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Thurlow Railway

by David Pershick and R. L. Kennedy

Map Lehigh Cement Co.showing the old west plant (Belleville Cement Co.) and the newer plant.

Collection of David Pershick

The Belleville and Point Anne Railway was built under Ontario charter # O S -3 EDW VII chapter 90-12. The application was made at the spring session of the legislature in 1903 to incorporate as the Point Anne Railway by the promoters the Belleville Portland Cement Co. and was approved with the title Belleville and Point Anne Ry. Co. Capital was fixed at $50,000.00 and power was given to issue bonds at $10,000.00. The line was to be 3 1/4 mi. in length and constructed by C.B. English and Co. The line started at the eastern end of the G.T.R. yard and ended at the shore of the Bay of Quinte at Point Anne. The line was laid with 56 lb. rails and was expected to be completed by December 31, 1904. Belleville city council decided to sell to the cement company the iron rails from the defunct Belleville Traction Co. According to J.W. Griswold, engineer the only work left to be done was the bridge over Bells Creek being of 5 spans of 15 ft. 6 in. The line was solely for the business of the cement company.

In 1907 the cement companies decided to amalgamate about this time and the Belleville Portland Cement Co. decided to join the Lehigh Cement Co. that was building a new plant just to the east. This union of the two companies brought about the decision to build a more substantial rail line than the lightly built Point Anne Ry. In 1907 the Thurlow Rly. was chartered under # 1907-OS3-EDW VII ch 90. The connection was made to the G.T.R at a point further east of the former cement railway and had a wye at this end and terminated at the new plant. In the future two other rail lines would cross the Thurlow Rly. The C.P.R in 1913 by an over head crossing and the C.N.O.R. slightly earlier with an interlocking and exchange tracks. Canadian Pacific built over the Thurlow by blasting out a cut that they bore the cost of. On May 27 1913 three workers were killed in a powder explosion and many others were injured.

Around 1931 the C.N.O.R. was removed leaving the Belleville city branch the only connection to the industrial C.N.R. trackage downtown. When the city branch was lifted in 1964 the industrial trackage was orphaned. C.N. was able to make an agreement to run over the Thurlow Ry. by way of the C.P.R. connection. Eventually the Thurlow was abandoned and all the downtown trackage was taken up leaving a few portions of rails and ties.

David Pershick

CNR map showing former connection in Belleville to abandoned right of way of
Belleville & Point Ann Railway.

One of two steam locomotives used in early years by Point Anne Quarries Ltd.
Built in 1889 by Baldwin for the Suburban Rapid Transit Co. which was acquired 6/1891
by the Manhattan (Elevated) Ry. Steam was replaced by electric M.U. cars
Acquired from the Thousand Islands Ry. in 1912 along with a even tinyer 0-4-2T Dickson
8-ton compound engine. Shown here on the TIR. E.A.Gardner

Canada Cement Co. unnumbered 40-ton electric locomotive.
Ex GE 5 Schenectady NY GE #1643 1902
Point Anne March 12, 1949 William C. Bailey/R.J.Sandusky Collection

Length body 29' 1" Length overall 31' 1"
Width overall 9' 7" Wheelbase 6' 0"

Thurlow Railway was changed to diesel in 1950, while later still, CNR and CPR engines were allowed to operate over it one at a time. CNR movements were controlled by the switchtender at Belleville Yard entered the line at Mile 217.3 of the Ganonoque Subdivision, just east of Belleville. In later years control of the line was by a unique method. There were two switch locks on the junction switch and when the CPR engine was using the line their lock was applied and CNR crews were thus made aware and were prohibited from using the line! The same method applied when CNR crew was using the line. Simple as you can get.


Canada Cement Co. 1, GE 50-ton #29912 10/1948
Point Anne, May 8, 1971. Gord Strathdee

Note: Sold 11/1973 Domtar Newsprint, Dolbeau, Que.

Canada Cement Co. Ltd. 2 (2nd)
Plant No. 5

GE 50-ton 30747 5/1950

Note: Transferred 1975 to St. Constant plant.

A plant switcher remained in use by Canada Cement La Farge Ltd. until it closed in 1974. The property was sold to Point Anne Quarry Co. Aggregates Division of Standard Industries which also controlled Consolidated Sand & Gravel. They began quarrying operations in April 1975 and resumed operating over the old Thurlow line to the mainline using an old diesel bought from the CPR, an MLW 660 HP S3, 6543, which could handle a maximum of only 7 loads up the grade. Traffic was destined to a CS&G facility at Mile 185, Cherrywood and was expected to reach 50 cars per day. Unit trains of 100 ton rapid discharge hopper cars with a turning loop and units equipped with slow speed control were proposed, all of which was to be leased from CanPac Leasing, a CPR subsidiary. It never happened. (CanPac had briefly leased them the 6543 before it was bought on July 4,1975.) The quarry operation was expected to last 50 years with CS&G closing their Paris, Ont. pit. It didn't last that long, not by a long shot, at least not by rail, which ended after a few years.

Point Anne Quarry 20004 acq. July 4/1975 (ex CP 6543) S-3 MLW 81199 8/1955



Photos wanted! Anything on the Thurlow Railway. PPP


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