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Old Time Trains

Canadian Pacific Railway

Trenton Division


Changes over the years.

Amongst the improvements made over the years were such things as a two-stall wooden engine house at Peterboro in 1927, where there had been none. While the turntable was located close to the station and near the swing bridge over the Otonabee River, the engine house had to be located between the freight shed and a feed mill on a spur track leading to the Quaker Oats plant. A 60,000 gal. steel water tank at Crow Lake and in 1930 an 80,000 gallon one at Trenton. A small 50-ton capacity coal chute on the mainline at Tweed in 1930 for the re-coaling of passenger engines running through between Toronto and Montreal, this being about the half-way point. (There was a similar one on the new line at Tichborne.) In 1930 replacement of 85 lb. rail with 100 lb. was completed between Montreal and Windsor. Colour light target signals were installed between Bedell, Glen Tay, Trenton and Agincourt in 1929 and in 1930 to the Don. The most significant improvements were the strengthening of bridges to take heavier power. G3 class 2300's (4-6-2 passenger engines) and P2 class 5300's (2-8-2 freight engines) required this work. In 1924 the Crow River bridges were replaced and in 1927 the two big bridges over the Don River's two branches at Leaside were strengthened. One of the few new stations on the Trenton Division was the one at Havelock with its Division point facilities.

The biggest change to come to the Trenton Division was the same one that came to every division on the CPR; diesels! They changed the way the railway operated. Longer, heavier and faster trains with no stops for water.

The first GMD order (C-100) was for ten model FP7A units, CPR 4028-4037. The first unit is shown near Leaside testing with Dynamometer Car 62 westbound on train 903, September 1950. 4028 and 4029 were delivered to the CPR on September 14,1950. W.H.N.Rossiter

Diesels brought further changes as longer and heavier freight rains were operated, usually without an assist engine up the short helper grade between Leaside and Agincourt, (a.k.a. "up Wexford"). G3 class 4-6-2's and H1 class 4-6-4's on freight could handle no more than 3190 tons eastward from Agincourt. A pair of road diesels was rated at 5800 tons!

Oshawa South Spur built in 1954 to serve the new General Motors automobile plant. Rebuilt in 2006
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.



The biggest change to Trenton Division freight trains came in 1957 when dedicated piggyback trains began
between Montreal and Toronto began.


The heavy traffic of the single track Belleville and Oshawa Subs. eventually required something to aid the movement of trains. Double tracking is very expensive to build and maintain and is only justified by a very heavy volume of trains. A big improvement can be had at less expense by the use of Centralized Traffic Control (CTC), a system of remote control of signals and switches that replaces written train orders. It reduced the need for operators around the clock to write out and hand up these orders. It also eliminated the time-consuming need to stop and align switches to enter and leave sidings. Because the dispatcher (located in Toronto Union Station) could see by coloured indicator lights exactly where trains were, it was easier and quicker to make meets between opposing trains without having to wait for trains to be reported at a station.

January 28, 1958 CTC began to take over control at Glen Tay as passenger train number 35 from Ottawa made its way toward Toronto. Throughout 1958 work would continue installing the CTC system made by General Railway Signal, and replacing 16 sidings of 60-80 car lengths with 8 of 150 cars between Glen Tay and Trenton, distance of 87.1 miles. A similar siding program later took place on the Oshawa Sub. By the April 27, 1958 employee time table CTC had reached Wilkinson Mile 52.2. By the October 26, 1958 timetable it was completed to Trenton Mile 102.5. By October 25, 1959 to Port Hope at Mile 38.7 Oshawa Subdivision, and October 30, 1960 Darlington Mile 66.7. It was extended through to Agincourt by the April 30, 1961 employee timetable. It was the biggest installation of CTC with only small segments at 10 locations across the system, mainly in terminals. It would go to cover many thousands of miles of track across Canada. Note: An early type of CTC controlled by the operators at the Don, Leaside and Agincourt stations existed for many years prior. There was also an Electric Staff Block System in place on the steep grade from Leaside down the Don which had been eliminated years earlier.


Hot Box Detectors were another system added to main lines all across the system. The early type had a display signal that would light up if a defect was suspected and was read by the tailend crew. Later, with removal of cabooses a newer system broadcast a message over the radio channel used on the subdivision.

If a defect is suspected numbers will light up indicating the axle count to locate problem.

Removal of facilities.

The roundhouses at Trenton, Havelock, Port Mc.Nicoll and the small enginehouse at Peterboro were closed and demolished near the end of the steam era. The enginehouse at Peterboro was rebuilt in July 1958 and leased out as a warehouse. The turntable remained at Havelock until replaced by a short wye track in 1980. Smiths Falls roundhouse, which was not actually part of the Trenton Division, was taken down in stages with the last portion finally being demolished in June 1993, although the turntable remained serviceable for some while afterwards before being retired.


