Last train leaves Orangeville

December 23, 2021   ·   0 Comments

The final train rolled down the tracks from Orangeville to Brampton last Friday (Dec. 17), marking the end of rail services for the region. 

In 2000, the Town purchased 55 km of Canadian Pacific Railways’ (CPRs) Owen Sound Subdivision from Mississauga to Orangeville following the CPRs announcement, in 1995, that the rail line would be abandoned. 

The rail line subsequently came to be known as the Orangeville-Brampton Railway. The short-line operator, Cando Contracting Ltd., provided regular freight service for the industries along the line and used the line for a tourist train until a few years ago, when GIO Railways Corporation took over as the short-line operator.

“With the reduction in rail traffic in recent years, the reality is that short-line rail operations face tough challenges to remain feasible. In 2020, the user group, Orangeville Brampton Rail Access Group (OBRAG), provided formal notice that it would terminate its agreement with rail owner Orangeville Railway Development Corporation (ORDC) and GIO, effective December 31, 2021,” said the Town in a recent press release.

Mayor Sandy Brown commented on the rail line’s impact on the community over the years. 

“The Town appreciates the role our railway partners have played in keeping the service active for the past 21 years, servicing a need for several local industries, however, the business case was no longer there for a small municipality to keep the rail line active” said Mayor Brown. “The line played an important role in the history of Orangeville and the future will bring a new use with new owners. Thank you GIO, Cando, and OBRAG for providing a safe rail line and serving the community over the years.”

The rail line was started 150 years ago, in April of 1871, bringing life and commerce to the settlements along the route. 

Regular service began in September of that year and by 1873 there were 117 miles of railway line between Weston and Owen Sound.

When this railway and the Credit Valley Railway became part of Canadian Pacific Railways in 1883, Orangeville became an essential part of the line to Owen Sound. 

“There was even a stagecoach that transported visitors and business people to and from the railway station on Mill Street and the hotels and businesses along Broadway,” said the Town’s press release. “The divisional point on the main line as well as the starting point for several branch lines to places such as Fergus, Elora and Mount Forest.”

Passenger service to Orangeville ended in 1971, exactly 100 years after it began.

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