RAILWAYS IN NIAGARA

AMTRAK

      Many years ago, Amtrak had regular stops at St. Thomas, Ontario, between the U.S./Canadian border and Toronto, including Windsor, ON. Back in the mid 1970's Amtrak also had a passenger train called the "Niagara Rainbow", which passed through Canada from Windsor South to Niagara Falls.
     At the south end of Welland, Amtrak used the center track for passenger trains through the Townline Tunnel to CN/CP Brookfield. The Niagara Rainbow lasted four years and two months. The last day of service of this train was on January 31, 1979.
     These days The Maple Leaf's Amtrak train takes the CN Grimsby Subdivision via the CN Oakville Subdivision from Toronto Union Station as train 97, down through Bayview Jct. and Hamilton and onto Grimsby, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls and over to the U.S.A. to Penn station in New York City. There is a return train beginning at Penn Station in New York City that takes the same route as 98 in Canada. Amtrak 63 in the U.S become Amtak (VIA) 98 in Canada and Amtrak (VIA) 97 become Amtrak 64 in the U.S. For several years after the F units disaeeared, Amtrak's Maple Leaf used F40PH units. In late 2001 they changed over to GE locomotives.
     Amtrak used to have two trains called the INTERNATIONAL that ran between Toronto Union Station and I believe Chicago, IL. I was not familar the operation of this train, though I had seen it a handful of times while railfanning out along it's route in Canada. These trains ran out of Toronto Union Station via the CN York Subdivision then onto the CN Halton Subdivision, then the GEXR Guelph Subdivision at Georgetown then through Stratford, St. Mary's and to London to change over to the CN Dundas Subdivision to the CN Strathroy Subdivision through Sarnia and over the U.S. border. Like the Maple Leaf, there was a return train from the U.S.A. to Toronto Union Station. I am not familiar with what the train numbers were for the International. Possible train 85 in one direction.
     Until March of 2004 when the International ended service into Canada, GE P serives locomotives were used.


CN

     CN has in the region several yards. They have one at the north end of Niagara Falls below the Victoria Avenue overpass, one at Port Robinson north of Canby Street, one at Ridge Road east of Welland called Southern yard, and one other one at Fort Erie. Most activity is split between the Niagara Falls, Port Robinson and Fort Erie yards. Southern yard is used these days to interchange with CP, ever since the CP Niagara Industrial Lead was abandoned at the end of November 2001. Niagara Falls is the largest of the yards, then comes Port Robinson, then Fort Erie, and lastly Southern yard. An office for the car department and another office was put up for traffic control through the yard. Port Robinson, to this day is an eight or nine track yard.
     The Port Robinson rail yard was laid in the early 1970's as a direct result of the new Welland Canal bypass cutting off direct rail traffic to Welland's downtown core. I guess CN distribution of cars needed a yard. Trains regularly drop off and pick up cars as they pass through Port Robinson.
     There is a main and service track passing the yard at Port Robinson, with a yard lead track.
      Port Robinson once had two offices at Canby Street plus a yardmasters building at the wye at Port Robinson West. The main office at Canby Street was a clerks office for the yard to put trains together for customs at Fort Erie. This office has been removed because the office closed around April 6, 1996. The other office at Canby Street was once for the car department at CN Port Robinson yard. It is now the home for the signal department since their old building was torn down at mile 14.2 on the former CN Cayuga Subdivision. The old yardmaster's office once located at Port Robinson West on the south leg of the wye was abandoned for years. It was a yellow concrete block building. It was torn down in October 1993 or October 1994.
     Before the Welland Canal Relocation Project was underway, the CN Stamford Subdivision did not run directly south of Port Robinson (At the time, the CN Stamford Subdivision was known as the CN Welland Subdivision, because just south of Canby Street on the bend, the track went southwest to Welland, connecting in right at the present Hwy 406 crossing at the north end of Welland where the TR Canal Spur bends at the golf course.
     Since the completion of the Welland Canal Relocation Project, the line just mentioned, was terminated because the location of the NEW Welland Canal. The line south of Port Robinson now heads south along the east side of the Canal to CN Yager, the heads east where it goes across the Fort Erie Suspension Bridge. to CN Black Rock.
     At mile 17 is a half mile long yard beside CN Netherby. To get to this yard, follow Hwy 140 or Doan's Ridge Road to Ridge Road and go down to the tracks and look south. There are 4 or 5 yard tracks here. These days this yard, is used to interchange with CP as mentioned on this page.
     Before 1971, the CN Stamford Subdivision was once the CN Cayuga Subdivision from CN Yager East, eastward to the International bridge at Fort Erie.
     The yard in Fort Erie is used a lot for transfers between trains mostly U.S. bound. The yard is not mention in the CN timetables, but there is one here. There are five or so yard tracks. It is part of the old CN yard that used to be located at Fort Erie in the hay days - years ago.
     CN used to also have a few tracks north of Main Street in Welland on the CN Canal Subdivision, later Spur and now Trillium's Canal Spur. This yard was built in 1940 and removed in 1997. There was another yard on the south side of interchange yard for the New York Central and Penn Central. It is 4 tracks running between Ontario Street and Tunnelbridge. Trillium has begun to use it for their transfers between St. Catharines and Port Colborne.
     CN also had Feeder yard on the CN Cayuga Subdivision. I think it's purpose was for CN/NS transfers, but I am not quite sure. In the early 1990's while Norfolk Southern still ran between Buffalo and St. Thomas, I remember an evening westbound train stopping to drop off Intermodal traffic. This trackage for a few years in the mid 1990's was dead, until Trillium acquired the CN Cayuga Subdivision in 1999 from CN.
     Regarding the line that used to connect Welland to Port Robinson; a new line was constructed from the CN Thorold Subdivision on the west side of Allanburg to Welland (CN Canal Subdivision), along the west side of the Welland Canal, crossing two short bridges around mile 11 and 13 of the TR Canal Spur (Trillium's name now). Since this new line was introduced, traffic had slowed down to a train every 8 hours until the mid 1980's when the line was primarily used as a link to Atlas Steel, located on East Main Street in Welland.
     The CN Canal Subdivision in early years was renamed as CN Canal Spur in 1996, but for a few years, the line was closed north of mile 9 all the way up to old Thorold Jct. at mile 14 where the line merged onto the CN Thorold Subdivision beside the St. Lawrence Seaway's bridge 10. Bridge 10 was removed during the new year of 1997. These days, on the west side of the Canal, you wouldn't realize tracks were there. This would be right where the Thorold Jct. sign once was located.
     The CN Caso Subdivision, jointly owned with CP up until 2001 was rusting away. The CN Caso Subdivision was then beginning to be dismantled from the area of Diltz Road westward to St. Thomas. Diltz Road is the first grade crossing west of the E&O diamond. CP bought their share of the old line from the E&O diamond at mile 30.5 to Hewitt Road at mile 19.5 because they closed the CP Dunnville Spur due to the costs of maintaining a few old bridges north of the E&O diamond on the CP Dunnville Spur.
     CSX had two trains up until March of 1996 on the CN Caso Subdivision. In 1996, the CN Caso Subdivision began to rust and the weeds began to strive among 100 miles of trackage to St. Thomas. In 2002 the CN Caso Subdivision began to be torn up between the E&O diamond and St. Thomas. In 2006 this line was furth torn up between the west end of St. Thomas and CN Fargo. In 2006 CN took over the CSX Sarnia Subdivision from Chatham southwards, plus the remnants of the CSX Blenheim Subdivision in Blenheim due to CSX abandoning the CSX Sarnia Subdivision between Wallaceburg and Chatham.
     In 1996 the CN Cayuga Subdivision was torn up between Deekes Road west of CN Feeder West, and just east of Fertilizer Road in Delhi.


