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Canadian Pacific Railway

Bruce Division

MacTier Subdivision


2233 assisting 2815 on what is most likely 953 ordered around 10.30 a.m. at Lambton. It would back out
of Lambton Yard down 23 West Toronto Yard and down the Galt Sub. in front of West Toronto Depot.
It is now heading north at the start of the MacTier Sub. about to cross the Diamond.
Galt Sub. Westward track in foreground. Eastward track behind the photographer.
West Toronto 1958 Bill Thomson

The Bruce Division of the Canadian Pacific Railway once consisted of the MacTier Subdivision, from West Toronto to MacTier (part of the Toronto-Sudbury mainline), along with part of the Port McNicoll Sub. from Orillia to Port McNicoll/Midland, (the balance being under the Trenton Division), the Camp Borden Sub. and the Hamilton Sub. (CNR Joint Section). It also included, for most of its time, the Bruce Branches, which consisted of the various lines centered on Orangeville. These were the Orangeville, Owen Sound, Walkerton, Teeswater and Elora Subdivisions. Originally, the MacTier Sub. was known as the Muskoka Section, and ran from Bolton Junction to Muskoka, Mile 104.5. It was part of a new line, (officially, it was constructed as the Sudbury Branch), connecting with the main line near Sudbury. At Bolton Jct. it connected with the Owen Sound Section, which was the original Toronto, Grey & Bruce narrow gauge railway from Toronto to Owen Sound.

The CPR was once divided into Divisions that had Districts, with the lines themselves called Sections or Branches. These designations were later changed to Districts with Divisions and the lines redesignated as Subdivisions. Ontario Division became the Ontario District. District No.1 became the Trenton Division; District No.2 became the London Division; District No.3 became the Bruce Division; District No.4 became the Toronto Terminals Division and the Joint Section to Hamilton. Ontario Division Time Table 1909.

The line to Sudbury was built somewhat late in the CPR history having been talked about for many years, but not finally completed until 1908, more than 20 years after "completion" of the CPR. Prior to its construction, CPR freight traffic to and from the West moved via the Chalk River line, or in the case of passengers from Toronto, over the old TG&B and the CPR Great Lakes Steamship Service between Owen Sound and Fort William.

In 1888 the CPR was already considering building a line from the TG&B at Kleinburg to Sudbury to better handle its traffic to and from the West. Following a change in Grand Trunk Railway management, (General Manager Joseph Hickson left in 1891), agreement was reached (January 26,1892) to handle CPR traffic between Toronto and Callender 306 miles, (near North Bay), along with joint use of the GTR's station in Toronto which became a Union Station at that time.

This put off the new CPR line until the GTR in retaliation for a passenger rate war, cancelled the arrangement in January 1898 causing CPR traffic to once again be routed eastward via Smiths Falls. This was followed by new surveys being made from March to June 1898 to Sudbury with a maximum grade northbound of 1% and southbound .75%. A new running rights agreement over the GTR became effective November 26, 1898, and once again the CPR put off its plans.

In 1901 and until November 1902 survey work was again undertaken for a new line, this time to Romford. The change of the junction point near Sudbury was one of many such changes necessitated by the rugged rock terrain, which begins just north of Coldwater.

Construction finally began by Foley Bros. & Larsen, in May 1904 for 55 miles of line south from Romford, about seven miles east of Sudbury. Right of way property was purchased in February 1905 between a new choice of connection to the old TG&B at Bolton and Craighurst. A branch to Barrie was considered but never constructed. Other than Alliston, there were only small settlements along the line. Beyond MacTier to Sudbury, only Parry Sound had a population worth noting. It was here that a 1700' high level viaduct over the Seguin River was built, and it still makes an impressive sight!

On April 6, 1905 the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the right of the CPR to build the Sudbury Branch under its original charter. This followed a challenge by the James Bay Railway (Canadian Northern), which insisted the CPR needed new legislation to permit construction of this new line, which they said was a main line. William Mackenzie obviously didn't want any further competition since the GTR already had a line between Toronto and northern Ontario. The CPR insisted it was a branch line and the Supreme Court agreed.

In May 1905 a contract was let to grade 128 miles of line from Parry Sound to Bolton and by June, 4000 men, hundreds of horses and 7 steam shovels were at work by the contractor which in August was re-named Toronto Construction Company. The line was to be built with a maximum grade of .3% except for a 3-mile long helper grade of .8%, ending just south of Beeton. Note: The helper grade for North trains from Lambton Yard ended at Bolton, however 955 from Parkdale was at one time assisted to Palgrave. Beeton had a small yard where trains of empty grain box cars were left by occasional Beeton Turn extras, to be lifted by extras going to Port Mc.Nicoll. Another old steam era operations feature were doubling sidings, short single-ended tracks. These were at the top of grades not having a passing track, where trains might have to "double" their train, taking part of it up the hill and returning for the balance which was left on the manline where the train had stalled on the grade. One of the last of these on the Ontario District was an un-named siding at Mile 32.6 of the Mac Tier Sub. for southbound trains between Tottenham (M.35.4) and Palgrave (M.30.8), which held 24 cars.

