Significant Cornwall Railway Dates

The following is a list of important dates in railway history for Cornwall, Ontario.  These dates also include the businesses that were served by the rails within what is today Cornwall’s city limits.  Enjoy!

1846 – Montreal & Kingston Railroad was created to build a line of rails from Montreal to Kingston.

1851, August 30 – the Montreal & Kingston RR was renamed to the Montreal & Kingston Railway and placed under the control of the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad (operating at that time from Longueuil to St-Hyacinthe).

1851, August 30 – the Canadian Main Line was incorporated to connect the eastern British Colonies together with a railway.

1852, November 10 – the Canadian Main Line was split into two companies, the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada East and the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, the latter was to build rails from Montreal to Toronto, running approximately 3 to 5 miles north of the St. Lawrence River. The Montreal & Kingston Ry was repealed in favour of the Grand Trunk project.

1853, July 15 – the two Grand Trunk companies merged together with the St. Lawrence & Atlantic RR as well as with the companies of the Toronto & Guelph Railway, the Grand Junction Railroad and the Quebec & Richmond Railway to become the Grand Trunk Railway.

GTR stock

Grand Trunk Railway stock certificate

1854 – a delegation of mayors and other political figures from the communities along the St. Lawrence River, including those from Cornwall, met with the Grand Trunk Ry and successfully convinced them to bring the proposed rail line closer to the river and through their communities where possible. The original plan would have placed the Grand Trunk Ry line somewhere between St. Andrews West and Cornwall Centre Road, well north out of Cornwall’s limits.

1855, November 19 – Grand Trunk Ry opened through Cornwall from Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue to Brockville in broad gauge. A passenger train originating at Brockville to Montreal (nos. 25 and 26) became known as “the Moccasin” for the Native Americans whom used that train to sell their wares in the city. Cornwall had a station (situated on the north side of Ninth Street East where today Sydney Street runs north, beside the intersection with Tenth Street East), engine house, freight house and dining hall.


Grand Trunk Railway station (north of 9th & Sydney).  Today this view is looking east.  Sydney is running right to left through the limestone station while the rail line running off to the left is 10th Street East.

1856, October 27 – Grand Trunk Ry completed its line between Toronto and Montreal. The first through train consisted of 3 first class and 3 second class coaches, ran from Montreal (Point St. Charles) to Toronto (Don Station) and a similar train made the journey in the opposite direction. Departure was at 07:00 from Montreal an

1856, October 27 – Grand Trunk Ry completed its line between Toronto and Montreal. The first through train consisted of 3 first class and 3 second class coaches, ran from Montreal (Point St. Charles) to Toronto (Don Station) and a similar train made the journey in the opposite direction. Departure was at 07:00 from Montreal and 07:30 from Toronto. The trains passed in the vicinity of Kingston Junction where a stop of 30 minutes occurred for lunch. The journey took 14 hours.

1873, October 4 – Grand Trunk Ry converted to standard gauged west of Montreal, which including the rails through Cornwall.

1882 – the Cornwall Junction Railway was created to build from Cornwall to Smiths Falls and then to Perth or Carleton Place. This company would never start construction.

1882, May 17 – the Ontario Pacific Railway was created to build from Cornwall to Ottawa and on to French River, with branch lines from Cornwall running to Smiths Falls and Moira, New York.

OPR stock

Ontario Pacific Railway stock certificate

1883, February 2 – the Eastern Ontario Railway was created to build from Cornwall to Ottawa, with branch lines from Berwick to L’Orignal and from Newington to Smiths Falls and end at Carleton Place. This line was never built but merely a competing line to the Ontario Pacific Ry.

1883, May 25 – the Ontario Pacific Ry charter was granted new lines. The main line was to continue from French River to Sault Ste. Marie while the one branch line would leave at Newington instead of Cornwall and continue from Smiths Falls to Almonte. A third branch was added to run off from between Renfrew and Eganville to Pembroke.

1885 – Grand Trunk Ry built an addition to the Cornwall station building on the east side, which became offices for the Customs Officer and freight agent.

1885, November 11 – papers were filed to incorporate the Cornwall Street Railway Company. This company was to built street tram lines for horse drawn street cars as a transit service in Cornwall, Lorneville, Beaconsfield and Gladstone. The lines were to also serve the Grand Trunk station and the Toronto Paper Company from Cumberland Street.

1886, September 2 – talk of the Cornwall Junction Ry to link Cornwall with the Canadian Pacific Railway at the nearest point possible instead of going to Smiths Falls began. This project was not built.

1887, June 23 – the Prescott County Railway was created to build three lines, one running between Glen Robertson to Hawkesbury with a branch to Caledonia Springs, the second from Glen Robertson to Cornwall and the third from Limoges to Rockland.

1889 – Grand Trunk double tracked their main line from Bainsville to Cornwall.

1889 – Poor’s Manual of 1889 reports that the Cornwall Street Ry was operating over 3 miles of track and owned four cars and two steam motors. There are no references in local periodicals or documents as well as photo evidence to prove that Poor’s Manual was correct in this statement.

1890 – Grand Trunk Ry double tracked their main line from Cornwall to Morrisburg.

1890, April – the Prescott County Ry was renamed to the Central Counties Railway.

1892 – Cornwall Street Ry still had no local documentation of existing but there was a report by a town citizen whom stated that the horse drawn street cars and two small freight engines for the street railway had sat for years in the Grand Trunk Ry yards after their arrival, unused, then one day they had simply vanished. It is possible that the two motors were sold to the Rathburn Company of Deseronto (page 69 of the book Lost Horizons by Donald Wilson, 1983, has a photo of the two possible engines).

1893, May 4 – Grand Trunk Ry renamed to Grand Trunk Railway of Canada.

GTR second bond

Grand Trunk Railway of Canada stock certificate

1895, February 22 – W.C. Young, editor of the Cornwall Freeholder, proposed to create a railway company to build from Cornwall to South Indian (Limoges) for the purpose of racing the Ontario Pacific in which company would be built first. This proposal never was incorporated.

1896 – a 50,000 gallon water tank was erected at the Grand Trunk station grounds in Cornwall.

1896, March 25 – Cornwall Street Railway was repealed in favour of a newly incorporated company, the Cornwall Electric Street Railway, having the same purpose only using electrically powered street cars instead of horse drawn ones.

1896, April 23 – Cornwall Electric Street Ry construction was in full swing starting out of the Grand Trunk station area. There is mention that hopes were high for the company to build a spur northwards to Monkland.

1896, June 30 – Cornwall Electric Street Ry opened with lines running along the Grand Trunk from a connection to the station yard to Pitt Street, down Pitt Street to Water Street; then Water which becomes Montreal Road to the St. Lawrence Park on Gillespie Point. A Belt Line running north on Marlborough Street to 2nd Street East then westward to Pitt. There was also trackage from the car barns, which were on the north side of Water Street between Pitt and Sydney Streets, to businesses on the south side of 1st Street. The company had purchased four new street cars from Peterborough and were numbered 5 through 8 and were in vermilion paint.

Cornwall first street cars: top left #5; top right #6; bottom left possibly #8; bottom right #7 – (source of #6: Cornwall Community Museum)

1896, September 29 – first fatality on the Cornwall Electric Street Ry was a dog that was struck by a street car near the corner of 2nd and Adolphus streets.

1896, October- Cornwall Electric Street Ry opened a spur on 3rd Street West from Pitt Street to the Victoria Arena, which was between Pitt and Augustus streets.

1896, November 26 – Cornwall Electric Street Ry opened on 2nd Street West from Pitt Street to Brookdale Avenue and along 2nd to enter the yard of the Toronto Paper Mill. Also opened was a line on Marlborough Street from Water Street/Montreal Road to William Street, along that street to the Canada Cotton Mill.

1897 – Cornwall Electric Street Ry purchased two new street cars from Peterborough, numbered 9 and 10.

Street cars #9 (left) and #10 (right)

1897, May 21 – the Ontario Pacific Ry became The Ottawa & New York Railway and was to build from the border at Cornwall to Ottawa.

Ottawa & New York Railway stock certificate

1897, July 28 – the Cornwall Bridge Company created to build the south channel bridge that will link the New York & Ottawa Railroad with the Ottawa & New York Ry, as well as the Racquette River crossing.

Cornwall Bridge Company stock certificate

1898 – Cornwall Electric Street Ry made an agreement with Grand Trunk Ry and Ottawa & New York Ry to operate a freight service that would take cars from their yards and bring them to the businesses in town. The company’s bonds were slowly being purchased by Sun Life Assurance Company.

1898 – Central Counties Ry abandoned the proposed line between Glen Robertson to Cornwall.

1898, June 13 – The Ottawa & New York Ry was purchased by the New York & Ottawa RR and dropped “The” from their title.

1898, July 29 – the Ottawa & New York Ry opened from Cornwall to Ottawa having trackage rights over the Montreal & Ottawa Railway at Hurdman to their freight yard. The Cornwall station was on the north side of 2nd Street West between Hoople Avenue and Hickory Street. Cornwall Electric Street Ry opened a section of track that looped around the Toronto Paper Mill and Smithville to the O&NY rail yard so that they could reach the station grounds as well as had a wye on the east side of the bridge crossing that continued under it and ended along the Cornwall Canal where Frontenac Street is today south of where Frontenac Oil Refineries was just establishing themselves.


