located.
     For over 150 years trains passed through Clifton Hill, prior to and including the CP days.
     In 1999 word was put out by the mayor that the City of Niagara Falls wanted to build a second casino to possibly replace altogether the existing one. There was a conflict of location, because the proposed new casino (though one already existed at the old Maple Leaf Village building) would be build on the property of CP's Hamilton Subdivision north of the Jct. to the Chippawa Spur.
     Negotiations were made with CP which as I read would be about $41 million to buy the right of way and other CP properties in the city.
     Selling off CP property to the City of Niagara Falls would result in a stop to all trains across the border on CP via Clifton Hill. This would also result in the abandonment of the interchange trackage of the CP Niagara Industrial Lead with CN near Bridge and Victoria Avenue at the north end of the City.
     When CP ended operations over the Niagara River into Niagara Falls, NY, CP was already negotiating deals with CN and CSX to cross over at Fort Erie via CN's Stamford Subdivision from CN Robbins eastward.
     Before the termination of operating over the bridge at Niagara Falls, CP used to have some trains terminating at Niagara yard in Niagara Falls, NY, and others would take the CSX Niagara Branch to Buffalo to access points beyond and to get to CP's SK yard.
     In October 2001 CP was given control of the CN/Trillium Cayuga Subdivision trackage from mile 19.1 to Brookfield East which entirely paralleled the CP Hamilton Subdivision out as far as Brookfield. CP built a cross-over track from the CP Hamilton Subdivision to the CN Cayuga Subdivision at mile 19.1 and began replacing ties. A month or so later CP built another cross-over at mile 13.5 of the CP Hamilton Subdivision to connect to the CN Cayuga Subdivision.
     At this point, after both crossovers were installed, CP relocated SNS Brookfield to the area of the Townline Tunnel and named the switch at mile 13.5 south siding switch Brookfield and the switch at mile 18.2 north siding switch Brookfield.
     The trackage of the CN Cayuga Subdivision between the cross-overs became Brookfield Siding.
     The CN Cayuga Subdivision from mile 13.5ish to Brookfield East became the relocated CP Hamilton Subdivision. The NEW CP Hamilton Subdivision was back mileaged to Brookfield East which became mile 12.2.
     The former trackage of the CP Hamilton Subdivision from mile 13.5 to Niagara Falls at mile 2.83 became the CP Montrose Subdivision. The bumper on the CP Montrose Subdivision was put in because of the building of the new casino.
     In mid December 2001 as mentioned earlier, CP ended operations of mainline trains into Niagara Falls and re-routed them from mile 13.5 onto the former CN Cayuga Subdivision down to Robbins on the CN Stamford Subdivision and over to Buffalo via the International Bridge at Fort Erie. CP Trains bound for Canada would take the International bridge into Canada and west on the CN Stamford Subdivision to Robbins where they would take the old CN Cayuga Subdivision onto the CP Hamilton Subdivision and beyond to their destination.
     The CP Montrose Subdivision became very light used after December 2001. The line was now only used for industry switching. CP Welland yard Job 1 uses the line to service a few industries in Chippawa and at old Montrose yard.
     CP still needed an interchange location to interchange with CN. CN gave CP rights to access Southern yard on the CN Stamford Subdivision next to Hwy 140 east of Welland.
     After CP took over the CN Cayuga Subdivision, CN began operating on the CP Hamilton Subdivision to south siding switch Brookfield to get to Feeder yard on Trillium's Feeder Spur, which is trackage of the old CN Cayuga Subdivision. CN has at times taken the CP Hamilton Subdivision all the way to north siding switch Brookfield and backed onto CP Brookfield siding to get to Trillium.
     CN wasn't affected to much due to CP relocating out of the north end of Niagara Falls other than the interchange. In December 2001 CN began to leave interchange cars for CP at Southern yard. CN continued to interchange cars with Trillium as usual. CP's interchange cars for Trillium has to still go through CN via Southern yard.