The old Toronto, Grey and Bruce line required much upgrading to get it away from its narrow gauge origins. Wooden trestles were replaced with steel, grades reduced and curves eased. The southbound grade was 1.7%. A high level bridge over the Humber River south of Woodbridge in December 1910 was 285 feet long and 80 feet high. The alignment north of here was later moved easterly and a bridge built over what became Highway 7. There was also a realignment at Emery with the line moved to the west, easing the curve.

Map of Woodbridge area track relocation

In 1906 track was laid from Bolton through Alliston to what became Coldwater Jct. (Medonte), with approval to operate to Craighurst in November 1906, and to Bala on July 19, 1907. The CPR immediately began a long history of summer passenger trains to Bala. The "Bala Weekend" was one of the last such summer trains and it operated until the end of season in 1963.

Construction through the rock and muskeg required many trestles. One sinkhole at Mile 102 near Buckskin required 3000 cars of ballast!

The division point was established at Muskoka (Mile 126), where a yard and roundhouse were built. Strictly a railway point, it was later re-named MacTier after A.D.MacTier, Assistant to the Vice President. The Muskoka Section became the MacTier Subdivision.

Muskoka Yard
1909 article

MacTier Yard 1955

The line beyond MacTier was in the Algoma District and therefore not part of the Bruce Division. MacTier was a home terminal for crews working north to Cartier, and an away-from-home point for Toronto crews.

In 1907 track was laid to Mile 160.2 and in 1908 completed to Romford, the junction point with the main line 6.7 miles east of Sudbury, opening June 15, 1908. Total distance of the new line was 227 miles; it was another 22 miles to West Toronto. Four passenger trains a day were operated. Note: Canadian Northern opened its Toronto-Capreol main line July 2, 1908!

The MacTier Subdivision has an ABS signal system to which CTC was added in early March 1965 from Mileage 0.0 at West Toronto diamond, to Mileage 21.6 at Bolton, with two tracks signalled between Mile 3.5 and 9.2, an industrial area. In 1952 consideration was given to double tracking all the way from West Toronto to Bolton. This was not done. ABS was installed between Bolton and Alliston and became effective August 14, 1952.

Yard engine 3428. Note the unusual engineer's winter cab window. Note too the builtup coal bunker.
M4d Schenectady 30280 10/1904

3462 Mac Tier yard engine, dead in Lambton Yard, September 26, 1959, enroute to Angus for scrapping.
An engine time left behind! Note the slanted illuminated number boards, long outdated; single air hose,
also slab rods! By now, equipped with sloped-back tender likely off an 0-8-0. 3462 with standard tender.
Two tenders behind are spare water cars for work train service. Bob Shaw. M4h CPR 1511 3/1907

400873 and another plow bracket spreader 402825.
Note water tank indicating full, five years after end of steam.
In some small communities the railway continued supplying water.

8565 spreading the yard.

Yard Office

MacTier Subdivision within Toronto Terminals Division

A detailed look between West Toronto and Emery.

Old Bruce service track. Former TG&B

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2238 2804 (likely 953) sitting in front of West Toronto Depot on the eastward track of the Galt Sub.
after having backed down from Lambton Yard, waiting to head north across the Diamond. (below)
Bill Thomson

Extra North heading for the Diamond. 5449 and 4087. March 1958 Bill Thomson
Note: An early afternoon drag following 953. An unusual steam and diesel doubleheader.

8766 2332 doubleheader off the Mac Tier Sub. backing into West Toronto Yard on the bush track after having been on the North Toronto Sub. The diesel may have been used as an assist engine to Bolton and returned doubleheading as a convenience rather than running as light engine. Bill Thomson

OS Bolton Saturday, March 13, 1954

Doug Hately


953 and Assist arriving at Bolton where weeks-old assist engine 8742 (RS-18 MLW 4/57) will
cut off from road engine 2803 which will continue through to Cartier. June 9, 1957 David M. More

953 and Assist (8458_2464) is seen just south of Bolton, on the Mactier Subdivision, on July 3, 1956
Detailed caption: W.H.N.Rossiter

953 February 19, 1954 photos taken enroute by brakeman Cliff Beagan

8451-8454 at Bolton.( MLW RS-3 11/54) c.1956. F.D.Shaw/Ross Harrison Collection.

Dieselization is only days away as 3722 and 8766 meet at Medonte, April 20, 1960. Al Paterson

8767 southbound with boxes and empty tri-levels.

