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Canadian Pacific Railway

Trenton Division



Doubleheaded 903 with engines 5111 and 2819 westbound near Cherrywood October 11,1952.
James F.Beveridge/Collection of Dave Shaw.

2816 with smoke deflectors on fast freight in War time. Bill Paul/L.B.Chapman Collection


The Trenton Division of the Canadian Pacific Railway once consisted of the major portion of the original Ontario & Quebec mainline between Montreal and Toronto. The Havelock Section from Smiths Falls to Havelock (109.2 miles) and then the Toronto Section beyond to Toronto (100.8 miles to Toronto union station.) Note: It was 101.4 miles to Toronto Junction and a further 4.6 miles to Toronto Union via Parkdale.

Following opening of the new Lake Ontario Shore line in 1914, as the CLO&W (see below) was known, the old Havelock Subdivision ran from Glen Tay (Mile .0) to Havelock (Mile 93.7), and then the Peterboro Subdivision to Agincourt (Mile 88.0). The new line became known as the Belleville Subdivision from Smiths Falls (Mile .0) to Glen Tay (Mile 15.4 and Trenton (Mile 102.7); from there it was the Oshawa Subdivision to Agincourt (Mile 96.3), Leaside (Mile 103.8) and Toronto (Mile 109.1).

It also included a mainline from Dranoel, west of Peterboro on the old O&Q mainline, to Port Mc.Nicoll built by the Georgian Bay & Seaboard. A branchline from Lindsay to Bobcaygeon built as the Lindsay, Bobcaygeon & Pontypool and another from Havelock to Nephton. There was also the entire Kingston & Pembroke from Kingston to Renfrew. A grand total of 572.6 miles. Very little of these lines was built or owned by the CPR, most were acquired or were built under the charter of newly formed "paper" companies.

These lines were later known as the Havelock, Peterboro, Belleville, Trenton, Port Mc.Nicoll, Bobcaygeon, Kingston and Nephton Subdivisions. The latter was the last built on the Ontario District, and one of the last anywhere on the CPR. It was also the only part of the Trenton Division built by the CPR, and one of the very few built on Eastern lines aside from the original mainline. All others were bought, or built by separately chartered railways. Note: Smiths Falls itself did not belong to the Ontario District.

Map of Ontario Division 1884

Map 1930

The original mainline was built by the Ontario & Quebec (chartered in March 1881), from Perth, Ontario where it connected with the Canada Central, westward through Tweed, Havelock, Peterboro and Agincourt to (West) Toronto Junction, 199 miles. Built with 60-lb. rail on gravel ballast and a maximum grade of 1.1%, the last spike was driven on May 5, 1884 however, a troublesome sinkhole near Kaladar prevented the start of passenger service until August 11th. It had already been leased on January 4th. to the C.P.R. for 999 years!

Perth was the location of the Brockville & Ottawa yard and shops, and a connection with a 12-mile branch from Smiths Falls which had opened February 17,1859. This branch was bought by the CPR and used as a link in the building of the line from Montreal to Toronto. It had been built to the Provincial broad gauge of 5' 6" and had to be regauged to standard gauge. The B&O was built from Brockville through Smiths Falls to Almonte and Sand Point where it connected with the Canada Central. In 1878 it was amalgamated with the Canada Central which was acquired by the CPR in 1881. Smiths Falls was not part of the Trenton Division, nor was the former B&O.

About 122 miles of new line was built by the O&Q eastward from Smiths Falls to Mile End where it would connect with the Atlantic & Northwest to reach Montreal, a grand total of 339 miles, and opening it in August 1887. All of the mentioned railways had already become part of the C.P.R. Traffic grew quickly and the need for more track capacity was soon evident. An 1898 proposal called for the double tracking of the entire Montreal-Windsor mainline! Surveys between Bathurst, just west of Glen Tay and Tweed to straighten the line and reduce grades from 1.1% to .8% at 17 locations would cover half of the total 62 miles.

After trying since 1886 to get a route from the east directly to downtown Toronto the Don Branch between Leaside Junction and Toronto was opened for freight September 7, 1892. Following an agreement with the GTR to use their station passenger service began using the branch effective May 14, 1893. (With an 1895 expansion it became a "Union" station.) Prior to that trains between Montreal and Toronto had to back between (West) Toronto Junction via Parkdale in both directions. The delay was due to difficulties in getting a right of way along the Esplanade, an already crowded area, and to the objection of the Toronto Belt Line Railway which felt there wasn't room for another track in the narrow valley.