The original O&Q mainline was abandoned July 21, 1971 for 62.5 miles between Glen Tay and Tweed, however, the track was not removed until 1974. The right-of-way was sold to Bell Canada to maintain their adjacent telephone line. Later, another company laid a fibre optics cable along the right-of-way.

NOTE: The last train east of Havelock ran light (engines and van) on December 1, 1970 from the Falls to Sharbot Lake returning to Smith's Falls with engines 4089_8476 (FA-2 and RS-10) hauling 70 loads of rail dismantled from the old K&P. By this time trains had become so rare farmers had put cattle fences across the track and the crew was obliged to stop and open gates to proceed!

Note: The second main track was removed between Glen Tay and Smith's Falls in April 1982.

The mainline between Tweed and Havelock was abandoned December 21, 1987; however trackage between Mile 90.8 and Havelock (Mile 93.7) was redesignated as a spur. An industry ( 3M ) making coloured ceramic roofing granules was located there from 1960. Although this industry closed in 2002 as 3M withdrew back to the US, a new ethanol plant is currently (2006) proposed for the site.

Years earlier, Tweed saw a slight increase when the CPR took over from CNR as it abandoned the former Bay of Quinte line between Yarker and Tweed effective May 31, 1941. Tweed Milling took over a small amount of track which also served Tweed Steel Works, and the CPR served both and possibly another siding to a lumber dealer. There was little other traffic remaining on the old B of Q by this time and the portion north from Tweed to Bannockburn had already been abandoned six years earlier. Many of the stations remain to this day compared to the policy of later years whereby stations were usually destroyed, often after years of neglect.

In an attempt to get out of branchlines, yet retain some of the business the railways turned to two methods. The most popular was intermodal which was sold to a sometimes reluctant customer in the name of better service. Greatly decreased frequency of freight trains had preceeded this marketing sales pitch, so it was "better" than nothing!

The other method involved co-operation between the two railways (CN & CP) and was usually less common as witnessed by the many attempts to co-ordinate service and abandonments to Owen Sound and Goderich. In the end the result was often no rail service at all. This happened in Lindsay, where the CPR pulled out first, leaving the remaining few customers to CN, who shortly thereafter pulled out themselves! The town of Lindsay fought a loosing battle to retain rail for its industries in those days before shortlines became common. In some cases, in later years, towns stepped up to the plate and took action to acquire the line themselves, Lindsay was not one of those, nor was Orillia or Owen Sound, all of which went from two railway competition to rubber tires!

Peterboro and Lindsay

Peterboro saw a similar pull back by CN as it abandoned its branchline that ran via Lindsay. In an "exchange" arrangement involving the Lindsay and Peterboro branchlines, CP took over the few remaining CN customers and a small amount of trackage effective July 12, 1989. This included the former Campbellford Spur (Subdivision) which had crossed the CPR just west of the station, between mileage 60.40 and 63.25; off of which at 60.55 ran the Peterboro Industrial Park Spur. Map.

Smiths Falls Division Closed July 1, 1988

Known at the time as CP Rail - East, Intermodal Freight Systems, closing of the Division saw its territory divided between three other divisions. Toronto Division took over the Belleville Sub. from Mile 0.6 to 172.8 just east of Oshawa; Smiths Falls Terminal and the Brockville Sub. Sudbury Division took over the Chalk River Sub. from Mile 0.5 to 114.5; and the Carleton Place Sub. from 8.0 to 28.1 Quebec Division took over the Winchester Sub. from 20.0 to 123.8; Prescott Sub; Ottawa Terminal, Ellwood Sub. in Ottawa; Belleville Sub. Mile 0.0 to 0.6; Chalk River Sub. 0.0 to 0.5; M&O Sub. 87.5 to 83.5; Carleton Place Sub. 7.5 to 8.0; and the Walkley Line Wass to Hawthorne.

Cabooseless trains

End Of Train (EOT) telemetry replaced cabooses with a Sense and Brake Unit (SBU) and forever changed freight trains. No more little red caboose or any other colour either. No more rear end crew to maintain a lookout or just wave to bystanders.

Caboose 434711 brings up the rear of 515 leaving Smiths Falls for Toronto, January 13, 1990, the last train with a van. The next day Montreal-Toronto through freight trains ran cabooseless. Bill Sanderson

Kawartha Lakes Railway

The Kawartha Lakes Railway was created on October 1, 1996 by the CPR as an internal shortline.


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