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Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway Reporting mark: THB

Photo: Omer Lavallee, 1955

The Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo Railway (which never actually reached Toronto or Buffalo) was a small regional railway that provided service to the city of Hamilton and the surrounding area.

Operations began in 1892 with service between Brantford and Waterford. In 1894 the railway was extended to Hamilton and in 1895 to Welland. At its height the railway covered the area from Hamilton through Brantford to Waterford on the southwest and to Port Colborne on the southeast. A branch line at Smithville extended south to Dunnville and Port Maitland.

THB leaving Kinear Yard, Hamilton, 1972
Photo: Roger Letourneau

In 1895, the railway was purchased in a joint venture by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and the New York Central Railroad (NYC) along with its subsidiaries, the Michigan Central Railroad (MC) and the Canada Southern Railway (CASO). The CPR owned 27 per cent and the NYC, 73 per cent.

The NYC merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1968 to form Penn Central. By 1970 Penn Central was bankrupt and in the hands of Conrail, a U.S. government owned railroad set up to manage Penn Central's assets. In 1977, the CPR purchased the NYC's portion from Conrail to become the full owner.

Passenger service lasted until 1981. In 1987, the THB was merged into the CPR and ceased to exist.

A number of THB stations have been restored and are in use for other purposes. The striking art deco station in Hamilton, built in 1933, has been restored and renamed the GO Centre. Fittingly, it remains in use as a transportation depot by both GO Rail and a number of bus operators.