Looking north from the Ottawa & New York Ry station (source: Standard-Freeholder)

1898, August 14 – Cornwall Electric Street Ry ran a special on this date, a Sunday, which was in breach of their charter. The company suspended services sometime after this date, leaving two street cars purchased from the Ottawa Electric Railway (Nos. 14 & 16) that had arrived by then to stay in the Ottawa & New York Ry switch yard.

1898, September 6 – pier 2 of the South Ottawa & New York Railway Bridge collapsed bringing down the two American trusses and killing 15 workers. This is Cornwall’s worst disaster to include loss of life.


Postcard of 1898 accident looking north to Cornwall Island.

1899, April 18 – the New York & Ottawa Bridge Company created to run the bridge crossing that would link the New York & Ottawa to the Ottawa & New York..

New York & Ottawa Bridge Company stock certificate

1899, June 2 – Cornwall Electric Street Ry restarted services and picked up their street cars (14 and 16) in the Ottawa & New York yard. Before they were put into service they needed some maintenance due to sitting out in the open for so long. S.W. Bradley, formally of the Hull Electric Company, was appointed as superintendent. A contract to move mail from the Grand Trunk Ry station to the Royal Mail Canada post office at 2nd and Pitt Streets was agreed upon. The company also purchased their first freight motor from Baldwin-Westinghouse, numbering it 12, as well as a sweeper from the Montreal Street Railway as their no. 1. The company began moving freight cars to businesses throughout Cornwall and put a small line from Water Street south on Adolphus to serve the Ross Mill and a siding at the base of Water and Pitt to serve Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company..

street car #16 (Standard-Freeholder photo) on left; sweeper #1 on right

1900 – Cornwall Electric Street Ry purchased their second motor, a wood box type, from the Baldwin-Westinghouse Company, numbering it 26.

Freight motor #26

1900, April 25 – the New York & Ottawa RR went into receivership.

1900, October 1 – the Ottawa & New York Railway Bridges opened, connecting Ottawa & New York Ry to New York & Ottawa RR. Ottawa & New York Ry owned the north channel crossing while Cornwall Bridge Company owned the south channel one.

Left is the Canadian bridge, a cantilever over the north channel of the St. Lawrence with a swing span over the Cornwall Canal. Right is the American bridge, a Pratt Truss, crossing the south channel of the St. Lawrence.

1900, November 1 – the New York & Ottawa Bridge Company leased the bridges from the Ottawa & New York Ry and Cornwall Bridge Company.

1901, June 10 – Cornwall Electric Street Ry was foreclosed on.

1902 – the Ontario Electric Railway was created to build an electric railway from Cornwall to Toronto.

1902, April 18 – Cornwall Electric Street Ry was renamed Cornwall Street Railway, Light & Power Company, owned fully by Sun Life Assurance Company. Added to its charter was the power to supply electricity to the town of Cornwall.

1903 – a 49 foot, 8 inch long turntable was built at the Grand Trunk Ry station grounds.

1904, September 13 – a spur was built from the Grand Trunk Ry to the Cornwall Paper Manufacturing Company in Mille Roches.

1904, December 22 – the New York & Ottawa RR was sold at an auction held in Utica to New York Central & Hudson River Railroad interests.

1905 – Sun Life Assurance Company purchased the Stormont Electric Light & Power Company and placed its day by day operations under the Cornwall Street Ry Board of Managers. Cornwall Street Ry purchased a sweeper from the Montreal Park & Island Railway as their no. 2. The company would open a line on York Street from 2nd to 3rd streets to McGill Chair Company, another on Gloucester Street from 2nd northwards halfway to 3rd to serve Atchison & Company and a third from Pitt Street to Hodgins Lumber on the west side of the street between 8th and 9th streets.

1905 – The Toronto Railway refused to allow Ontario Electric Ry to enter Toronto on their rails, so the charter went dormant.

1905, January 19 – the New York & Ottawa Rd was renamed to New York & Ottawa Railway.

1905, February 1 – the New York Central & Hudson River RR began a lease on the New York & Ottawa Ry, along with the Ottawa & New York Ry.

1905, June 30 – Cornwall Street Ry went on strike until July 4th.

1906, July 22 – Grand Trunk Ry changed from left to right hand running on double track sections. The change involved considerable alteration in crossovers, switches and semaphore signals.

1906, December 12 – the New York Central & Hudson River RR began to operate the New York & Ottawa Ry and Ottawa & New York Ry.

1908, June 23 – the swing span of the North Ottawa & New York Railway Bridge collapsed after the Cornwall Canal experienced a break in its banks just to the west of the supporting pier.


1908 accident looking south across the Cornwall Canal (postcard photo)

1908, August 4 – a temporary swing span was put into operation for the Ottawa & New York Ry to cross the Cornwall Canal.


Temporary swing bridge over Cornwall Canal.

1909 – the Ontario Electric Ry was renamed to the Eastern Ontario Electric Railway and was still to build from Cornwall to Toronto an electrically powered railway. This was never built.

1909 – the Ottawa & St. Lawrence Electric Railway was created to built from the Ontario/Quebec border along the St. Lawrence River through Cornwall, Brockville, Athens and end at Perth with a branch from Morrisburg to Ottawa.

1909 – Cornwall Street Ry opened a line from the corner of Pitt and Water running west to Augustus to serve the St. Lawrence Breweries Limited.

1909, March 23 – Cornwall Paper Manufacturing Company became the St. Lawrence Paper Mill.

1909, May – a new swing span was put into operation over the Cornwall Canal for the Ottawa & New York Ry.

1910 – the Cornwall & Hawkesbury Railway was created to build from Cornwall through Martintown and Alexandria to Hawkesbury and connect to Canadian Pacific’s line running along the north shore of the Ottawa River between Calumet and Grenville.

1910, May 11 – Ottawa & New York Ry conductor William McGregor was killed while coupling cars above the station.

1912, May – the Glengarry & Stormont Railway was created to link Cornwall with Canadian Pacific’s Toronto – Montreal line as well as have branches to Martintown, Williamstown and Lancaster. This was favoured over the Cornwall & Hawkesbury Ry project.

1913 – McGill Chair Company became McGill Chairs Limited.

1913, March 7 – the New York & Ottawa Ry merged into the New York Central & Hudson River RR.

1913, May 6 – the Ottawa & St. Lawrence Electric Ry absorbed the North Lanark Railway, a company that was to link the rail line between Kingston and Renfrew to Ottawa.

1913, May 8 – the Glengarry & Stormont Ry was reincorporated to build from St-Polycarpe Junction through Williamstown to Cornwall.

1913, June – Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company became Canada Transportation Lines Limited.

1913, December – Canada Transportation Lines Limited became Canada Steamship Lines Limited.

1914 – the Cornwall & Hawkesbury Ry was reincorporated. It was never built.

1914, May 29 – William Britton, an employee of the Cornwall Street Ry, was killed when he was jammed between two freight cars of the New York Central & Hudson River RR during shunting operations.

1914, July 20 – New York Central & Hudson River RR was renamed to New York Central Railroad.

1914, September 30 – the Ottawa & St. Lawrence Electric Ry began construction in Russell. Only this initial work in the town was done and the project was abandoned.

1915 – the Cornwall Street Ry retired street cars Nos. 14 and 16. They opened a line on Cumberland Street from 2nd Street to the east side of the T-intersection with Pine Street to serve Lally Coal & Wood Company.

1915, May 24 – the Glengarry & Stormont Ry was opened from Cornwall to St-Polycarpe Junction, just west of De Beaujeu in Quebec on the Canadian Pacific main line. The station in Cornwall was on the northeast corner of Pitt Street and Sixth Street East while the freight facilities were a block away, the yard housed a large freight shed on Sixth Street East at Amelia Street while the turntable, engine house, water spout and ash pit, were along Adolphus Street. The Cornwall Street Ry had access to the yard by a connection at Pitt and 6th.


Glengarry & Stormont station looking west (6th and Pitt – Source: Maurice Lafontaine)

1915, June 1 – the Glengarry & Stormont Ry was leased for 99 years to the Canadian Pacific Ry, whom operated it as their Cornwall Subdivision. In the yard was an area that had horizontal tanks for Canadian Oil Companies Limited.

1916 – Cornwall Street Railway rebuilt their original street cars to closed cars, renumbering them. Nos. 5 became 42; 6 to 45; 7 to 43; 8 to 46; 9 to 44; and 10 to 47.

1916, December 26 – the interlocking tower at Cornwall Junction was destroyed by fire. It started in the basement and consumed the entire building. A new tower was immediately built but until it was completed the trains were flagged for crossing.

1917, September 6 – the New York & Ottawa Bridge Company was dissolved and the Cornwall Bridge Company merged into New York Central RR.

1918 – sometime after this year the St. Lawrence Paper Mill was renamed to the Provincial Paper Company.

1919 – Bob McCleary resigns as New York Central RR’s Cornwall station agent and is replaced with his brother-in-law Harold Bouck, whom was the night agent at Cornwall Junction.

1919 – by this time the Cornwall Street Ry had a line off of Pitt Street running just north of 8th Street to serve Ives Bedding.

1919, November 5 – Grand Trunk Ry was foreclosed on and was slowly taken over by Canadian National Railways.

1920 – Cornwall Street Ry scrapped street cars Nos. 14 and 16.

