Back Index Next
Grand Trunk Railway

This page is still under construction.  Unless dates are of the form "dd mmm yyyy",  they still have to be verified.  If you can help us, please let us know. 
The Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) was Canada's first "system" road.  Used as a tool of government to connect the major centres of Ontario and Quebec, it was built and financed by British entrepreneurs through the issuance of bonds, preferred shares, and other instruments that required the payment of annual interest, rather than common shares. 

Operations were controlled by Canadians who had no financial stake in the railway. The  result was that the enterprise was always in need of money which was supplied by the issuance of more bonds, preferred shares or leases.  For the fiscal year 1870, all of the net operating income of £358,058 was going towards the payment of bond interest and lease payments. 
With the appearance of the Canadian Pacific Railway on the scene in 1881, competition between the two lines heated up.  The Grand Trunk undertook a costly program of acquiring feeder lines in Ontario and Quebec, again, financed by bonds and expensive leases, rather than by common shares.  The last major line acquired was the Canada Atlantic Railway in 1904. 
The government of Sir Wilfred Laurier wanted another railway line to expand west in 1903.  Under the subsidiary Grand Trunk Pacific, the GTR was the chosen instrument of this expansion.  However, the Canadian Northern under William Mackenzie and Donald Mann, was already giving the Canadian Pacific a run for their money.  The Grand Trunk expanded into the west and the Canadian Northern expanded into the east.  Both lines were headed on a 3-way collision course with the Canadian Pacific. 
Because of its financial structure, the Canadian Pacific was the only one to survive.  The operations of the Grand Trunk were taken over by Canadian National Railways in 1920.  The Grand Trunk was expropriated by the Canadian government in 1923 with no compensation to the British investors.  Forever after, British investors never forgave the Canadian government for stealing their property. 

Grand Trunk Railway
Date . Chronology of Events
15 July 1853 Incorporated as Grand Trunk Railway (GTR)
29 November 1855 Line opened Montreal to Brockville
25 August 1856 - Toronto to Oshawa
27 October 1856 - Oshawa to Brockville
12 December 1859 Bridge opened First train over the the GTR Victoria Railway Bridge spanning the St Lawrence River at Montreal
27 December 1859 Line opened Toronto to Sarnia
02 July 1860 - Quebec City to Rivière du Loup
1864 Acquired Buffalo, Brantford & Goderich Railway 
1881 Leased Grand Trunk, Georgian Bay & Lake Erie
12 August 1882 Amalgamates with Great Western Railway 
1882 Acquired Welland Railway
01 January 1884 Leased Midland Railway of Canada
1888 Acquired Northern Railway of Canada
1904 Leased Canada Atlantic Railway
05 November 1919 Legislation passed Government of Canada to take over GTR
21 May 1920 Operations taken over by Government of Canada and entrusted to Canadian National Railways
30 January 1923 Amalgamated with Canadian National Railways

Buffalo, Brantford & Goderich Railway
06 Incorporated as -
29 March 1845 Name changed -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
1864 Acquired by Grand Trunk Railway
 Return to top of page
Grand Trunk, Georgian Bay & Lake Erie
06 Incorporated as -
29 March 1845 Name changed -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
- - -
1881 Leased by Grand Trunk Railway
Return to top of page

Great Western Railway
06 March 1834 Incorporated as London & Gore Railroad Company
29 March 1845 Name changed Great Western Railway Company
10 November 1853 Line opened Niagara Falls to Hamilton
31 December 1853 - Hamilton to London
27 January 1854 - London to Windsor
23 August 1854 - Galt to Harrisburg Branch
03 December 1855 - Hamilton to Toronto Branch
28 September 1857 - Galt to Guelph Branch
27 December 1858 - Sarnia to Komoka Branch
17 December 1866 - Wyoming to Petrolia Branch
- - Galt to Berlin Branch
1871 - "Canada Air Line" from Glencoe to Fort Erie via running rights on the GTR at Canfield
12 August 1882 Amalgamated with Grand Trunk Railway
Return to top of page

Welland Railway
- Incorporated as -
27 June 1859 Line opened Port Dalhousie to Port Colburne
- - -
1882 Acquired by Grand Trunk Railway
Return to top of page

