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 Remains of the Hamilton & Dundas

Remains of the Hamilton & Dundas

In 1897, the H&D gave the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway (TH&B) running rights over its route into Dundas. A short connection was made by the TH&B between its Hamilton-Waterford mainline and the H&D line in West Hamilton, just west of Emerson Street, and service started on June 17 of that year. When service on the H&D was abandoned in 1923, the TH&B continued to operate freight trains over western end of the H&D, eventually purchasing that portion of the H&D from the Cataract Company by 1930. During this time the TH&B made several upgrades to the line east of Dundas, such as rebuilding the bridges, and easing the curves and grades. The TH&B would use the former H&D for another 55 years, abandoning it in stages in the late 1980s due to declining traffic and deteriorating track.

The abandoned railway line was converted into hiking trails and parkland, making for a pleasant walk. While it is true that the realignments made by the TH&B altered the route slightly, so that technically there are no remains of the H&D left, only those of the TH&B's H&D branch, I consider any differences between the two to be unimportant

H&D roadbed between Hwy 403 and the end of Cline Ave S, looking south H&D roadbed between Hwy 403 and the end of Cline Ave S, looking north

This is the roadbed between Hwy 403 and the end of Cline Ave S, looking south (left image) and north. As you can see, it’s heavily overgrown with Sumac trees, but there are also a lot of wild roses, brambles, and thistles (ouch!). I’m not going to tell how to get to this spot, but I will say go in late fall or early spring when there are no leaves, otherwise you won’t see a thing. Also, some of the homes near the intersection of Bowman Street and Sussex Street in West Hamilton have property lines that follow the old right of way, but as far as I know there are no visible signs in this area.

Looking west at the CP Rail’s (ex TH&B’s) Emerson Street crossing

This photo is looking west at the CP Rail’s (ex TH&B’s) Emerson Street crossing, south of Main St West and McMaster University. This used to be the mainline heading west to Brantford and Waterford, but the line was abandoned after heavy rains washed out a large section of track along the Grand River near Cainsville on May 20, 1986. Notice the long ties on the right of the photo. This is the site of the switch onto the former H&D. The switch was removed on January 20, 1988, but there was no point in removing the ties.

The corner of Leland Street and Mapes Avenue, looking southeast.

This is the corner of Leland Street and Mapes Avenue, looking southeast. After breaking off from the Waterford line, (behind the low building in the background) the H&D branch passed through the middle of this photo, right where the cars are parked.

The corner of Leland and Mapes, looking northwest.

This is the corner of Leland and Mapes, looking northwest. The H&D passed through the intersection, and although the tracks are long gone, the cracks in the pavement show the direction of travel.

Looking south at the crosswalk at Sanders Blvd and Cootes Dr.

The H&D crossed Leland, passing where the Esso Car wash is now, and then crossed Main St W. The low rise in the photo is the old roadbed, looking south at the crosswalk at Sanders Blvd and Cootes Dr.

Looking north at the crosswalk at Sanders Blvd and Cootes Dr.

Looking north at the crosswalk at Sanders Blvd and Cootes Dr. This is the start of the Dundas Bike Trail, which is built partly on top of the old roadbed.

South of the bridge over Cootes drive to the McMaster University west parking lots.

Still on the Bike Trail, just south of the bridge over Cootes drive to the McMaster University west parking lots. Click here (external link) to see the TH&B in action at this location.

North of the bridge over Cootes drive.

Still on the Bike Trail, just north of the bridge over Cootes drive. The roadbed breaks away from the bike trail opposite of the third streetlight north of the bridge, and enters the woods, as shown.

The roadbed

The roadbed skirts the edge of the baseball diamonds down near the parking lots. Anyone following this trail should watch out for Poison Ivy, but also keep an eye out for the plentiful wildlife in the area.

An old railroad tie greenery has encroached onto the right of way

Above are some of the sights along the H&D line. On the left are the remains of an old railroad tie, on the right is how the greenery has encroached onto the right of way.

Ancaster Creek

After a few hundred metres, the roadbed reaches Ancaster Creek (also known as Coldwater or Black Creek). If you step to the edge of the river, you’ll see the old bridge footings in the middle of the river.

Spencer Creek

The trail leaves the roadbed and parallels the river. Following the path downstream, crossing the river at the Cootes Drive Bridge, and following the Spencer Creek trail upriver, will return you to the roadbed and the massive bridge abutments of the H&D’s Spencer Creek bridge. These were not part of the original H&D, but were placed after the TH&B bought the H&D in 1930

The Spencer Creek Trail now runs on top of the roadbed all the way to Dundas. The Spencer Creek Trail now runs on top of the roadbed all the way to Dundas. The Spencer Creek Trail now runs on top of the roadbed all the way to Dundas. The Spencer Creek Trail now runs on top of the roadbed all the way to Dundas.

The Spencer Creek Trail now runs on top of the roadbed all the way to Dundas. Above are several shots (1,2,3,4) of the scenery along the Spencer Creek Trail. This portion of the line was straightened by the TH&B, as was the ajacent creek.

Looking westward into Dundas, near the intersection of Cootes Drive and Dundas Street.

Looking westward into Dundas, near the intersection of Cootes Drive and Dundas Street. The roadbed is to the left. The H&D went up Dundas St to the intersection of Dundas and Main St.

The intersection of Dundas Street and Main Street.

The intersection of Dundas Street and Main Street. The H&D turns at the intersection, heading northwest past the Dundas Town Hall on the right. Click here to see the TH&B in action at this location.

The Dundas Town Hall.

The Dundas Town Hall. The H&D passed where the parking spaces are, heading northwest to Hatt Street

Hatt St and Ogilvie St, looking west

Hatt St and Ogilvie St, looking west

Hatt St and Memorial Sq, looking east.

Hatt St and Memorial Sq, looking east.