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 Hamilton area radials planned but never built

Hamilton area radials planned but never built

During the heyday of the Radial lines, existing companies planned great rail empires, while new companies were formed to build their own networks. Both cases failed to happen as the industry declined in the 1920’s. Here’s a list of planned expansions and railways that were chartered, but never built


Planned expansions of existing lines near Hamilton

Brantford & Hamilton: Hamilton to Galt (Cambridge), via Langford

Hamilton, Grimsby & Beamsville: Extension to St. Catharines & Niagara Falls

Hamilton Radial Electric Railway: Hamilton to Guelph & Mount Forest, Hamilton to Berlin (Kitchener) & Elmira

South Western Traction (London & Lake Erie): London to Hamilton

Toronto & York: Toronto to Hamilton

Toronto Suburban: Toronto to Hamilton


Companies that were incorporated, but never built their radial lines

Dunnville, Wellandport & Beamsville - Incorporated in 1906, the DW&B would have built from the end of the HG&B in Beamsville south to Dunnville via St Anns and Wellandport. It appears that the promoters of this line got in over their heads, as only a few kilometres of grading were completed in 1908, and a few more in 1912. When the Toronto, Hamilton, & Buffalo built their line from Smithville to Dunnville in the 1920’s, the project was abandoned.

Hamilton, Ancaster & Brantford - The HA&B was formed in 1900 when Haines Bros of New York took over the HC&A. Haines Bros of New York were attempting to put build a radial line from Niagara to Brantford via Hamilton, and required the HC&A as part of their plans. By 1904 all property issues had been dealt with and contracts for construction were about to be let, when financial trouble on their American interurbans resulted in Haines Bros abandoning their Canadian plans. This project was eventually completed by the Brantford & Hamilton (B&H).

Hamilton, Caledonia & Lake Erie - Organized in 1901 to build southeast out of Hamilton, this project ended in 1904 when Natural gas was discovered along the right of way, and the corporation decided that gas was more profitable than radials.

Hamilton, Chedoke & Ancaster - The HC&A was the first attempt to construct up the escarpment towards Ancaster and westwards. Incorporated in 1896, it did receive a government subsidy of $15 000, payable when the route reached Alberton. Despite this pledge, no construction was done.

Hamilton, Waterdown & Guelph - The HW&G began on September 30 1892 as a means for residents of Waterdown to force the hand of the management of the Hamilton Radial Electric Railway (HRER). The HRER had promised to connect Hamilton & Guelph, and the HW&G was an attempt to make certain that the HRER ran through Waterdown, even though getting up the escarpment in this area would be expensive. The directors of the HW&G openly stated that they would hand over their charter to the HRER if the promise was fulfilled. If the HRER reneged on its promise, then the HW&G would go ahead and build their own line between Hamilton & Guelph, cutting into the HRER's traffic and revenues.

The HRER appears to have had some influence with the provincial government, as the HW&G's provincial charter was delayed for several weeks. It was finally granted on March 24, 1893. By comparison the HRER's charter was granted quickly, even though some of the filing requirements were incomplete. The HRER also received a charter for a line between Hamilton & Guelph, but had changed its mind and now refused to go via Waterdown. With two nearly identical lines that would have run parallel to each other for large distances, neither would have been profitable. Discussions on merging the two lines began in May 1893. While negotiations were underway each company also attempted to secure financing to build their line, but the Panic of 1893 made investors cautious, and both projects went nowhere. It was not until late October of 1894 that the HW&G fell under the control of the HRER.

Hamilton, Waterloo & Guelph - Incorporated in 1906, The HW&G would have built twin lines from Hamilton to Galt (now Cambridge) and Guelph by crossing the Desjardins canal on a shared line where Hwy 403 is now. It would have then headed up the escarpment towards Rock Chapel (just west of Clappison’s Corners), where the lines would have split, headed for their respective termini. The line to Galt was to be built first, and some surveying was actually done in 1906. However, the Cataract Company did not support this project, and as a result the line’s backers were unable to get financing. The project was dropped in 1913.

International Radial Railway - The IRR originally began in February 1895 as the Hamilton, Valley City & Waterloo, a proposal to connect Hamilton to Waterloo or Berlin (Kitchener) via Dundas (the Valley City), with a branch to Guelph. The possibility of purchasing the H&D was floated, and good connections to the HG&B were assured as most of the initial board members were also part of the HG&B. A charter incorporating the HVC&W was granted by the province on April 16, 1895. However, the directors of the HVC&W felt that the charter granted was too restrictive with respect to financing by bond issues. It was decided to extend the line to Buffalo, thereby crossing into the USA and requiring a federally granted charter which would hopefully be more convenient. The HVC&W was renamed to the International Radial Railway. Additional lines were added to the original plan, so that when the IRR was incorporated by the federal government on July 16 1895, the proposed system included lines to Waterdown, Woodstock and St. Marys, Port Burwell, and Dunnville. Additional planned extensions to Owen Sound or Meaford and Goderich were added later.

Map of the proposed International Radial Railway

Map of the proposed International Radial Railway. Photo from the Archives of Ontario, L 23 Newspapers, N 184 reel 117, Hamilton Spectator, Sep 4th 1895, pg 8

The first planned line was a double tracked route heading out of Hamilton, and splitting into two single tracked lines north west of the city, one line heading for Guelph, the other for Waterloo. Three routes out of Hamilton were surveyed, with the lines separating at either Waterdown, Rock Chapel, or Greensville.

Toronto, Hamilton, & Niagara Falls - Incorporated in 1895, this was one of several radials that proposed a line from Niagara Falls to Toronto via Hamilton.

Toronto, Niagara & Western - Incorporated in 1903, this was one of several radials that proposed a line from Niagara Falls to Toronto via Hamilton.