1920 – Toronto Paper Mill became the Howard Smith Paper Mill. St. Lawrence Breweries Limited closed but the building for the next several years would be used as a warehouse, a factory, a meat packer and then a brickworks with none of these businesses operating at the same time and unsure if rail service continued.

1920, May 21 – Grand Trunk Ry became the property of the Canadian Government.

1923 – Cornwall Street Ry extended their Montreal Road line from the turn into St. Lawrence Park to the newly opened Courtaulds Canada Limited plant. They also put a small spur into Cornwall Pants & Prince Clothing Company at the southeast corner of Marlborough Street and Montreal Road.

1923, January 30 – Grand Trunk Ry was merged into Canadian National Rys. The line through Cornwall would become the Cornwall Subdivision and in modern times known as the Kingston Subdivision.

1923, July 31. While gathering coal along the Canadian National Rys track Sammy Miron was struck and killed by a passing freight train.

1924, August 24 – The station at Cornwall Junction was destroyed by fire again. It is not known if there was an actual station building at the site or if the tower doubled as a station.

1925 – Emard Brothers Lumber opened in Smithville (a community that was once between Hoople and Brookdale on the north side of the canal) and a small siding was put in by the Cornwall Street Ry.

1926 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased two street cars from the St. Thomas Municipal Railway, keeping the numbers of 36 and 38.

street cars #36 (left) and #38 (right)

1926, March 1 – $7,000,000 (about $12 million in 2022) in gold bars was shipped through Cornwall on the New York Central RR from Ottawa to New York. The money was from the Finance Department, consigned to J. P. Morgan and Company. Eight armed operatives of the New York Central RR police with riot guns, sawed off shotguns and automatic revolvers guarded the shipment. The gold, which was the first of a series of shipments totalling $50,000,000 ($84.5 million in 2022), was shipped to New York.

1927 – Frontenac Oil Refineries became McColl-Frontenac Oil Company.

1927, February 1 – Cornwall Street Ry opened a straight line along 2nd Street West from the entrance to the paper mill to the New York Central RR station grounds, avoiding but maintaining the loop around the paper mill.

1927, April 1 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased three street cars from the Toronto Transportation Commission, numbering them as 18, 20 and a second 16.

street car #16-2 (top left); #18 (top right, source: CS&TM); and #20 (bottom)

1927, July 1 – Cornwall Street Ry opened an extension of their car barns.

1927, August 1 – Cornwall Street Ry reopened the St. Lawrence Breweries Spur to serve the Provincial Dairy that began to operate in the abandoned St. Lawrence Breweries building.

1928 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased a street car from the Department of Plant & Structures in New York City, numbering it 15 and a freight motor from the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway as number 11.

street car #15 (left) and freight motor #11 (right)

1929 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased two street cars from United Railways & Electric Company in Baltimore, numbering them 17 and 19. They also purchased two from Fairchance & Smithfield Traction Company in Uniontown, PA, numbering them to 21 and 22. They scrapped nos. 42 (the trucks from this one would go to build line car no. 5), 43, 44 and 47.

street cars #17 (top , left); #19 (top, right); #21 (bottom left); and #22 (bottom, right, source: CS&TM)

1929, April 18 – James Mates, riding in a Canadian National Rys box car to Toronto, fell out off the train between Cornwall and Cornwall Junction and died from his injuries.

1930 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased two street cars from Wisconsin Public Service in Green Bay, numbering them 23 and 24. They scrapped nos. 45 and 46 and sweeper no. 1. Their freight motor 12 was rebuilt as plow no. 4 while their sweeper no. 2 was renumbered to 1 after receiving a second no. 2 from the Kingston Portsmouth & Cataraqui Railway.

street cars #23 (top left); #24 (top right); plow #4 (bottom left); and sweeper #2-2 (bottom right)

1930 – the Cornwall Bridge Company was created to build a bridge from Cornwall to St. Regis for vehicles, pedestrians and street cars. This was not accomplished.

1930, February 1 – Cornwall Street Ry opened on 7th Street West from Pitt Street to just west of Cumberland to serve Dominion Tar & Chemical Company.

1930, May 27 – Canadian National Rys opened a spur running north of Mille Roches to the Gypsum, Lime & Alabastine Canada Limited.

1931 – Cornwall Street Ry opened the Western Belt Line by connecting the track on Water Street from Augustus Street to Cumberland Street then northwards to the Lally Line.

1931, November 23 – the Cornwall-Northern New York International Bridge Company was created to handle the planking and operation of vehicles over the New York Central Bridges in Cornwall.

1932 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased a freight motor from the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway, numbering it 7 after renting out freight motor 26 to Courtaulds.

On the left is motor car #7; the right is Courtaulds #26 photo by Jim Parker from Old Time Trains

1933, August 7 – the worst fire to hit the business district of Pitt Street destroyed nearly every structure on the west side of the street between 3rd and 2nd streets. Cornwall Street Ry abandoned their line along 3rd Street West that went into the now burned out Victoria Arena.

1934 – Cornwall Street Ry extended their West Belt Line, going further north on Cumberland Street from 2nd Street to 7th Street. With the extension came the purchase of more street cars from Eastern Pennsylvania Railways Nos. 12 and 13 as well as a second No. 14. Also purchased was freight motor No. 8 from an unknown source and sweeper 3 from the Williamsport Railways. Tower car no. 5 was built using parts from the scrapped street car no. 42. They also opened a line from the intersection of 5th and Cumberland Streets to the north plant of Canadian Industries Limited (C-I-L). There was also a spur that came off this line running on the west side of Cumberland to the Powdrel & Alexander Curtain Company, another line was at the west end of the plant.

street car #12 (top left); #13 (top right); freight motor #8 (mid-left); sweeper #3 (bottom left, source: Don Ross); and line car #5 (bottom right)

1934, May 17 – the New York Central Bridges opened to automobile traffic to share the bridge with trains. The Cornwall-Northern New York International Bridge Company operated the bridge and collected the tolls.

Post card of railway bridge planked for automobiles.

1934, June 30 – official opening ceremonies for the Cornwall bridge crossing, attended and opened by the Governor-General of Canada. The bridge system was renamed to the Roosevelt International Bridges.

1935 – Cornwall Street Ry retired freight motor no. 8. To take its place as the second no. 8, a freight motor was purchased from the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway. Gamble-Robinson Limited about this time was receiving cars of produce.

freight motor #8-2

1936, July 13 – Canadian National Rys received permission to open and operate over a spur to the Beach Furniture Company on Ninth Street rather than the Cornwall Street Ry doing that service.

1936, August 18 – The Rexall streamlined train, a New York Central engine and car set, travelled through Cornwall on the Canadian National line from Kingston to Montreal. The engine was sponsored by the Rexall Drugstore.

Rexall Streamline train at Boston. Source:

1937 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased a street car from Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway, renumbering it to 25.

street car #25

1937 – Devitt Coal & Fuels opened along the Beach Furniture Spur in the Canadian National Rys yard.

1938 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased three street cars from Jamestown Street Railway in Jamestown, NY, numbering them 26 to 28. They also constructed an extension of their West Belt Line on Cumberland Street from 7th Street West to the Canadian National line at 9th Street West and followed along to connect to their system at Pitt Street. This was primarily to divert freight off of Pitt and 2nd Streets as much as possible.

street cars #26 (top left); #27 (top right); and #28 (bottom)

1938 – Sometime between this year and 1940 the Cornwall Street Ry had a spur running north on McConnell Avenue from Montreal Road to near the Walton Street intersection, then back into Parisien Fuels on the west side of McConnell.

1939 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased four street cars from Northern Texas Traction Company in Fort Worth, numbering them as 29 to 32.

street car #29 (top left, source: CS&TM); #30 (top right with my grandmother getting off); #31 (bottom left); and #32 (bottom right)

1939, May 21 – King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth, on their tour of Canada by train, passed through Cornwall on their westbound trip on Canadian National Rys. The royal couple stood on the observation platform of the last car to wave to all the Cornwallites as the train went through the city slowly.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth as they went through Cornwall

1941 – Cornwall Street Ry sold their street cars Nos. 14, 21 and 23 to Levis Tramways. They also opened a few sidings into the newly opened Cornwall Chemicals Limited, which was owned by C-I-L.

1942 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased two street cars from the Wilkes-Barre Railway, numbering them 34 and 35. Also purchased from the Windsor Essex & Lake Shore Rapid Railway were two freight motors that became nos. 9 and 10. They abandoned the McGill Chairs Line due to that company closing. By this time the line to Atchison & Company was also gone.

street cars #34 (top left, source: Bill Volkner); #35 (top right); and freight motor #9 (bottom, source: CS&TM)

1942, February 23 – a 15-car-long train, advertised as the Canadian Army Train, stopped in Cornwall to promote Victory Loans and the Canadian effort in World War II. It carried more than $3 million worth of ‘Made in Canada’ military equipment and was on a coast-to-coast tour of the country.

Canadian Army Train, photo from the New Brunswick Museum, taken at Timmins, Ontario

1942, October 1 – Cornwall Street Ry opened a new freight line that ran on 7th Street West from the Dominion Tar & Chemical Line to Brookdale Avenue and continued westward into the current industrial sector that was in the western part of Cornwall. The line ended at Defence Industries Limited, operating as Stormont Chemicals, as well as a line to their warehousing area. Canadian National Rys opened a spur from their main line (called Alchem) to connect to the street railway’s end of track. The plant was built with the help of C-I-L. A second street railway line branched off this one just east of the New York Central RR crossing that connected to the line that entered the New York Central RR yard. A third street railway line branched off the Stormont Chemicals line between the NYC connecting street line and C-I-L to reach the north end of Howard Smith Paper Mill, which also included a back connection to C-I-L. These two new lines took more freight movements off of 2nd Street.

