Friday, March 22, 2024

Kingston & Pembroke Railway - Part 2

In the first post in this four-post series, we traced the genesis of the Kingston & Pembroke Railway, locally referred to as 'the Kick & Push'. In this post, the K&P becomes part of CP, passenger then freight service ends, and CP leaves downtown. (Top photo - CPR 417 backs into the Ontario Street passenger station in June, 1957. Queen's University Archives, George Lilley Fonds, V25.5-38-29-1 to 34).

As of January 1, 1913 the Kingston & Pembroke (K&P) was no longer a separate legal entity (above - one of a number of Kingston Whig-Standard, Kingston Daily News and Kingston Daily Standard clippings in this series). The line officially became part of the CP system. CP owned $995,450 of the 1st preferred stock, $134,900 of the 2nd preferred stock, $1,968,000 of the common stock and $1,075,000 of the 1st mortgage bonds. CP had leased the K&P for 999 years. The K&P was subsequently to be officially referred to as CP’s Kingston Subdivision. 
The August 13, 1913 directors' and shareholders' meeting was the last held in Kingston before the head office transferred to Montreal. Years later, annual shareholders’ meetings of paper companies were still being advertised in newspapers, with 2011’s meetings held in Suite 920 of Calgary’s Gulf Canada Square. At 20-minute intervals, meetings were held for the K&P, Manitoba & North Western Railway, Montreal and Atlantic Railway, Lake Erie & Northern Railway, as ordered by CP’s Chairman of the Board.

CP rebuilt almost all of the K&P’s stone culverts between 1925 and 1935, stamping the date in concrete outward on the uppermost surface. Near Sydenham Road just north of Kingston, the culvert is stamped “1927”. On the Urban K&P Trail north of Binnington Court, this culvert near Highway 401 is still visibly stamped "1929":
Much of the freight traffic generated no wealth for Kingston or even the shareholders. The line could not fully develop Kingston’s hinterland, largely because its rail corridor could not sustain much economic development nor even livelihoods. But the line was popular in later years with summer vacationers heading to Sharbot Lake and deer hunters boarding at Sharbot Lake to head to hunting camps farther north. Cream was sent to Perth Creameries from Flower Station. Storeowners in Verona waited for wares sent north from Kingston. Pulpwood was loaded into boxcars. Shoppers could take the train into Kingston on market days, arriving mere steps away from the bustling market stalls. Family members made day trips to visit relatives who still lived in the country, and vice versa, to see how new inhabitants of the city were faring in Kingston.

The train to Sharbot Lake would depart the station at 8:38 a.m., with the returning run arriving in Kingston at 7:45 p.m. The train from Renfrew arrived at 5:15 p.m., leaving the next morning at 10:30 a.m. The final Kingston to Renfrew day mixed trains, still designated 612/613 operated on June 17-18, 1957.

At the appointed time, engineer Glen White opened the throttle of D4 485 and departed with the “freight” car carrying Less-Than-Carload, mail and only a few passengers in the coach seats for Sharbot Lake. The night train still carried freight and passengers but no mail. The conductor worked from a makeshift desk at the end of the coach: overseeing two off at Glenvale plus the mail, one off at Harrowsmith, only mail taken aboard at Hartington and Verona, one off at Godfrey as the train headed north into the Shield country. So did cars on Highway 38, a growing presence on the paralleling road diminishing the importance of CP’s passenger service. The final mixed trains into Kingston were listed in the April 1959 timetable. The final Kingston-Renfrew freight train operated on December 29, 1961.

CP had no mainline connection at Kingston, unlike CN, so cars for online or Kingston customers had to be brought from Smiths Falls via Tichborne. CP freight trains to Kingston operated on an “as required” basis. CP's freight business in Kingston receded with time and with the advent of highway transport. With the closing of its freight shed across from City Hall, express and piggyback trailers were handled at a site on Place d’Armes. On May 18, 1965 CP 8029 and crew wait along the waterfront at the foot of Brock Street, at the Wolfe Island ferry dock (Queen's University Archives, Whig-Standard Fonds, V142.2-118):

With Canada’s Centennial year approaching, the City of Kingston was looking for a fitting way to memorialize important events which had taken place on the CP waterfront station site. These celebrations sought to encompass the life of the chief architect of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald. To do so, CP would have to vacate their property and relocate remaining operations elsewhere in the city. This February 21, 1966 view from the foot of Brock Street dock shows CP script and Soo Line boxcars near the freight station (above - Queen's University Archives, Kingston Whig-Standard Fonds, V142-3-69). Visible at left is CLC, the CP freight station and platform sheds, Prince George Hotel and City Hall just visible at right. 

