Goderich–Exeter Railway

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Goderich–Exeter Railway
Goderich–Exeter Railway Logo.png
2018-07-14 061 Goderich and Exeter Railway EMD SD40-2 locomotive - 3393.jpg
GEXR #3393, an EMD SD40-2, in GEXR colors.
Reporting markGEXR
LocaleSouthern Ontario
Dates of operation1992–Present
PredecessorCanadian National Railway
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length181 miles (291 km)
HeadquartersStratford, Ontario
WebsiteGoderich-Exeter Railway

The Goderich–Exeter Railway (reporting mark GEXR) is a short line freight railway that operates around 181 miles (291 km)[1] of track in Southern Ontario. Created in 1992,[1] it was the first short line railway in Canada to be purchased from a class I railway, in this case Canadian National Railway (CN). It took over operation of further CN trackage in 1998. As of 2004, the railway has 44 employees. It is headquartered in Stratford, Ontario, and owned by short-line railroad holding company Genesee & Wyoming.[2]


The Goderich–Exeter Railway was created in 1992[1] by its owner, RailTex (subsequently purchased by RailAmerica in 2000, and Genesee & Wyoming in late 2012), to operate over Canadian National Railway's Goderich Subdivision, 70 miles (110 km) of track between Stratford and Goderich, Ontario that was acquired from CN. The railway started operation on April 3, 1992. On November 15, 1998, the Goderich–Exeter Railway took over operation of CN's Guelph Subdivision, which runs over 99 miles (159 km) between Silver Junction (in Georgetown) and London, Ontario.

The railway had expressed an interest in acquiring the former CN branchline from Stratford to Owen Sound, but was unable to do so as a result of changes to Ontario labour law which made the acquisition uneconomic.[3]

Freight services[edit]

One of GEXR's former[4] customers was Volvo Motor Graders in Goderich.

The railway handles around 25,000 carloads of freight annually, consisting mainly of automobile parts, salt and fertilizer, wheat, grains, soy meal and rice. The railroad serves many cities and towns in southwestern Ontario, including Cambridge, Kitchener, Guelph Waterloo, Elmira, Stratford, St. Mary’s, New Hamburg, Thorndale, Shakespeare. From Stratford the line serves the east west corridor of Huron and Perth Counties serving Mitchell, Dublin, Seaforth, Clinton, and Goderich. There is also a spur line running south from Clinton, serving, Brucefield, Hensall, Exeter, and Centralia.[2]

The spur line to Elmira serves a Uniroyal plant. Traffic on the Goderich Subdivision mainly consists of salt from the Sifto Canada salt mines in Goderich, and construction equipment produced by a Volvo Motor Graders plant in Goderich (closed 2010). It also connects with the port facility at the Port of Goderich.


The Goderich–Exeter Railway interchanges with CN in Stratford yard.


GEXR 177, "Titania", an EMD GP9.
GEXR #3843, an EMD GP38AC.

As of 2017, the railway owns 13 locomotives, which were acquired used. Its first four locomotives, purchased between 1992 and 1994, were given names of Shakespearean characters (#177 was named "Titania", #178 "Paulina", #179 "Portia", and #180 "Falstaff"), as Stratford is the home of the Canadian Shakespearean Festival. Unit #'s 178, 179, and 180 have since been sold to other railways. GEXR was acquired by Genesee & Wyoming Inc in 2012. The railway also leases a few locomotives. All of its locomotives were made by General Motors Electro-Motive Division and include EMD GP38s, EMD GP35s, EMD GP40s, and EMD SD40-2s. As of March 2017, some of their locomotives are owned by subsidiaries of Genesee & Wyoming Inc.


List of GEXR's active units (as of July 2018)

Model Maker Numbers Build Date Remarks
EMD GP40-2 EMD 3030 Jun-1974 Nee Canadian National Railway CN 9431
EMD GP38 EMD 2303 Sept-1971 Nee Baltimore & Ohio Railroad BO 4016
EMD GP38-2 EMD 2236 Feb-1976 Nee LIRR 262
EMD GP40 EMD 4095 May-1966 Nee SOR 4095 Nee Canadian National Railway 4004
EMD GP38-3 EMD 2073 rebuilt April 2017 Nee GEXR 3821
EMD SD40-2 EMD 3393 Mar-1975 Nee MP 3176 Nee GSCX 7362 Nee GATX 7362
EMD SD40-2 EMD 3394 Mar-1975 Nee GSCX 7369 Nee GATX 7369
EMD SD45T-2 EMD 3054 Jun-1975 Nee SSW 9392 Nee GEXR 9392, SP has been spray painted on the front nose

Return of CN[edit]

After a 21-year lease to GEXR, CN took over GEXR's yards and the Guelph Subdivision on Nov. 15, 2018. Metrolinx assumed ownership and responsibility for the Guelph Sub from Georgetown to Kitchener. However, GEXR still runs on the Goderich and Exeter Sub.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "RailAmerica's Empire". Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing. June 2010.
  2. ^ a b Genesee & Wyoming - Goderich-Exeter Railway (GEXR)
  3. ^ Quote: "We tried to buy a rail line in Ontario for over four years. It runs from Stratford up to Owen Sound. It was during the time the NDP was in power when there was successor rights legislation in Ontario. This meant that we would have had to take all the existing CN rail unions. We worked very diligently to accommodate rail labour in this case. We could not come to an agreement, and all that track has now been torn up."
  4. ^ "Volvo plant closure takes toll on Goderich | Toronto Star". thestar.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15.

External links[edit]