Portion of local rail lands sells for $24.25 million

January 13, 2022   ·   1 Comments

Just over five acres of land in downtown Brampton has been sold to the city by the Orangeville Railway Development Corporation (ORDC).

The deal, following months of discussions, will see the site off Nelson Street, change ownership at a cost of $24.25 million.

In 2020, Orangeville Council, as the lone shareholder of ORDC, directed the board to sell or lease rail line assets.

“With the reduction in rail traffic in recent years, the reality is that short-line rail operations face tough challenges to remain feasible,” said the Town of Orangeville in a recent press release.

In 2020, the user group, Orangeville Brampton Rail Access Group (OBRAG), provided formal notice that it would terminate its agreement with ORDC and GIO, effective December 31, 2021. The last train left the Orangeville rail station on December 17, 2021.

“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 but the business case was no longer there to keep the rail line,” said Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown.

“The line has played a significant role in Orangeville’s history and now the future will bring a new use. The sale of the downtown Brampton property sees Orangeville benefit from current real estate values, recouping its investment in the rail line. The funds will be placed in the Town’s reserves, when received. The potential conversion to recreational uses is also a benefit for Brampton and area.”

For the Town of Orangeville, the sale also means an annual savings of about $19,000, as property taxes had to be paid to Brampton.

“With the rail line no longer viable and being aware of the transition, the City of Brampton recognized the unique opportunity of acquiring these parcels in our downtown core,” said Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown.

“Completing this transaction with the Orangeville Railway Development Corporation will advance the goals of Brampton’s Integrated Downtown Plan to revitalize the area by creating a vibrant and connected community where residents and businesses can thrive. The intrinsic value passive recreational and quiet spaces offer a community, especially within an urban setting, is clear and we are excited about the possibility of adding this asset to our inventory. Working with our regional partners on establishing a larger network of active transportation connections is an exciting prospect, it speaks to the long-term sustainability of Downtown Brampton and is a conversation we look forward to having over the coming months.”    

As for the rail line corridor, owned by ORDC, Peel Region is investigating the feasibility of acquiring the Orangeville-Brampton Railway lands for purposes such as a recreational trail and utilities.

Railway’s local history

The Orangeville-Mississauga rail line has a long history for the area, leading to settlements that developed into thriving urban centres.

In 2000, the Town purchased 55 km of CPR’s Owen Sound Subdivision from Mississauga to Orangeville following the Canadian Pacific Railway 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.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Jacob says:

    Abandoning a railway line in a rapidly growing region that is choked with traffic congestion and in desperate need of relief is a shockingly short-sited decision. An incredible asset has been stolen from future generations of Brampton and Orangeville residents and business owners.


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