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The Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) - No Choice

Out west, William Mackenzie and Donald Mann had created a formidable railway system under the banner of the Canadian Northern Railway. (CNoR). Starting from nothing, they had built a feeder system of railway lines to ship the prairie farmers' grain to the head of Lake Superior. By the early 1900's, the CNoR was competing toe-to-toe with the Canadian Pacific. Railway fever was sweeping the country. 
In response to the Grand Trunk Pacific's invasion Mackenzie and Mann had no choice but to expand eastwards into Ontario and Quebec.  The first Ontario line they bought was the Central Ontario Railway in 1906.  This line ran 166 miles from Picton on the Bay of Quinte (Lake Ontario) through Trenton and thence north towards Whitney but ended up in the middle of Algonquin Park.  It was supposed to join up with John R. Booth's Canada Atlantic Railway at the south-east corner of Algonquin Park.  The Central Ontario never reached Whitney.  It ended 6 miles south in the middle of the bush at Lake St. Peter. 
The Brockville, Westport &Northwestern was the second line that the partners were interested in.  This railway ran a short 45 miles between Brockville and Westport.  They acquired control of the line in 1911 and used it as a supply line during the construction of the CNoR between Toronto and Ottawa.
The Bay of Quinte Railway, controlled by the Rathbuns of Belleville, was acquired to form part of their main line between Toronto and Ottawa.
But there was little else to acquire.  All of the major independents were controlled by the GTR or the CPR.  The CNoR was engaged in expensive construction work building lines from Fort William/Port Arthur (today called Thunder Bay) to North Bay.  From 1908 to 1916, lines were built from North Bay to Toronto, North Bay to Ottawa, and Toronto to Montreal via Ottawa - to say nothing of railway lines in other provinces.  With no feeder lines, traffic would not be sufficient to cover operations.
And so the stage was set for the crash of one or more of these railway systems.  Which one would it be?  The Grand Trunk?  The Canadian Pacific?  The Canadian Northern?  Or all three?


Canadian Northern Steam Shovel at work in the ballast pit at Lyndhurst Station on the Brockville, Westport and Northwestern circa 1914.  The ballast train will travel a short distance north to Forfar where the Toronto - Ottawa main line is being built.  Note that one of the flatcars #525 is from the Quebec & Lake St John Railway - a line acquired by Mackenzie and Mann as part of their expansion into Eastern Canada.  Courtesy Delta Mill Museum, Delta, Ont

A CNoR 4-6-0 locomotive is pulling the loaded string of flatcars past the steam shovel for loading of ballast at Lyndhurst, Ont. on a cloudy day, circa 1914.  The Quebec & Lake St John flatcar #525 can be seen on the right.  This rocky "pit-run" gravel will be used as fill.  Some of it ended up at the CNoR Smiths Falls station yard to fill in the swamp.  Today, the CNoR Smiths Falls station is the site of the Smiths Falls Railway Museum.   Courtesy Delta Mill Museum, Delta, Ont