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Back to the Future: when rails ran down Caroline St in Waterlo

By shost at 1:13 pm on Thursday, July 9, 2015

Here’s a Back to the Future moment: While Waterloo residents wait for construction along Caroline St to complete, to  see new shiny LRT rails, for nearly 100 years rails had previously existed along Carline St, which existed until around 1994.

http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=19625

Above is  a photo  by Bill Thomson of Guelph, taken in 1971 showing a Canadian Pacific locomotive switching cars into the Seagrams distillery along Caroline St. This photo is somewhat unique – while I know of a few photos in books or other publications, this is the only photo of the Caroline St rails that presently exists on the Internet. (Anyone  with classic rail scenes like this are encouraged to consider sharing to railpictures.ca)

Back to the future? That’s where Waterloo region is going by re-installing a LRT transit system – Waterloo had two rail transit systems in the early to mid 20th century – Streetcars until 1946 along King St in Waterloo  and Kitchener (with a branch to Bridgeport and the CN Station) and the Grand River Railway, as pictured in Bills photo after passenger service ended in 1955 but continuing to be used by freight trains. The CP Owned Grand River Railway is still providing freight service today, thanks to the Toyota Cambridge plant, for transport of automotive products throughout North America and some for Export elsewhere. The Grand River Railway presently runs between the CP Galt station and Block Line Rd in Kitchener, the remainder from near Block Line Rd to downtown Waterloo was removed in 1994. Stage 2 ION LRT plans show use of the Grand River Railway from Fairway Rd to Preston as part of the implementation, but it is this authors opinion Toyota is here to stay and by then, ION will have to build their own right of way alongside CP to achieve their goals.

What if.. the Grand River Railway wasn’t ripped up and we still had Streetcars in KW. Look to the South Shore Interurban in Chicago for what could have been..

- Steve

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