CANADA SOUTHERN

     The CSR, better known as the Canada Southern, was a dream of Isaac Buchanan back in the mid 1800's. His dream was to build a railroad through southern Ontario. After so many financial problems, he finally got the help.
     The Canada Southern became of what recently was known as the CN/CP Caso Subdivision. Though the Canada Southern Rwy built what became of the CN/CP Caso Subdivision, the Michigan Cemtral was the first to lease the Canada Southern in the 1880's, the line was later taken over my the New York Central and later the Penn Central and then Conrail in 1976. In 1985 the old line was taken over by join ownership by CN and CP. In 2002 the line as mentioned above in the CN section, was removed btween the E&O diamond and roughly Fairview Ave. in St. Thomas. In 2006 the line was also removed between the west end of St. Thomas and Fargo, where the CSX Sarnia Subdivision (later CN since 2006) crossed.


CANADIAN PACIFIC

     CP's history isn't as old in this region. CP has only been here in this region of Ontario since 1983. Previous to CP, there was a railway servicing this area between Toronto and Buffalo known as the TH&B, (Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo).
     The Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo ended service when CP purchased TH&B's shares from Canada Southern in 1983.
     CP in the Niagara Region basically has one major and three minor Subdivisions. The heavily traveled Subdivision is the CP Hamilton Subdivision. The other Subdivisions are the CP Dunnville Subdivision, the CP Fort Erie Subdivision and the CP Welland Tubes Lead (Part of the old Caso trackage, but not the Caso Subdivision.) The CP Hamilton Subdivision used to run from Hamilton Junction in Hamilton to Station Name Sign Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, NY. The CP Hamilton Subdivision now runs from Hamilton (still), but now goes over the old CN Cayuga Subdivision trackage from Brookfield to Brookfield East where it becomes CN's Robbins Connection tracks to the CN Stamford Subdivision. The CP Dunnville Spur once ran from a 'wye' off of the CP Hamilton Subdivision at Smithville and headed south to Port Maitland, Ontario. The CP Dunnville Subdivision once crossed the CN/CP Caso Subdivision and the CN Cayuga Subdivision at Canfield Junction. The CN Cayuga Subdivision was pulled up west of CN Feeder West in early December of 1996. The CP Dunnville Spur now only open exists from the E&O diamond area where the CP Caso Spur Jct's with the CP Dunnville Spur and heads to Port Maitland. The yard in Port Maitland is also a moderate sized yard. I believe it would hold about 200-300 cars; about half the size of CP Welland yard in Wainfleet. The cars used in Port Maintland are tankers or hoppers.
     The CP Fort Erie Subdivision, now the CP Stevensville Spur, once ran to Fort Erie and connected to CN at the International bridge, but now runs from mile 13.4 on the CP Montrose Subdivision (former CP Hamilton Subdivision) to miile 6.57. CN took over ownership of the line at Fort Erie for their own use as track 99. The CP Stevensville Spur is also very rusted due to the fact there is only one train from time to time supplying service to Stevensville to the printing factory and now a windmill factory, both located between Stevensville Road and Winger Road.
     CP used to have a line to the Welland Tubes (Welland Pipe), and Shaw Pipe Protection. The CP lead used to run across the CN Stamford Subdivision at CN Netherby-Diamond and travel across Hwy 140 and Rusholme Road. This line was once the mainline for the Michigan Central, New York Central and Penn Central until the WCRP between 1967 and 1971. In September 2002, the CP Tube Lead was taken out of service when the track was removed across Netherby Road near Brookfield. CP up until Welland Pipe and Shaw Pipe closed in 2003, used CN's Welland Tube Lead out of CN Southern yard with running rights on CN's Stamford Subdivision. In May 2002 prior to the closure of the Tubes Lead, the diamond across the CN Stamford Subdivision was removed.