Randy Masales Collection courtesy of Brian Switzer


Power Distribution 1956

NOTE: Bruce Division power distribution statement included many assist engines, their actual use differed somewhat. These push engines were used as follows: 2200's London trains to Orrs Lake (sometimes Bolton), D-10's North trains to Bolton. "Mudhens" (N2 class 2-8-0's) East trains Leaside-Agincourt. (3600 & 3700's were prohibited by understanding, from Orr's Lake account being too demanding on fireman for such a long distance. These hand-fired "a.k.a. hand bomber" locomotives were said to be under-boilered; the two "engines" could consume steam faster than the boiler could produce it.) Explanation: Although the terms engine and locomotive (a.k.a. power), are used interchangeably, there is a difference. The cylinder, cut-off valve, motion, drive rods etc. comprise an "engine." There are two separate engines, one on each side of a locomotive and capable of independent operation.

Push Engine 955 Parkdale to Bolton, 1/22 Union to Leaside Newton Rossiter

Way Freights

Way Freights are trains that do a lot of work along the way to their destination point. Usually, one such train per day worked each subdivision, sometimes, in the case of branchlines, it was the only train. These are assigned jobs for regular crews that work daily, (for many years 6 days per week, in more recent years, 5 days per week.) In some cases, it worked in one direction a day, laying over at the foreign (away from home) terminal and returning the next day.

The Toronto Terminals had a number of Way Freights that didn't even leave the terminal! Normally, yard crews on yard jobs known as "local" engines, (to differentiate them from those doing marshalling yard work), switched local industries. However, work beyond the Outer Main Track switch, belonged to the road crews.

In the Toronto Terminals the OMTS was located at Leaside for East crews; still is Mile 0.22 MacTier Sub.(Old Weston Rd.), for North End crews; and Mile 10.0 (west wye switch) Galt Sub. for London crews. Obico junction switch for Hamilton crews.

Bruce Division (District 3) crews covered jobs such as Emery Way Freights (3 jobs) that worked from the Diamond north to Emery. (The MacTier Way Freight handled beyond Emery.) They also were entitled to two jobs working Obico and the cut off down to Canpa. Beyond Canpa was handled by the Ham Way Freight. Note: Islington to Cooksville (Mile 15) and beyond there to Streetsville and Guelph Jct. were handled by two London Division jobs based at Lambton. These were the Cooksville Turn (yard rates), and the Stone Train, way freight rates.

These were road jobs, paid yard rates and were sought after assignments due to long hours and high pay. They were renamed Industrial Yards in later years. e.g. Obico Industrial Yard etc.

Trains and crews

General Ad 1982 Details of all yard and road jobs, including explanation of crewing.

Proposals, and more proposals.

Over the decades there have been many proposals for railway works connected with the Bruce Division that for one reason or another never took place. These included a 10 mile extension from Elora to Elmira and another beyond Walkerton to Lucknow. Earlier the Toronto, Grey and Bruce contemplated building from Teeswater to Kincardine.

Cascadilla was an 1884 Ontario incorporation by local interests to build an independent railway to connect Horning's Mills with the Toronto, Grey & Bruce at either Shelburne or Melancthon Station. This followed earlier failed attempts to get the Credit Valley to build a line north from Orangeville and another attempt to have the Northern & North Western build south from Creemore and even the Grand Trunk from Georgetown. Apparently nothing much happened as no railway was ever built into Horning's Mills.

Collingwood Southern was incorporated in 1907 by CPR interests to build from Collingwood through Baxter to Orillia. Construction started in 1913 in Collingwood, but soon ended. It could also have become a link to Owen Sound.

1912 an Islington-Weston bypass was surveyed as far north as Utopia. These plans were put on hold and instead a proposed Guelph Jct.-Bolton line was proposed, but in 1914 this was changed when plans were approved for a Guelph Jct.-Humber line. Again, this came to nothing. There was also a proposed Streetsville bypass between Lambton and Brampton.

1949 saw a renewed proposal for this bypass of the crowded Lambton yard. This more elaborate set of plans included a belt line from near Agincourt to Woodbridge. A new major new freight marshalling yard near Kleinburg was part of these plans. Once again, nothing came of any of this. It wasn't until April 1964 that a new hump yard was finally opened in Agincourt.

A new intermodal container yard was built in Vaughan just north of Toronto, connecting to the Mac Tier Sub. at Mile 15.3 via a 5000 foot lead. Vaughan Intermodal Facility continues to grow and expand with the changing nature of moving freight traffic.

Time Tables

Stations Over the Years:

19th Century Gallery

20th Century Gallery

On to: Hamilton Subdivision

Port Mc. Nicoll Subdivision

Passenger Service

The Bruce Branches
Orangeville & Owen Sound Subs.

The Bruce Branches
Elora, Teeswater & Walkerton Subs.

Branch Passenger


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