Guelph Junction Railway

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The Guelph Junction Railway is a shortline railway that is owned by the City of Guelph, Ontario, and serves the city's northwest industrial park.[1]

The railway was the first federally chartered railway in the Commonwealth of Nations to be owned by a municipality. It is one of only two in all of Canada, the other being the Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway in Manitoba.[2]


The railway was incorporated in 1884[3] 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. These plans were expanded in 1887, when authorization was obtained to lay down a further line to the northwest of Guelph, originally with the intention of going to Goderich but eventually ending at Linwood.[4] The intention was to build tracks 15 miles (24 km) south to the CPR main line in Campbellville, Ontario. Construction began in May that year, and it opened on 20 August 1888. Rather than operate the link themselves, they leased it to the Canadian Pacific Railway[5] 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 Canadian Pacific Railway erected a passenger station and freight shed at Priory Square in Guelph, a location which is now the River Run Centre.[6][7]

In 1904, the Railway obtained authorization to construct branch lines from Linwood by way of Stratford to St. Marys and Clinton, and from Linwood to Listowel.[8] The Stratford branch was never constructed, while the Listowel branch opened in 1908.[9]

In December 1997, the Canadian Pacific Railway did not renew the lease with Guelph Junction Railway.[2] Undeterred, the city decided it would continue Guelph Junction Railway as an independent railway and contracted with Ontario Southland Railway (OSR) to provide the freight movement services, effective January 1, 1998. 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.[1]

Guelph and Goderich Railway[edit]

The Railway promoted an expansion of its operations through the incorporation of the Guelph and Goderich Railway in 1901,[10][9] which added a line extending 80 miles (130 km) from Guelph to Goderich that was completed in August 1907. The GJR was authorized to transfer its present northwest line to either the CPR or the G&G in order to further the project.[11] The whole line was leased to the CPR, which had also incurred the cost of building it, and it was vested in the CPR, and the company dissolved, in 1956.[12] It was in use until 1988 when it was abandoned by the CPR.[2]

Grand Junction Express[edit]

From summer 2008 to August 2011, a 4.5 hour passenger tour service travelled the entire Guelph Junction Railway track as the Grand Junction Express with its own 1950's vintage stainless steel cars. The service was owned by private individuals operating as Destiny Tours.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b "Guelph Junction Railway". City of Guelph. City of Guelph. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Canadian Pacific Railway - London Division Branch Lines". Old Time Trains. Old Time Trains. 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  3. ^ S.C. 1884, c. 79
  4. ^ An Act respecting the Guelph Junction Railway Company, S.C. 1887, c. 59
  5. ^ An Act to confirm a lease made between the Guelph Junction Railway Company and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company; and for other purposes, S.C. 1891, c. 73
  6. ^ "About the GHRA". The Guelph Historical Railway Association. The Guelph Historical Railway Association. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ An Act respecting the Guelph Junction Railway Company, S.C. 1904, c. 82 |
  9. ^ a b "The Guelph & Goderich Railway". Train Web. Train Web. 31 December 1997. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  10. ^ An Act to incorporate the Guelph and Goderich Railway Company, S.C. 1904, c. 81
  11. ^ S.C. 1904, c. 82, s.3
  12. ^ Canadian Pacific Railway Company (Subsidiaries) Act, 1956, S.C. 1956, c. 55
  13. ^ "Permanent Tourist Train coming to Guelph!". GHRA News. The Guelph Historical Railway Association. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  14. ^ Saxon, Tony (14 August 2011). "Guelph Junction Express rides the rails for a last time". Guelph Mercury. Guelph, Ontario. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 

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