     CP has only one yard in the immediate area these days. It is CP Welland yard. They abandoned CP Montrose yard in the early 1990's. CP Welland yard, located in Wainfleet off of O'Reilly's road, is a somewhat busy yard, when it comes to switching, but CP main line trains are sporatic during the day. There isn't that much of a pattern but some of the handful of trains that run usually run around their regular time, but can become off their regular schedual. There isn't the traffic like there used to be years ago, but there are still regular crews here that switch the yard as a 'local' train or through train stops by the yard. If a through train does plan to drop any cars off southbound, they would be required to take the north siding switch into the siding at Hewitt Road, and then pass the south yard switch until the last car is through the switch. After, the engines and dropped off cars would be backed into a designated yard track. The train would disconnect and pull out to the remaining cars on the through train, get a new clearance from RTC (CP) Hamilton Subdivision so it would be possible to continue on to the U. S., through CN's trackage at Fort Erie. CP northbound trains into CP Welland yard take the siding from south siding switch Welland.      The yard in Niagara Falls (Montrose yard), was once very busy, because the Welland yard was designated as only and OCS yard for M.O.W. equipment. The yard used to at one time have 18 tracks but 3 were removed to have access between the trackage.
     In regards to the location of CP Welland yard, this yard was constructed back in 1973 by the Penn Central Railroad in co-operation with the TH&B. The TH&B 'merged' their 'operations in the office by having running rights on Penn tracks. The reason for the merger was a result of the relocation that the tracks presently take. TH&B and Penn Central shared what is now CP Welland yards office. They had different desks i am told for their own paperwork and control.
     At Church Street in Fenwick, Ontario, the tracks take a sharp southerly direction across Sumbler, Webber, Riverside Drive, River, and Foss Roads, where it would then crossed the Welland River and run into the north siding switch at Welland. The line from Church St. in Fenwick to Coyle yard along Riverside Drive in Welland was abandoned 6 months early due to a chemical spill onm the old line near Fenwick.
      Back to the yard now...
     Once a quiet yard, due to switching operations being done out of CP Montrose yard, (mentioned above). There once was a steady flow of CP, Conrail and CSX trains on the CN Caso and CP Hamilton Subdivisions.
     All that runs now through CP here are their own trains, consisting of their own units and from yime to time there are leased units that seem to float around on the CP system in easdtern Canada.
     CP Montrose yard was once located near the south west corner of Niagara Falls, Ontario, at mile 5 of the CP Hamilton Subdivision. This yard was only half the size of CP Welland yard. Up until October/November of 1995, this yard was the in the heart of CP's operations. All switching was done here.
     By late 1995, CP shut down switching operations at the Niagara Falls CP Montrose yard and reduced operations almost completely at their Hamilton Aberdeen yard. Soon after CP Montrose Subdivision was torn up except the siding and a track for M.O.W. vehicles to park. CP has combined these two yards' switching services and now reopened the CP Welland yard on Riverside Drive in Wainfleet. CP Welland yard is located at mile 20.4 of the CP Hamilton Subdivision.
     In December 2001, CP ended traffic through Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls, for the purpose of the building of the site of the new Casino. CP now enters the U.S. via CN's Stamford Subdivision at CN Robbins on the former CN Cayuga Subdivision at Brookfield East.


CONRAIL

     On April 1st, 1976, Conrail took control of Penn Central resulting in the continuation of the lease that the Penn Central had from Canada Southern. Conrail ran its' freight trains on the same route as the Penn Central, until 1979 when Conrail stopped its' through freight trains in the earlier years on the familiarly known CN Caso Subdivision.
     Conrail wanted to get rid of it's Canadian trackage. It wasn't until 1986 when Canadian National and Canadian Pacific jointly purchased the line from Detroit to Hewitt Road in Wainfleet from Conrail. The line west of Fargo was owned exclusively by CN, and east of Hewitt Road...This is the confusing part to explain! The south track on the west side of the Hewitt Road crossing is connect as of 1995 - to the north track on the east side of the crossing, leaving the north track on the west side and the south track on the east side abandoned. The south track on the east side is/has been(ing) removed as of February of 1997. Conrail to mention, used to service Stelpipe at the corner of Dain Avenue and Ontario Road. The CN Welland yard (Dain City switcher) used to service/switch this yard. No shipments have been made from November 1, 1996 to the time of writing this up in March of 1997, due to a strike at the plant.