1943 – Cornwall Street Ry 10 was not running properly and was scrapped for parts after the purchase of a replacement 10 from the Washington & Old Dominion Railway.

freight motor #10-2 (source: Don Ross)

1943, January – Cornwall Street Ry experienced a one day strike.

1944 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased a freight motor from the Kansas City Kaw Valley & Western Railway, numbering it 6.

freight motor #6

1944, September 5 – An earthquake registering 5.8 occurred in the Cornwall area (epicentre was in Massena Center, NY). The quake had caused some damage the Roosevelt International Bridge, which was inspected and repaired within days.

1945 – Cornwall Street Ry changed their paint scheme from the olive green and cream with blue trim livery to maroon and cream with yellow trim. They also began replacing the original 56 and 60 pound rail system with 105 pound T rails. They purchased two street cars from the Indiana Service Corporation in Fort Wayne, renumbering them 33 and 37, as well as E-10 from the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway. Street car nos. 29 and 30 had collided at Marlborough and 2nd streets. On another occasion street car no. 31 was gutted by fire.

street cars #33 (top left); #37 (top right); and plow E-10

1945, October 11 – two and a half tons of used clothes that were donated to the National Clothing Collection Campaign bound for Europe had left Cornwall on the New York Central RR for Ottawa.

1946 – Cornwall Street Ry opened a new freight line that ran along the Canadian National line from the station grounds and crossed the Canadian Pacific line (this portion was built and owned by Canadian National), and then headed south to enter Courtaulds from the north end of their property. A passing siding was put in just north of the property for the street railway where they and Courtaulds exchanged cars. The street railway gave Courtaulds no. 7 to replace no. 26 that they kept off to a siding. No. 8 was converted into P-8 as a plow to replace plow no. 4 that was retired. A freight motor was purchased from the Aroostook Valley Railway and became the third no. 8.

Courtaulds #7 (left, refurbished at ExpoRail in Delson, QC) and freight motor #8-3 (right, source: CS&TM)

1946 – By this time the Cornwall Street Ry no longer served the Ross Mill and the line into the east end of the paper mill from 2nd Street was removed in favour of the North Paper Mill Line while the new O&NY Line off the Stormont Chemicals Line was the street railway’s access to the west end of the mill.

1946, August – Lally Coal & Wood Company merged with Munro Fuels, located on the south side of Water Street before Race Street, as Lally-Munro Fuels.

1946, September 26 – Stormont Chemicals closed and the Western Condensing Company took over the site.

1947 – Cornwall Street Ry scrapped street cars nos. 13, 16 and 20 and sweeper 1. They purchased another sweeper from the Hull Electric Company as their third no. 1. A new line was opened along the Canadian National westwards from Cumberland Street to just east of Cornwall Junction, which became the new exchange yard between the two companies, and a line from there running south to the North Paper Mill Line. A connection at C-I-L with another spur made near 2nd Street.

sweeper #1-3

1947, June 22 – about 2,000 Cornwallites attended the Marian Congress in Ottawa, 1,350 had used the New York Central RR to get there and back.

1947, August – Cornwall Street Ry experienced a three day strike.

1947, September – Gamble-Robinson Limited moved from Water Street to the southwest corner of 7th and Cumberland streets.

1947, September 2 – Cornwall Street Ry went on strike that lasted nearly a week. Several industries hired an industrial 0-4-0 saddle-tank steam locomotive from Fraser Brace to move cars to and from the rail yards as well as switching. This is the only time a steam operating engine was used through the streets of Cornwall.


The steam engine used on Cornwall streets during the long street railway strike of 1947 (source: Colin Churcher)

1948 – Cornwall Street Ry scrapped street cars nos. 12, 15 and 24, sweeper 2 and plow 4.

1948, April – Cornwall Street Ry purchased a freight motor from the Utah-Idaho Central Railroad, making it the second 12.

freight motor #12-2

1948, April 22 – Canadian National Rys opened a spur into Lalonde Ready Mix from the main line east of the station into the company property on the north side of 10th Street.

1948, May 21 – Stormont Electric & Power Co merged into Cornwall Street Ry.

1948, July 8 – a Canadian Pacific Ry engine had its throttle stuck and accidentally drove onto Cornwall Street Ry tracks. It had tipped over onto Pitt Street when it could not negotiate the tight turn onto the street railway tracks.

cpr tip over

CPR engine #853 toppled over on Pitt Street looking southwest

1948, September 17 – Powdrel & Alexander Curtain Company was bought by Canada Cotton Mill and became their Glengarry Cottons Mill.

1949 – Canadian Pacific Ry opened a connecting track from their line between Marlborough Street and McConnell Avenue eastward to the Cornwall Street Ry Courtaulds Line so that the street railway could gain access to the CPR switch yard and abandon the connection at 6th and Pitt streets. *At this point was the largest extent of rails existing in Cornwall.* The Roosevelt International Bridge Company took possession of the bridge crossing from the Cornwall-Northern New York International Bridge Corporation.

1949 – Western Condensing Company became Peebles Products. Before year’s end Peebles sold a part of the land to Ives Bedding for their second location and another part to Suzorite Canada, which would be served by Canadian National Rys. St. Lawrence Rendering Company opened along the south side of the Peebles Line across from Dominion Tar & Chemical and had a siding put into its property. Cornwall Gravel opened and used a siding of the Canadian National line between Cumberland and York.

1949, January 18 – upon hearing of Cornwall Street Ry ending street car services in the coming summer a group of street car enthusiasts and fans wanted to tour the company’s rail network.. They chartered from the street railway freight motor #11 to ride on. The group consisted of Charlie DeRochie, Arnold Miller, Bill McKeown, George and Edward Thomson, Allan Toohey, Sandy Worthen, Anthony Clegg and Omer Lavallee with plans to return for more rides.

The original 9 members of what would become the Cornwall Electric Railway Society. (from: Cornwall Street Railway, 2007)

1949, March 13 – the street car enthusiasts whom visited the street railway previously had chartered street car #28 to ride on.

1949, June 8 – Cornwall Street Ry began using electrically powered busses (trolleys). Diesel fuelled ones would follow later.

1949, July 27 – Cornwall Street Ry operated street cars for the last time. Streetcar No. 25 was used, painted black with a midnight theme and featured superintendent W.J. Mitchell sitting on the car’s roof, dressed as Father Time. Street cars that were scrapped were Nos. 17 to 19, 22, 25 to 28, 30, and 32 to 38. They were pushed into the Cornwall Chemicals Line and burned before they were cut up for the scrap metal. Nos. 29 and 31 were retired. No 31 was put into storage while No. 29 was given to the group of street car enthusiasts that had been visiting the street railway lines. The group formally became the Cornwall Electric Railway Society, Canada’s first operating street car museum group. Joining the nine original members, Don Ogilvie would become a member later.

Street car #25 on its last run day Source: Mattingly Collection, CS&TM

1949, August 14 – Cornwall Electric Railway Society held a riding event.

1949, October 11 – General Motor’s Train Of Tomorrow passed through Cornwall on Canadian National’s line.

GM Train of Tomorrow in Cornwall

1949, October 23 – Cornwall Electric Railway Society held a riding event.

1950 – Cornwall Street Ry converted the burned out street car no. 31 into the second maintenance car no. 4 and scrapped no. 11 after purchasing a replacement they numbered a second 11 from the Omaha Lincoln & Beatrice Railroad. Tower car 5 was also scrapped.

maintenance car #4 (left); freight motor #11-2 (right)

1950 – Peebles Products sold more land to Hy-Trous to move to and operate on.

1950, February 5 – Cornwall Electric Railway Society held a riding event.

1950, April 29 – Cornwall Street Ry abandoned the trackage on the following streets: Pitt south of 8th to Water (the track into the Canadian Pacific Ry yard was taken over by CP); 2nd from Marlborough to just inside the Howard Smith Paper Mill and on to the entrance to the New York Central RR station grounds; Marlborough from 2nd to Water/Montreal; Montreal Rd from Marlborough to Courtaulds and to St. Lawrence Park with the McConnell Line; the Cornwall Pants siding; and 7th from Pitt to Cumberland. Also abandoned was the Peebles Products Line on private land west of the switch with the Suzorite Line.

1950, September 24 – Cornwall Electric Railway Society held a riding event.

1950, October 29 – Cornwall Electric Railway Society chartered a street car in Ottawa to ride that city’s street rail system.

1951 – Peebles Products sold more land to Howard & Sons to establish a plant. The company did start operations on this land but quickly moved all operations to the property east of Wallrich Avenue instead once the plant was in full operation.

1951, July 17 – New York Central RR was given permission to abandon passenger service of the Ottawa Division, but was told that an alternate plan to restart the service under a six month basis was allowed if it was warranted.

1951, August 16 – New York Central RR suspended passenger service until the winter.

1951, November – New York Central RR restarted passenger service on the Ottawa Division on a six month basis.

