Lindsay, Bobcaygeon & Pontypool Railway

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

SUMMARY HISTORY

Railway development in Canada began in earnest in the 1850s with a proliferation of locally-sponsored "pioneer" railways, but the advent into southern Ontario in the mid-1850s of the Grand Trunk Railway, and the emergence of the weighty Great Western Railway as competition to be reckoned with in south-western Ontario, set the stage for a battle for Ontario railway monopoly that seemed to be inevitable when the Grand Trunk finally swallowed up the Great Western in 1882.

At that point the only major independent road left was the Northern & North Western Railway, with a directorship that was equally split for the interests of the Grand Trunk, and the emerging Canadian Pacific Railway. The CPR had its own ambitions for becoming Canada's national railway, and had just burnished its claim to entitlement by reaching the west coast, and was now working on reaching the east coast, - well, at Saint John, New Brunswick at least. Its weak link was its lack of penetration into manufacturing-rich southern Ontario.

The Grand Trunk had seen the threat, and by means of its newly-engineered control of Cox's Midland Railway of Canada empire, had hoped to have establish a bulwark against the CPR's intended thrust into the heartland of Ontario in 1884 by means of its cat's-paw Ontario & Quebec Railway (O&Q) from Montreal through Peterborough to Toronto. Its original charter was granted as early as 1871, and was amended in 1881 to permit it to build into Ontario. Among the directors were a number of Montrealers including George Stephen, the “Grey Eminence” of the CPR. Stephen was a good friend of George Laidlaw. It was the O&Q that acquired the Toronto, Grey & Bruce from the GTR which, ironically, had grasped this line in 1882, but had to let it go as it had become rather stretched financially in its many acquisitions to build its monopoly and keep its CPR competitor at bay.

Another "Laidlaw"' line was the Credit Valley Railway, which amalgamated with the O&Q on November 30, 1883. Its importance to the CPR was CVR's line to St. Thomas, effectively a springboard for the CPR into southwestern Ontario.

On January 4, 1884 , the O&Q was leased to the CPR for 999 years, and as of May 5, 1884 , trains were running between Toronto and Smiths Falls. The GTR's Midland Railway "Maginot Line" had been breached. The O&Q between Peterborough and Toronto has remained in place, and remarkably perhaps, is being considered by VIA Rail as an alternate passenger route between Toronto and Monrteal - a project, that if realized, would require substantial upgrades, and in indeed reclamation between Havelock and Smiths Falls. 

Lindsay, Bobcaygeon & Pontypool Railway
Charter:
Dominion 53 Vic Cap 55
1890 Incorporation to build from at or near Pontypool, Durham County, Ontario, to Lindsay and Bobcaygeon, Victoria County etc etc
1904 Privy Council - Approval of lease to the CPR.

In 1890, Bobcaygeon’s predominant lumber business begun by Mossom Boyd in 1846, and carried on by his sons, agitated for and obtained a charter for the Lindsay, Bobcaygeon, & Pontypool Railway (LB&P), initially for the transport of lumber, but as that business faded, as a supplement to the existing steamer network on the local lakes and rivers. Construction began in 1901 and the line was opened in 1904. It branched off north at Burketon (west of Pontypool) on the CPR’s O&Q line. The original plan had been to branch off at Pontypool, but the surveys determined that Burketon would be an easier grade. 

The only real engineering issues were to cross the Emily Creek outlet at Kenwood Beach and the Little Bob Channel on entry into Bobcaygeon. The former was accomplished with a low trestle, and the latter with a swing-bridge, which remained in service as a road bridge for over 40 years after the discontinuation of service. The original entry into Lindsay was planned to be along the west side of what is now CKL 36, with a spur to serve Lindsay. This the GTR attempted to block with the construction of its Santiago yards, and the spur into Lindsay would have involved the backing-in and -out of the trains. The issue was resolved when the LB&P ducked under the GTR at the Scugog River bridge, and followed the east bank of the river to a station to be built on the west side of Caroline Street in the East Ward.

The original segment between Burketon Jct., Nestleton, Janetville (Viewlake) and Lindsay Jct. (the last created by 1912 with the newer shorter connection to Montreal via Bethany to Dranoel as the Georgian Bay & Seaboard Railway, which sought the most direct route through Lindsay to Montreal), was abandoned in 1932. The last train to Bobcaygeon was in 1957, and the Bobcaygeon branch was abandoned altogether in 1961, leaving only a spur CPR access to Lindsay from Dranoel. That too was abandoned in 1987, becoming the "Bethany Rail Trail", the only portion of the CPR branchline network north of the O&Q between Peterborough and Toronto to do so. The creation of rail trails has been a comparatively modern policy of the Government of Ontario, the usual prior practice being to sell the land back to adjacent property owners, many of whom were farming families who had had their land bisected in the first place, for a welcome price of course.

Railways emanating out of Lindsay. The LB&P is ## 4 and 6.

Railways emanating out of Lindsay. The LB&P is ## 4 and 6.

Bobcaygeon station, photo believed to have been taken at or around completion in 1904. Bobcaygeon Public Library

Bobcaygeon station, photo believed to have been taken at or around completion in 1904. Bobcaygeon Public Library

Bobcaygeon panorama. 1914.  Harry Oudenaren Collection

Bobcaygeon panorama. 1914. Harry Oudenaren Collection

Bobcaygeon aerial view. 1955. Harry Oudenaren Collection

Bobcaygeon aerial view. 1955. Harry Oudenaren Collection

The combine car spotted at the Bobcaygeon while the engine attends to some switching. 1957. James A Brown photo

The combine car spotted at the Bobcaygeon while the engine attends to some switching. 1957. James A Brown photo

Bobcaygeon station in 1963. It was subsequently sold, and moved to the west side of Pigeon Lake. Whatever the plans for it were did not come about, and it was eventually demolished. Ray Corley photo

Bobcaygeon station in 1963. It was subsequently sold, and moved to the west side of Pigeon Lake. Whatever the plans for it were did not come about, and it was eventually demolished. Ray Corley photo