Kingston railway station (Ontario)
|Location||1800 John Counter Blvd,
|Platforms||2 side platforms|
The Kingston railway station is an inter-city passenger rail station in Cataraqui, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. It is served by Via Rail trains running from Toronto to Ottawa or Montreal, along the Corridor route. It is located on John Counter Boulevard, northeast of Princess Street and north-west of downtown Kingston.
The station is staffed, with ticket sales, baggage check, snack bar, vending machines, telephones, washrooms, and wheelchair access to the station and trains. There are two tracks, one of which is accessed through a tunnel.
Short-term and long-term parking is available on the east side of the station. The cost is $2.50 per hour for short-term parking, $9.00 for a 24-hour period and $75.00 for a monthly pass. A taxi stand is located on the north side of the station.
The Via station is also served by Kingston Transit. Public transportation throughout the day and evening is available to the bus station, Kingston Centre, Cataraqui Town Centre, King's Crossing, Queen's University, St. Lawrence College, and downtown Kingston, either directly from the station or very close by, on routes 4, 7, 16, and 18.
CN's Montréal-Toronto mainline, opened October 27, 1856, as the Grand Trunk Railway, was built in three sections: Montréal built a subdivision westward to Brockville, Toronto built eastward to Oshawa, and Kingston built both east and west to bridge the gap. A "Grand Trunk village" of buildings around the 1855 two-storey stone Outer Station (810 Montreal Street) served as a regional base of operations during the initial construction and operation of the line, even though this location was awkwardly a 3 miles (4.8 km) stagecoach ride north from downtown Kingston at the time.
The current station opened west of Kingston's then-city limits in 1974, replacing CN's historic Grand Trunk station buildings in the city's north end. Relocating the station allowed CN to shift mainline track further north, eliminating a long curve to the south. Only the wall clock was retained from the former CN Outer Station, which is now abandoned and in ruins. The current 1974 mainline station has no notable historic or architectural value.
Kingston was once served by two railways: the 1856 Grand Trunk Railway (later CN Rail) mainline running east-west, and the now-defunct Kingston and Pembroke Railway, which ran northward to Renfrew, Ontario. The CN mainline between Toronto and Montréal crosses the Rideau Canal system at Kingston Mills, a rural area north of the city, although a spur once existed to serve the formerly-industrial waterfront.
This led to the construction of multiple historic stations in the same city; CN's Outer Station (810 Montreal Street) was located directly on the east-west mainline but awkward to access from downtown. Both a CN (Grand Trunk) spur and a CP-operated railway (the Kingston & Pembroke) followed the west bank of the Cataraqui River to reach Kingston's then-industrial waterfront and lake port. As CP operated K&P's Inner Station directly opposite Kingston City Hall in what is now Confederation Park, the Grand Trunk employed a waterfront agent, Hanlon's Depot (Ontario and Johnson), to remain competitive. The lines extended to the Canadian Locomotive Company factory and Kingston Dry Dock. Land now occupied by Confederation Park, a waterfront Holiday Inn and downtown Ontario Health Insurance Plan offices was once filled by trackage and rail yards, with grain elevators on what is now the Wolfe Islander III dock. Hanlon's Depot closed in the 1930s, K&P was largely dead by the 1950s, and the last waterfront tracks were removed when the locomotive factory closed in the 1960s.
The demise of the industrial waterfront left CN's historic Outer Station as the only passenger station in Kingston.
CN / Grand Trunk Outer Station
Because of its position at the midpoint of the Toronto-Montréal mainline, Kingston's Outer Station survived as the primary rail station in the area from the line's opening in 1856 until the current station opened in 1974. The station consisted of a stone building (1855) and a brick building (1895-98) arranged around a curve in the main tracks and joined by a covered platform. The main 1855 limestone station exhibited some similarity in design to Belleville station (220 Station Street, used from 1856–2012) as one of a rare few original GTR wayside stations with an added second storey. An 1859 plan shows additional buildings including wood sheds, engine houses, a freight house and a refreshment saloon, which have long been removed.
The tracks were realigned further north in 1976. The railway offices were removed in 1987; the site was briefly refurbished as the Pig and Whistle restaurant (1989 to 1992) and then abandoned. The original roof is gone, damaged by a fire in 1996.
Designated in 1994 as a heritage railway station, the abandoned station after years of neglect lay in ruins, with only portions of the original limestone walls still standing, and held in place by steel supports. One 2004 report to Kingston City Council estimated a $4 million cost to restore the building and clean up toxic contamination of the surrounding grounds. In 2014, Doornekamp Construction proposed relocating the former station to outer Wellington Street, in downtown Kingston, and rebuilding it as office space.
The former station's sub-prime location in Rideau Heights, long one of the worst neighbourhoods in the city, limits economic prospects for redevelopment of the historic property. Efforts by the City of Kingston to force the Canadian National Railway to preserve or repair the deteriorating station under the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act and the city’s property standards bylaw have only been met with opposition and delay through the courts. The Canadian Heritage Foundation listed the station in 2008 among its top ten endangered sites and considers it to be still at risk. In 2015, the City of Kingston established the North King's Town Secondary Planning project, to examine the revitalization of neighbourhoods which include the Outer Station. The study period is set to run to late 2018, and is enabled through direction from Council, a dedicated Working Group of stakeholders and citizens, and retained professional planning consultants.
K&P Inner Station
Kingston's Inner Station, constructed as the southern terminus of the former Kingston and Pembroke Railway, is not part of the CN system. It served passengers on the now-abandoned Kingston-Renfrew line, assumed by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1913 and largely defunct by the 1950s. The canopy and platform next to the station was demolished after the station closed; as well tracks to the south were removed.
The Bay of Quinte Railway, a local carrier acquired by Canadian Northern Railway, had running rights on K&P tracks from Harrowsmith to Kingston, giving the city access to all three systems. The K&P tracks no longer exist. Due to its prime location at 209 Ontario Street in downtown Kingston ( ), the historic Inner Station remains open, maintained as a tourist information centre after restoration.
CN passenger service in downtown Kingston existed briefly from Hanlon's Depot (now a restaurant, Frankie Pesto's) but never used the K&P station.
- "VIA Rail Kingston, 1800 John Counter Boulevard". parkings facilities. Indigo. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- Page, David (November 2005). "Railway Traces in and around Kingston". Branchline. Bytown Railway Society: 10. Archived from the original on 2012-12-23.
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- 1919 photo of Kingston Outer Station on Frontenac Historical Society site, copyright expired. The station consists of three buildings around a curve in the track.
- Heritage Research Associates Inc. (March 1, 2011). "Canadian National Railways Station, Kingston, Ontario". Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Railway Station Report.
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- "Image". Historic Places.ca. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
- Frontenac Historical Society, images of former Kingston Outer Station
- "Committee report" (PDF). Corporation of the City of Kingston. 2011. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- "Outer Station's future focus of meeting". The Kingston Whig-Standard. July 4, 2011. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- "Corrections official likes idea of inmates helping". The Kingston Whig-Standard. January 26, 2011. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
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- "The Old Grand Trunk Railway Station". Heritage Canada Foundation. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
- "Kingston Canada's Official Tourism Website". Tourism Kingston. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
Media related to Railway stations in Kingston, Ontario at Wikimedia Commons