The City of Kingston’s Proposal for 1967 Centenary of Confederation suggested among other things, the Provincial Government authorize an agreement between CP and the city, to acquire CP land in front of City Hall and relocate CP’s facilities in the Industrial Park area. The result would be a better planned use of the downtown waterfront, incorporating a gathering place, fountain and preserving the K&P station. Each of the three partners’ shares would be approximately $150,000. The Vice-President of CP’s Eastern Region would recommend to his Board the relocation of the freight shed, tracks and office to the intersection of Highway 401 and Division Street. Cost of removal would be $265,000 exclusive of land, replacement of buildings $94,400, grading $59,600, paving $38,610 and actual removal of existing track $3,450. CPR 1095, built at CLC, was moved into position in front of the K&P station, photographed on July 5, 1966 (Below - Queen's University Archives, Kingston Whig-Standard Fonds, V142.3-182):
Land exchanged would be 2.2 acres of CP land for 48 acres of city land at $1,200 per acre. One track would be maintained at the water’s edge to service the locomotive plant and shipyards. This line was not to be used for the parking of freight cars, one of the chief objections to the present freight yard. The track could be concealed so as not to detract from the general appearance of the park. Included was restoration of the waterfront fa├žade of City Hall. The city negotiated with CP to acquire all their land within city limits. Their station would become the Chamber of Commerce office. The piggyback ramp and yard trackage near Ontario Street and Place d’Armes, and the roundhouse property at North Street were also part of the negotiations. Read more about CP's move out of downtown in Kingston in 1966. In the interim, CP handled express out of its Place d'Armes trackage, with boxcars and a baggage car seemingly housing express shipments for delivery on July 5, 1966. (Below - Queen's University Archives, Kingston Whig-Standard Fonds, V142.3-194) Imperial Oil bulk fuel tanks are visible in middle background:
CP would build a steel express warehouse on Dalton Avenue, close to Superior Propane and Division Street, as well as an unloading ramp and team track area. A major drawback of this site was due to its remote location – a constant vulnerability to theft. Boxcars brought express shipments to the warehouse and lumber to the ramp.

With CN’s 1975 mainline curve realignment between Division and Montreal Streets, a CN-CP interchange connection was laid just west of Division Street in November, 1973: CN’s mileage 174.04 of its Kingston Subdivision; Mi. 100.78 of CP’s Kingston Subdivision. CP trains into Kingston would pull down CP’s dead-ended Kingston Subdivision in the shadows of the Division Street overpass, reversing into the two-track interchange yard CN reached from its west end. Here, CP could hand off cars to CN, and in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, a short drive down to the end of diminutive Rigney Street usually revealed a small but colourful assortment of boxcars or gondola cars.

CP could still switch its Superior Propane and CP Express spurs north of the interchange and use its runaround track south of Dalton Avenue to marshal its train for the trip back to Smiths Falls. CP had several rail-served industries. Beginning in 1953, with customers Texaco and McColl-Frontenac Oil, CP served the Sydenham Road bulk oil tank farm at Knight’s Siding just south of Highway 401 before pipeline delivery was instituted. An Ontario Hydro transformer station in Murvale, eight miles to the north also had a CP spur.

Cars of coal for Anglin’s (in 1976) and refrigerator cars of insulated cars of produce for Quattrocchi’s (in 1979) were still delivered, but they were switched by CN. This was part of an agreement reached at the time of CN’s realignment, as CN continued to serve CP’s downtown customers via a switch connection. The connection was constructed south of Montreal and Rideau Streets where both railways’ tracks ran side-by-side. CN had to rehabilitate some weedy, swampy trackage, the maintenance of which CP had deferred. By this time, CN’s trackage ended at North Street. For a time in the mid-1980’s CN also switched Superior Propane, formerly switched by CP.


