HomeTown – 11 – The Railroad

HomeTown - 11 - The Railroad
Milton’s second Grand Trunk Station, later used until it’s retirement by CN from 1923 to 1973 when it became the town information centre.
Crown Graphic – Kodak Ektar f:7.7 203mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-64 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 8:00 @ 20C

A school mate and I trudged along the small muddy path along the Mill Pond in downtown Milton, the pond that was created by Jasper Martin to help drive his grist and saw mills. But what I did not expect to find was an abandoned rail bridge. What made things all the more interesting is that the bridge did not match in with Milton’s two main rail corridors, this one was different older almost. But let’s go back, back to the middle of the 19th Century. The first major railroads to form in Canada West (Ontario Today) were Great Western, Grand Trunk, and Ontario, Simcoe, and Huron. None of these came anywhere near Milton, which made the 1853 selection of Milton as County Seat all the stranger. Oakville at least was on the Great Western Line which linked Hamilton to Toronto and then linked up with Grand Trunk and Ontario, Simcoe, and Huron. Yet, Milton grew despite having no connection to the railroad. The first railroad didn’t drive through Milton until 1876 in the form of the Hamilton & North-Western Railway, the second railroad, Credit Valley arrived a year later. Hamilton & North Western crossed over the Mill Pond in a north-south direction, while Credit Valley which arrived from Toronto travelled East-West. Hamilton & North-Western became Northern & Northwestern before being purchased by Grand Trunk before the end of the Century, and Credit Valley become part of Canadian Pacific. But the station pictured above would become the second station for Grand Trunk, completed in 1900, the original station becoming a storage shed. The location of the station stood on Bronte Street near the PL Robertson factory, right near the end of the old rail line that ran over that abandoned bridge I mentioned earlier. When Grand Trunk was forced into Canadian National Railway in 1923, CN took over the operation of the station until 1973 when they realigned their tracks and stopped passenger service. The old station, now seventy-three years old faced demolition. Instead, it was saved, restored, and moved. It now sits along the new CN right of way but is the information centre for Milton. And that old rail bridge? It’s now part of a walking trail.

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