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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

Hamilton & Dundas: Hamilton & Dundas Freight Line

In September 1879, the Hamilton & Dundas proposed to construct a freight only line through the southern part of Hamilton, running along Robinson and Forest ave (then named Maria St) to connect the H&D on MacNab with the Hamilton & Northwestern on Ferguson. This route would prevent the hauling of freight cars through downtown Hamilton along Main St. Local opposition was fierce, with residents fearing long freight trains and the possibility of the H&NW buying the H&D and running full sized trains down the streets. The H&D had submitted a bylaw to Hamilton City council for approval of the route, but in the face of this opposition the H&D withdrew their application on October 13.

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

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

Hamilton Radial Electric Railway: Original plans

The Hamilton Radial Electric Railway was first announced on September 20, 1892. The originally announced plan was to run electric lines from Hamilton to Mount Forest (via Waterdown, Guelph, Fergus and Arthur) Elmira (via Dundas, Galt, Preston, Waterloo and St. Jacobs), Brantford (via Ancaster), Dunnville and/or Welland, and Oakville (via the Beach and Burlington)

In mid October of 1894 a group of New England based investors lead by W. F. Forsyth of Boston gained control of the HRER. The HRER's proposed railway system was subsequently changed. The mainlines would be steam powered instead of electric, running Toronto-Hamilton-Niagara Falls and Hamilton-Woodstock, with electric branches running to Port Dover via Brantford, to Fergus via Guelph and to Waterloo via Galt. A steamship line would connect Port Dover to Erie, Pennsylvania.

The HRER was unable to acquire backing for this network of lines, and by the end of 1895 all of these plans had been abandoned. The HRER would then go on to build its line from Hamilton to Burlington across the beach, and eventually on to Oakville.

Later planned lines: 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 - See The Brantford & Hamilton Electric Railway (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 - See The Brantford & Hamilton Electric Railway (B&H)

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.