Trains played an important part in the development of Canada. Today, various historical sites pay tribute to their role. RailGuy and I set out to visit some of the railroad-related sites in the area. We visited the Aultsville Staion, near Morrisburg, first. Aultsville was one of the “Lost Villages”, one of ten villages that were flooded to accommodate the St. Lawrence Seaway project. The station was moved to its current location in the late 1950s. You can see a photograph of the station in its original location at the Lost Villages website. Grand Trunk locomotive 1008 stands beside the station on an original piece of the Grand Trunk Railway track. It is an 8 wheeler 2-6-0 Mogul built by the Canadian Locomotive Company at Kingston in 1910.
We then carried on to the Brockville waterfront. This steel caboose was built for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) at their Angus Shops in Montreal in 1954. Originally destined for the Winnipeg salvaging yards, the retired caboose was donated to the City of Brockville by CPR in 1987. It probably began its life as an “assigned” caboose, used by just one conductor, but was later “pooled”, remaining hooked up to a train over an extended route, while the crew of at least one conductor and one brakeman, would change periodically.
The caboose is situated close to the entrance to Canada’s first railway tunnel. The tunnel was originally constructed to allow rail access to the Brockville waterfront, and was in use from 1860 to 1956. The tunnel was purchased by the City of Brockville in 1983. On September 16, 1990, there was a re-enactment of the laying of the cornerstone, 136 years to the day after the original ceremony.
Inside the south portal of the tunnel are a set of posters displaying more information about the history of the tunnel and the railroad. The first 85 feet of the tunnel are open to visitors, with an iron grill closing off the tunnel to the north. You can examine the stone arch construction and a section of 5 foot 6 inch Provincial guage track and looking to the north, away in the distance, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
We completed our outing with a visit to a Brockville restaurant that features train memorabilia. The restaurant is located close to the Brockville Via Rail station and during our meal, 2 Via trains and a long freight trail rolled by.