Midland Railway of Canada
26 December 1846 Incorporated as Peterborough & Port Hope Railway Company
14 December 1853 Name changed Port Hope Lindsay & Beaverton Railway
30 December 1857 Line opened Port Hope to Lindsay
18 August 1858 - Millbrook to Peterborough Branch
24 December 1869 Reorganized as The Midland Railway of Canada
January 1870 Line opened Lindsay to Beaverton
1870 - Branch Peterborough to Lakefield
1879 - Beaverton to Midland
01 June 1881 Leased Grand Junction Railway
1881 - Whitby, Port Perry & Lindsay Railway
1881 - Victoria Railway
1881 - Toronto & Nipissing Railway
1881 - Toronto & Ottawa Railway
1881 - Lake Simcoe Junction Railway
01 January 1884 Leased to Grand Trunk Railway
1888 Leased Peterborough & Chemong Lake Railway
Grand Junction Railway
10 November 1852 Incorporated as Grand Junction Railroad Company
12 May 1870 Name changed Grand Junction Railway
25 June 1877 Line opened Belleville to Sterling
24 June 1879 - Sterling to Campbellford
07 August 1879 - Campbellford to Hastings
16 October 1880 - Hastings to Ashburnham (Peterborough)
1880 Acquired Belleville & North Hastings Railway
01 June 1881 Leased to Midland Railway of Canada
Belleville & North Hastings Railway
1874 Incorporated as Belleville & North Hastings Railway
01 January 1880 Line opened Madoc Jct on GJR to Madoc and Eldorado
1880 Acquired by Grand Junction Railway
Whitby, Port Perry & Lindsay Railway
1870 Incorporated as Whitby & Port Perry Railway
1871 Line opened Whitby to Port Perry
1878 Name changed Whitby, Port Perry & Lindsay Railway
1878 Line opened Port Perry to Lindsay
1881 Leased to Midland Railway of Canada
Victoria Railway
- Incorporated as Fenelon Falls Railway
1872 Name changed Lindsay, Fenelon Falls & Ottawa River Railway
- - Victoria Railway
1878 Line opened Lindsay to Haliburton
1881 Leased to Midland Railway of Canada
Toronto & Nipissing Railway
- Incorporated as -
1872 Line opened Scarborough to Coboconk
1881 Leased to Midland Railway of Canada
Lake Simcoe Junction Railway
- Incorporated as -
1877 Line opened Stouffville to Jackson's Point
1881 Leased to Midland Railway of Canada
Peterborough & Chemong Lake Railway
1852 Incorporated as Cobourg & Peterborough Railway
December 1854 Line opened Cobourg to Peterborough
Spring 1855 Line washed out Across Rice Lake severing connections between Peterborough and Cobourg
1867 Line opened Trent River Narrows to Blairton Mine
1869 Amalgamated with Marmora Iron Company as Cobourg, Peterborough & Marmora Railway
1887 Name changed to Cobourg, Blairton & Marmora Railway
- Reorganized as Peterborough & Chemong Lake Railway
1890 Leased to Midland Railway of Canada
1891 Line Opened Peterborough to Chemong Lake
Return to top of page
Northern & Northwestern Railway
29 August 1849 Incorporated as Toronto, Sarnia & Lake Huron
- Name changed Ontario, Simcoe & Huron Railroad Company
16 May 1853 Line opened Toronto to Aurora
13 June 1853 - Aurora to Bradford
11 October 1853 - Bradford to Barrie (Allendale)
03 May 1854 - Bell Ewart Branch
02 January 1855 - Barrie  (Allendale) to Collingwood
1858 Name changed The Northern Railway of Canada
1875 Leased Northern Extension Railways
1878 - North Simcoe Railway
1879 Amalgamated with Hamilton & Northwestern Railway as Northern & Northwestern Railway
1882 Purchased Flos Tramway Company
- Built and owned Northern & Pacific Junction Railway
1888 Acquired by Grand Trunk Railway

