Barrie Collingwood Railway
|Barrie Collingwood Railway|
|Dates of operation||1998–|
|Predecessor||Canadian National Railway|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)|
The Barrie-Collingwood Railway (reporting mark BCRY) is a shortline railway operating between the towns of Innisfil and Utopia in south central Ontario, Canada. The line was started in 1998 and runs on abandoned Canadian National (CN) trackage which was collectively purchased by the railroad's namesake municipalities. The operator of the line is Cando Contracting Limited, based out of Brandon, Manitoba.
|Barrie Collingwood Railway|
In 1996, CN abandoned its Newmarket Subdivision from Bradford north to Barrie as well as its entire Meaford Subdivision which runs from Barrie to Collingwood. CN had plans to rip up its tracks, however the City of Barrie and the Town of Collingwood stepped in to purchase the lines to maintain their rail infrastructures. Barrie purchased the remainder of the Newmarket Sub, the Meaford Sub from Barrie to Utopia in Essa Township and the remainder of the abandoned Beeton Subdivision which runs south from Barrie to Innisfil and connects with the other two subs at the old Allandale Yard in Barrie. Collingwood purchased the rest of the Meaford Sub from Utopia on.
In 1998, the BCRY was started to service various customers in Innisfil, Barrie, Colwell, Angus, Stayner and Collingwood along the Beeton and Meaford Subs. The line crosses the Canadian Pacific (CP) at Utopia, and a small interchange and maintenance yard was built there. The interchange with CPR MacTier Sub was built because the abandonment of the CNR between Orillia and Toronto (isolating the line). The yard is where Maintenance Of Way (MOW) equipment and the locomotive are stored when not in use. The Newmarket Sub is not used by the BCRY; it was purchased to preserve future GO Transit expansion north from Bradford, which re-opened in late 2007.
In 2006, the first rail spur in Ontario since 1990 was constructed to service a new customer, Tarpin Lumber.
Decommissioning of Collingwood Portion of Line
As of July 15, 2011, the Town of Collingwood has decided to decommission its portion of the line for financial reasons. It was costing taxpayers up to $425,000 annually to keep providing regular rail service to essentially one customer. The trackage between Utopia and Collingwood will most likely be ripped up and sold for scrap, ending 156 years of rail service to the town. It is unclear what the City of Barrie's plans are for its portion of the railway and therefore, the line as a whole's future.
Equipment and Track
Currently, the BCRY has only one locomotive, an EMD GP9, #1001, which was formerly Ohio Central (OHCR) #94 and Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) #6594. Another GP9, #1000, was in service as well, but has since been transferred to the Orangeville-Brampton Railway (OBRY), another shortline operated by Cando. BCRY also possesses various MOW equipment and a road railer.
The track is over a century old and thus, is in very poor condition. Due to this fact, the speed limit along the line is 10 miles per hour (16 km/h).
BCRY 1001 was temporarily repainted in the Southern Pacific (SP) scheme for a National Geographic Channel production entitled Runaway Train, re-enacting the 1989 San Bernardino train derailment. It represented SP EMD SD45-2 7551, the lead engine in that accident. Rail enthusiasts are quick to note the obvious differences between the two locomotive types, the most noticeable being that the SD45 is a 6-axle locomotive but 1001 only has four.