CSX

     Until Spring of 1996, CSX had two of trains running through Niagara on the CP Hamilton Subdivision to CP Welland where they took the CN/CP Caso Subdivision west from Hewitt to St. Thomas and on They ran two trains Monday's, Wed. and Friday's.
     Train 321 went westbound and 320 went eastbound. CSX trains ran through Niagara as far back as early as 1982.
     I remember watching these trains pass by CP Welland yard off and on through Caso Trackage.


ERIE AND ONTARIO/ERIE AND NIAGARA

I found this article and also found it very enjoyable. I am passing it on to you.
I DO NOT TAKE CREDIT FOR THIS WRITING.

     The building of the first Welland Canal brought with it much promise for growth and prosperity for many people in its day. William Hamilton Merritt's great dream was being realized. Ships could now carry goods from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. It was no longer necessary to use the historic overland portage to carry them from one waterway to the many businesses and communities, however the Welland Canal was far less rewarding. They had come to depend on the portage traffic for revenue and social support. Many fierce debates had taken place between opposing sides in the Canal issue but the Canal did come.
     The first ground was broken on November 30, 1824. The first ships passed through it on November 27, 1829, in an effort to regain business lost due to the Canal, the communities at either end of the overland portage encouraged the construction of a new mode of transportation.
     The decision to build a railway line was made in 1831, but actual construction did not start until 1939. Records indicate William Hamilton Merritt was opposed to the railway and felt it might be a threat to his canal. It was this heated opposition that caused the long delay in building of the line. The line was completed in 1841.
     The Erie and Ontario Railroad was built across Stamford Township connecting Chippawa with Queenston. It was the first railway to be built in the province of Upper Canada. The coaches were horse-drawn over metal strips laid on wooded rails and the line was limited to summer use only. It did however cause some concern with the Welland Canal people.
     Railways were becoming more popular as a national concern. The invention of a steam engine would establish it as a viable and important means of moving goods and people across land. Steam railways became an established part of the scene in the early 1850's and the horse-drawn Erie and Ontario Railroad system changed. New tracks were built closer to the new community of Clifton (Niagara Falls, after 1881). Steel replace the wooden rails. Steam became the power that moved the train.
     With the power of steam, other railway companies were established. Rail service was inaugurated between Hamilton and Niagara Falls in 1853 by the Great Western Company. It's first run proved disastrous for the company. The trip was not completed. The engine broke down six miles from Niagara Falls and the passengers had to complete the journey by road. One of the chief promoters and builders of this Hamilton - Niagara stretch of railway track was Samuel Zimmerman, who is regarded as the founder and chief benefactor of the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario.
     At this time it was decided to extend the line north from Queenston through Niagara Township on the east side of Concession 2. The line passed through the town on King Street and looped down to the docks on the Niagara River. It rejoined the track after crossing the military reserve. The new Erie and Ontario line was officially opened on July 3, 1854. It could not complete economically with its rival Welland Canal.
     In 1862, construction began on another expansion. The line was extended south from Willoughby and Bertie Townships to Fort Erie. It was completed in July of 1864 with a vast and festive celebration. The new line extended from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake and was officially renamed the Erie and Niagara Railroad.
     This was the era of the old diamond-stack wood burning engines. The train would stop frequently to take on wood and water along the line. Farmers along the railway's right of way, were contracted to pile the wood in cords along side the track. They were paid in tokens which could be redeemed for cash. As the years passed the engines would change. Coal would replace the cordwood as a fuel in 1859.
     It was a time of progress. It was a time of unrest. There were political and military skirmishes. The Fenians posed a threat of invasion from the United States. Canada was the chosen target. They were protesting British activities because, if they succeeded, they felt it would be a serious loss to Britain. An old rival, the Welland Canal, would come under Fenian attack.
     In 1866, the Erie and Niagara was called into military service during the Fenian raids. The men of the Queen's Own Rifles had crossed Lake Ontario by steamer. It transported them from the Niagara Dock to Fort Erie to engage the invaders.
     In 1868, through the efforts of a Colonel W. A. Thompson of Queenston, the Erie and Niagara obtained a charter for the extension of its' rail system from Fort Erie to Windsor. Construction would begin in 1870.
     In 1869, the Erie and Niagara was taken over by the Canada Southern which would operate it under financial difficulties until late 1882. At this time it was formally lease for a 20 year period to the Vanderbilt owned Michigan Central. When the lease was due to expire, it was again renewed for 999 years.
     Another step in the march of progress for the railway industry was marked in 1873, when the new International Railway Bridge opened across the Niagara River between Bridgeburg (Fort Erie) and Buffalo. The Erie and Ontario could now travel to the United States.
     Transportation by rail in Canada was now facing its' hayday. As an industry it was given its' real start in 1879, by a National Policy adopted by the government of John A. McDonald. The industry would grow to the point where there would be close to 50 Canadian railway companies.
     In the early 1880's, this was the only line into the new military camp in Niagara. It was also a period of a new line of excursion steamers and operations between Niagara and Toronto. Passengers and freight were carried as many as 66 times a day to and from Niagara. There were long trains of horses, guns, military equipment and soldiers. Military tattoos and other festivals brought thousands of civilians into the area. Others came to Niagara for the Chautauqua movement, which was then in full swing. Extra cars were added to meet the demand. The railway line was active and prosperous.