CP’s Kingston Subdivision was abandoned in segments: Calabogie to Snow Road - 27.9 miles in January 1962; Sharbot Lake to Tichborne - 8.5 miles in February 1964; Snow Road to Sharbot Lake - 14.5 miles in September 1966; Calabogie to Renfrew - 14.4 miles in February 1977; Tichborne to Kingston - 35 miles after May 9, 1986. Most abandoned trackage was removed one to five years after abandonment.

The last passengers arriving on CP rails in Kingston may have been aboard the May 4, 1974 Bytown Railway Society excursion aboard Budd Dayliner 9072. The passengers disembarked at the CP Express property and toured Kingston aboard a Kingston Transit System bus before re-boarding.

CP’s station agency at Kingston was terminated on February 24, 1976. The agent was replaced by a mobile Customer Service Centre supervisor based in Kingston.
On July 16, 1984 Sperry Rail Service detector car 129 attempted to test the rails on the Kingston Subdivision. Testing was abandoned due to heavy build-up of rust from disuse.

CP helped moved Canadian Forces vehicles on flat cars from CFB Kingston to major military exercises in Alberta in 1985. The last train on the subdivision was a rail pick-up train in January, 1987. On August 5, 1987 contractors removed the last vestiges of level crossings along the abandoned CP trackage near City Hall, Rideau Street, Montreal Street, Railway Street between Montreal and Patrick Streets, and Dalton Avenue. City of Kingston’s George Beltrami noted that this was the last stage of removal of CP trackage in the city which had gradually taken place in the previous six years. 

In the third post in this series K&P/CP facilities in Kingston, facilitated by your humble factotum in a facile figuring.

Running extra...

The haul from last Saturday's Napanee Train Sale - 110 dollars of fun. Well-attended, and it was nice to chat with Associated Railroaders of Kingston members Andrew, Michael, Len, Marc, Tom, Len and Grant, plus my brother and sister-in-law, also Allen Hansen and Steve, who worked at Lloyd Shales and Peter Macdonald Hobby Supplies at least 35 years ago. When in Napanee, stop by Chuck's Roadhouse for the $9 burger and fries (to go in our case, as Belleville was the next stop). Our grandsons were pleased with the vintage Plasticville garage and Lima intermodal crane!
Talking to Steve about growing up on Rideau Street, he asked if I had any 'wine flies' on my Hanley Spur layout. Known by many such names, winos were known to inhabit the boathouses along the Inner Harbour and indeed some unhoused folks do inhabit my layout!

CN No 372 was leaving the yard slowly eastward with a long train in tow behind CN 3081 and DPU 3244 mid-train as we ventured west from Napanee to Belleville, here at the Airport Parkway:

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Kingston & Pembroke Railway - Part 1

There were so many shortlines to be built and so little time...

Prospectors, entrepreneurs, city fathers, venture capitalists, boosters, hucksters and railroaders were eager to lay steel across much of North America during the railway boom. Kingston was no different. This is the first post in a four-part series, in which I'll profile the history of the K&P, its facilities in Kingston and its stations along the southern part of the line. Links to each post:

The urban growth of the late 19th-century required lumber, minerals, and wood for pulp. All were available north of Kingston, to be extracted and exploited by railway lines not yet built. As of 1846, there were several proposed railways promoted for the Kingston area: in 1846, the Wolfe Island, Kingston & Toronto Railway; in 1853, the Cataraqui & Peterborough Railway; in 1854, the Kingston & Smiths Falls Railway; in 1856 the Kingston & Newburgh Railway; in 1868, the Kingston & Frontenac Railway; in 1869, the Kingston & Madoc Railway.

Only one was successful – the Kingston & Pembroke (K&P) Railway. With a planned northern terminus on the Ottawa River and crossing two of its tributaries – the Mississippi and the Madawaska – all three rivers could bring forth lumber traffic. Development and settlement supplies could be shipped north, with agriculture and resource products shipped back south – to Kingston and beyond!