1952 – Cornwall Street Ry sold freight motor no. 9 to A.A. Merrilees while purchasing two others from the Niagara Junction Railway. One became their second 9 while the other was numbered 13 which was placed in storage for scrap use, the trucks immediately went to freight motor no. 6. Canadian National Rys abandoned the Provincial Paper Spur after that company closed when the St. Lawrence Seaway & Power Project persuaded them to leave.

freight motor #9-2

1952, April 27 – Canadian Pacific Ry received permission to end passenger service on the Cornwall Subdivision.

1952, September 16 – due to many of the members moving out of the area the Cornwall Electric Railway Society disbanded and returned street car No. 29 to the Cornwall Street Railway. They converted it into a tower line car, becoming their second No. 5.

line car #5-2 from the body of street car #29

1952, September 23 – Canadian Pacific Ry ran the last passenger train on the Cornwall Subdivision.

1953 – a new exchange yard between Canadian Pacific Ry and Cornwall Street Ry was opened along the Courtaulds line east of McConnell Avenue and south of the Canadian National Rys line, replacing the original exchange tracks area in the Canadian Pacific yard.

1953 – Hy-Trous moved to the end of the McColl-Frontenac Oil Company Line. On the Courtaulds property a subsidiary company called TCF (Transparent Cellulose Film) opened while Peebles Products sold some more of their land and the Hy-Trous portion to Kemball-Bishop.

1953, May – Canadian National Rys made a stop of its Museum Train in Cornwall with three steam locomotives and six cars.

Canadian National Rys’ Museum Train in Cornwall

1954 – Suzorite Canada became Siscoe Vermiculite Mines Limited.

1954 – Cornwall Concrete Products Manufacturing opened and the Cornwall Street Ry put a siding in from their Peebles Line.

1954, April 24 – the New York Central RR ran their last passenger train on the Ottawa Division.

1954, July 15 – the New York Central RR declared passenger service ended on the Ottawa Division.

1955 – McColl-Frontenac Oil Company moved to an area on 10th Street East with a spur being put in by Canadian Pacific Ry. Universal Terminals took over the old site.

1955, May 12 – the Canadian Council For The Blind held their 12th Annual Convention (Ontario Division) in Cornwall, arriving by Canadian National Rys.

1956 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased two freight motors from the Springfield Terminal Railway, numbered as the second 7, which was never repainted to their livery, and 14.

freight motors #7-2 (left) and #14 (right)

1956, March 2 – Canadian National Rys opened a spur from their main line to the power dam construction site, serving Iroquois Constructors, whom had four locomotives operating to do switching and car moves. A branch off the spur opened from a point just north of the intersection of Saunders and Blackadder drives to the Seaway Project Maintenance Facility. The locomotives Iroquois Constructors had were: a no numbered Plymouth; LM-2 (a 4w Vulcan); LM-3 (25T GE) and LM-4 (a 4w de Davenport). LM-3 was from Shawinigan Engineering and LM-4 from the United States military.

Iroquois Constructors locos LM-3 (left) and LM-4 (right) – source: Colin Churcher

1956, September 11 – A car was hit by a New York Central Railroad train on Cornwall Centre Road, causing the driver’s death.

1957 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased plow/leveller no. 3152 from the Montreal Transportation Commission and scrapped E-10.

Plow 3152

1957 – Howard Smith Paper Mill became Dominion Tar & Chemical Paper Mill. Siscoe Vermiculite Mines Limited became the Vermiculite Insulation Limited. By this time Canadian Oil Companies Limited moved from the Canadian Pacific yard to 10th Street East but was not rail served at their new site. Canadian Petrofina Limited established itself between the McColl-Frontenac Oil Spur switch and the new diamond for the diverted main line of Canadian National and had a siding for cars to be set off to serve their facility by Canadian Pacific.

1957, February 14 – New York Central RR operated their last train through Cornwall.

The last New York Central RR train through Cornwall.  NYC 8304 with her crew: left to right are: William Carson (brakeman), William Forsyth (conductor), Tom Leonard (fireman) and William Sweeney (engineer).

1957. March 22 – New York Central RR declared that the Ottawa Division from Rooseveltown to Ottawa was abandoned. The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority purchased the line from the border to 2nd Street West in Cornwall. The sale did not include the bridges since the Roosevelt International Bridge Company operated them.

1957, April – Canadian National Rys purchased the New York Central RR line from Ottawa to 2nd Street West in Cornwall. The station was torn down in the 1960s.

1957, May 17 – Canadian National Rys opened a 40 mile diversion of its main line from Cornwall to Cardinal due to the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

1957, May 23 – the first regular Canadian National Rys train (no. 441) operated over the relocated main line between Cornwall and Cardinal. The new station, that of the post-war design with a flat roof, was at the north end of Station Road, east of Pitt Street in city’s north end. There were 3 stub sidings at the station site, one siding that would serve a warehouse in the future.


1957 CNR/VIA station at the end of Station Road

1957, June 8 – Canadian National Rys began to tear up the abandoned New York Central RR line beginning at Crysler. The rails were reused in Montreal for their new hump yard.

1957, July 20 – the last through Canadian National Rys train operated over the original Grand Trunk Ry line between Cornwall and Cardinal. The Cornwall Junction station/tower was dismantled soon afterwards. The trackage between the diversion (a point called Regis) between Boundary Road and today’s Nick Kaneb Drive to the end of track just south of the Cedars Transmission Line where the former switch of the Iroquois Constructors Spur was became the Cornwall Spur. This also included removing of about a city block’s worth of the Lalonde Ready Mix Spur. The Gypsum, Lime & Alabastine Spur was gone as well due to the Seaway.

1957, October 14 – Roosevelt International Bridge Company handed over their bridges to the American and Canadian Seaway companies.

1957, December 20 – the Ottawa & New York Railway Company was dissolved.

1958 – Cornwall Street Ry scrapped P-8. Canadian National Rys opened a spur from their main line between Power Dam Drive and Cornwall Centre Road southwards to the transmission station for the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario. They abandoned the Beach Furniture Spur after that company closed but maintained a short segment that ended before 9th Street East to continue serving Devitt Coal & Fuels.

1958 – Kemball-Bishop became Pfizer.

1958, May – the St. Lawrence Seaway Corporation began to dismantle the South Roosevelt International Bridge. The Uscan station building was moved to a property on the west end of Cornwall Island and converted into a shed.

1958, June 8 – the Pitt Street bridge over Canadian National Rys opened.

1958, August 9 – Canadian National Rys operated the “Moccasin” train (nos. 25 and 26) for the last time. This regularly scheduled train had been running since the first day Grand Trunk opened through Cornwall.

1959 – Cornwall Street Ry scrapped sweeper 1 and 3 after purchasing from the Ottawa Transportation Commission sweepers B-1 and B-2.

sweepers B-1 (left); B-2 (right, photo by Jim Parker)

1959 – Hy-Trous became International Fertilizers Ltd. McColl-Frontenac Oil Company became Texaco Canada. Iroquois Constructors sold LM-3 and LM-4 to Shawinigan Chemicals. Today LM-3 is at the Niagara Railway Museum.

1959, May 15 – Canadian National Rys abandon the Iroquois Constructors Spur from the track end near the dam to just north of 2nd Street. The track from where the switch was on the former main line to the now former Seaway Project Maintenance Facility was designated the Iroquois Chemicals Spur when Iroquois Industrial Chemicals Company opened in the Seaway facility.

1959, July 17 – Canada Cotton Mill closed but the property was sold to Canman Industries Limited that was to be a means to attract replacement industries there.

1959, September – Glengarry Cottons Mill closed and the street railway spur to it was not in use.

1959, November – Courtaulds donated No. 7 to the Canadian Railway Museum in Delson, Quebec after it was agreed that Cornwall Street Ry 7 and 14 would be used solely at Courtaulds. These were rented from the street railway and when either one needed maintenance the street railway lent to the company motor 12 until the work was done.

1959, November 22 – a group from the Canadian Railroad Historical Society chartered freight motor 8 from the Cornwall Street Ry to have an excursion tour of the Cornwall rail network using a couple of open gondola cars.

private excursion using two freight gondola cars for passengers and freight motor #8 (source: CS&TM)

1960 – Vermiculite Insulation Limited closed and not long afterwards Canadian National Rys removed the spur to the plant site. Emard Brothers Lumber relocated to a new site on 10th Street where Canadian Pacific Ry opened a spur into their property. The Glengarry Cottons Mill building was bought by National Grocers Company and leased part of the building to Fingerhut International, which operated there for a short time.

1961 – Canadian Pacific Ry improved the spur connection with Texaco Canada with a passing siding on the Cornwall Subdivision. This also included a passing siding off that siding to serve Canadian Petrofina Limited more efficiently.

1961 – Cornwall Street Ry abandoned their line on Pitt Street to Ives Bedding as that business had closed both sites, as well as to Hodgins Lumber.

1961, January 31 – the 100,000 gallon water tower at the Canadian National Rys station was demolished.

1962 – Cornwall Street Ry purchased two freight motors from the Lake Erie & Northern Railway as their 15 and 16. They also purchased a freight motor from the Grand River Railway, making it no. 17, and it was their last purchase. These freight motors were left in their paint scheme of Tuscan red with chevrons. The company of Coleman & Munro tore down the Canadian National Rys station (the original 1855 Grand Trunk Ry limestone station).

freight motors #15 (top left); #16 (top right); and #17 (bottom)

1962 – Canman Industries Limited leased a part of their mill to Chalet Artistic Glass.

