Narrow Gauge For Us

About the Book

Hard cover, 160 pages 8.5 x 11", 167 b&w illustrations, colour dust jacket.

Published by The Boston Mills Press, Erin ON 1982. 

The book features a number of valuable archival photos, the fine Bob Sandusky photography, as well as contributions from individuals and other collections, including that of Bill Hood, Jim Brown, the (then) Paterson-George Collection, and that of the late Hubert Brooks of the Toronto Postcard Club. An accomplished artist, Hubert provided the water colour (painted from a postcard) for the dust jacket. The book also features track diagrams by Bob Sandusky. 

Two thousand copies were printed. The book sold out around 1986, and there are no plans to reprint it. For suggestions on where to buy a copy, see below.


About the Railway

The Toronto & Nipissing Railway was designed and built between 1869-1872 as a feeder railway for the Toronto Gooderham & Worts enterprises. It was intended that it should reach Lake Nipissing and connect with the proposed transcontinental railway. In fact, only the first phase was completed, some distance northeast to Coboconk. Its "mover and shaker" George Laidlaw was a proponent of the narrow gauge (3'6" in this case, the same as its sister railway, the Toronto, Grey & Bruce, that more or less simultaneously ventured northwest to Owen Sound). During 1882, this line, including its 1877 branch to Jackson's Point, became part of the Midland Railway of Canada system, and then migrated into the Grand Trunk Railway in 1893. The Midland network of lines is now extinct except for track from Scarboro Junction to Uxbridge, the latter the home of the York-Durham Heritage Railway that operates between Stouffville and Uxbridge.

For a one-page summary of the T&N, please click here.


The Research

With living in the Town of Markham, I often had occasion to pass the Unionville and Markham stations, and I was intrigued by the fact that a remarkable number of other T&N or replacement stations were still in existence. Also, the original narrow gauge aspect of the line had definite appeal for me, and this research was intended to complement the work that had already been done by Omer Lavallee (Narrow Gauge Railways of Canada, Railfare, Montreal 1972), by Thomas McIlwraith (The Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway 1863-1884, UCRS Bulletin 56, September 1963), by Ralph Beaumont (Steam Trains To The Bruce, The Boston Mills Press 1977); and by Ralph Beaumont and James Filby, (Running Late on the Bruce, The Boston Mills Press, 1980), also on the sister Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway.

As a research document, Narrow Gauge For Us has stood the test of time well.


Additional Information Subsequent to Publication

Note: The station pictures displayed below have all come to hand subsequent to publication - the one of the first Uxbridge station only two weeks after the book was published!

Dust jacket, from a water colour painted by the late Hubert Brooks from a colour postcard, and designed by the Boston Mills Press

Dust jacket, from a water colour painted by the late Hubert Brooks from a colour postcard, and designed by the Boston Mills Press

Corrections to Narrow Gauge For Us

Page 21: According to Rod Clarke's Narrow Gauge Through The Bush (see below), the Shedden Fairlie locomotive was delivered in January 1872.

Page: 41: William Gooderham Jr. (and his name was not William George) was the eldest son of William Gooderham, Sr., not his grandson. The penultimate line should therefore read "was resigning in favour of his eldest brother. George Gooderham's function on the T&N board ...

Page 43: "George undoubtedly felt that he could relinquish this minor interest in favour of his eldest brother, William Jr., and concentrate on ...

Page 45: John Shedden's death occurred at age 44, not 46.

Page 66: The Queen Street grade separation did not occur in 1913, but in 1926. Preliminary clearing commenced in the late summer, and ironically on September 25, a train "caught" a street car, which accelerated the work. The bridge abutments are dated 1926. (Courtesy the late Ray Corley)

Page 113: Engine GTR #171 is a Rhode Island-built engine in the 1898-1904 number series, however it is not ex-Midland. It is ex-GWR 103 (built 1870), renumbered in 1882 to GTR #702, then to GTR #171 in 1898, to GTR #137 in 1904, and scrapped in June 1906. (Courtesy the late Ray Corley)

Page 126: The date of the lower picture (CNR #91) is April 24, 1959.  (Courtesy the late Ray Corley)

Looking north at Cannington - September 15, 1966 - James A. Brown photo

Looking north at Cannington - September 15, 1966 - James A. Brown photo

Since Narrow Gauge For Us was written, a roster of the T&N locomotives as of 1872 and the identity of the engines lost in the Uxridge engine house fire in 1883 have surfaced. (Both courtesy Carl Riff, Hamilton, Ontario.)
 
 No. Name  Where Built  Driving Wheels 
 1  Gooderham & Worts Avonside 
 2*  M.C.Cameron Kingston 
 3  R. Walker & Son Kingston  4
 4*  R. Lewis & Son  Kingston  4
 5* Joseph Gould   Kingston  4
 6 Uxbridge   Kingston  4
 7 Eldon   Kingston  4
 8 Toronto   Avonside  6
 9* Shedden   Avonside  12

(The Globe, September 12, 1872)

*Engines destroyed in the January 1883 engine house fire at Uxbridge
(The Uxbridge Journal, January 18, 1883)
 (N.B. The T&N had 12 engines altogether, six from Canadian Engine & Machine Company in Kingston (generally referred to as the "Kingston Locomotive Works"), and six from the Avonside Engine Company, Bristol, England.)
 