Later leased by Canadian Pacific, the line is still referred to in the local area as the K&P or in the vernacular, the Kick and Push. Both CP and K&P are used interchangeably here, and both refer to the same line. It was a lifeline connecting many small communities to a world that their inhabitants had little connection to, or interest in. A letter to the editor (one of a number of Kingston Whig-Standard and Kingston Daily News clippings in this post) published February 8, 1884 extols the area's conceptual commercial cornucopia:
Without the K&P and its southern terminus at Kingston, the city might have only had one railway reach its waterfront, not two.  In the early natural resource exploitation and transportation boom, a year-round timber supply not hampered by winter freeze-up, unlike river transport, was desirable. The K&P only reached Renfrew to the north, not its namesake city, though earlier promoters were keen to link Lake Ontario with the mighty Ottawa River. A jaundiced Renfrew Mercury opinion piece noted in 1915 that the K&P had no more to do with Pembroke than it did with Halifax! A connection to a transcontinental line was also desirable, potentially adding traffic and receiving a share of that traffic.


Early prospecting revealed iron, galena, phosphate and mica. The Lacey mica mine, east of Sydenham, was owned by the Loughborough Mining Company and was at one time the largest mica-producing site anywhere. And where there was potential, there would also be willing investors. Stock was subscribed to by local men of importance, with well-known surnames: Gildersleeve, Calvin, Cartwright, Campbell and Kirkpatrick. Even Sir John A. MacDonald had a behind-the-scenes interest in the K&P’s genesis, as well as representing the constituents of his riding, railway and business interests at various times. Eventually, three-quarters of the stock interests would be held by New York figures, two-thirds of whom also held stock in the Kingston & Pembroke Mining Company. The railway's board of directors, February 13, 1884:
After Confederation, the railway boom continued as it had before the American Civil War intervened. Between 1870 and 1890, total trackage in Ontario increased five-fold. By 1910, more than 115 railway charters had been granted in the province. Later that century, between 1970 to 1990, Ontario would lose three-quarters of its trackage.


Railway construction was made attractive by the Railway Aid Act of 1870. The act was designed to subsidize and thereby facilitate railway access to Crown lands, to further develop a burgeoning young nation which had just weathered an economic slump. The K&P was one of the first colonization railways to receive a government subsidy under the Act. The provincial government promised $2,000 per mile, or $3,000 per mile to the north where blasting was necessary, to a total of $400,000. Moneys were raised by communities along the line. Kingston contributed $300,000, Frontenac County $150,000, the County of Renfrew $400,000 (later reduced to $100,000) and the town of Pembroke $50,000. The cost of the line would top $3 million.

Chartered April 14, 1871 under the laws of the Dominion Government, the K&P received 30 acres of land for terminal facilities in the city of Kingston from the Dominion Government. Sixty additional acres under water were received for docks, at nominal figures. The company also owned 10 acres of land at Sharbot Lake and 18 acres at Renfrew. It was exempt from taxation in Kingston and Renfrew.

Survey crews under Thomas Nash mapped out a route from Kingston to Sharbot Lake. The construction contract was let to G.B. Phelps & Company of Watertown, N.Y., coincidentally one of nine Watertown investors. The Calabogie-Renfrew contract was let to Chisholm, MacDonald and O’Brien. The official sod-turning for the K&P took place at Kingston on June 17, 1872 near the site of the Davis Tannery. Navvies toiled building the line for $1 a day.

Rail was 50 pounds per yard as far as Sharbot Lake, thereafter 56 or 60 pound rail further north. Of the line’s 103 miles of main line, the track was only level for 38 of them, and only tangent for 65 miles. Curves accounted for more than 35 miles. The combination of gradient and curvature kept train speeds leisurely, and trains were short by necessity. It was simply easier for construction crews to skirt many of the granite outcrops they encountered, than to blast them apart. At Lake Ontario, the Canadian Shield rests 150 feet beneath limestone, rising to the surface on Cedar Island. It is next encountered, northward, at Sydenham and Verona. The Shield rock was a headache for construction crews, reduced to hand-drilling it. Combined with commodities offering only low freight rates, return on investment would be less than ideal.

Godfrey was reached on June 17, 1875; Sharbot Lake on October 25, 1875 and opened for use on May 8, 1876. The Mississippi River was reached in the fall of 1878. Construction finished at Renfrew on November 29, 1884. On September 20, 1884 the Superintendent met with a Canadian railway mogul:
Though the line started in Kingston, mileages were later reversed, with Renfrew becoming Mile 0 and Kingston sitting at Mile 103. The grade north from Kingston to Sharbot Lake was 1.5%, meaning a D10 steam locomotive could haul 910 tons; a smaller D4 580 tons. Heading south, a 1.1% grade meant 1070 and 680 tons respectively.