1962, July 2 – the North Roosevelt International Bridge was closed due to the opening of the new Seaway International Bridge. With this opening Cornwall Street Ry abandoned the Cornwall Chemicals Line from Cornwall Chemicals to just east of Brookdale Avenue once a connection from the chemical plant was made to the Peebles Line along the west side of Brookdale. The Peebles Line was abandoned at the new chemical plant switch eastwards to a point west of Cornwall Concrete Products Manufacturing on 7th Street. Another connection was put in at the CN/CS exchange yard to make a wye for the street railway.

1962, September 11 – Highway 401 opened from Cornwall to Lancaster, which required a bridge over the Canadian Pacific Ry line into Cornwall.

1962, November 30 – a Canadian Pacific Ry tank car was found to be leaking liquid chlorine at the Canadian Pacific/Cornwall Street Ry exchange yard. The entire northeastern portion of Cornwall was evacuated, but no one lost their lives.

tank car UTLX 81115 sits in the C-I-L yard being investigated as to why it leaked chlorine – (Source: Standard-Freeholder)

1963 – Julius Resnick took over the building of Iroquois Constructors and the spur leading to the building from the Iroquois Chemicals Spur was designated under that company’s name.

1963, October 25 – Iroquois Industrial Chemicals Company became Iroquois Chemicals Limited.

1963, November 8- 4 teenagers were killed at the Brookdale Avenue crossing of the Canadian National main line when an eastbound freight train smashed into their vehicle. The road did not have any railroad crossing protection or indications at all.

1964 – Dominion Tar & Chemical Company at 7th and Cumberland became Domtar Construction Materials.

1965 – Dominion Tar & Chemical Paper Mill became Domtar Ltd. Canman Industries Limited became Canadian Corporate Management Company. Virchem opened at what became the corner of 10th Street and Virginia Avenue (now Nick Kaneb Drive) with a spur being built by Canadian National Rys off the Cornwall Spur to cross 10th and the connecting road to Virginia.

1965, July – the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority began to demolish the North Roosevelt International Bridge.

1965, October 31 – Canadian National Rys began its Rapido passenger service between Montreal and Toronto, servicing Cornwall as well.

1966 – TCF Plastics Limited opened on Courtaulds property. St. Lawrence Rendering Company closed.

1966, January 5 – the Brookdale Avenue overpass is opened over the Canadian National Rys main line.

1966 – June 3 – a Canadian National Rys freight train rammed into the back of another freight train just east of the station, destroying the back five box cars and caboose. A passenger train that was at the station was evacuated after the collision happened.

CN freight collision east side of the Cornwall station – photo by John Wallington.

1967 – Devitt Coal & Fuels became G. Kaneb Fuels.

1967, August 26 – the Centennial Train passed through Cornwall going from Kingston to Montreal on the Canadian National line.

Centennial Train – Source: screen shot from Hank Waters film on YouTube

1967, September – International Fertilizers Ltd became Brockville Chemical Industries Ltd.

1967, September 12 – 164 tons of caustic soda was lost from tank cars that were on a siding on 7th Street West.

1967, October 12 – Howard & Sons moved all operations to their plant on the east side of Wallrich Avenue and Canadian National Rys opened a spur from the old Cornwall Junction site, along a part of the former New York Central RR line then beside the old right-of-way to the site.

1968 – the paper mill of Domtar Ltd became Domtar Pulp & Paper. With the total closure of the Cornwall Canal that was left intact after the St. Lawrence Seaway was opened, Canada Steamship Lines Limited closed up their warehouse at the base of Pitt and Water streets. Canadian Petrofina Limited became Petrofina Canada Limited.

1968, May – a GE-25 ton locomotive switcher (no number) arrived at the C-I-L plant for inter-plant switching. It came from the C-I-L plant in Copper Cliff, Ontario and was #1 there.

C-I-L GE-25 ton locomotive switcher – From Old Time Trains – Al Howlett photographer

1968, August 17 – a group from the Canadian Railroad Historical Society chartered freight motors 8 and 12 from the Cornwall Street Ry to have an excursion tour of the Cornwall rail network.

1968, December – Canadian National Rys began to use the Turbo passenger train between Montreal and Toronto.

CNR’s Turbo passenger train

1969, January 7 – The Turbo is taken out of service until problems are worked out.

1969, January 31 – Canadian Pacific Ry abandoned the Cornwall Subdivision from the station at Pitt and Sixth Streets to just east of Sydney Street, a whole city block.

1969, February – the Canadian Pacific Ry station was torn down by Pisapia Construction to make way for a parking lot that was to be used for a new shopping plaza.

1969, October 24 – Canadian Pacific Ry purchased an interest in the Cornwall Street Ry.

1969, November 12 – Canadian National Rys began servicing Peebles Products and Pfizer directly.

1970 – Howard & Sons became Badische Anilin und SodaFabrik (BASF). Peebles Products became Champlain Industries.

1970 – Canadian National Rys opened a marshalling yard west between the crossings of Virginia (Nick Kaneb) Drive and Boundary Road at the Regis section of the line in the city. From here the Eastern Pottery Spur opened from the east end of the Regis yard to Eastern Pottery. This spur also served Chemcel Limited as a trans-load facility that was between the main line and Marleau Avenue since building a spur to the chemical company was not feasible due to the topography. Canadian National Rys also opened the Combustion Engineering Spur from just west of the Richmond Drive crossing of their main line, crossed old Highway 2 to enter Cornwall city limits and then end at the Combustion Engineering site being constructed.

1970, May 1 – 25 of 104 cars derailed on Canadian National Rys just a half mile east of the station. Some contents did spill out from the cars.

Derailment of CNR train between McConnell Avenue and Virginia Drive (Nick Kaneb Drive) – source: Standard-Freeholder

1970, May 25 – The Turbo returns to service.

1970, June 1 – Cornwall Street Ry sold their transit service to a private contractor.

1970, September 30 – the famous Flying Scotsman, a British Gresley Pacific engine numbered 4472, passed through Cornwall heading to Toronto as part of its North American tour.

Flying Scotsman engine in Niagara Falls. Photo by Bill Thomson

1970, October 14 – Canadian Pacific Ry sold their interest in the Cornwall Street Ry to Canadian National Rys.

1971 – Courtaulds donated #26 to the Magee Museum in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Lalonde Ready Mix became Permanent Concrete Ltd.

1971 – February 1 – The Turbo is taken out of service again until problems that the train continued having were solved.

1971, April 1 – Canadian National Rys purchased all the rail operations, equipment and land of right-of-ways of the Cornwall Street Ry for $430,000. They hastily slapped on the Canadian National Rys logo over all the Cornwall Street Ry logos that were on the pieces of equipment. C-I-L would purchase a Whiting Trackmobile to use for switching on their property. The exchange agreement between Canadian Pacific Ry and the street railway was maintained by Canadian National Rys.

1971, July 3 – the rail division of Canadian Pacific Ry rail division was renamed to CP Rail.

1971, July 13 – Canadian National Rys opened over 1.44 miles of former New York Central trackage from a junction on their main line called Wesco (just west of Brookdale Avenue) to the former site of Cornwall Junction as well as a wye that went west of this relaid trackage to just east of the Pfizer Spur. Canadian National then abandoned the Cornwall Spur between the original station grounds, approximately at Amelia Street for Permanent Concrete, to west of Pitt Street, about where York Street is. The trackage from York Street westward to the wye and north to Wesco was designated the Wesco Spur. The wye and trackage west of the wye were all added to the Iroquois Chemicals Spur.

1971, July 14 – Canadian National Rys was permitted to continue using the Virchem Spur even though Virchem was closed. A home building business established themselves here once the buildings were razed.

1971, August 7 – Canadian National Rys ended electrically powered freight operations in Cornwall, using instead modified S-4 diesel-electric switchers. One engine operated in the east end of the City, stationed on a siding at the Virginia Avenue (Nick Kaneb Drive)/10th Street intersection while a second engine operated in the west end of the City, stationed on a stub siding between the two spurs that entered Domtar’s east end, north of 2nd Street (with an old box car without trucks as a storage shed). The majority of rails that still existed on city streets were now out of service. The first time they switched in the Courtaulds property, it took them half a day to get through so Canadian National never returned to that industry after that. To move cars from the CP exchange yard and Regis yard to the west side of the city the east end shunter would run on the main line to Wesco and drop off/pick up freight at a new exchange yard just south of Vincent Massey Drive.

former Grand Trunk Ry box car of unknown origins

1971, August 10 – Courtaulds began to use a 20-ton Plymouth Model ML-6 diesel mechanical locomotive for switching. Canadian National Rys would drop off cars at a siding on the Courtaulds line next to the Eastcourt Mall where the Courtaulds crew would bring them on to the industry’s property. Courtaulds would bring outgoing cars to the same site for Canadian National Rys. This was the same siding that the street railway used to exchange with Courtaulds.