The Don Branch which parallels the Don River is on a steep grade (1.75%) northbound requiring an assist engine from Parkdale (freight) or Union Station (for heavy passenger trains) to Leaside and often onward to Agincourt. Fast freight 910, known for many years as "Mae West" handled mostly LCL shed cars and other "rush" traffic from Parkdale to Montreal. 910 usually required two assist engines, one as far as Leaside due to the much steeper grade "up the Don", while the second continued on to Agincourt. It was the only freight train that used this route (although it sometimes operated in two sections) until the coming of the Piggyback trains. It is not officially a branch, but rather an extension of the main line first named the Oshawa Subdivision and re-named the Belleville Subdivision. It is referred to simply as the "Don". At one time it was controlled by an electric staff block system.

The mainline was double tracked between Montreal and Smiths Falls between July 1908 and March 16,1910, with the intention of continuing on to Peterboro near where it would connect with the Georgian Bay & Seaboard, then continue west to Toronto. Double track was extended by November 1911 to Glen Tay, at which point a new line would divert. Rather than double track the entire line it was decided to build an entirely new mainline, one closer to Lake Ontario and thus lower grades and additional towns.

Campbellford, Lake Ontario & Western was incorporated Sept. 20,1904, but it wasn't until May 1,1912 that construction began at Trenton in both directions. The original plan in 1906 was to build the new line off the exisiting main line at Kemptville Junction (Bedell) to Brockville, Gananoque, Kingston and Belleville running south of the GTR. The CPR had long ago acquired the Brockville & Ottawa which ran between Brockville and Smiths Falls to Ottawa and later the Kingston & Pembroke which may have played a part in changing the route to run directly from Glen Tay to Belleville instead of the more roundabout route.

More than 3,000 men, (and 23 steam shovels!), were at work in 1913 building the line, along with 12 wooden and 7 brick stations, 10 enclosed 40,000 gal. water tanks, and other structures including a 12 stall concrete roundhouse with 80' turntable at Trenton, which was to become a Division point requiring 23 acres of land.

Mud Lake, a very shallow lake, 11 miles west of Glen Tay proved to be a challenge due to the blue clay and mush beneath it. It required 700' of curving bridge 145' above the water. It was also tough going through rock cuts, the heaviest between Christie Lake and Crow Lake and easier onward to Roblindale. Many bridges were required including three notable ones. A 1600 foot long, 70' high viaduct at Trenton, a 1700 foot, 50' high viaduct in Port Hope and a 1000 foot, 80' high one over Dixie Creek. The work was finished and the line opened to traffic after two years and two months work, on June 29,1914, at a cost of $12,868,354 or about $70,000 per mile. The CLO&W had already been leased on July 1,1913, to the CPR for what had become a traditional period of time for such "paper" railways, 999 years!

Peterboro Subdivision at left. Oshawa Subdivision at right. Looking east.
Agincourt circa 1960. R.L.Kennedy

At Agincourt it met up with the old line again after 181.7 miles, taking a mere 1.9 miles longer, but having a very easy grade of only 0.4% compared to 1.1% which meant double the tonnage could be hauled over its 85lb. rail. NOTE: a D-10 class engine (4-6-0) could handle 1150 tons eastbound beyond Agincourt on the old line and 2290 over the new line. Between Agincourt and Leaside, the controlling grade in the opposite direction, a grade reduction was carried out along with double tracking which was completed June 1, 1914. On this grade, just east of Leaside, were built two 120' foot high viaducts, each about 1000' long over the two branches of the Don River. These had to be strengthened 13 years later to accommodate heavier steam locomotives as did many other bridges.

Leaside to Agincourt ("up Wexford") was a short assisting grade of only 7.3 miles and a crew would make more than one run in their day. Engines were based at Lambton and would leave there on east freight trains on their first run. They would wait at Leaside station for the next train. Or, drop down the Don to assist a heavy passenger train from Union Station. "Push Out" was the term used to decribe the dispatch when a new crew was not required.

A short spur of 1.1 miles was built from the mainline into downtown Trenton to serve the freight shed and coal docks.

A proposed spur into Point Anne was forgone in favour of a connection with the Thurlow Ry. instead, and a proposed branch from Shannonville to Kingston came to nothing. The CPR had already leased the Kingston & Pembroke in December 1912.