 No. Name  Where Built  Driving Wheels 
10   Coboconk Avonside   6
11   Bexley  Avonside  6
12  Brock   Avonside  6

These three locomotives were presumably delivered in 1873. (Information courtesy Rod Clarke, Whitby, Ont.)

Note: Rod Clarke, in Narrow Gauge Through The Bush (see below), has dealt comprehensively with the locomotive history of the T&N (and the TG&B) at pp 181 - 220. 

Constructed in Kingston by Don McQueen and Bill Thomson (CRHA Kingston 2000) has further information re the Kingston-built locomotives at page 168.

Don McQueen, co-author of CinK, has contributed an article at page 21 in the January-February 2002 issue of Canadian Rail (Issue #486), that deals in detail with the possible disposition of the Kingston-built T&N locomotives.
Lorneville Junction Station with turret, likely before the  remodelling in 1900. 
Larry Murphy Collection.

Lorneville Junction Station with turret, likely before the remodelling in 1900. Larry Murphy Collection.

The two-storey Brown Hill station, opened in conjunction with the commencement of traffic on the Lake Simcoe Junction Railway in 1877. This station is very similar in design to the Kirkfield, Victoria Road, and the first Coboconk stations. (Please refer to page 91 of Narrow Gauge For Us.) (Courtesy Gary Mauthe, Toronto Postcard Club)

The two-storey Brown Hill station, opened in conjunction with the commencement of traffic on the Lake Simcoe Junction Railway in 1877. This station is very similar in design to the Kirkfield, Victoria Road, and the first Coboconk stations. (Please refer to page 91 of Narrow Gauge For Us.) (Courtesy Gary Mauthe, Toronto Postcard Club)

A view of the T&N design Uxbridge station, opened in 1872. (Courtesy Mr. Allan McGillivray, Uxbridge-Scott Historical Society).

A view of the T&N design Uxbridge station, opened in 1872. (Courtesy Mr. Allan McGillivray, Uxbridge-Scott Historical Society).

Summarized station Information:

Main Line
  • Scarboro Jct. (1870) - burned December 18, 1960
  • Agincourt (1870) - demolished 1978
  • Milliken (flag stop) - demolished or dismantled early 1940s
  • Unionville (1870 - preserved on site
  • Markham (1870 - preserved on site
  • Stouffville (original) - burned April 23, 1886
  • Stouffville (2nd) - demolished ca 1980
  • Goodwood - demolished 1960
  • Uxbridge (1st) - 1871, converted to freight shed 1903, subsequent disposition not known.
  • Uxbridge (2nd) 1904 - preserved on site, home of the York-Durham Heritage Railway.
  • Marsh Hill - T&N flagstop - design and disposition not known
  • Wick - abolished 1883
  • Blackwater (Wick) Jct. - restaurant building demolished August 28, 1941. Station demolished 1960s 
  • Sunderland - demolished ca 1969 
  • Manilla Crossing - presumed abolished 1883
  • Cannington - burned to the ground 1968 
  • Woodville - dismantled 1966 and converted to storage shed, no longer resembles original structure 
  • Midland Jct./Lorneville - moved to adjacent yard, west side Hwy 46
  • Argyle - demolished or dismantled 1954
  • Eldon - demolished or dismantled ca 1962
  • Portage Road - demolished or dismantled ca 1946
  • Kirkfield (original, rebuilt 1892) - burned to the ground Dec. 18, 2001
  • Victoria Road - truncated and rebuilt on site as a private residence 
  • Coboconk (original, rebuilt 1894?) - burned to the ground Aug. 4, 1908 (lightning)
  • Coboconk (2nd) - moved to nearby park across from original site - restoration in progress.
Note: The November 24, 1870 Markham Economist reported that at a special general meeting, "Mr Wragge stated ... the track was laid fifteen miles from Scarboro' Junction. The station buildings were completed at Scarboro', Unionville, Markham, and other places. (Courtesy Barry Laxton, Unionville, Ont.)
  • Ballantrae - flag stop and section house - disappeared after closure of line ca 1928?
  • Vivian (1st) - destroyed by fire 1919, (2nd) - demolished 1928
  • Blake/Ravenshoe/Brown Hill - demolished 1935
  • Mount Albert - demolished on closure ca 1929
  • Sutton (1st) - replaced at turn of 20th century with GTR design
  • Sutton (2nd) - struck by lightning 1920s
  • Sutton (3rd) - moved to Georgina Township Park
  • Jackson's Point - survived for some years after closure in 1929 as a pavilion at the lake. (The adjacent baggage sheds still survive.)
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