The Courtaulds Plymouth engine – From Old Time Trains, photo by Gord Strathdee

1971, October 9 – Canadian National Rys held a retirement parade for Cornwall’s electric street railway. Starting from the end of rails on William Street. They travelled to Marlborough, up to Water Street then north on Cumberland Street. It went eastward beside 9th Street to the former Canadian National station grounds at Sydney and 9th. Each car had a banner with text of each pieces’s history and another sign to say that it was their last day. For the rest of the day as well as the next free rides were given from the grounds to the Brookdale Mall in the west and the Eastcourt Mall in the east by using No. 7 and a Canadian National commuter coach car. The railway donated No. 17 and maintenance car No. 4 to the City of Cornwall at City Council’s request. Retired were nos. 6 to 9, 11 to 12, 14 to 16 and 3152 while 5, 10 and the remains of 13 were scrapped. B-1 was donated to the Canadian Science & Technology Museum. All rails on the streets were abandoned except those on Cumberland from 9th to 7th and westward on 7th from to the southwest corner of Domtar Construction Materials. The Pfizer Spur was abandoned from the south end of the Pfizer property to the West Domtar Spur connection (for a time the retired equipment sat on this line). The line along 9th Street was added to the Wesco and Cornwall spurs, abandoned between York and Amelia streets. A piggy back ramp was established on the west side of Cumberland Street for the Wesco Spur.

Retirement parade for the street railway equipment (left) and the rides provided (right); both photos by Bill Linley

1971, December 31 – Chemcel Limited became Celanese Canada Limited.

1972 – no longer operating a street railway, the Cornwall Street Railway, Light & Power Company was renamed to Cornwall Electric, continuing to purchase electric power from outside Cornwall and supplying it to their customers. Canadian National Rys donated former Cornwall Street Railway 11 to the Ohio Railway Museum, 12 and 3152 to the Shore Line Trolley Museum, 14 to the Illinois Railway Museum and B-2 to the Seashore Trolley Museum.

1973 – Atlas Hoist Company opened in the east end and Canadian National Rys opened a spur from out of their Regis Yard into the company’s property. Kopack opened along the Pfizer Spur and had a siding built on the west side of the building.

1973, June 12 – former Cornwall Street Ry freight motors nos. 6 to 9 and 15 were scrapped at St. Lawrence Iron & Metal in Quebec.

1973, June 24 – a Canadian National Rys Turbo set broke down in Cornwall.

1973, June 25 – the Turbo is taken out of service again.

1973, October – former Cornwall Street Ry freight motor no. 16 was donated to the Halton County Radial Railway.

1974 – Combustion Engineering began operating. The plant had a 12-Ton BCL Brookville switcher from their plant in Courtright.

June 6, 1980, Combustion Engineering’s 12-Ton BCL Brookville switcher – photo by Gord Strathdee, from Old Time Trains

1974 – Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario became Ontario Hydro.

1974, September – The Turbo returns to service once more.

1975 – TCF Plastics Limited closed.

1976 – Canadian National became CN Rail.

1976, April 25 – CN ceased direct freight service between Cornwall and Toronto.

1976, July – Brockville Chemical Industries Ltd became Genstar Chemical Ltd.

1976, August – CN donated caboose #79095 to the United Counties Museum on Second Street West, which was in front of Domtar Pulp & Paper at the time.

The caboose (van) donated to the museum in Cornwall, photo taken at it’s present location in Smiths Falls.

1976, October – CN restarted direct freight service between Cornwall and Toronto.

1977, January 12 – CN created VIA Rail Canada to operate their passenger services.

1978 – No-Co-Rode, the majority portion of the Domtar Construction Materials industrial plant, closed.

1978, April 1 – VIA became a separately owned Federal company from CN.

1978, June 30 – the Discovery Train passed through Cornwall from Kingston to Montreal. It was reported to be the world’s largest mobile museum.

The Discovery Train on display somewhere in Canada. Source:

1978, December 20 – Iroquois Chemicals Limited became Iroquois Chemicals & Resin Limited.

1979 – C-I-L purchased a Whiting Model 9TM Trackmobile to replace the other one. Petrofina Canada Limited became Petrofina Canada Incorporated.

1979, September – Genstar Chemical Ltd became Nutrite Inc.

1980 – CN abandoned the Julius Resnick Spur. CP abandoned the Emard Brothers Spur. VIA began to use the LRC engines and passenger cars (Light, Rapid, Comfort). This train set was to replace the costly Turbo set.

VIA #6921, one of the LRC fleet engines

1980 – TCF became BCL Canada (British Cellophane Limited). Permanent Concrete Ltd became Lafarge Concrete Canada. Amoco Fabrics and Fibres opened in the Kopack building. By this time Massena Iron & Metal Company had established an offloading operation in the CP yard.

1981 – Atlas Hoist Company closed. Sometime afterwards Kershaw Manufacturing would operate here. Petrofina Canada Incorporated became Petro-Canada Enterprises. Not too long afterwards the site no longer was served by rail as the facility was being merged to the non-rail served Petro-Canada storage facility that was beside Texaco Canada.

1981, January 28 – CN received permission to abandon the last remaining trackage running on Cornwall streets, the Cumberland Spur which ran for 0.3 miles from the corner of Cumberland and Ninth Streets, down Cumberland and then west on Seventh Street West, ending at Domtar Construction Materials building. Through the years various businesses had operated in sections of the building since this date but none required rail service.

1981, August – former Cornwall Street Ry 17 was placed on display in front of the Water Purification Plant on 2nd Street West in Cornwall. Maintenance car 4 was deemed to be in too bad of a shape for restoration and was scrapped.

To show #17

Former CSR #17 on display at its original site on 2nd Street West

1982, January 26 – after several complaints and accidents the Federal Government approved a bridge for McConnell Avenue to go over CN’s main line.

1982, March 17 – CN abandoned the Iroquois Chemicals Spur from a point west of the switch of the Pfizer Spur (parallel to the Cedar Rapids Hydro Line), which is about 0.5 miles from the wye switch, to the end of track at Iroquois Chemicals. The portion from the new stub end to the wye was added to the Wesco Spur.

1982, October 31 – VIA stopped using the Turbo trains.

1982, December – Combustion Engineering took delivery of a 16-Ton BCL-TC Brookville switcher from Caloric Corp in Topton, Pennsylvania. The 12-Ton switcher was likely sent to Sherbrooke, Quebec.

16-ton Combustion Engineering loco. Photo taken on July 27, 2009 by Russell Lees

1983 – Eastern Pottery became Waltec.

1983, January – Celanese Canada Limited closed and ended using the offloading facility on the Waltec Spur.

1983, September – the McConnell Avenue overpass is opened over CN’s main line.

1984 – The Loose Caboose opened, a fast food stand put at the southeast corner of Marlborough and 1st streets. It was formerly CN caboose #78881.

The Loose Caboose take out fry stand

1984, February – Courtaulds purchased a new switching locomotive, former CP S-2 #7096, through Merrilees. This loco was never repainted or renumbered. Courtaulds’ Plymouth was sold to Merrilees for scrap.

Courtaulds #7086 – Feb. 24, 1987 by Fred Clark. From Old Time Trains

1984, September 27 – Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Cornwall where she toured the civic complex, greeted by Ontario’s Minister of Housing & Municipal Affairs Claude Bennett and Mayor Gerald Parisien. After the complex, the royal couple visited Trinity Anglican Church then took a VIA train to Kingston for more events.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip waving to citizen in (or near) Cornwall as their train heads west after boarding it from visiting the City of Cornwall. Source: Toronto Public Library

1986 – CN removed the rails of the Cumberland Street Spur. By this time the east leg of the street railway wye at the former exchange yard with CN was removed and the Texaco Canada Spur was removed.

1987, Feb. 14 – CP’s freight shed burned to the ground. Later that year, a smaller building, about the size of a one vehicle garage, was built on the north side of the line, on McConnell Avenue’s east side.

1987, Nov. 1 – a Cornwall Gravel dump truck, loaded with stone, ran straight into a CP train on Boundary Road, derailing the locomotive’s back end as well as four cars.

CP vs dump truck accident. Source: Cornwall Community Museum/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

1988 – CN opened a new loading/unloading terminal on the north side of Marleau Avenue opposite of Glengarry Boulevard. It was used only for a few months before the industries that used the rail service had started closing in the city. This property would later be used to unload covered hoppers until an accident forced the business to move the operation to the former exchange yard that CN had with the street railway in the west end of the city, on the north side of Brookdale Mall. They also abandoned the Cornwall Spur from Lafarge Cement to east of McConnell Avenue and another connection to exchange freight with CP Rail was put in at the east end of the yard. Techi-Therm, a Domtar owned company, opened next to the former Atlas Hoist Company property and a siding was put in by CN to serve it. C-I-L and Cornwall Chemicals was purchased by Imperial Chemical Industries (I-C-I).

1989 – Champlain Industries became Sensient Flavors. Pfizer closed half of their operations and the trackage behind the west building with the part south of the roadway between the two buildings were abandoned. Waltec also closed and Lally-Blanchard Fuel Company would move their offices into the building soon afterwards. The home building business became St. Lawrence Roof Structures.

1990 – CN abandoned the Wesco Spur from York Street to west of Brookdale Avenue, with the trackage into the Domtar Construction Materials property, and the Lally-Blanchard Fuel Spur. Amoco Fabrics and Fibres closed.

1990, October – Combustion Engineering closed.

1991 – CP became CP Rail Systems. CN became CN North America. Northern Globe Building Materials took over the Atlas Hoist Company property.

1991, July – ICI took delivery of a second shunting locomotive, #915 from their Sarnia plant, due to their regular shunter undergoing repairs.

1991, September 2 – Locweld Inc. purchased the Combustion Engineering property, including the 16-Ton switcher within the building.