Towns served by the new line included Belleville, Trenton, Brighton, Cobourg, Port Hope, Oshawa and Whitby. Among the communities that were served by the new CPR line few of any substantial size had been without rail service thanks to the Grand Trunk which had completed its "grand trunk line" (a term used to signify a major rail line) between Montreal and Toronto way back in 1856.

What had been sought was competition. In 1891 Brighton businessmen revived efforts of a previous Ontario incorporation in 1882 of the Brighton, Warkworth & Norwood. For the second time, nothing happened.

In 1901, another Ontario incorporation was for the Norwood & Apsley, which included powers to construct elevators and wharves, also to operate vessels on Stoney and other lakes reached, along with the right to lease or sell to the CPR. In 1901, a CPR surveyor carried out of a survey of the 25 mile line, however nothing was built.

There was also the Canadian Northern and its line from Toronto to Ottawa, which opened in December 1913. Clearly, there wasn't really a need for 4 lines so close to each other. The first to go was the CNoR, which was mostly abandoned shortly after being taken over by the Canadian National Railways following the bankruptcy of the Mackenzie & Mann empire.

One of the points served by all three railways, Belleville, featured a short stretch of common right of way for about 3 miles with the Canadian Northern, which completed its Toronto-Ottawa mainline in December 1913. They even shared the same bridge piers over the Moira River! A short joint section allowed the CNoR access to a shared station as well. There was also a small non-common carrier railway near here, the Thurlow Ry.


Major industries in Peterboro are Canadian General Electric and Quaker Oats both still in operation.

Peterboro yard engine 815 switching Quaker Oats. Main line bridge in the background. July 1954
Collection of William Flatt


Trenton yard looking east. Three views in late 1940's. Gerald Sharp/Roger Snape Collection

Trenton roundhouse 1915 Oliver McKee Collection courtesy of Doug Hately



Three interesting photographs showing job T25 Cobourg Turn switching the spur at mileage 133.4 Belleville Subdivision. Sabia Innovative Plastics formerly (2007) GE Plastics Canada at 44 Normar Road Cobourg. 8/24/2013 Mike Lockwood

Port Hope

CN Turbotrain on detour over CPR.


Doug Hately's Bowmanville Gallery

1108 switching R M Hollingshead in Bowmanville c.1932.
(Whiz brand auto and home products)
Doug Hately Collection


4451-6260 assignment T19 on the CPR Oshawa Spur passes over the CN Kingston Sub. at Mile 301.9.

General Motors resumed vehicle production in November of 2021 (having ended December 2019) which resulted in CP
spur being reactivated to serve the plant although CP as well as CN no longer provides plant switching. That work is now contracted to Genesee & Wyoming Canada.

Q-G 3548 and RLK 4095 have uncoupled from empty flats and are pulling loads of frames ahead.
They will then back the five loads into the open building doorway. April 5, 2022 Kris Roenigk

Oshawa South Spur built in 1954 to serve the new General Motors automobile plant.

Rebuilt in 2006 a major project due to widening of Highway 401.

Switching at the GM plants was traditionally shared by CN and CP with each stationing yard jobs there. This changed with loss of traffic to CN and by summer of 2016 CP withdrew its operations at GM Oshawa.

Oshawa siding extension. The existing 5300 foot siding running west from Park Road to the wye connecting to the spur was extended 7000 feet west across Thornton Road South level crossing to about 1000 feet west of Thickson Road South in Whitby, which is grade separated. Time Table 81 Effective at 1200 Sunday July 25, 2004.

8798-1805 switching North Yard in Oshawa. July 19,1987

The photo above is looking west from the Ritson Road bridge. Albert Street wood bridge is in the background.
The big building in the left background is Knob Hill Farms (now empty). The area has been proposed for a GO station. Only the main line now runs thru here. Simcoe Street is just west of the Albert Street bridge and it is on a concrete overpass. The station was just a stone’s throw west of Simcoe Street. The GM spur to the south yard is another half mile west of where the the station was. We called the yard in the photo the “North Yard”. It was worked from the west end by the Oshawa Railway (CN) and from the east end by CP. It accounted for quite a bit of interchange when the GM North Plant was busy.
Doug Hately

Note: The two empty tracks behind the trailing unit are the interchange tracks. One for CP to CN and the other for CN to CP, the standard practice. The train, which is in the siding, may be lifting or setting off either or both of these tracks. The third track was used to set up west lifts and the fourth was the shed lead. All tracks are double ended except the fartherest right which is deadend. All are long gone except for the mainline.

