Canadian Pacific Railway
Bruce Division Branches
named Cataract Junction, later just Cataract.
This branch was originally built by the Credit Valley and opened in December 1879. It was for many years a busy little line with regular passenger and freight service. A proposed 10 mile extension to Elmira never took place. In early years twice-daily passenger trains ran between Elora and Cataract (where a small turntable allowed the little 4-4-0's to be turned), to meet trains running between Owen Sound and Toronto. The 1920's saw this reduced to a Daily except Sunday mixed train carrying both freight and passengers. This mixed train continued until 1956.
For many years the biggest industry had been the Beatty Bros. (washing machines) plant which was built 1912 in Fergus (Pop. 6,000), which also had access to the CNR. Little else was located along the line other than typical rural freight of farm country. Note: By 1929 Beatty's was the largest manufacturer of washing machines in Canada out selling all other manufacturers combined! By this time they had 500 employees at the plant which the brothers had continued to expand rather than leave Fergus for Hamilton or Toronto.
west across the Fergus diamond with CNR. Track curving to the left connects to
Looking south on CNR to diamond. Note little silver coloured shack in both views.
One unique change that happened was the diversion of the line in 1942 for the construction of the Shand Dam for a water conservation and flood control project on the Grand River, said to be the first of its kind in Canada, which resulted in a new lake where the old line had been between Belwood and Spires. A new line was built around the lake and across the top of the dam. More than half a Century later, the abandoned right-of-way can be seen during low water levels in Lake Belwood.
The Elora Subdivision lost most of its freight traffic until by 1987 traffic had declined from an average of less than one car per week to less than two per month. Rail was a mixture of 72, 80, 85 and 100 pound, in poor condition as were the ties and gravel ballast. It had a 15 mph maximum speed with a number of restrictions of 5 and 10mph. and a weight restriction of only 220,000 pounds. Ruling grades were eastward 1.63% at Mile 26.5 and westward 1.49% at Mile 0.21, Cataract. It was all abandoned (Mile 0.0 to 29.5) by NTA Decision issued December 21, 1987. The right-of-way has since become a trail.
Abandonded right-of-way across the Shand Dam. Norm Conway
Abandoned Elora Sub. right-of-way in Fergus. Eugene
953 on the table at Elora.
The turntable remained serviceable but little used like
everything else including the tracks themselves
Originally built to narrow 3 foot 6 inch guage by the Toronto, Grey & Bruce intending to build its line from Orangeville to Southhampton with a branch to Kincardine and a branch from Mount Forest to Owen Sound. Construction stalled and struggled on eventually stopping at Teeswater, (opened November 16, 1874) far short of Lake Huron. When Grey County voted down a subsidy the Owen Sound line abruptly ended at Mount Forest just 1.2 miles from the junction point. A new line was built north from Orangeville to Owen Sound.
The TG&B was standard gauged in December 1881 and leased to the O&Q July 26, 1883.
In 1887 (opened August 17th.), the CPR built a 4.4 mile long (later reduced to 3.6 miles) spur line off the Teeswater Sub. into Wingham. The Town of Wingham had sought a subsidy in 1886 for this line, but agreed to allow the CPR to build it.
The Teeswater Subdivision served an entirely rural agricultural country with little industry and had been on a long decline in the years prior to its abandonment. Its 80 and 85 lb rail, ties and gravel ballast were all in poor condition and subject to a weight restriction of only 220,000 lbs. (263,000 being normal) and a maximum speed of only 15mph. Note: During the summer c.1956 work trains replaced the 65 lb. 1890 Barrow (England) or Krupp (Germany) steel with relay 85 lb. rail off the MacTier Sub. which had gotten new 100 lb. rail. (Recollection of retired brakeman Cliff Beagan).
The complete line remained in existence and was fairly level with a ruling eastward grade of 1.65% at Mile 16.0 and westward of 1.8% between Mile 13.0 and 14.0. The entire population of the towns and villages along it was barely 10,000 in this largely rural area. The last freight customer, a door maker, Premium Forest Products in Wingham, began using CN in 1983 after CP had built a 1, 570 foot spur to the CN Kincardine Sub. and turned over ownership to CN. No traffic had moved since then. It was finally abandoned January 20, 1988.
Mount Forest spur
4-4-0 172 backed in at end of track in early years. Mount Forest Museum and Archives
Martin's Pond with railway bridge in background.
The turntable to the newer two-stall
enginehouse is already gone in this July 24, 1957 scene of
Earlier view with turntable still in place as well as
Abandoned bridge across the Grand River at Mile 6.30. Norm Conway
Map of Teeswater facilities
Unloading express from the combine
on Walkerton Mixed train at Durham. February 16, 1957
This scene was typical of what took place in towns and villages everywhere for a century. People were dependent upon the railway and their express company operation to deliver goods of every kind from cities and factories to them. Mail order catalogues of Eaton's and/or Simpsons were in every home. An express company money order could be purchased from the station agent to send payment along with their order by mail. Letters could actually be mailed at the station including through a letter slot in the side of a mail car! This all faded away as times changed with better roads, loss of branchline trains and eventually main line trains including loss of mail contracts. All this was long before UPS and FedEx to say nothing of ebay and Amazon!
Plan of Walkerton station area at the end of the Subdivision.
The engine facility was located on the east side of the Saugeen River.
Note that the CPR property is outside of the town limit. January 14,1916.
Engine facility, ash pit in foreground. OCS gon loaded
with ashes. Van body used as bunkhouse appears to be covered with Insulbrick.
Yellow sign with double diamonds warns trainmen of restricted clearance
D6 539 North British Locomotive 16053 12/1903 Saugeen
Canadian Pacific in Southern Ontario
Originally begun as the Walkerton & Lucknow it came into posession of the CPR before it was completed. The Walkerton Subdivision was the first branch line to be abandoned following a decline in freight traffic. Hanover, (also served by the CNR) was long famous for its furniture factories that provided traffic for many years. Durham, was the location of a major gravel pit (2000 acres) that had its own dinky engine (0-4-0T). The Walkerton Sub. was abandoned August 29, 1983 between Mile 30.8 and 37.3, with the balance abandoned October 8, 1984.
Abandoned right-of-way at Priceville, June 1986. Eugene D. Burles
Abandoned bridge piers Saugeen River, Hanover. 2002 Walter
On to: Branch Passenger
Back to: Bruce Branches Part 1
Back to: CPR Bruce Index