MICHIGAN CENTRAL/NEW YORK CENTRAL/PENN CENTRAL

     The Michigan Central Railroad was one the first larger railroad companies in the area as it also was the first to lease what is now the CN Caso Subdivision from the Canada Southern around the turn of the 20th Century. Canada Southern, originally built and owned the tracks that the Michigan Central and New York Central used. In the early 1900's, the Michigan Central Railroad began and continued to operate on the CN Caso Subdivision, through the west end of Welland, across Broadway avenue, the Alexandria swivel bridge through Welland Diamond. At Southworth Street in Welland (at Ontario Road) one track headed North east to Montrose yard and the other went south east past Welland Pipe/Shaw Pipe and onto Fort Erie. If you are up at the corner of East Main Street and Hwy 140 east of Welland, there is a hydro line. This is the old rail line to Niagara Falls. The southeast line is presently known as the former CP Welland Tube Lead and former CN Welland Tube Spur. This south line still exists as it cuts across the Townline Road (New Netherby Road) east of Miller Road and went past the CN Brookfield offices which were used for the Signal Department of CN. The building has since been torn down in the late 1990's.
     During the late 1950's or early 1960's, the New York Central Railroad took over operations of Michigan Central Railroad. The New York Central ran until 1967, when the NYCR merged with Pennsylvania Railroad. The new name THEN became the Penn Central.
     The Penn Central continued shipment operations to both Niagara Falls and Fort Erie until 1976, when Conrail took over.


NIAGARA, WELLAND AND LAKE ERIE

     In 1912, C. J. Laughlin of Page Hersey Tubes Ltd, created the first streetcar line in Welland. In March of that year, 1.74 miles of track was put to use with a total of 3 streetcars. The route that the new line went through Welland went from the old Michigan Central Line on King Street (now known as the old CN Caso Subdivision), down King Street to Main Street East and hung a right ending up at the old Welland station across the street from Atlas Steel. To be more exact, the location was where the future CN/NW office would sit.
     At the time, fares were 5 cents or 6 for a quarter. Operations on the trolleys was ever 15 minutes along the route.
     When the railway began service, town council of Welland gave the railway a standard 20 year franchise beginning on July 4, 1910. A Dominion charter was obtained in 1911. Construction of the line began on October 4, 1911 when the mayor at the time; George W. drove in the first spike.
     Future plans had been made for the line once built, to become part of the inter-urban network linking Niagara Falls, Welland, Port Colborne, Fort Erie and Port Weller. These plans never did come true.
     An extension was built between 1912 and 1913 up Main Street West to where Prince Charles Drive now sits. There was once an NS&T station there. A line was also built at this time, up Niagara Street. Operations on these lines were not put into use because of weight restriction on the Alexandra swing bridge over the Welland Canal. In 1922, two lighter trolleys were put into service on the new lines. Unfortunately these lines did not attract many people because of the length of them. It was just as easy to walk the distance.
     In 1913 the streets where the track ran, were paved with bricks.
     Several years later, the city paved over the bricks and ties with asphalt because the lines had been abandoned for so long. Mr. Sutherland's other purpose for creating the line down King Street was to transport their workers to the Page Hersey plant at the end of King Street.
     An article I once read mentioned that the peak year for the NW & LE was 1917, when 693,843 passengers used the system and a net income of $16,262 was earned. Over the years, until 1929, people's income declined and there was the introduction of the automobile, the decision was then made to expire the franchise. Now that trolley service had ended, F. I. Wherry of St. Catharines began a bus service. In the meantime, the tracks were pulled up. Unfortunately I read this part also in the same article as I got these facts, and I disagree on this point, because when I was younger, I remember seeing a rail line down the center of West Main Street in the early 1970's!


NIAGARA, ST. CATHARINES & TORONTO

     One of the Niagara Region's best known treasures is the Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto. The NS&T, as it was best known as, began in 1874 as the St. Catharines Local Horse Car Line, with 'ferry' service along side CN's ferry service between Port Dalhousie and Toronto. The horse car line ran between Port Dalhousie and St. Catharines at the time.
     During the next 20 years, horses were eliminated and the cars were changed over to be electrically powered by overhead power lines. At the time the St. Catharines Local Horse Car Line/NS&T was one of North America's first electrically powered trolley systems.
     In 1899, the NS&T was incorporated.
     In 1902, a 12 acre amusement park was opened on the lake side in Port Dalhousie. After several years, service was extended to Thorold, Port Colborne and Niagara Falls, Ontario. Trolleys were running about 18 round trips per day. In 1929,when the great depression struck, many trolley cars were put into storage. From that time, the NS&T, in my opinion, was struggling.
     When the two wars (I + II) were over, the accessibility of cars and busses ruined business for the NS&T. The NS&T struggle for the next 15 years. CN for some reason lost the use of their passenger ship that transported people from Port Dalhousie to Toronto. At that time CN began service to St. Catharines, along side NS&T.
     The NS&T continually struggled until it decided to shut down service to Port Dalhousie on March 1, 1950. The NS&T continued service to the other cities as mentioned above, concentrating on the line between Thorold and Port Colborne. The reason was there was no other easier way to get to Port Colborne and back. In March of 1959, the NS&T went out of service. CN then took over the NS&T lines strictly for freight shipments. Not long after, CN stopped service on NS&T's old lines.
     One of the final stretches of NS&T line was pulled between Hwy 20 in Fonthill (Pelham) and Thorold in the early months of 1995.
     All that remains from NS&T years are the rail paths that the tracks once layed upon. In March of 1997, I discovered a lost section of part of the NS&T line that ran across the Diamond west of Dain City. This Diamond was the NS&T and the OLD CN Cayuga Subdivision. Once the line was sent through the Townline Tunnel, the old part that ran into Dain City was renamed to the CN Canal Subdivision. The North track from Dain City was also renamed to the CN Canal Subdivision from the old name of CN Welland Subdivision. A little comment worth mentioning... From Hwy 140 overpass of the CN Humberstone Subdivision, you can see the path through the trees heading to the Welland Canal.
     Within the 1540 square km area of the Niagara Region there is a variety of interesting railway sites that many people overlook. There are historical railway stations, abandoned yards, various train bridges and many abandoned rail lines. With many abandoned rail lines, there are probably thousands of railroad relics buried in the ditches along the tracks. In some cases, though, all that remains are the railway beds where the tracks used to reside.
     Around 1970, there was a major restructuring of the railway system in this area. With the construction of the new Welland Canal around the eastern edge of Welland, many tracks crossing that area became dead-ends. These tracks have sat dormant for approximately 35 years.