1650_1518_with 1025 daughter. Note exhaust stack devices on both units.
Oshawa 3/03/2013

6709 one of two GMD switchers assigned to work GM auto plant one at a time.
Digital restoration: Gordon Kennedy

8130 Trenton Pick Up with yard engine 6618 heading to Trenton. Eastbound at Ritson Road, Oshawa.
Not long after this photo, the level crossing was replaced with an overpass. D. Hately.
Digitally enhanced by Gordon Kennedy.


Canadian Pacific in Southern Ontario by W.H.N.Rossiter

2409 1/902 at Lambton

2424 at Cobourg

2803 at Cherrywood

Section houses , etc

194 Church Street Bowmanville street side. November 2018 Doug Hately

It is set right at the back of the lot with a big parking lot in front. – was once a used car lot. (Art’s Car Market).

194 Church Street Bowmanville back side. November 2018 Doug Hately

John Rice who owns both places told Doug that 194 Church Street was built by the CPR
as a bunk house when the water tower, bridge and station were being built here. (1912-14).

139 Wellington Street, Bowmanville. Street side. November 2018 Doug Hately

In back of it you can see the back side of 194 Church Street.

139 Wellington Street, Bowmanville. West side. November 2018 Doug Hately

This was the agent’s house. It in immediately east of the freight shed which stands today,
although covered in metal siding. All three properties owned by same person.



Children growing up in these double section houses had an early introduction to the railway.
Lens, Mile 61.7 Belleville Subdivision.

Another double sectionhouse is Roblindale Mileage 68.2 April 1978. John Mellow



Former Bolingbroke double section house now privately owned and being restored.
Still on original site. Mileage 30.0 Belleville Sub. John Soehner

Plans for this style of double sectionhouse indicates a size of 36' 7" x 39' 7".

Districts, Divisions, Sections and Subdivisions.

The Ontario Division once consisted of Sections of the mainline and Branches thereof. In the fall of 1916 the whole CPR was reorganzied with Divisions and Districts exchanging names, after which the Ontario District consisted of three Divisions and both the main and branch lines were called Subdivisions.

The Oshawa Subdivision was combined with the Belleville Subdivision, and the Peterboro Subdivision. was combined with the Havelock Subdivision, by the time the October 1964 employee timetable was issued.

The Trenton and Bruce Divisions were eliminated October 26, 1969. At that time the Smiths Falls Division acquired the Kingston Sub, the Belleville Sub. as far west as M.172.8 (just east of Oshawa), and the Havelock Sub. as far west as M.62.5, not far from Toronto Yard. The Toronto Division then consisted of the Mac Tier Sub, Port Mc.Nicoll Sub, and the Toronto Terminals. The Bruce Branches (Orangeville area) were transferred from the Bruce Division to the London Division effective July 1, 1959.


The home terminal for District 1 train crews was Toronto, and the away-from-terminal was Trenton or Havelock. Smiths Falls crews worked to Trenton or Havelock, as well as to Chalk River and to Montreal. Passenger tail-end crews worked Toronto-Smiths Falls. Yard crews were based at Trenton and Havelock and in later years Peterboro and Oshawa. Peterboro was closed July 20th, after the Road Switcher job there was abolished July 18, 1982.

A big change took place effective November 1, 1970 when a Run Through Pool was created for crews to operate between Toronto and Smiths Falls, eliminating Trenton as a division point. The work was shared by both Toronto and Smiths Falls crews, continuing todate.

Train operations and crew

General Ad 1982

Freight Schedules 1980

Power Distribution 1956

Smiths Falls aerial view 2014
September 7, 2014 Grant Bailey

Smiths Falls Roundhouse

Smiths Falls Yard 1958

2811 with Third Class symbol freight 911 due to depart Smiths Falls yard 12:45 p.m.
for Chalk River Subdivision destined to Sault Ste.Marie. July 19,1958 Smiths Falls
Robert F. Collins/James A.Brown Collection

Smiths Falls Yard 1973

8733_4465 with 911 leaving "the Falls" for Chalk River and beyond with
one car of beer on the head end for Pembroke! May 1973.


Steam Gallery
Oshawa and Belleville Subs.

Steam Gallery
Peterboro, Bobcaygeon and Havelock Subs.

Diesel Gallery

Station Gallery

Sucker Lake
Big freight train wreck on the Belleville Sub. New Year's Eve 1985.

Lindsay, Bobcaygeon & Pontypool

Georgian Bay & Seaboard


Passenger Service


Employee Time Tables
1909, 1921 and 1959

Changes Over the Years

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