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Railways

After the principal east-west railway routes across southern Ontario had been completed in the 1850s, railway promoters turned their attention to the northern hinterlands and began establishing rail connections with the upper Great Lakes. Several of these lines were constructed through Caledon in the 1870s, providing our local communities with direct access to urban markets and enabling viable exploitation of the area's aggregate resources. The routing of the railways secured the economic fortunes of some communities, while causing the eventual demise of many of those that were by-passed.

Toronto Grey Bruce Railway

The first railway to cross Caledon was the Toronto, Grey & Bruce, completed from Toronto to Orangeville in 1871 and extended to Owen Sound by 1873.  The TG&B had stations in Bolton, Mono Road, Caledon Village, Alton and Melville. The line later became part of the Canadian Pacific Railway network. In 1932, the section between Bolton and Orangeville was closed and the tracks removed. Remnant stretches of the TGB's railway embankments can still be seen across the Caledon countryside. The most memorable local event on this railway was the 1907 Horseshoe Curve Train Wreck at Escarpment Sideroad and Horseshoe Hill Road, in which 7 were killed and 114 injured.

Hamilton & North Western Railway

The H&NW railway was built northeastward through Caledon in the late 1870s, reaching Barrie and Collingwood by 1879. Later owned by the Grand Trunk and Canadian National Railway, the H&NW had stations at Terra Cotta, Cheltenham, Inglewood, Caledon East, Centreville and Palgrave. Closed in the 1960s, the 35 km route across Caledon was purchased by the Town in 1989 and converted for use as the Caledon Trailway.

Credit Valley Railway

The Credit Valley Railway ran from Toronto to St. Thomas, with branch lines to Orangeville and Elora. The branch lines through Caledon were completed by 1879, with stations at Cheltenham, Inglewood, Forks of the Credit, Cataract (junction with Elora branch), Alton and Melville.  Two of the principal reasons behind the railway's northern routes were to access cordwood and quarried stone for the southern urban markets.  Under CPR ownership by 1883, the section of line from Melville Junction to Orangeville was abandoned in 1884 as it duplicated the TG&B, which CPR also owned.

By 1958 the CPR had stopped passenger service on the Orangeville and Elora lines. In 1987, the Cataract to Elora branch line was abandoned (later became Elora-Cataract Trail). Since September 2000, the section of the original Credit Valley line between Orangeville and Streetsville has been operated as a shortline freight railway by the Orangeville-Brampton Railway (OBRY), which also runs the Credit Valley Explorer excursion train through the scenic Credit River Valley. 

 

For more information

For more information, visit the Heritage section or contact Douglas McGlynn, Heritage|Urban Design Planner by email at douglas.mcglynn@caledon.ca or by phone at 905.584.2272 x. 4232.