Passenger Rail Service Returns to Hespeler?

Last Train to Hespeler  CNR no. 174 - 1959

Hamilton to Hespeler to Owen Sound and Return!

Imagine my surprise when I read in the Cambridge Times that they were studying the return of passenger rail to Hespeler! A study is looking at having GO Trains connecting to Guelph then into Toronto from the Hespeler part of Cambridge.

The last passenger train was  June 20th, 1959 at 6:50pm. Legendary rail photographer Harold Kinzie captured this historic event. It is hard to believe that you could travel from Hamilton to Hespeler all the way up to Owen Sound and back. Here is the 1957 schedule.

1957 CNR Schedule

It probably will be single or diesel multiple units (DMU) and not a typical Go Train that connects with Guelph. See example of a unit below.

We are fortunate to have Cambridge's own Kathryn McGarry currently as the provincial Minister of Transport. I hope it stays that way.

An excellent book on the former line is titled, "Two Divisions to Bluewater: The Story of the CNR to the Bruce" by Peter Bowers from 1983. Look for it in your library.

I am more than happy to help educating anyone on the current state of  the line and the benefits of restoring passenger rail from Hespeler for Cambridge. Believe it can happen!

This is an  example of an DMU that could run on the line

Blame Glen Christie Ontario for the Post Boxes

First Post Boxes in Canada were located in Glen Christie, Ontario near Hespeler

Painting the Glen Christie Post Boxes - Source Unknown

For those wondering where the Glen Christie was here is Google Map. The following story is taken from an unknown newspaper article in 1951. For those wanting to learn more about Glen Christie, click on My Books tab to download my free Glen Christie book.

E. J. Kerr, who owns the store has been complaining for some time about the nuisance value and the careless mail system. Ford Termaine, courier for R.R.#1, Hespeler, used to dump the mail on his counter for thirty five families.

Everyone would come in and sort through everyone else’s letters to find their own.

It was a nuisance having letters mixed up with a dozen oranges or a pound of cheese. Emerson wrote in to headquarters in London with some suggestions as to what the post office department could do with their mail. Last week along came a big crate and a post office inspector. This, he was told, was the answer to the problems. Have the mail carrier put the letters in outdoor boxes. Boxholders could come at any time of day or night.

The system could possibly spread to other new areas which are presently served by a general store and post office combined. There has been a move to cut down hours in rural areas. This would be the answer to any inconvenience to boxholders, if the system works at Glen Christie.

Remembering the ROYAL THEATRE in Windsor Ontario

The Royal Theatre in its heyday 1947!

If you pass by Sandwich and Chippewa Street in Windsor and you are old enough, you will remember the Royal Theatre that once stood there. The good news is it is still there!

I want to challenge everyone in Windsor to find the owners of the building and see if we can run a movie there one more time. Even if it is just during the day. It has been over sixty years since the theatre was in operation.

Inside the Royal Theatre

Click on this LINK to see a large version of the outside of the cinema. Click on this LINK to see a large version of the inside of the cinema.

The Royal Theatre as it looks today. Feel free to contact me at brentunespublishing(at) if anyone has the same dream to see a movie at the Royal one more time.!

The Royal today!

Ontario Federation of Agriculture Criticism of High Speed Rail Flawed

Ontario Federation of Agriculture Criticism of High Speed Rail Flawed

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is objecting to the proposed High Speed Rail line for Ontario.

 President Keith Currie stated to CBC that. “You're looking at a line that cannot be crossed at a level of crossing ... That essentially is going to be dividing the province in half."

 It is disheartening to read his comments because it clearly shows the anti-high speed rail opinion is based on rhetoric and not fact.

 The reality is the study is not even been done stating exactly where the route will go or how it will be built. True high speed rail is grade separated from roads.

If people would wait for the study to be completed they could see that many of the problems brought forward by the OFA can be remediated in the design stage.

 Mr. Currie’s comments about the high speed rail being urban-centric are narrow minded.

 When rural Ontario gets new recreation centres/arenas it is not the rural centres tax base that pays for that. Yet nobody in larger cities complain when small town Ontario gets these facilities and only they benefit from them. It is rural-centric but that is not the way we think as society. We do what is best for society as a whole.

 There will still be slow trains still running on the existing line when high speed rail is built.

Therefore smaller communities on the existing rail line would still get service.

If Mr. Currie and the OFA were truly concerned about passenger rail in Ontario why have they not been lobbying VIA Rail to improve the absolutely abysmal service they have provided to St. Mary’s and communities along the line for decades.

 When I fought for VIA Rail service improvements for 20 years along the existing North Main Line between London and Kitchener I never once saw the OFA at a meeting.

 It is unfortunate that the OFA comes out against high speed rail without seeing the completed study and using outdated rural vs urban arguments.

The Bridges of Black Bridge Road

The Bridges of Black Bridge Road

The Bridges of Black Bridge Road 

(originally written in September 30th, 2004) - Blackbridge Road is thee oldest road in Hespeler, formerly called the Block Line. It will be wiped out and replaced with a large road to service the subdivision.

The Road until recently had two historic bridges on it . One,  the Black Bridge Railway Overpass Bridge, has been demolished in the last few weeks. The other bridge is the Black Bridge Road Bridge, a designated heritage structure, and the only steel bridge in Cambrige may also one day be removed. The reason is that this one way bridge cannot handle proposed future traffic volumes.

The City of Cambridge made the decision to remove this bridge and replace it with a level crossing. This has proven to be a financial fiasco for the taxpayers of the City of Cambridge.

1. The Developer of the Subdivision, Mattamy Homes should have payed for the bridge removal and level crossing installation.

2.A replacement bridge would have been far cheaper but would not fit the needs of the proposed subdivision.

3. The removal of the bridge has went way over budget as the company removing the bridge hit bedrock. Estimates to replace the bridge were $250,000. The final cost to put in the level crossing is already over $500,000.

4. Removal of the bridge has caused groundwater to surface causing  continous flooding in the area and contamination of the ground water.

GONE - Black Bridge Railway Overpass Bridge

The Night CP Rail Destroyed the Galt Preston & Hespeler Railway Station in Hespeler

The Night  CP Rail Destroyed the Galt Preston & Hespeler Railway Station in Hespeler

Nearing the End - The Hespeler Station located directly behind Ernies Hotel

The Galt, Preston & Hespeler Railway built a station in Hespeler in 1896. The interurban electric line carried passengers and freight til the service was ended in 1956.

To read an excellent history on the line you should purchase or go to your library and get Traction on the Grand by John Mills.

Here is a good photo below of the station in 1946.

GP&H Railway Station - 1946 Hespeler

The Historic Sites and Moments Board did a heritage assessment of the station in late 1989. Here is the LINK so everyone can read it. Unfortunately at that time and when I moved to the community in 1994, nobody in Hespeler or at the City of Cambridge had shown any interest in their railway history. In fact locals had set fire to the station.

In 1988, the CP Railway who owned the station applied to remove it. A CP rail crew came from out of town and leveled the building. If anyone walks behind Ernies parkinglot you will see where the station was. The roadbed of the of the former line stopped just over the tracks at the former American Standard plant. You can walk west towards Lens Mills on what was that railline.