Stations were established, within Frontenac County: Kingston, Glenvale, Murvale, Harrowsmith, Sigsworth (flag stop), Hartington, Verona, Godfrey, Hinchinbrooke, Parham, Olden, Sharbot Lake, Oso, Clarendon, Mississippi and Snow Road. Watch for an upcoming post on these stations.


The first car of coal reached Kingston on March 14, 1884, carried across the St. Lawrence River from Morristown, NY to Brockville, thence Perth to Sharbot Lake and south on the K&P to Kingston. The first load of freight arrived from Toronto on July 18, 1884:
And the first load of freight north to Renfrew was sent north on November 21, 1884 (below) with another 20 loads sent by Christmas of that year.
The K&P connected to the Ontario and Quebec (O&Q) Railway line, hauling in supplies for its construction. The O&Q was in service by 1883, and its Tweed to Perth section would be abandoned in 1971. The K&P’s mainline connection would thereafter be only with CP’s Toronto-Montreal Belleville Subdivision at Tichborne, which was originally named Parham Junction, 8.5 miles from Sharbot Lake. This other CP line was completed fifty years later, and was the routing CP freight trains used to reach Kingston, originating in CP’s Smiths Falls yard. 

In 1883, the K&P carried 36,000 passengers (Above - December 13, 1884 advertisement for the "New Route", making reference to the station on Ontario Street, opposite the Tete d[e] Pont Barracks. This was the K&P's first station in Kingston). A telegraph office was established in Renfrew in November, 1884. An 1887 K&P passenger schedule shows eight trains per day – three each way between Kingston and Renfrew and one each way between Kingston and Sharbot Lake. Rail connections via Sharbot Lake were advertised for “all points east and west” and at Renfrew for all points west – Pembroke, Vancouver and even San Francisco! Steamer connections at Kingston were advertised for the St. Lawrence River Steamboat Company to Gananoque, Cape Vincent and Thousand Islands; Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Company; and the Bay of Quinte steamers for Bay ports.

A 1915 K&P passenger schedule shows six trains a day – two each way between Kingston and Renfrew and one each way between Kingston and Sharbot Lake. Train 612 left Renfrew at 10:40 a.m., arriving at Kingston at 3:45 pm. Train 613 departed Kingston at 8:10 a.m., arriving at Renfrew at 4:20 p.m. By 1926, service was six days per week, meeting CP mainline trains at Sharbot Lake and at Tichborne. Passenger trains were limited to a leisurely maximum speed of 30 miles per hour in 1950.
Two-thirds of total freight tonnage carried by the K&P in 1890 was lumber, and it was being rapidly depleted. There was little fertile soil to produce successful crops. In the K&P era, Snow Road held the distinction of being the single station shipping the most maple syrup in the Dominion of Canada! Grain being shipped from Harrowsmith in the November 19, 1884 news item (above).

Mines produced apatite, lead, talc, feldspar, graphite and mica. Shipped to Kingston and forwarded by the James Richardson Company to markets in the United States and Europe, these mineral deposits were comparatively small. For instance, the Wilbur mine near Lavant, yielded 143,000 tons between 1886 and 1900. It was said that in 1903 there was hardly a prospector in Ontario who searched beyond Frontenac and Hastings counties. It was also said that a year later, there was not a prospector who would remain in the area! New and far-away prospecting fields that were now open beckoned.
In 1890, Sydenham’s Foxton Company sold mica for $200 per ton. By 1914, the price was set at only six cents per pound. Feldspar mining began after 1900. Richardson’s Kingston Feldspar & Mining Co. shipped sizeable quantities by rail from operations like the Card mine, two miles west of the K&P station in Verona, and the Reynolds mine in Portland Township. Mica was used for tile glazing with the opening of the Richardson Co.’s Frontenac Floor & Wall Tile Co. plant in Kingston. The Richardson quarries shipped 16,374 tons of feldspar in 1910. Some went to enamelware factories in New Jersey and Ohio.