1992 – CN stopped operating two switchers in Cornwall. Since taking over the street railway operations, CN had operated two S class locomotives in the city, one stationed in the west end next to the Wood House Museum and the second was stationed in the east on the old main line (Cornwall Spur). Since the closure of many industries in the city during the recession, CN opted to eliminate the west end switcher, having the east end one do both parts of the city. CN’s spur into St. Lawrence Roof Structures was removed and Universal Terminals closed. CN caboose #79095 was locked up for good after the Stormont Dundas & Glengarry Historical Society amalgamated their two museum site operations.

1993 – CP abandoned the Cornwall Subdivision south of 9th Street. Although the rails remained in place this meant that there was no active rails within the original square mile of Cornwall. They also abandoned the Imperial Oil Spur.

1993, February – Courtaulds closed (along with BCL Canada, which had been renamed to Courtaulds Films) and locomotive #7096 was sent to the United States. The closure abandoned the Courtaulds Line from the CP/CN exchange yard to the industry.

1994 – the former Uscan station from the New York Central collapsed in on itself due to no maintenance being performed on it. Techi-Therm became Exeltherm. CN reopened the Lally-Munro Fuel Spur but instead of serving that company it was extended to negotiate around several warehouses and ended at the southern building of Cornwall Warehousing.

1994, June 27 – OS Plastics began to operate in the Amoco Fabrics and Fibres building.

1995 – CP renamed back to Canadian Pacific Railway.

1995 – Northern Globe Building Materials closed and the spur was no longer in use but not abandoned.

1995, November 19 – CN became a publicly traded company on the stock market, becoming Canadian National Railway.

1995, December 25 – Canadian Pacific abandoned the Cornwall Subdivision. The last train ran in the previous spring. An agreement was made with Canadian National for running/haulage rights from Brockville to Cornwall so remaining Canadian Pacific customers still had service.

One of the last CPR trains to run in Cornwall crossing 10th Street looking east, November 17, 1994. Photo by Manny Jacob

1996 – ICI sold locomotive #915 to Harmac Pacific in Harmac, BC. Canadian National abandoned the Cornwall Spur from McConnell Avenue to just east of the old diamond with Canadian Pacific and the exchange yard it had with that company.

1996, October 1 – Canadian Pacific created a subsidiary company, the St. Lawrence & Hudson Railway, to operate their Eastern Division. The Cornwall Sub, which was abandoned yet the rails still remained, was under the new company’s jurisdiction.

A St. Lawrence & Hudson Railway engine as they would appear in the Canadian National Ry yard in Cornwall. Photo by Bernie Goodman, Aug. 23 1998

1997 – Pfizer closed

1997, June – ICI sold their locomotive switcher to Slater Steel in Hamilton, via a dealer named Paikin.

1998 – Exeltherm became Johns-Manville. ICI closed up but sold the northern portion of their plant to a subsidiary company called Brenntag.

1998, July – after heated debates, the St. Lawrence & Hudson Ry removed the rails of the Cornwall Subdivision.

1998, Aug. 27 – Six tank cars rolled along Canadian National’s Wesco Spur behind the Brookdale Mall, busted through the bumper and one car leaked recovered alcohol throughout the siding area. The Mall was closed, Wal-Mart’s official opening was cancelled and other business north of the accident on Brookdale Avenue were forced to close. The liquid was part of a shipment to BASF.

Looking west at the tank car derailment from the corner of Brookdale and 9th (source: Standard-Freeholder)

1999 – Xactics took over the Northern Globe Building Materials site. No rail service but the railway spur was left in place.

1999, September – Canadian National started a RoadRailer service that ran between Montreal and Toronto. A terminal in Cornwall was set up at the Marleau Avenue Yard for Supply Chain Management where trailers could be shipped out on rail.

1999, September 24 – Canadian National abandoned 400 feet of their yard on the north side of the Brookdale Mall, a decision made by the company after the City of Cornwall demanded the yard be abandoned.

2000 – Canadian National abandoned one of Domtar’s spurs. This trackage was originally laid by the Cornwall Street Railway and use to run in front of the Wood House (United Counties Museum). The trackage had not seen a train operate on it since the year before when the museum building was moved.

2000, January 16 – the first “Enterprise” begins to run through Cornwall by VIA. It was the first over-night passenger train since the 1990 service cuts.

2000, February 1 – OS Plastics closed.

2001 – Northern Lights Fitness Products opened in the OS Plastics building. The siding was possibly used at the beginning of operation but was pulled up later.

2001, January 1 – St. Lawrence & Hudson Ry merged back into Canadian Pacific Ry.

2001, December 12 – VIA ran their LRC engines for the last time and started using the Geneses locomotives.

2001, December 18 – After years of neglect, former Canadian National caboose #79095 was given to the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario in Smiths Falls.

2002 – Nutrite Inc became SynAgri.

2002, December 20 – 10 cars from a Canadian National train of 126 derailed just west of Cornwall Centre Road.

cleaning up the 2002 derailment west of Cornwall Centre Road (Source: Standard-Freeholder)

2004 – Cornwall Gravel levelled off Highway 401 where Canadian Pacific’s Cornwall Subdivision went under. There was no culvert installed to allow recreational traffic from either side of the highway to pass like what had been done in Kingston to the old Kingston & Pembroke Railway line (CPR’s Kingston Sub).

2004, February 3 – Canadian National locomotive #5775 caught fire while travelling east through Cornwall. The train stopped at the Toll Gate Road crossing for firefighters to put out the blaze.

Cornwall firefighters putting out the fire on CN engine #5775 (source: Standard-Freeholder)

2004, March – after a strike by CN workers had ended, the company closed the RoadRailer service in Cornwall.

2005, March 29 – a Cornwall citizen managed to steal a small section of rail, tie plates, spikes and anchors on an abandoned portion of Canadian National’s Cornwall Spur (the subject part between the old CNR/CPR diamond and McConnell Avenue). His objective was to sell the steel for cash, but was arrested by police for theft.

2005, May 17 – former Cornwall Street Railway locomotive #17 was moved from its original display location to a new spot at the southeast corner of Brookdale Avenue and Ninth Street West.

#17 being placed at its second display location of Brookdale & 9th, southeast corner

2005, September 15 – VIA ran the last “Enterprise”.

2005, October 2 – a tank car threw a wheel on Canadian National’s Kingston Subdivision west of Power Dam Drive.

Tank car wheel set left behind from the train in the background (source: Standard-Freeholder)

2006, March 31 – Domtar Pulp & Paper officially closes. Not long afterwards, the shunting engine based in the city’s east end was reassigned to another base of operations, making runs into Cornwall during the weekdays instead.

2006, June 7 – Canadian National removed the Second Street West grade crossings for the east end of the closed Domtar plant. Those two spurs were a constant problem to automobile drivers and repairs in the past never would last long. The line into the west end of the company off the SynAgri Spur was removed.

2006, June 26 – Cornwall City Council, with advisory by Heritage Cornwall, passed a by-law to place a heritage designation on Cornwall Street Railway locomotive #17. This is the first and only such designation on a piece of railway rolling stock in Ontario at the time.

2006, July 8 – Phase 1 of the Cornwall Street Railway locomotive #17 restoration was completed (erection of the original plaque; repaint of the body in the proper CPR Tuscan Red but with household paint and placement of picnic tables and garbage bins). No other work would be done due to City budget restraints and ignorance.

2007, October 3 – All rails within the decommissioned ICI plant property were removed.

2008 – Northern Lights Fitness Products removed their siding up to the northwest corner of their building.

2010 – Locweld Inc. closed. The former Grand Trunk Ry box car that was used for storage by Canadian National Ry burned down.

2011, August – The north passing siding at Regis Yard was removed.

2013, July – With the closure of SynAgri, the Synagri Spur south of Second Street was abandoned.

2014 – Laframboise Welding took over the Locweld building. Canadian National Ry removed the Northern Lights Fitness Products siding.

2015 – Sensient Flavors closed. Anderson Logistics & Warehousing continued to use the spur for their services.

2016, June 3 – Rails south of Marleau Avenue to Cornwall Warehouse was abandoned. Not long afterwards the diamond crossing of the Synagi Spur and Domtar Spur was removed, abandoning the Synagri Spur from the Brenntag Spur switch to track end at Second Street.

2017, January 27 – a car stuck over the Boundary Road crossing is struck by a VIA train.

2017, April – Rails north of Marleau Avenue that were part of the Cornwall Warehouse spur was abandoned.

2018, September – Canadian National abandoned the Domtar and Brenntag Spurs since Brenntag closed.

2019 – Lallemand took over the Sensient Flavors building.

2019, March – Canadian National abandoned the Cornwall Spur from track end to a point about 200 feet east of the intersection of 10th Street East and Nick Kaneb Drive.

2019, October – Laframboise Welding removed all the rails from the crossing of Vincent Massey Drive to their building.

2019, November – Laframboise Welding sold the 16-Ton switcher to the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario in Smiths Falls.

2020 – all sidings at the Cornwall station were removed.

2020, April – Canadian National abandoned the Cornwall Spur a further 1,200 feet approximately east of the intersection of 10th Street East with Nick Kaneb Drive.

2021. February 11 – a westbound VIA struck a pick up truck at the Power Dam Drive crossing.

2022, April – Canadian National Ry abandoned the remaining Laframboise Welding Spur.