Guelph Junction Railway

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The Guelph Junction Railway was the first federally chartered railway in the Commonwealth of Nations to be owned by a municipality, the city of Guelph, Ontario.[1] The only other one was the Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway.

History[edit]

The Guelph Junction Railway was incorporated in 1884 by Guelph merchants because of the indifference of the Grand Trunk Railway, which was the only choice for freight since 1856. Competition was the only answer to high rates. The intention was to build tracks 15 miles south to the CPR main line in Campbellville, Ontario. Construction began in May 1887 and this line opened on 20 August 1888. Rather than operate the link themselves, they leased it to the Canadian Pacific Railway who offered twice daily passenger service as well as freight service. The City of Guelph was a majority (70 percent) owner and in November 1910 it acquired the rest of the stock from the merchants for sole ownership. The CPR erected a passenger station and freight shed at Priory Square in Guelph[2] a location which is now the River Run Centre.[3]

An additional line was added, an 80-mile stretch of rail from Guelph to Goderich, Ontario, completed in August 1907. There were also branch lines from Linwood by way of Stratford to St. Marys and from Linwood to Listowel.[4] Referred to as the Guelph and Goderich Railway, this stretch was also leased to the CPR (which had also incurred the cost of building it). This line was in use until 1988 when it was abandoned by the CPR.[5]

In December 1997, the CPR did not renew the lease with Guelph Junction Railway.[6] Undeterred, the city decided it would continue GJR as an independent railway and contracted with Ontario Southland Railway (OSR) to provide the freight movement services, effective January 1, 1998.[7] The Guelph Junction Railway, via OSR, provides customers with dual access service to the two major railways (CNR and CPR), which, along with good locally managed service, has increased traffic considerably. Much of the cargo is grain, plastics, chemicals, lumber, aggregates and other industrial products.[8]

Since the City of Guelph is the sole owner, GJR is nearly unique in Canada as a municipally owned, federally chartered railway. It is one of only two in all of Canada. The Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway in Manitoba is the other one, but that railway it is no longer a common carrier;[9] it now only maintains and provides security for the aqueduct owned by Winnipeg's Water and Waste Department.

From summer 2008 to August 2011, a 4.5 hour passenger tour service travelled the entire GJR track as Grand Junction Express with its own 1950's vintage stainless steel cars[10] but that service was owned by private individuals operating as Destiny Tours.[11]

In November 2015, PDI Canada announced that Guelph Junction Railway would be its primary carrier for a major contract it has signed to move materials (oils and liquid asphalt) to and from Breslau, Ontario (near Kitchener) and PDI's location in Guelph. The increase in traffic to GJR will be substantial, estimated as "over 1,000 railcars per year".[12] This should increase GJR’s annual net profit which was roughly $200,000 per annum in recent years.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Canadian Pacific Railway - London Division Branch Lines". Old Time Trains. Old Time Trains. 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "About the GHRA". The Guelph Historical Railway Association. The Guelph Historical Railway Association. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Guelph Mercury (30 March 2009). "Rail transport is not just a thing of the past". Canadian Railway News. Canadian Railway News. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Guelph & Goderich Railway". Train Web. Train Web. 31 December 1997. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  5. ^ "Canadian Pacific Railway - London Division Branch Lines". Old Time Trains. Old Time Trains. 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  6. ^ "Canadian Pacific Railway - London Division Branch Lines". Old Time Trains. Old Time Trains. 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "Guelph Junction Railway". City of Guelph. City of Guelph. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Guelph Junction Railway". City of Guelph. City of Guelph. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "Canadian Pacific Railway - London Division Branch Lines". Old Time Trains. Old Time Trains. 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "Permanent Tourist Train coming to Guelph!". GHRA News. The Guelph Historical Railway Association. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  11. ^ Saxon, Tony (14 August 2011). "Guelph Junction Express rides the rails for a last time". Guelph Mercury. Guelph, Ontario. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Guelph Junction Railway gets business boost". Guelph Mercury. Guelph. 24 December 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  13. ^ "Guelph switching tracks on management structure of Canada's first city-owned railway". Guelph Tribune, Metroland Media. Guelph, Ontario. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 

External links[edit]