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Irondale, Bancroft and Ottawa Ry.

Irondale, Bancroft, and Ottawa Ry.

A road which does not lie actually within the county but which is inseparably associated in thought with the Victoria Railway is the I. B. & O. (Irondale, Bancroft and Ottawa) Railway, known in early times as the "I.O.U.", because of its financial trials. This railway strikes east from Kinmount Junction, on the Haliburton line, 2.3 miles north of Kinmount. A charter issued in 1880 granted permission to build west to Georgian Bay and east to Ottawa. The line was begun by Mr. Myles, of the Snowdon Iron Mine, extended by C. J. Pusey and L. B. Howland, and finally acquired by the C. N. R. in 1909.

Constructional difficulties were enormous; traffic was scarce and money scarcer; and progress in building hardly averaged a mile a year. The first engine on the line was the "Mary Ann," a gentle creature, who, whenever the rails gave out, would squat quietly down on the ballast without hurting a soul.

At the present day, the I. B. & O. has reached Bancroft on its way to Ottawa.

Hope Deferred Maketh Bobcaygeon Sick

The only important center in the county which was not served by the consolidated Midland Railway system was the thriving village of Bobcaygeon, with its products of lumber, lime, and building stone.

Attempts were made by Peterborough promoters in 1874-78, and again in 1891, to finance a line from Peterboro to Bobcaygeon. Both attempts failed, although in the former case Bobcaygeon and Verulam each voted $20,000 in bonuses.

On March 26, 1890, a charter was granted to a Bobcaygeon, Lindsay, and Pontypool Railway Company, composed of Lindsay and Bobcaygeon business men. The company found construction beyond its means and accomplished nothing until 1903. An agreement was then entered into with the Canadian Pacific Railway whereby the latter agreed to back construction on the understanding that they were to receive a 99-year lease. In this way the C.P.R. got the road without the trouble of securing an extra charter and the directors of the B. L. & P. R. attained their objective ,the linking up of Bobcaygeon with the outside world. The promoters of this project were H. J. Wickham, W. T. C. Boyd, and Thomas Stewart.

Surveys were made in May and June, 1903, and a line chosen from Burketon, in Durham county, on the C.P.R., through Lindsay to Bobcaygeon. The Dominion government gave a bonus of $3200 per mile for the whole 38 miles of construction, and the Ontario government $3000 per mile for the 16 miles between Lindsay and Bobcaygeon. The contract for building was let in July 1903 to E. F. Fauquier.

Bitter opposition was given by the G.T.R.. The original plan had been to enter the town by a line half a mile east of the river, cross the G.T.R. tracks on the level, and come in on a curve. According to law it was permissible for a new road to cut across a single main line of rails but not a series of sidings. The G.T.R. therefore anticipated matters by laying down a series of extensive sidings (called the "Santiago Siding" in memory of the recent Spanish-American War) directly across the proposed route. A changed survey now dipped down to river level and passed under the G.T.R. high level bridge. The G.T.R. next tried to block the Bobcaygeon line from crossing the old track at King Street in the East Ward but was forced to give way by the Railway Committee of the federal Privy Council.

In order to pass through Lindsay on the new level, entire blocks in a thickly built up part of the East Ward had to be bought up and demolished. Over forty residences with their outbuildings were wiped out, and their destruction produced a housing famine in the town. The cost of a mile of railway in this part of Lindsay totalled over $150,000.

The road was officially opened by H. P. Timmerman on July 28, 1904.

A Line for Manitoba Wheat

Scarcely had this Bobcaygeon spur been completed, when the C.P.R. began to lay plans for the construction of a railway from Victoria Harbour, on Georgian Bay, to their main line, near Peterborough, so that the grain harvest. of the western provinces might be handled with greater dispatch. Surveys were begun in the fall of 1905 under the direction of Mr. Gourley, C.E. Seventeen different survey lines were run; and a route was .finally chosen in 1906. Building was postponed ,however, for another five years, because of the government's delay in dredging out Victoria Harbor sufficiently for the big grain vessels to moor alongside the elevators.

The G.T.R. prepared meanwhile to counteract this C. P. R. venture by double tracking the Midland Division from Midland to Port Hope and improving grades all along the route. A new entry into Lindsay from the northwest was built in 1906, thus eliminating the difficult grade on Victoria Avenue. Further construction was prepared for in a leisurely fashion, but the enterprise was dropped when Chas. M. Hays perished in the Titanic disaster.

The C.P.R. began work in earnest in 1911 on its line from Port McNicholl on Victoria Harbour, to a point on the main line near Bethany, in Durham county. (The junction here has been called Dranoel; i. e., Leonard, spelled backwards.)

The general contract was awarded to the Toronto Construction Company, and the local sub-contracts to Johnston Bros. (Lorneville to Cambray), Perry and Stewart (Cambray to Lindsay), and F .R. Wilford (southeast from Lindsay.)

The last rail was laid on October 25, 1911. The total length of the line was 88 miles, and its maximum gradient four-tenths of one per cent.


Brief summarizing may clarify our retrospect of Victoria's railways. Three early roads were built to link up the trade of the Kawartha basin with the outside world, and a fourth sought to tap forest wealth and supposed agricultural resources in the granite hinterland of Haliburton. These roads were amalgamated in 1881 and absorbed by the G.T.R. In 1904, the C.P.R. completed a short line as a trade outlet for Verulam and Bobcaygeon, and in 1911 built a cross country grain portage line from Georgian Bay to their Toronto-Montreal trunk line.

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