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Canadian Pacific Railway

Bruce Division Branches


The Bruce Branches were centered on Orangeville and consisted of the former Toronto, Grey & Bruce line running between Toronto and Owen Sound, and another line between Orangeville and Teeswater; along with the Credit Valley line from Streetsville to Orangeville and a branch to Elora; and finally, a branch chartered as the Walkerton & Lucknow, that stopped short of its intended destination. The CPR came into control of all of these lines not having actually built any of them.

The CPR thus had two routes to get to Orangeville and Owen Sound as can be seen above. The former narrow gauge TG&B that ran from Toronto via West Toronto, Bolton, Cardwell Jct. and the infamous Horseshoe Curve to Orangeville; and the newer former CV that ran from Toronto via West Toronto, Streetsville and Brampton to Orangeville. One line, the former TG&B continued beyond Orangeville to Owen Sound.

Orangeville was the home terminal for most freight and mixed trains, along with Owen Sound, Walkerton and Elora. All had engine houses of varying sizes, complete with turntable. Orangeville 5 stalls, 71'6" table. Owen Sound 6 stalls, 71' table. Teeswater 2 stalls, 70' table. Wingham, 2 stalls, 70' table. Walkerton which had a 60' table, later got a 2 stall engine house. A turntable at Cataract went out of use sometime in 1920 when a shuttle passenger service ended. The 2-stall engine house at Elora was removed, but the 70' table remained. Coal could be had at all engine houses of course. Orangeville (see below). Owen Sound had a 65 ton wooden coal chutes. Teeswater and Walkerton utilized an air hoist and buckets. Water tanks were at many points.

Rail on the Bruce branches was (1949) 85lb. on the Orangeville Sub. and a mix of 80 and 85 on the Owen Sound and Walkerton Subs. Teeswater was a mix of 56-65-72-80-85 pounds per yard. Elora was 65-72-80-85. Note: The Mac Tier Sub. was 100 lb. while the Port Mc.Nicoll Sub. was 80-85-100 lbs. In all cases, lighter rail would be used on sidings, typically 100 lb main line would have 85 lb. rail on sidings which would have been relaid from the main.

Wye tracks were located at most junctions including, Streetsville, Fraxa, Saugeen, Mount Forest, and Wingham. Cataract had none due to track elevation.

Orangeville Subdivision

Orangeville station with large CNE poster against building, red CP Express truck.
Note the orange newspaper box (Globe & Mail). This style of open box depended upon honesty.

2664 was the only G2 class engine assigned to Lambton in the late 1950's.
It was assigned to the Fraxa Pickup ordered ex Lambton 3.00 p.m. Daily ex Sunday.
Lambton shop track August 22, 1957. Howard Davis/Bud Laws Collection


Orangeville and Teeswater Branch Time Table 1909


Orangeville Yard

Orangeville Yard track plan 1907
showing south part of yard including Superior Portland Cement coloured postcard. Postcard reverse side..

Orangeville Yard track plan 1907 showing 3-stall engine house at north end of yard.

View from roof of old roundhouse.

Orangeville Yard track plan 1921 showing location of old engine house and new roundhouse.

Orangeville yard was expanded in 1906 and a new station built in September. (It was eventually closed in 1983, sold and moved uptown, re-opening in May 1989 as antiques and tea room.) A new roundhouse (5-stall) was built in 1926 and it lasted until the end of steam. A new restaurant building was erected in 1943 to serve passengers since none of the trains had meal service. It later became a bunkhouse for train crews. This building remained in use by the new shortline, Orangeville-Brampton.

New style coaling plant 1952 Replaced a 200-ton wooden facility destroyed by fire which in turn replaced a 50-ton 1920 coal chute.

View from the coal tower looking northwest. Outbound shop track 1018 and 999. Inbound 963.
August 11, 1956 R.J.Sandusky

Orangeville Yard Facilities (above and below) July 1962 R.L.Kennedy

Bunkhouse (former station restaurant) with 8162 at right.

Built in 1943 it had two horseshoe shaped counters for the restaurant portion along with a living room with bedrooms upstairs since the station had no dwelling for the train order operator. There were extra bedrooms for a bunkhouse. A number of these facilities were built at various locations across the system often as additions such as to West Toronto station to accommodate war time traffic. The restaurant was closed in 1959 when the branch passenger services ended. It continued in use as a bunkhouse for many more years.

