The Guelph Junction Railway was created in 1885 by Guelph merchants because of the indifference of the Grand Trunk Railway, which was the only choice for freight. Competition was the only answer to high rates. Rather than operate the 16-mile link to Campbellville, Ontario themselves, they leased it to the Canadian Pacific Railway. Shortly afterwards, the City of Guelph bought out the merchants and took 100% ownership. It was very successful for many decades, but with the decline in passenger and freight trains the CPR declined to renew the lease after a century of operation.
Undeterred, the GJR decided it would continue and independent railway operator Ontario Southland Railway was contracted to take over operations from January 1, 1998. As a short line it provides customers with equal access to both major railways, which, along with good locally managed service, has increased traffic considerably.
The City of Guelph still owns it and it is the only municipality in Canada to have its own federally chartered railway.