Northern Extension Railways
1870 Incorporated as North Grey Railway, built by and leased to Northern Railway of Canada
1870 - Toronto & Muskoka Railway, built by and leased to Northern Railway of Canada
1871 Merged as Northern Extension Railways
1872 Line opened Collingwood to Meaford
1875 Line Opened Barrie, Orillia to Gravenhurst
North Simcoe Railway
- Incorporated as North Simcoe Railway, built by and leased to Northern Railway of Canada
1878 Line opened Colwell to Penetanguishine as an extension of the Northern Extension Railways
Hamilton & Northwestern Railway
- Incorporated as Hamilton & Lake Erie Railway
1875 Line opened: Hamilton to Jarvis
1875 Reorganized as Hamilton & Northwestern Railway
1878 Line opened Hamilton to Barrie
1879 - Allimil to Collingwood
1879 Amalgamated with Northern Railway of Canada as Northern & Northwestern Railway
Northern & Pacific Junction Railway
- Incorporated as Northern, Northwestern & Sault Ste Marie Railway, built by and leased to Northern & Northwestern Railway
- Name changed Northern & Pacific Junction
1886 Line opened Gravenhurst to Callandar to North Bay as an extension of the North Simcoe Railway
Return to top of page
Canada Atlantic Railway
14 April 1871 Incorporated as Montreal and City of Ottawa Jct. Ry. Co. (Ottawa-Coteau Landing).
14 June 1872 Incorporated as Coteau & Province Line Ry. and Bridge Co. (Coteau to Vermont Border)
07 April 1874 Subsidy By-Law Passed City of Ottawa for $100,000 (never paid)
30 April 1878 Charter Lapses original M&CO Jct. Ry
15 May 1879 Amalgamation of M&CO and C&PL to form Canada Atlantic Railway ("the Coteau Bridge bill")
31 July 1892 Incorporated as Ottawa, Arnprior & Parry Sound
25 July 1881 CAR First track laid Coteau Jct.
01 Feb 1882 CAR Line opened Coteau - Casselman
4 Mar 1882 Incorporated  Province Line Railroad Co.(Vermont)
13 Sept 1882 CAR Line opened Casselman-Ottawa, first through train Ottawa - Coteau
01 July 1882 or 1883 CAR Line opened Coteau - Coteau Landing
06 Nov 1883 CAR Line opened Chaudiere line to Broad St, Ottawa
01 July 1884 CAR Line opened Lacolle - Clark's Island
16 Feb 1885 CAR First through train Ottawa - St. Alban's VT (Coteau car ferry and GTR beyond Lacolle)
30 Mar 1885 Incorporated Parry Sound Colonization Ry (Burk's Falls - Parry Sound) 
01 April 1886 CAR Line opened Chaudiere line to Britannia/Bridge St.
23 Mar 1888 Incorporated Ottawa, Arnprior & Renfrew Ry Co OA&R (Ottawa - Renfrew)
04 May 1888 Incorporated Ottawa & Parry Sound Ry Co O&PS (Renfrew - Parry Sound)
01 July 1888 CAR Line opened Lacolle - International boundary
01 Feb 1890 CAR Line/bridge opened Coteau - Clark's Island (St. Lawrence River Bridge
31 July 1891 Amalgamation of  Ottawa Arnprior & Renfrew  and Ottawa & Parry Sound as Ottawa, Arnprior & Parry Sound Ry Co (OA&PS)
14 Sept 1891 CAR leases  Central Counties Ry. (Glen Robertson - Hawkesbury) 99-years 
28 July 1892 Subsidy voted by  Ottawa City Council for  $100,000 to OA&PS.
14 Oct 1892 J.R. Booth purchases  Parry Sound Colonization Ry 
14 May 1893 Line opened on OA&PS Ottawa - Arnprior
27 May 1893 Incorporated Pembroke Southern Railway
01 July 1893 Line opened on OA&PS Scotia Jct - Edgington 
01 July 1893 Line opened on OA&PS Ottawa Riverside - Ottawa Main Street 
01 July 1894 Line opened on OA&PS Edgington - Rankins
16 Sept 1894 Line opened on OA&PS Arnprior - Renfrew Jct (with K&P)
Renfrew Jct - Eganville
23 Sept 1894 Line opened on OA&PS Eganville - Madawaska
01 May 1895 Line opened on OA&PS Madawaska - Cache Lake
06 June 1895 OA&PS leases Federal govt canal reserve for 21 years from May 01. (site of present day Rideau Centre)
01 July 1895 Line opened on OA&PS Rankins - Rose Point
04 Sept 1895 CAR leases Central Counties Ry (South Indian - Rockland) 99-years
03 Dec 1895 CAR Line opened Hurdman to Maria Street (Laurier Ave), Ottawa
28 Sept 1896 CAR Line opened Central Depot
05 Oct 1896 Amalgamated OA&PS with PSC Ry as OA&PS
01 Dec 1896 Line Opened on OA&PS Cache Lake-Scotia Jct 
01 Dec 1896 Line Opened on OA&PS Rose Point-Depot Harbour 
21 Dec 1896 Line Opened on OA&PS Central Depot
07 Jan 1897 First Train on OA&PS Ottawa-Rose Point
27May 1897 Incorporated Vermont & Province Line Railroad Co (VT)
... Dec 1897 V&PL Line opened International border to East Alburg VT
13 Jun 1898 Incorporated Canada Atlantic Transit Co. (Depot Harbour-Ft. William shipping) (CAT)
02 Jan 1899 Pembroke & Southern Counties line opened Golden Lake - Pembroke
11 Aug 1899 CAR amalgamates with OA&PS
31 Aug 1899 CAR leases Pembroke & Southern Counties Ry. (Pembroke-Golden Lake) for 5 years
30 Oct 1899 Incorporated Canada Atlantic Transit Co. of the US (Depot Harbour-Duluth shipping) (CATUS)
.... Jan 1902 3 year option to purchase granted to  W. Seward Webb
15 Aug 1904 GTR agrees to acquire capital stock of  CAR, CAT, CATUS, V&PL.
01 Sept 1904 CAR Lease expires  Pembroke Southern Counties 
07 Jan 1907 GTR leases Federal govt canal reserve (999 years) (OA&PS lease of 21 years expired)
01 Oct 1905 GTR Assumes Control of CAR, CAT, CATUS, V&PL
09 Feb 1914 Deed of Amalgamation CAR, CAT, CATUS, V&PL
27 May 1914 Parliament confirms CAR takeover by GTR
29 July 1914 GTR Amalgamates CAR, CAT, CATUS and V&PL

Return to top of page


Back Home Next