link image


Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway Reporting Mark: NS&T

The Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway (NS&T) was an interurban electric line, most noteworthy due to the vast extensiveness of its operations. It operated in the Niagara Peninsula area and provided service to St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Port Dalhousie, Thorold, Welland and Port Colborne.

Photo of NSCT train
NSCT train in Thorold, ca. 1940

The railway had its beginnings in the 1870s with horse-drawn streetcars lines, that were gradually switched over to electricity. It was pieced together with the amalgamation of several smaller lines. These included the St. Catharines Street Railway, the Victoria Lawn Line and the St. Catharines & Niagara Central Railway. In 1899 the company was incorporated as the NS&T. Other lines were later added to the system.

In 1908 the system was purchased by the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR). Following the bankruptcy of CNoR, the NS&T passed into government hands and in 1923, became part of the Canadian National Railway (CN).

Since CN owned several other interurban lines, it formed a subsidiary called Canadian National Electric Railways as an administrative arm to manage its electric railways. Much like the CGR agency eight years earlier, each railway retained its own name and reporting mark and was operated as a separate entity. The NS&T continued to add lines and in 1929 incorporated buses into its network.

At its height, the NS&T owned 75 miles of track, yards, a car shop and a passenger ferry service to Toronto. Besides passengers, it carried mail, express baggage and freight. Other sidelines included an amusement park at Port Dalhousie. The railway's presence was particularly welcome during World War II when bus service was cut back due to fuel rationing.

By the 1950s arrived, improved roadways and an explosion of automobile ownership had taken their toll. The railway slowly began to wind down. A number of the electric lines were converted to diesel and two of the mainlines were replaced with buses. Passenger rail service lasted until 1959. In 1960 the NS&T was fully merged into CN.