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Old Time Trains


CPR-TH&B-MC Toronto-Hamilton-Welland-Niagara Falls-Buffalo

Lance Brown

NYC 7431 Toronto Yard October 13, 1966 D.W.Hately/Bruce Chapman Collection

PC 7431 hiding CONRAIL 7430. Toronto Yard 5/1977 Gary R. Zuters/Bruce Chapman Collection

NYC_7429_7430_7431 Toronto Yard 5/1966 Bruce Chapman

The Joint Through Freight Service between Victoria Yard in Fort Erie and Toronto commenced on January 1, 1931. On August 3, 1932 the service began to operate from Montrose Yard in Niagara Falls.

Originally, CP crews operated train from Toronto into Aberdeen Yard and then would run van hop to Kinnear to lift the train from Buffalo and return to Toronto.

The train from Buffalo would terminate at Kinnear Yard and then run van hop to Aberdeen to lift the train from Toronto and return to Niagara Falls.

The crewing of the Niagara Falls to Hamilton portion of the train was split between TH&B and Michigan Central crews on a mileage equalization basis. The trip between Hamilton and Niagara Falls was 49 miles (39 on TH&B rails, 10 miles on MC rails), so the crewing was split 80% TH&B and 20% MC for each calendar year.

Under normal circumstances, TH&B crews would operate the train between Montrose and Kinnear and return commencing January 1 for 292 days, or until October 19. MC crews would then operate the train between Montrose and Kinnear and return commencing October 20 for 73 days, or until December 31. The actual number of days the train was manned by each railway was adjusted each period to allow additional days to compensate for any trips that were cancelled (weather, stat. holidays, derailments, strikes, etc) during that period.

On April 1, 1966 a new run through agreement took effect. While the crewing of the trains remained the same, the operation and equipment used in the service was altered. Under the new agreement, the TH&B and NYC each supplied three engines to the service while CP would supply the vans. Both power and vans would operate with the train the entire length of the trip between Toronto and Buffalo as opposed to being turned back at Hamilton as was done previously. In addition, the crews would swap their trains directly at Kinnear eliminating the use of Aberdeen and the necessity of both crews operating van hop between the two yards.

In 1972, the mileage equalization agreement between the TH&B and PC was altered to reflect the new mileages brought about by the Welland Canal Relocation Project. Under the new agreement the work was split 69% TH&B and 31% PC.

U.S. crews did not operate into Niagara Falls, ON. U.S. road crews operated this train from Buffalo to Niagara Falls where a Canadian yard crew from Montrose would take their power across the border to get the train, or taxi across the border and bring the train across with the U.S. or TH&B power. It wasn't uncommon for the U.S. power to operate through to Toronto. (GP-9B's, U-25's, GP-20's, F-7's, GP-38's or whatever other four axle power brought the train over from Buffalo could be seen operating straight through to Toronto.)

Once the train was in Montrose, it would be handled by the applicable TH&B or NYC to Kinnear. Montrose was the home terminal for the TH&B crews during their operation of the train and the TH&B supplied two vans as sleeping accomodations at Montrose for their use.


5822 Welland 1/1971 Paul Mc Grane Collection

The NYC (MCRR) used to have an engine based in Welland to handle their industrial work and freight shed. In fact, during the steam era, the NYC engine was kept at the TH&B roundhouse at Coyle Yard.

The NYC also used to have their own tracks in the TH&B's Coyle Yard, but they were removed in the early 1930's. Beginning in January 1931, the TH&B and NYC combined their night Welland assignments into one joint assignment that lasted until 1956.

Like all other joint TH&B-NYC assignments, crewing was done on an equalization basis with the equalization being carried out every six months. Records were kept as to the number of hours the assignment spent performing work exclusive to either the TH&B or NYC. At the end of the six month period, the hours would be calculated to determine the number of days a NYC crew would handle the assignment.

As the bulk of the work was exclusive to the TH&B, the equalization for the NYC men typically varied between 30 to 50 days every six months with the remainder of the six month period being worked by TH&B men.

After the relocation of the Welland Canal in 1972, the PC Welland Assignment was relocated to the new joint TH&B-PC yard in Wainfleet.


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