Essex Terminal Railway

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Essex Terminal Railway
Ford Yard
Walker Yard
yard office, main office
and enginehouse
Lincoln Yard
Tecumseh Road East
CP Rail Windsor Subdivision
CP Rail Windsor Subdivision
to CN Rail VanDeWater yard
Tecumseh Road West
to CP Rail Windsor yard
Michigan Central Railway Tunnel
to Detroit
Sterling Fuels, K-Scrap
and Windsor Salt
Highway 18 (
Ojibway Yard
originally to Windsor Salt
now car storage only
Highway 18 (
Texas yard
(3 tracks)
Amherstburg Yard
to Honeywell and Lasalle Packaging
(disconnected from ETR main)
Honeywell (formerly
General/Allied Chemical)
to Diageo Canada
End of track

Essex Terminal Railway (reporting mark ETL) is a Canadian shortline terminal railroad, running from the City of Windsor, Ontario through La Salle, to the Town of Amherstburg, Ontario, for a distance of approximately 21 miles (34 km). The ETR has direct connections to Canadian Pacific Railway, and Canadian National Railway. The railway is owned by Essex Morterm Holdings.


The railway was founded in 1902 as a western connection of the Grand Trunk Railway (now Canadian National Railway) to factories in the eastern end of Windsor. Construction of the line took place between 1902 and 1918. During World War II, the trains hauled military and industrial equipment (i.e. Bren Gun carriers, and trucks) from Ford Windsor and other industries, to interchanges with Canadian National, Canadian Pacific. New York Central, Pere Marquette, and Wabash Railways.[1] Its four-stall enginehouse, and main offices are on Lincoln Road in Windsor. Due to heavy development along much of the mainline, Essex Terminal runs its trains at a maximum of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) in the city, and 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) in the county. (There is currently (2013) a slow order in the River Canard area.)[2]

As a part of the urban renewal of Windsor, the railway sold several kilometers of spur line (The Factory Branch) in central Windsor to the City of Windsor and various developers in 1998, allowing new homes and businesses to be built along the former rail RoW. The Mainline was generally unchanged but the ETR became more dependent on down river traffic.

In September 2002, the ETR celebrated its 100th anniversary and brought its newly restored 1923 Number 9 0-6-0 locomotive down from St. Thomas, Ontario. The company was loaned several 1930s CPR and CN passenger cars to give rides to nearby residents that celebrated with the company. Number 9 currently operates out of Waterloo, Ontario.

Ironically, a week after the centennial celebration, the ETR had its first serious derailment in over 10 years, caused by abnormally heavy rains. Cars carrying soybeans were involved. There were no injuries, the tracks were repaired and two nearby grade crossings repaved.

On September 12, 2007, Essex Terminal Railway had its second accident when a transport truck tried to race a slow moving ETR train across the Weaver Road at-grade crossing. ADM and Morterm Terminal are accessed by Weaver Rd. The SW-1200 locomotive clipped the rear of the trailer, tipping the transport truck onto its right side (the truck was heading west at the time and the locomotive was headed northbound) and ripped the axles off the trailer's box and frame. Aside from damage to the transport truck, the locomotive also sustained some damage to one of its couplers, which had impacted the trailer. The driver (who was from Ohio) was uninjured and cooperated with Essex Terminal Railway officials and Windsor Police. Essex Terminal Railway later said in The Windsor Star that, "This is a reason why people should never try to beat a train."

In the summer of 2009 the Essex Terminal Railway signed agreements with the City of Windsor to allow 2 new rail spurs to be constructed on the west end of the city. The rail lines will serve 2 industries in the Ojibway industrial area.

In 2010 a spur was run across Ironwood Dr. into Belo Metal Recycling. It can be seen on Google Earth. The second unidentified industry has not yet received access.

ETR currently has more than 15 customers in Windsor including ADM, Plains Midsteam Canada (formerly BP) and the Windsor Salt Company (packaging) and serves Seagram's and Honeywell in the town of Amherstburg. Although the trackage is still in place, the rock salt mine no longer uses rail. The spur is used for overflow storage for ADM.

In early 2013, a connection was made so that the ETR can switch the Hiram Walkers (Wisers) tank farm just west of the VIA passenger station (Walkerville). ex-CN track is accessed (stopping short of George Ave.) but is not connected to the CN/VIA mainline. The ETR switch to the isolated VIA/CN track can be seen between Westcott and Aubin. It is now the only active track to cross Walker Rd, after the VIA station tracks were terminated east of Walker.

In 2014 a new track was run from within the K-Scrap complex to a new two track transloader next door at Sterling Fuels.

ETR Locomotives and Rolling Stock[edit]

The ETR currently has 4 units on the roster. They are 104 (ex-ICG SW14), 105 (GMD SW1200), 107 (EMD SW1500) and 108 (GMD GP9)

ETR has several pieces of rolling stock used for storage; a covered hopper and a boxcar are on-trucks but stationary at the engine facility on Lincoln Rd.

They had two ex-CP wide vision cabooses which have been sold to Waterloo Central Railroad and were renumbered from ETR 1610 to WCRX 1040 and ETR 1600 to WCRX 1042.

The cabooses departed August 14 for London. They are routed to Sarnia according to a source. Branchline Magazine reports one is supposed to be Waterloo bound while the other is Sarnia bound.

The ETR now no longer has cabooses on the roster.


  1. ^ Gervais, Marty (2012-11-29). Ghost Road: and Other Forgotten Stories of Windsor. Biblioasis. ISBN 9781926845890.
  2. ^ Lewis, Edward A. (1996-01-01). American Shortline Railway Guide. Kalmbach Publishing, Co. ISBN 9780890242902.

External links[edit]