NORFOLK SOUTHERN

     Norfolk Southern (Western) Railroad ran trains through southern Ontario and Niagara for over 100 years using the CN Cayuga, CN Canal, CN Stamford and CN Grimsby Subdivisions from St. Thomas to CN Black Rock.
     When Norfolk Southern was originally in the area, Norfolk Southern shared business operations with Canadian National. The service was a piggyback service in Welland at East Main Street. The service was originally located diagonally across the tracks from Atlas Steels. To be precise, the building sat at the east end of Division Street. Around 1976, this location was abandoned and it was located where Welland Junction was once located - Mile 3 of the present TR Canal Spur. Shortly after the move, the old building at East Main Street burned down. Makes you kind of wonder if it might have been arson...
     Up until October 2, 1998, CN/NS ran a very steady business. Tallman Transports of Niagara Street in Welland did a lot of transporting for the intermodela facility. Both to and from the yard... As it was at the time the only one in Southern Ontario, other than BIT in Brampton. From the rail operations... its' move in the late 1970's until 1994, Norfolk Southern trains once stopped at CN Feeder East, to drop off and pick up double stack cars at the yard at CN Feeder East. CN Feeder East was once the interchange point for CN and Norfolk Southern. The cars consisted of several double stacks and piggybacks.
     NS used to run trains 344 and 343 from Detroit straight through to St. Thomas. These trains used to use CN Caso Subdivision and proceeds to CSX up to Chatham and go onto a portion of the CN Chatham Subdivision and then onto the CN Paynes Subdivision and arrive at St. Thomas. NS 145 & 146 I am un sure of the route. 327 and 328 used to run the CN Stamford Subdivision and previously the CN Cayuga Subdivision between Buffalo and St. Thomas.
     Since the CN Cayuga Subdivision had been removed about one mile west of CN Feeder West, trains 327 and 328 were routed up the CN Stamford Subdivision to the CN Grimsby Subdivision over the cowpath of the CN Oakville Subdivision and onto the CN Dundas Subdivision to London and down the CN Talbot Subdivion into St. Thomas. This activity ended at the end of December 2006, when NS ended operations in St. Thomas.
     Regarding the NS train to Dain City, there was a designated train that left the Dain City yard at around 7pm - Monday to Friday, bound for Buffalo and back to Dain City. This was NS 445. This operation ended in early October 1998.
     Once the NS Dain City train ended activities, this train began to operate as an NS interchange train fron Buffalo to CN Robbins on the Cn Stamford Subdivision for a while but the train later was extended all the way to CN Niagara Falls yard in Niagara Falls. Over the years, this train became NS 369, and in the early to mid 2000's NS was cut back to CN Fort Erie yard to interchange these cars with CN. At the end of November 2006, NS's only remaining Canadian bound train was axed, but at the last minuit the train was give a 60 day extention but this train could possibly be given another extention on life.
     Something that was odd was a peculiar sign that was once located on Forks Road West at Farr's Road. The sign read "CN Feeder West". Now, if you think about it, not to many people are really interested in the knowledge of a location on CN property! *-) I found that sign worth grinning at.
     NS gave up the operations of NS 327 and 328 through Southern Ontario at the end of December 2008, I believe. Traffic was moved to CN 422 and possibly counterpart 421. I believe NS 369 still crosses over to do interchanges with CN.


