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Ontario Railways Profiles

The following sections offer background information on each of the railways featured in this site. Constituent railways are not included. If you're interested learning more, we encourage you to search for additional resources and publications.

Lake Erie and Northern Railway (LEN)
The LEN was a small interurban electric railway, under CPR ownership, that served a number of communities in southwest Ontario. Passenger service lasted until 1955. learn more

Michigan Central Railroad (MC)
The MC began leasing and operating the Canada Southern Railway in 1873. In 1929 the lease was taken over by MC's parent company, the New York Central Railroad. learn more

Midland Railway of Canada (MRC)
The Midland Railway began in 1857 as the Port Hope, Lindsay and Beaverton Railway (PHL&B). It was renamed in 1869. In 1884 it was leased by the GTR, followed by ownership in 1893. It was abandoned by CN in the 1970s. learn more

National Transcontinental Railway (NTR)
The NTR was built and operated by the federal government. It provided service from Winnipeg to Moncton from 1915-23 when it became part of CN. learn more

New York Central Railroad (NYC)
The NYC was an American-owned railway that was a major player in southern Ontario for close to 100 years. It became part of Penn Central in 1968 which fell to bankruptcy in 1970. learn more

New York and Ottawa Railway (NYC)
The New York and Ottawa Railway was owned by NYC and provided service in eastern Ontario beginning in 1898. It was shut down in 1957 and its assets sold to CN. learn more

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway (NS&T)
The NS&T was an interurban electric railway that operated between Niagara Falls and Toronto. Although owned by CN, it had its own reporting mark and was run as a separate entity. It was merged into CN in 1960. learn more

Northern Railway of Canada (NRC)
The NRC operated from 1853-88. It originated in Toronto and eventually extended as far as North Bay. In 1888 it was taken over by the GTR and became part of CN in 1923. Portions of the original line remain in use by CN from Barrie northward. The section from Barrie to Toronto was sold to Metrolinx and is now operated by GO Transit. learn more

Ontario Northland Railway (ONT)
The ONR is owned and operated by the Ontario government. It began operations in 1903 as the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway and continues to offer freight service in northeast Ontario. learn more

Penn Central Railroad (PA, PCA, PCB)
Penn Central was formed in 1968 with the merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads. By 1970, it had flamed out in the most spectacular bankruptcy ever witnessed. Its Canadian assets (CASO and the THB) were later acquired by both CN and CP. learn more

Pere Marquette Railroad (PM)
The PM was an American-owned railway that provided service in southwest Ontario beginning around 1900. In 1947 it was absorbed by its parent company, CSX Transporation. learn more

Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway (PADW)
The PAD&W was a short line that began operating in north-west Ontario in 1893. It was purchased by the CNoR in 1898 and became part of CN in 1918. It was abandoned in 1938. learn more

Port Stanley Terminal Rail (PSTR)
PSTR is a heritage railway that began operating in southwest Ontario in 1987. It was formed from the ashes of the London & Port Stanley Railway which was acquired by CN in 1966. learn more

Thousand Island Railway (TIR)
The Thousand Island Railway was a small feeder line built to connect the town of Gananoque to the GTR (later CN) mainline. The railway was absorbed by CN in 1958 and remained in operation until 1995. learn more

Toronto and York Radial Railway (TYR)
The TYR was an interurban electric railway that provided service to portions of Toronto and the surrounding area. It operated from 1904 to the 1920s when it was broken up and merged into several municipal and regional lines. learn more

Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo Railway (THB)
The THB was a small regional railway in southern Ontario that began operating 1892. Jointly owned by the NYC and the CPR, it was merged into the CPR in 1987. learn more

VIA Rail (VIA)
VIA rail was formed by the federal government in 1978 as a rail passenger carrier. It currently provides service to most major cities across Canada. learn more

Victoria Railway (VRY)
The Victoria railway was a short-lived regional line that ran from Lindsay to Haliburton. It began operating in 1878 and was taken over by the GTR in 1884. It was abandoned by CN in the early 1980s. learn more

Wabash Railway (WAB)
The WAB was an American-owned railway that operated in southern Ontario in partnership with the GTR and later with CN. It was absorbed by its parent company, the Norfolk Southern Railway, in 1991. learn more