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George A. Cox Archives Amalgamation
George A. Cox Achives Amalgamation
In 1878, there were four independent railway companies operating in
Victoria county. Within the space of three short years, one man
succeeded in promoting their consolidation into a single system.
This man was George A. Cox, a Peterborough insurance agent, who
became president of the Midland Railway in the fall of 1878.
By July 1, 1879, he had made an arrangement between the Midland
Railway and the Whitby-Lindsay Railway, by which the two roads
pooled their resources and divided their gross earnings in the ratio
of 79 to 21. In June 1881, a syndicate, headed by the Hon. D. A.
McInnis, and John Proctor, of Hamilton, bought up a controlling
interest in the Victoria Railway, and George Laidlaw retired. Cox
now became active again. He purchased the Toronto and Nipissing
Railway in July, 1881, and succeeded by November 1881 in engineering
a merger of the Midland, Whitby-Lindsay, Victoria and Toronto and
Nipissing railways. The consolidated lines were to be known as the
Midland Railway of Canada. The first train from Peterborough to
Toronto, via Millbrook and Lorneville, passed over the new system on
December 15, 1881, with a running time of three hours.
The sequel to this amalgamation came on January 1, 1884, when the
Grand Trunk Railway leased the Midland Railway and Cox with drew
from railway affairs. It then transpired that the Grand Trunk
already had a controlling interest of $4,316,920 in the Midland
Railway capitalization of $6,600,000. Here were the backers for whom
the versatile Cox had done his work so well and from whom, no doubt,
he received suitable recognition. The Midland Railway was finally
consolidated with the Grand Trunk by Act of Parliament in 1893.
As part of the consolidation of 1881, plans were laid for building
short lines between Wick on the T. & N. R. and Manilla on the Whitby-Lindsay
line and between Peterborough and Omemee, and for the construction
of a new bridge and station at Lindsay.
The Wick-Manilla line was seven miles in length and ran from Wick
Junction, a mile north of Wick Station, to Manilla Junction, a third
of a mile north of Manilla Station (now Cresswell.) The contract
here was let in 1882 to George Wheeler, M.P. In July 1883, Wick
station and Manilla station were abolished and the name "Wick
Junction" were changed to "Blackwater Junction."
The Omemee-Peterborough line, known popularly as the "Missing Link,"
was begun in February 1882 under the contractorship of J. H. Beemer.
The heaviest work lay in the bridging of two wide deep valleys at
"Tully's" and "Doube's." The former required a trestle 700 feet long
and 40 feet high, and the latter a trestle 1500 feet long and 70
feet high. Most of this trestle work has since been filled in with
ballast. On July 2, 1883, a small battle, involving stilettos and
revolvers, took place at Sherin's Cut, two miles east of Omemee,
between some Italians who had struck over an illegal reduction of
wages and some Irish-Canadians who had kept on working. Many were
wounded but none killed. The first train over the "Missing Link" was
run on November 23, 1883, five days after standard time had been
first adopted by the railways of Canada.
At Lindsay, a new entry, by means of a high level bridge just south
of the line of Durham Street, was decided on. The steel super
structure was supplied by the Hamilton Bridge Works and consisted of
a center span, 84 feet long, and two end spans, each 44 feet long.
The supporting piers of solid masonry, 47 feet in height, were built
by Messrs. McNeely and Walters, of Lindsay. This bridge was replaced
in 1901 by a through girder bridge. The old swing bridge across the
Scugog at the head of Lindsay Street North was abolished and its
center pier removed from the river in May 1887 by Capt. George
The old East Ward station was also discarded and a new station site
chosen just south of Durham Street at William Street. The first new
station, a diminutive structure, 27 feet by 60 feet, was built in
September 1883 and burnt down on January 8, 1885. The present
building was erected on the same site in October 1890.
During the eighties it was decided to make Lindsay the divisional
point (as it is today) for the whole Midland system. The locomotive
works which had formerly been located in Port Hope were therefore
transferred to Lindsay. The first sod for the new buildings was
turned by H. J .Rainsford on July 18, 1887.