In 1893, the K&P defaulted on bond interest payments. A receiver was appointed on October 15, 1894 and the company was reorganized four years later. Beginning in the 1880’s, the ‘upstart’ CP and the GTR engaged in an acquisition struggle, acquiring smaller Ontario railways to prevent the other from encroaching on their own company’s perceived railway fiefdom. By the turn of the century, CP had purchased 83% of the K&P’s capital stock. This move was perhaps intended to keep the K&P out of the hands of the competitor, the GTR. 

In the second post in this series: the post-K&P era and takeover by Canadian Pacific.


There are already a couple of books on the K&P, both out of print: In Search of the K&P and The Men and My Memories of the K&P. While both books tended to be on the colloquial, folksy side there is still the need for a good corporate history with a complete photo roster, photos of stations and scenes along the line, roster data, relevant dates and places profiled, and photos of the trains right up to the end of operations. 

Running extra...

Watching this video is just plain fun. My years of spending hours trackside seem to be over. Really, why bother when YouTubers are out there doing it? Dawn to dusk along CN's Kingston Sub, at various locations,  with CP action including one of the last H10 turns now that the Trenton mill is closing. The  day and many, many more trains await you here.

A nice-looking three-part Youtube series on Tom Linke's Jayville Terminal switching layout.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Pop-up Post: CN X377 and 7 VIA's, Feb. 2024

911 with four HEP cars eastbound at 1302
I had a free afternoon while my good wife was taking part in an online crafting event on Saturday, February 10, 2024. After morning visits to return the winter's empties then checking out the book selection at Value Village, before lunch together at home, it was time to get trackside right after visiting the Tim Hortons drive-thru!  This pop-up post comprises all the cornucopia catches constructively caught trackside. Four VIA's slipped through before the first freight. Also VIA 920 with five LRC cars westbound at 1418 (not photographed, because frankly it snuck up on me!)

910 with five LRC cars eastbound at 1358

'love the way' 6402 westbound with four LRC cars (the last three Future-wrapped) at 1428 
CN Police returning to his speed-trap (above) from which he nabbed three speeders. At 1450, CN X377 was westbound:
CN 3182 in the lead. It's got pickup!
'Flying-P' BCNE 900351 and CN 196603 - bathtubs in coal service
They DID look nice when new -  GATX/BKTY 157791 (above) and GATX/LRS 137555 (below)
HPJX 52214 and 52391 with aluminum

Former Chicago Central 40113 in scrap tie service

Mid-train DPU 3229 with CN100 logo

St Louis Southwestern reporting marks survive on Union Pacific 78907

Two of three used-to-be-clean CSXT boxcars: 142907 and 142961

Great grain for graffiti! CN 113418

Two of three ONT boxcars including 7430-7782

NDYX 380606 coil steel car 
Three more VIA trains went by after X377: VIA 901 with four HEP cars westbound at 1504 (not photo'd), and 915 with four HEP cars eastbound at 1505 (below - taken from atop a snow pile with Kingston's Railfan Walking Trail  railing in foreground) and 6426 westbound at 1640 with four LRC cars.
A Lennox & Addington County ambulance hurriedly heading to KHSC's KGH site. Everyone comes to Kingston eventually. Such is the life of a tertiary-care trauma centre teaching hospital

Running extra...

It was a Leap Year and Day and all five February fleetingly thoughtful Thursday posts had something in common...Drew De Bruyn of Ingersoll is the successful guesser in this OOF contest. Each post in February had a double-number in its title: 6060, 2338, 8558, 200 and 9900. This numerology will carry on into March. Or as I'm calling it, 60(60) March. Stay tuned, thanks to all those who entered and congratulations, Drew! Some reading material is on its way...

Speaking of double numbers, here are two Siemens Ventures nine minutes apart last Friday. Set 4 as VIA No 43 (first of two photos) and Set 2 as VIA No 63 (second of two photos - below). Actually, a third set is now making daily runs (X6/7) through Kingston as of March 3! Feel three to keep track (puns intended) in this post.
Speaking of things that come in twos, Ontario Northland just received the first of three 72-foot refrigerator cars that arrived in Cochrane on March 1.  ONT 254/255 photographed and posted to social media on their way, with one car already tagged! These will be in 'captive'service between Cochrane and Moosonee.