Destroyed by fire March 21, 2006

Superior Portland Cement

Marl Beds (35 acres) quarry spur. 1907-1913


Line (two and 5/8 miles long) was operated by a single "dinky"
SPC 1. 0-4-0T Vulcan 935 7/1906.

Subsequent owners; Durham Cement, Durham, ON, and
6/1939 Ontario Paper 1, Thorold South

Mono Township Quarry Spur

In August of 1892 a 3 mile long spur opened built from south of Orangeville looping around crossing the Credit River to the abandoned CVR right-of-way, continuing northeastward next to Hockley Road to reach the Owen Sound Quarry & Construction Co. For many years stone was shipped out over this spur until the quarry was closed.

Aerial map southern portion

Aerial map middle portion

Township atlas map 1881



Junction with the Elora Subdivision
and Dufferin Construction Co. spur.

Map of Cataract 1923
inc.station, turntable and spur.

This old photo is thought to have been taken at Cataract Junction. Circa 1900.

Forks of the Credit Inn. Built 1855 and ca. 1875-1880. Not a railway structure.
It was first a post office, then an Inn and later a general store.
In more recent times Cataract Inn until 2006.
Reopened later as Forks of the Credit Inn.

The water tank at Cataract was fed by gravity from a hillside reservoir and spring.
David Hyde Collection

Years later 8146 passes the water tank onto the Elora Sub. at Cataract.
September 1, 1959 Bill Carr/Bob Sandusky Collection

Forks of Credit


ENLARGE Fill completed, trestle remains. Digital restoration Walter Pfefferle

ENLARGE bridge has replaced remaining trestle. Sean Murphy Collection


Looking north. Diamond and tower. Orangeville Sub. at left. CNR Brampton Sub.
runs across middle of photograph. Interchange track with two box cars (circle splits).

Aerial of Diamond area 1940's

Gummed Papers Ltd.
18 Sheard Avenue

Gummed Papers first built 1913 was a typical medium size industry so common all over.
Not a big railway customer, just one of thousands everywhere in Ontario.
This photo shows the closed down plant that suddenly went bankrupt earlier in 2008
and was demolished in December 2008 under controversy due to its heritage status.
The land sits vacant in 2018! Dan Dell'Unto August 2008.

Owen Sound Subdivision

Owen Sound Section Special Instructions 1898 Governing operating down steep grades.

Owen Sound Section Time Table 1909


Valentine & Sons
Toronto Public Library/Virtual Reference Library

Owen Sound became a busy port for freight and passengers, with ships travelling to and from Canadian and American ports. Canadian Pacific began its steamship service to Sault Ste. Marie and Port Arthur (later, Fort William) with three new ships (Algoma, Alberta and Athabaska ), in May 1884. One ship was scheduled to leave Owen Sound every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. A 250,000 bushel grain elevator was constructed in 1884. These facilities were expanded in 1897. The first steel-hulled ship built in Canada, the Manitoba, was launched by Polson Shipbuilding of Owen Sound on May 4, 1889.

The CPR announced on May 19, 1905 their intention to open a new port at Victoria Harbour (Port Mc.Nicoll). The port being closer to eastern destinations and not hampered by the steep grade climbing out of Owen Sound and a harbour unable to accommodate five ships. Thus began a decline of Owen Sound's importance. In 1907, two new, larger ships were added, Assiniboia and Keewatin, along with a later lengthening of the Athabaska and Alberta. On December 11, 1911, fire destroyed the CPR's two elevators. This brought about the decision not to rebuild. The CPR moved its steamship headquarters from Owen Sound to Port McNicoll on May 1, 1912. One ship, Manitoba, called on Owen Sound once a week.

Owen Sound roundhouse and facilities, circa 1910. J. James

July 1968. John D. Thompson

Not much activity in this 1972 scene. Ed Helmich

Freight continued to be handled in considerable tonnage, especially grain, for many years, however, there was not a lot of industry in this largely rural area. The decline of the Owen Sound Subdivision began with the loss of the Federal government's "At and East" grain rate subsidy in 1989. It affected not only Owen Sound but, also the much larger Port Mc.Nicoll and Midland elevators as well as Goderich. The last grain train left in 1989. Passenger service had ended almost twenty years earlier. The last freight train left Owen Sound on October 31, 1995 with 4215-4234. The Owen Sound Sub. was abandoned from Orangeville to Owen Sound December 11, 1995. It was dismantled in late 1997 and early 1998 following failed attempts to shortline it as Ontario Midwestern. Like all the other abandoned lines in the area both CNR and CPR, the government saw no reason to preserve the right-of-way as a transportation corridor for future use however, eventually the CPR donated it for a trail which has yet to be developed. Note: February 15, 1999 the CPR donated 1000 miles of abandoned rights-of-way across Canada for trail use. Trans Canada Trail Foundation is the umbrella group.

