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Bytown & Prescott Railway
Chronology of Events
10 August 1850 Bytown & Prescott (B&P) Railway Company incorporated Acts 13-14 Chapter 132 Statutes of Upper Canada.
22 January 1851 Walter Shanley engaged to engineer and build the B&P.
02 September 1851 Grading and clearing started by the firm of French, Ferguson & Fraser of Brockville. 
09 October 1851 Official sod turning ceremony held in Ottawa.
09 October 1851 Firm of Howard & Goslin of Prescott begin excavation of the big cut east of Prescott below Fort Wellington and behind the village of New Wexford.
Spring 1854 Track laying started at Prescott, Ont.
19 May 1854 Arrival of the first locomotive, the "Oxford", built by Hinkley & Williams of Boston, via the Northern Railroad at Ogdensburg NY.
21 June 1854 Track reaches Spencerville.
09 August 1854 Track reaches Kemptville.
24 August 1854 Arrival of a worktrain headed by locomotive #2, the "St Lawrence", in Bytown.
29 December 1854 Scheduled service between Bytown and Prescott starts.
May 1855 B&P renamed Ottawa & Prescott (O&P) Railway as the city of Bytown was renamed Ottawa on 01 January 1855. 
10 May 1855 Line officially opened.
1857 O&P placed into receivership.
1865 O&P sold at public auction.  Sits idle for 2 years.
December 1867 O&P reorganized as the St Lawrence & Ottawa (StL&O) Railway.
23 December 1871 Chaudiere Branch opened from Ellwood over the Rideau River (at what is today Carleton University) and Rideau Canal (at the south end of Dow's Lake) to LeBreton Flats.
15 December 1881 StL&O leased to CPR for 999 years.
26 September 1884 Lease is finally executed by the CPR.
21 August 1885 Last Passenger Trains from Sussex St Station.  All trains now depart from CPR Union Station at Chaudiere
1908 Prescott becomes the centre for the import of CPR coal supplies in the Eastern Region from the United States at Ogdensburg.  Between 1908 and 1910, CPR rebuilds the Prescott yards to handle this increased traffic.
1957 Passenger service discontinued.
12 April 1995 Line abandoned from Prescott to Oxford.  Dismantled in the fall of 1995. 

Excitement was in the air at Prescott and Bytown as the 1840's drew to a close.  Connecting with the Central Vermont Railway at Rouse's Point on the northern tip of Lake Champlain, the Northern of New York Railroad was pushing its way westward along the south shore of the St Lawrence to Ogdensburg. 
With the opening of this railroad, goods could be exported all year round via  Boston at cheaper prices than the exorbitant rates being charged for exporting through Montreal.  Since Boston money had financed the Northern of New York, the business people of Prescott and Bytown saw no reason why these American financiers wouldn't finance a line from Prescott to Bytown.  After all, an extension into Canada would funnel even more traffic into their lines.  At the same time, Montreal would be even closer than before. 
In anticipation of these events, in June of 1850, Nicholas Sparks of Bytown and others sought approval for incorporation of a railway. On August 10, 1850, the Bytown & Prescott (B&P) Railway Company was incorporated under Acts 13-14 Chapter 132 of the Statutes for the Province of Canada.


Share Certificate #100, Bytown & Prescott Railway Company issued to Joel Couch, 21 November 1853.  Courtesy Forwarders Museum, Prescott, Ont.  Note the red wax seal.  Red "sealing" wax has been melted onto the fragile paper and the seal of the railway company pressed into the hot wax.  The seal is approximately 1/8" thick.  Even into the 1970's, banks would use red "sealing" wax and a brass seal  to "close" important shipments such as share certificates, bonds, and bags of money.