Waterloo Central Railway

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Waterloo Central Railway
WCR nov 5 2008 hor tac.jpg
Waterloo Central Railway equipment parked at the station.
Locale Ontario
Terminus Waterloo
St. Jacobs
Commercial operations
Built by Grand Trunk Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Owned by Track owned by the Region of Waterloo
Operated by Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
Opened 1891
Preservation history
1921 Canadian National Railway inherits line
1990 Canadian National Railway sells line to Waterloo – St. Jacobs Railway
1997 Waterloo – St. Jacobs Railway commences operation
1999 Waterloo – St. Jacobs Railway ends operation
2007 Waterloo Central Railway commences operation
Headquarters Waterloo

The Waterloo Central Railway (WCR) is a non-profit organization that is owned and operated by the Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society (SOLRS). In May 2007, SOLRS received joint approval from the Region of Waterloo and the City of Waterloo to run trains from Waterloo to St Jacobs and potentially as far north as Elmira. On a typical operating day, the train runs three times a day on Tuesdays (June to August), Thursdays (May to October) and Saturday (April to October).

Operations and Milestones[edit]

Running Rights[edit]

The WCR operates on the former Canadian National Waterloo Spur now owned by the Region of Waterloo, which connects Elmira, St. Jacobs and Waterloo to Kitchener, Ontario by rail. Through an agreement with the Region of Waterloo, the WCR operates passenger service in daytime hours, and the Goderich–Exeter Railway operates freight service in evening hours. The WCR also leases space in the City of Waterloo Visitor and Heritage Information Centre which was formerly owned by the Waterloo-St. Jacobs Railway

Before 2007[edit]

The Waterloo-St. Jacobs Railway operated on the Waterloo Spur between 1997 and 2000. When it ceased operations, the Region of Waterloo purchased the railway right-of-way and the City of Waterloo acquired the railway's modern Waterloo station. SOLRS operated on the line briefly in 2003 as part of a province-wide steam tour in Ontario.


The inaugural season began in 2007 with diesel-hauled service serving Waterloo, the St. Jacobs Market and the Village of St. Jacobs on Market Days. exEssex Terminal Railway Steam Engine Number 9 was moved along with most of the SOLRS equipment from St. Thomas to Waterloo Region in the fall. Santa Claus trains begin this season as well.


The 2008 season began with what would become annual excursions to service the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival.


Construction began on the restoration and service shop in St. Jacobs.


The completion of the restoration and service shop allowed for the reactivation of the restoration programme. Ex. ETR #9 was moved under cover for the first time since it arrived from St. Thomas. Ex. CN 79482 caboose was put under active restoration. Ex. CNR 50845 Burro Crane and steam locomotive #124 were relocated to St. Jacobs


After extensive repair, Engine Number 9's boiler was cleared for service. Further repair and restoration was carried out.


Ex. CN 79482 caboose, now renumbered WCR 482, was returned to service. Number 9 is expected to return to revenue service in October 2012.

Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society[edit]

The Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society (SOLRS) is the parent organization that operates the Waterloo Central Railway. SOLRS became a registered Canadian charity in 1988 and maintains that status today. The mandate of SOLRS is to preserve, to restore and to operate vintage railway equipment for the education and enjoyment of the public and to present the cultural heritage in a new and more meaningful way to generations past, present and future.

Motive Power[edit]

Rolling stock[edit]

SOLRS has a variety of heritage cars in active service and others that await restoration. When SOLRS takes extended tours, they also bring a baggage car, two air-dump hopper cars, two boxcars and tanker with them.


In 2008 SOLRS made public plans erect a restoration shop in the Village of St. Jacobs. The foundation was poured in July 2009 and construction was completed in mid-2010.


Upon construction of the Ion light rail system, the trackage south of Northfield Drive in Waterloo will no longer be accessible to WCR trains. This will mean a change of the southern terminus; whether that is at the St. Jacobs Market or at a new facility in Waterloo has yet to be determined.

See also[edit]


Coordinates: 43°30′57″N 80°33′10″W / 43.5159°N 80.552768°W / 43.5159; -80.552768