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Old Time Trains


Ontario Southland Railway

by R.L.Kennedy

Ontario Southland is an independent, locally-owned Canadian company.


Commencing in April 1994, Ontario Southland took over switching from CN and CP of the Petro Canada plant in Clarkson, (Mississauga) Ontario, located on the Canadian National Oakville Subdivision, a Joint Section also used by Canadian Pacific. Operations began using former TH&B 51 an upgraded EMD NW2. The contract was renewed until April 2008.

Ontario Southland went on from this modest beginning to take over operation of the Guelph Junction Railway, owned by
the city of Guelph, it is one of the very few municipally-owned railways in Canada. Under OSR traffic has grown considerably. Later, OSR took over operation of the CPR's Port Burwell Subdivision and later still CPR's St.Thomas Subdivision to which the Port Burwell line connects. Operations were further expanded with take over of CN's switching for the CAMI automotive plant in Ingersoll. OSR had already been doing CPR's switching with its lease of the St.Thomas Sub.

From time to time OSR leased locomotives to shortlines and industry for short periods as well as a longer lease
to W. G. Thompson & Sons.

What's New?

January 1, 2023

Woodstock area gallery

Scroll to bottom for this and other photos of the "jump' diamond.

Drone view with 1244_8235 crossing CN main line at Mile 50.8 Dundas Subdivision.

Gallery of Power

1249 freshly repainted.

St.Thomas Subdivision

501 and 502 both sold 2018 Waterloo Central 1001, 1002.

1249 in new paint and 1244 with multis.

Below these recent photos are a number of sub-articles covering the various operations.
BE SURE to click on link in title at top of each section to see and read everything.

Ingersoll Transload

CAMI wye at far left. St.Thomas Sub in background near tree line.

Two views of the new Ingersoll transload facility in operation! November 3, 2021


Finally. Delayed but finally construction resumes on the new transload facility to replace the small transload (see below). Primarily for steel it will remove large tractor trailers from the center of Ingersoll. October 19/2021 ENLARGE


Drone aerial view of transload Ingersoll. Primarily used for OSR's maintenance requirements this public transload
operation will soon be relocated to a new facility to be built at wye to CAMI plant. Walter Pfefferle April 2021

ENLARGE similar view showing closeup of transport truck and railcars of steel.

Transload (a.k.a. team track) in Ingersoll is being used by the latest new customer for steel shipmments.

Loading local sawmill lumber.

Saw mill located on Amish farm just south of Putnam. They ship ties (to be treated elsewhere) from the
OSR transload in Ingersoll. March 2021 Dave Hooton


January 2021 GM announced a major ($990M) refitting of their CAMI plant to build the new Bright Drop EV600 electric delivery van. 600 cu.ft nearly 5 ton capacity. An initial order from FedEx for 500 of these vans in late 2021 is full capacity.
They will be constructed in an unused body shop portion of the plant for 2 years while assembly line continues building the Chevrolet Equinox until the end of 2022 when assembly will move to Mexico. 1,900 auto workers will remain at CAMI.

UPDATE: October 2021. GM has announced it will also build a smaller electric delivery van the EV410 a 400 cu. ft. shorter
(standard parking space sized).Verizon in USA will be first buyer. Production is to begin in Michigan until space is available in 2023 at CAMI Ingersoll plant when Chevrolet Equinox production ends. Merchants Fleet (management company) in USA has ordered 12,600 EV600's although where they wil be built was not specified.

History and Photography of Individual Lines.


Port Burwell Line

(Updated May 4, 2020)

A further OSR expansion came about when the CPR decided to shortline its Port Burwell Subdivision between Ingersoll
and Tillsonburg. The line had been abandoned December 25, 1987 beyond to Port Burwell. This line connects with the CPR St.Thomas Subdivision at Ingersoll which leads to Woodstock where it connects with the CPR Galt Subdivision main line.
OSR leased the line effective February 26, 1998.

Two new tracks being built May 2020 at Future Transfer in Tillsonburg.

OSR built a small diesel shop at Salford where a welcoming township smoothed the way with lower taxes than elsewhere.
It would later be expanded from two tracks and four units to five tracks.

Dowler-Karn, a family-owned local fuel dealer has always supplied OSR diesels.

St. Thomas Subdivision

(Updated September 27, 2020)

A major expansion came about the CPR shortlined its St. Thomas Sub. and OSR leased it effective December 15, 2009.
This gave OSR a direct connection with the CPR for its Port Burwell line as well as more traffic especially at Putnam.where two agricultural facilities receive considerable traffic.

The biggest gain traffic wise was the large CAMI automotive assembly plant in Ingersoll which required another daily train.
Later still CPR ended CN's access over its track to reach CAMI giving OSR exclusive switching of this growing plant. This requires two crews to switch CAMI two shifts seven days a week and interchange to/from CPR at Coakley via operating
rights on the Galt Sub. Other traffic is handled in Woodstock yard where OSR also has running rights.

OWS with HARSCO equipment doing some serious track work east of Belmont. September 21, 2020

First run of 102 July 1, 2020

Acquired 5/2006. Last GP9 built. GMD A2019 8/1963 Algoma Central 172. Sold 4/1986 Essex Terminal 102.

102_1594 leaving Ingersoll for St.Thomas on its first day of road operation.


Crossing a wooden trestle at Tamarack Ridge Golf Club Putnam.

Heading to St.Thomas after switching Messenger in the background.


CN Cayuga Spur

St.Thomas-Aylmer-Tillsonburg- Courtland-Delhi

OSR ended all freight service on April 30 and returned line to CN May 1, 2020.

CN issued notice June 26, 2020 offering to sell the line from '
near Mile 87.22 End of Track (Delhi) to near Mile 114.60 Sarum.

GIO Rail


Successor to Trillium which operated this line as the St.Thomas and Eastern, took over most of the
Cayuga Spur effective 12/2021 and operates as far as Tillsonburg as the
St.Thomas, Aylmer, Tillsonburg Ry.

Guelph Jnnction Railway


After 22 years and 8 months of providing great customer service that resulted in a huge increase in freight traffic the end came on August 28, 2020 when Ontario Southland, its management and employees left the City of Guelph's property. Sadly, all that hard work, pride, dedication to duty and service to the community wasn't enough to ensure that a fair and equitable agreement could be reached to renew the contract to operate the Guelph Junction Railway.

Power gallery

Roster of diesel units
updated June 20/2021

Gallery OSR Rolling Stock
Track machines and trucks

Tillsonburg-Ingersoll Gallery


Car Movers
OSR & Customers



NOTE: Follow these links for a more detailed history of the
Guelph and St.Thomas/Tillsonburg lines along with photos of the CPR era.

CPR employee time table 1959 Goderich Subdivision Port Burwell Subdivision


Ontario Southland Railway Official Web Site



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