Local Railway History


Some Interesting Historical Information

As always, please click on any photo to see a larger version.

Coboconk Station GTR 1910 Fenelon Falls Station 1957

Did You Know That:

The first railway to arrive in Lindsay’s downtown in 1857, the same year that Lindsay was incorporated as a Town, was the Port Hope, Lindsay & Beaverton Railway, and that its terminus was at Lindsay’s King and St. Paul Streets for the next 14 years?

When in 1871, the Port Hope, Lindsay & Beaverton Railway was extended to Beaverton, it crossed the Scugog River by means of a swing-bridge at the north end of Lindsay Street, gained height on the west bank and then headed west along what is now Orchard Park Road and across what is now the Lindsay Airport?

In 1875, Lindsay became the departure point of another pioneer railway – the Victoria Railway to Haliburton – via a place called Victoria Junction, approximately where William Street North intersects with Orchard Park Road today?

In 1877, another pioneer railway, the Whitby, Port Perry & Lindsay Railway, arrived in Lindsay?

Also in 1877, the Victoria Railway negotiated a right-of-way into downtown Lindsay right down the middle of Victoria Avenue North, to connect up with the newly-arrived Whitby, Port Perry & Lindsay Railway at a “union” depot at Melbourne Street and Victoria Avenue South, Lindsay’s second railway station?

In 1887, Lindsay became the operational hub of the various district pioneer railways that were consolidated into the Midland Railway of Canada, and subsequently became a major Grand Trunk Railway divisional point on a par with those of Stratford, Allandale and Hamilton, controlling traffic as far as Midland and Scarboro Junction to the west, and Belleville to the east?

In the two decades at the turn of the 20th Century, Lindsay saw on each day of the week (save Sundays) some 20 passenger and mixed trains; and some 20 to 50 freight trains?

Lindsay’s distinctive engine house (running shed) was built in 1887 on the east side of Albert Street, using some of the bricks from the predecessor roundhouse at Port Hope?

In 1890, Lindsay and Bobcaygeon business interests combined to make a deal with the Canadian Pacific Railway for a branchline from the CPR’s then Toronto-Montreal main line through Lindsay to Bobcaygeon that came about in 1904?

During the railway era, Lindsay had no less than five railway stations at four different locations (King & St. Paul Sts, Victoria Ave South, Durham St. (2), Caroline St.), none of which has survived?

At the height of the railway era, Lindsay itself boasted a total of around 55 miles of track (including sidings)?

The railways were the economic backbone of Victoria County and the Town of Lindsay for over a century, with a peak of 350 employees; and in 1914, a payroll of $900,000.00 annually, the equivalent of about $17,000,000.00 (seventeen million) today?

At the height of the railway era, no less than seven lines radiated out of Lindsay, clockwise from Victoria Junction: 1. to Beaverton-Orillia-Midland; 2. to Fenelon Falls-Kinmount-Haliburton, 3. to Orillia-Victoria Harbour-Port McNicholl; 4. to Bobcaygeon; 5. to Port Hope and to Peterborough-Belleville; 6. to Lindsay Junction, diverging there to Bethany Junction (Dranoel) and Burketon Junction; and 7. to Port Perry-Whitby and to Uxbridge-Scarboro Junction-Toronto?

Of Victoria County’s 60 or so stations and flagstop shelters, only 10 are known to have survived?

All that remains today in the former Victoria County are those few railway stations, the bridges across the Fenelon, Scugog and Pigeon Rivers, the steel trestle at Doube’s (Orange Corners), the rail trails, the grain elevator at Pontypool, some abandoned overgrown rights-of-way, and two large bridge abutments on the Legacy (Victoria Rail) Trail?