TRILLIUM (PORT COLBORNE HARBOUR)

     Trillium is Niagara Region's latest railroad in the area. It's the first since CP came into Niagara. Trillium was first known as Port Colborne Harbour back in 1997 when operations began on the trackage within the west side of Port Colborne.
     The Port Colborne Harbour exclusively operated on the CN Port Colborne Spur and the west side of the CN Macey Spur in downtown Port Colborne and the CN Government Spur which ran off of the CN Macey Spur to the Harbour on Lake Erie in Port Colborne..
     The PCHR interchanged with CN at WH yard, which is behind the GIANT 91.7 FM broadcasting buildin on Forkes Road in Dain City.
     The Port Colborne Harbour continued to interchange with 569, then with 564 at WH yard until September 1999, when the PCHR took over operations on the CN Cayuga Subdivision, CN Canal Spur to Merritton and the old NS&T trackage in St. Catharines and Thorold.
     These days CN interchanges with the rillium at TR Feeder yard on the TR Feeder Spur, via running rights on CP's CP Hamilton Subdivision and TR's Feeder Spur, which is now the trackage of the former CN Cayuga Subdivision from mile 19.1 westward. CN must use the CP Hamilton Subdivision trackage to north siding switch Brookfield to back onto CP Brookfield Siding and onto the TR Feeder Spur. I don't say Brookfield for mile 14.2 because Brookfield has been relocated to mile 16.1 of the CP Hamilton Subdivision.
     The PCHR originally used former NY&LE 6101 along with a former S1 or S3 numbered as 308 in September 1997. 6101 was used in its' NY&LE paint scheme, but the name was covered over to read "Port Colborne Harbour".
NYLE returned to the U.S. at Gowanda, NY.
     In September 1999, Trillium acquired ex CN units 3575 from their St. Thomas & Eastern portion of Trillium. At this point the company operated as Trillium. 3568 stayed on their StT&E portion, while 3575 was used to move cars between Port Colborne and St. Catharines' Merritton yard on the CN Grimsby Subdivision.
     In September of 1999, Trillium took over Operations on the CN Cayuga Subdivision, CN Canal Spur, the west side of the CN Thorold Spur, CN West Welland Spur, and the once NS&T industry trackage in Thorold and St. Catharines.
     In late 1999, CN 3575 which had been located with Trillium's St. Thomas & Eastern line was relocated for use hauling cars between Port Colborne and St. Catharines. This locomotive was relocated out to British Columbia in May or so of 2000.
     In late December 1999, Trillium took possession of CN units 108, 110, 117 and 168.
     In 1999, 308 was off and on used at TR Merritton yard and the grain elevators at Port Colborne.
     108 and 110 were used on a regular basis to haul cars back and forth from St. Catharines and Port Colborne transfers.
     Eventually 108 was situated out of Merritton yard and 110 out of Port Colborne. 117 was never put into service.
In October 2004 Trillium purchase 2 former CP Alco's from a mine in northen Ontario.
     Trillium's number of cars being taken to St. Catharines and Thorold has shrunk dramically during the mid 2000's.
     Trillium's Townline Spur was taken out of service in March of 2007 due to a bridge on the line being set a fire by arsonists.
     In 2010, former CP 1859, that came from OCRR and NBEC through the CN take-over of the 2 railways, was first transferred to Trillium's operations in Tilsonburg, along with another 1800 sister unit, and was later as said in 2010 relocated to the Niagara operations of the railway. This left 108, 110, 7024 and tthe former Stelco unit as their operational locomotives. 168 was history, though still on the property.
     I had heard that the caboose they had earlier recevied from CP developed some issues and the frame or something was cracked. It is not in services and I believe it was used for the Townline Spur when making reverse moves down the hill.


TORONTO, HAMILTON & BUFFALO

     I would like to thank Tony DeSantis for writing up the history on the TH&B.

     On July 9, 1895 a group of investors purchased the existing shares of the Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo Rwy and its predecessor Brantford, Waterloo and Lake Erie in the Following Proportion : New York Central 37%, Michigan Central 18%, Canada Southern Rwy 18% and Canadian Pacific Rwy. 27 % Effective NYC ownership = 73%. TH&B would always be a NYC connection to Buffalo.
     Construction of the TH&B Welland Subdivision was completed in Jan 1896 with finishing of Coyle yard at Welland. Cost of entire railway from Welland to Brantford [BWLE line to Waterford completed in 1885] = 3.2 million. Apr 9 1896 TH&B granted trackage rights over CNR to Toronto {99 year lease due to expire and plans to build Toronto line scrapped.
     The CP Hamilton Sub was constructed 1.48 miles from Main St. to Hamilton Jct. First Toronto to Buffalo Through trains March 30, 1897. Initial service 6 "Buffalo's" and 12 TH&B local trains through Welland. As per railway Charter all equipment to be provided by the 3 parent owners.
     In 1911 the first "Absolute Permissive Block "signal controlled "meet" in the world occurred at Grassies Ont.{Then TH&B president J.N. Beckley was also pres of U.S. General Railway Signal Co.}
     During 1916 the TH&B Dunnville Sub was constructed southward from Smithville to Dunnville and Port Maitland Ont. In Oct 1916 car ferry service started from Pt. Maitland to Ashtabula Ohio using TH&B ship S.S. Maitland # 1 [ 32 car capacity 4 tracks 338 feet long 56 ft. wide built Great Lakes Engineering Detroit Michigan.
     On June 13, 1927 trackage rights granted over CNR from Welland to Pt. Colborne.
     On June 28, 1932 car ferry service suspended forever. Opening of new Welland canal made service obsolete.
     In 1935, a branch line built from Chantler to Ridgeville but soon abandoned as unprofitable.
      On April 14 1937, passenger service between Smithville and Dunnville was abandoned and replaced by buses.
     In Oct 1970, conventional passenger equipment was replaced by CPR RDC's on the Toronto to Buffalo connection.
     On Apr 30 1981, the last run of TH&B CPR passenger service to Buffalo was replaced following day by Amtrak Toronto to New York Direct service "Maple Leaf".
     Apr 1980 - TH&B#71 GP-7 first locomotive constructed at GMD London wrecked at grade crossing accident at Welland.
     Apr 19, 1977 - all Conrail ex NYC shares in TH&B sold to CPR.
     Jan 1985 - CPR takes full control of TH&B ( and CASO ex CR lines EAST of Welland).
     May 1986 - washout at Cainsville fill Brantford renders TH&B Waterford Subdivision useless and now abandoned.
     1986 - All TH&B Diesels retired. Most switchers retired or sold - several through Atlas Steel in Welland. All 70 and 400 class locos rebuilt at Angus CPR shops as CP 1600 class road switchers ( TH&B 72 to CP 1682 etc.}
     1988 to present CP operates Delaware and Hudson - TH&B rails have more traffic than anyone would have dreamed!
     May 1996 - Passenger service returns to Hunter St, Hamilton as restored TH&B terminal handles all GO train and bus service into Hamilton. The restored terminal has cast letters "TH&B RY. CO." proudly displayed on its sides, And the floor dispatchers office will soon be re-open as a museum!


