Uxbridge Train Station

With the last post regarding the less than tenable position the Allandale Train Station has for restoration / renovation, I had decided to look for a nearby success story. This feel-good storey comes from the efforts by dedicated volunteers at Uxbridge. The Uxbridge Railway Station was built in 1904 and is one of the few remaining "Witches Hat" stations in Ontario.

Much of the history and restoration efforts at the Uxbridge railway station may be found at the York-Durham Heritage Railway website and this is where much of the information I now present comes from.

The rail line that we use was built in the late 1860’s as the Toronto and Nipissing (T&N) Railway. It was built to allow its owner, William Gooderham, a well-known distiller from Toronto, to carry grain to his distillery as well as lumber for export and cordwood for resale. The intention was to cut off the flow of lumber from the Haliburton Highlands which at that time was floated down the Trent River to Trenton. They achieved their aim when the line reached Coboconk on the Gull River. It stopped there and was never extended to its intended target of Lake Nipissing (North Bay).

The Toronto and Nipissing (T&N) was the first public narrow-gauge line in North America. Its yards and terminus were at the foot of Parliament Street, opposite the Gooderham and Worts distillery and mill, which owned it. By adding a third rail between Grand Trunk's wider rails, the line ran east to Scarboro Junction, where it turned north. The railway supplied the distillery and mill with grain and lumber, and opened for business in 1871. Ten years later it was taken over by the Midland Railway, which in turn was taken over by the Grand Trunk Railway in 1883.

The waiting rooms, freight room, and ticket office are now beautifully restored. The Uxbridge station is owned and maintained by the Township of Uxbridge with a team of volunteers operating a museum at the station as well as trains for tourists to Stouffville since 1996.

I can only hope that the City of Barrie can see the sense of recovering the Allandale Railway Station before this heritage / cultural gem is lost. At the very least, the City should realise the money the tourist could bring in - for a quick example, see the post from this fellow Blogger from the UK.

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