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Orangeville-Brampton Railway running with new operator

July 13, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

The Orangeville-Brampton Railway is back on track – both literally and figuratively – since the railway acquired a new operator for the 55 km line that runs from Orangeville to Mississauga.

The Trillium Railway Co. Ltd. has begun operation on the line.

Manitoba-based Cando Rail Services, which previously operated the town-owned railway, announced plans earlier in the year to stop operating the line at the end of June.

Cando also operates four other short-line railways in Ontario, and had developed the Credit Valley Explorer, a tour train that operated between Orangeville and north Brampton and was billed as Southern Ontario’s most scenic tour train, in large part because of the spectaular views at Cataract and Forks of the Credit. At one point its 1950s-vintage passenger coaches included a scenic dome car.

No reason has been given publicly for Cando’s decision to cancel its contract, but one may be that Cando had no other operation that included a tourist train, which was the brainchild of Steve Gallagher, formerly operations manager for the local line.

The line, the southern portion of CP Rail’s once-busy Toronto-Owen Sound service, has been owned by the Orangeville Railway Development Corporation since 2000. The ORDC does not operate trains.

Trillium Railway took over after deciding it was a good fit for the Welland-based company that also operates a short line rail system in the Niagara Region that provides freight service from St. Catharines to Port Colborne.

“We’re looking to grow our footprint in Ontario in the short line industry,” said Trillium VP operations, Aaron White. “We looked at it in terms of a way to expand the business and the economics based on our particular arrangement.”

The railway services customers by delivering raw materials to industry in the region although as a railroad, they can haul just about any kind of freight.

“Most of our customers are in the plastic business of some sort where they are directly molding plastic or producing secondary chemicals for production. The majority of traffic is plastic polymer of some type. Plastics are hauled in what is called a covered hopper. Normally for plastic service they have the capability to blow air into them to blow the product out because powdered plastic tends to be quite fine verses something grain,” Mr. White said, adding “you never know what the future may hold as far as customers.”

Local industries rely on rail to delivery the materials they use in manufacturing their products.

Mr. White said they are looking at reintroducing the tourist train but currently are focusing on the new freight operation.

“The Credit Valley Explorer is certainly something everybody is interested in. We’ll be exploring that at some point. Right now we’re a freight operation, so we’re concentrating on making sure that runs very smoothly, but definitely it will be explored some time in the future. It’s outside of our primary business which is hauling freight but we understand that it’s a very ideal operation for that kind of excursion service. They’ve got great scenery and it’s going to be explored, but right now I can’t give you a date because right now we’re working all the wrinkles out of the freight service.”

Currently the railway is running trains two days per week – Tuesday and Friday – and has a newly overhauled locomotive on the line.

         

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