VIA RAIL

     I am told that VIA Rail used Budd cars in Niagara on the CN Grimsby Subdivision. After that VIA changed to the present 6400's which are still in service.
     VIA Rail has only a few trains in Niagara which run between Toronto's Union Station and Niagara Falls, ON. VIA trains don't cross the border. Only the 2 Amtrak trains now use the Whirlpool bridge at Niagara Falls.
     In the Niagara region there are three VIA Rail stations. They are located at Grimsby, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. At Grimsby the original station burned down years ago and a replica was rebuilt and I believe it became restaurant. There is a small shelter at Grimsby for passengers to stand in. In St. Catharines the station is located on the west end of St. Catharines on Great Western and in Niagara Falls, this VIA Rail station is located at the bottom of Bridge Street.
     VIA trains that operate on the CN Grimsby Subdivision into and out of Niagara use the wye at CN Clifton to turn their train around. VIA 95 wye's in the evening for the morning's departure around daybreak.
     Outside of Niagara are a few more daily VIA trains. Not like the Niagara region where VIA trains only operate in the early morning or late evening, VIA runs them through out the day on CN trackage south of Toronto. They operate on the GEXR Guelph, CN Dundas, CN Strathroy and CN Chatham Subdivisions throughout the day.
     See the VIA Rail train numbers page on this site for VIA Rail stops throughout the area.


WELLAND RAILWAY

By: Rob Hughes

     Location: The line is located at the east end of the Niagara Peninsula parallel to the Niagara River, connecting Port Colborne on the shores of Lake Ontario with Port Dalhousie to the south on Lake Erie.
     History: The Welland Canal, first opened for traffic in 1829, was constructed as a vital link in a series of canals built in the nineteenth century to connect the Atlantic Ocean, St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. Extending between Lakes Ontario and Erie over the Niagara Escarpment, the canal had been upgraded in the past to keep up with the expanding size of ships desiring to pass through. By the early 1850's, however, it became clear that once again the size of the canal was inadequate to accommodate the newer and larger vessels in use at the time. To avoid the high costs of rebuilding, it was felt that the construction of a railway connecting the two canal terminal points would assist in the transfer of grain and other products between steamships operating on both lakes. Older vessels that actually were of a size that could pass through could also be lightened to avoid bottoming out. In addition, some winter traffic would be possible after the canal had frozen. Consequently, in 1853 the Port Dalhousie & Thorold Railway was chartered with authority to build a line between Port Dalhousie and Port Colborne. The name of the company was changed to the Welland Railway in 1857. Construction began immediately with approximately 25 miles (40 km) of track opened for service in 1859, all paralleling the canal.
     Grades for the line were exceptionally adverse for southbound traffic as a result of the Niagara Escarpment. To supplement canal traffic, the railway also attempted to intercept trade normally transhipped from Buffalo over the Erie Canal or American rail lines to New York ports, by diverting it to Oswego and then from there to the Atlantic. In 1862, the directors decided to obtain their own steamships to implement the above plan as current arrangements were not working out with hired marine contracting firms. This initiative included the construction of grain elevators at each lakehead. In order to provide the needed funding for the vessels and elevators, the company was reorganized the next year. Backers of the new project included both Sir Samuel Cunard and Sir Thomas Brassey. The new boats were delivered to the company in the spring of 1866, unfortunately at a time when traffic was down and costs were up along the line. Disaster struck in 1868 when one of the ships was destroyed by fire with the lives of 14 people.
     Looking for other avenues of income, the railway in 1878 leased to the Great Western a portion of line extending 15 miles between Welland Junction and Allanburg to complete the link in their Canada Airline project to the Suspension Bridge in Niagara Falls. A third rail was laid (the Welland Railway had not been converted yet from the 5'6" broad gauge) and the track upgraded to handle the increase in traffic. An offer by the Great Western was made to purchase the entire line, however, the amount was considered too low. In 1883, the lease of the line passed to the Grand Trunk with its purchase of the Great Western. Soon after, GTR officials came to terms with the Welland Railway and the line was sold. The primary reason why the Grand Trunk acted so quickly in purchasing the Welland was to ensure that the line did not fall into the hands of the rival Canada Southern.