link image


Nosbonsing and Nipissing Railway Reporting Mark: Unknown

Photo of John Booth
John R. Booth
Topley Studio Fonds, Library and Archives Canada, PA-033998 / ca, 1922

The Nosbonsing and Nipissing Railway (NNR) was a small portage railway, built by lumberman J.R. Booth in 1884.

Booth needed a way to get his sawlogs from North Bay to the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers, where they could be driven onward to his mills in Ottawa. A small five and a half-mile logging railway, located west of Madawaska at Egan Estate, served the purpose nicely.

Booth was no stranger to railway building. In 1882, he jumped into the railway industry with the opening of the Canada Atlantic Railway (CAR). Originally planned as a rail conduit for Booth's lumber empire, the CAR quickly grew into a general-purpose railway serving passengers and communities along the route.

The NNR was operated strictly as a separate logging railway. In 1899 it was taken over by the CAR. Then in 1904, for reasons which still remain unclear, Booth sold the CAR to the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) for around $14 million.

The GTR leased and operated the CAR for the next 10 years until Parliament ratified the purchase. Traffic remained brisk on the railway through 1910 with one train every 20 minutes. By 1912 the situation had changed and the GTR abandoned the line.