Aerial view of Owen Sound facilities 1954
Collection of Richard Wakefield

Tickets Telegraph Express at the downtown Owen Sound CP office.
948 2nd Avenue East. Peter Bowers Collection

Jewellery store now. Sure ruined a good looking building!

Early abandonments

The earliest abandonment (March 1884) was the 3.3 miles from Melville Jct. to a dead-end in Orangeville on the north side of Broadway and Fourth Street, west of Highway 10. (This duplicated the TG&B which continued on beyond Orangeville.)

Mono Road c.1910 postcard. Peel Art Gallery, Museum & Archives

As early as 1891 the CPR proposed closing the Bolton-Melville line with its difficult 2% grade and dangerous horseshoe curve. Again in 1897 three surveys were run to re-route the old TG&B line from Mono Road to the old CVR line around Cheltenham or Inglewood. Nothing was ever built and eventually the 19.1 miles were abandoned July 18, 1932 but, not before a serious wreck took place killing a number of people. Dismantling of the line was first reported on April 30, 1933 at which time it was estimated to require four months to complete.

The Horsehoe Curve Wreck

A Wild Ride!


In August of 1892 a 3 mile long spur opened built from south of Orangeville looping around crossing the Credit River to the abandoned CVR right-of-way, continuing northeastward next to Hockley Road to reach the Owen Sound Quarry & Construction Co. For many years stone was shipped out over this spur until the quarry was closed. NOTE: See above after Orangeville Yard for links to maps of Mono Township Quarry Spur.


An electric staff block system was in use between Melville Jct. and Fraxa Jct. Following abandonment in 1932 of the old line from Melville to Bolton the staff was eliminated between Melville and Orangeville. It remained in use into latter years between Orangeville and Fraxa, where the grade was 2%, until it was removed in 1966. (Time table effective October 30th.).

Freight, Changes and Abandonment

Originally, freight traffic available to the Toronto, Grey and Bruce was primarily cord wood used for fuel in Toronto homes and even the locomotives themselves that hauled it! Gravel pits, marl pits and stone quarries were also an early source of freight tonnage as was cement. Grain and other farm products were soon added as was sand and gravel and stone. Furniture factories were also important for many decades. Even bottled water (see, nothing much is really new!) was shipped from a small plant 1 mile south of Cataract (White Mountain Spring Water) under the name of John J. McLaughlin's Hygeia Waters which he formulated in 1890. (Hygeia: ancient Greek Goddess of health). Later, in 1904, he concocted Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale! He soon branched out into the United States. Canada Dry still owns water rights at this location.

LCL, livestock, sand and gravel and grain all left the rails in the 1980's. Gradually, other freight as well as passengers left the rails resulting in the abandonment of the Walkerton, Teeswater and Elora branches followed by the Owen Sound in late 1995.

The Orangeville Sub. was combined with the Owen Sound Sub. under the latter name effective June 1, 1985.

A further change took place when on September 29, 2000, the Streetsville to Orangeville portion of the then Owen Sound Subdivision became a new shortline, Orangeville-Brampton, owned by the Town of Orangeville and operated under contract effective September 2000 by CANDO Contracting. CANDO ended their contract in 2018. OBRY got another contractor GIO Rail/Trillium to take over effective July 1, 2018.
This final contract ended December 2021 following which operations were shut down and the railway abandoned. Dismantling within the Town of Orangeville took place in 2022. Property outside the town was sold off to the various municipalities where located July 15, 2022. Much of the remaining rail traffic was diverted to Guelph Junction Railway (owned by the City of Guelph) and transloaded via truck to Orangeville and Brampton. The end!

Note: The CPR retains the first 2.4 miles at Streetsville to serve local industries.

The Bruce Branches were dieselized with these GMD SW1200RS a Canadian-only model
and referred to by the CPR as a BLU: Branch Line Unit. Orangeville, 1959. R. L. Kennedy

Bruce Branches Gallery
Photographs by R.J.Sandusky.

Latter Years Diesel Era Gallery

Snowbound trains north of Orangeville

Snow Storm of January 1918 Paralyzed Wellington County

Early public telephone service

Steam Motor Car

On to: Bruce Branches Part 2

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Back to: CPR Bruce Index


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