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A lone Penn Central Geep, GMD-built GP7 5827, speeds westward on the PC's Canada Southern mainline with a lone van in tow, climbing the grade out of the new Townline Tunnel near Welland (as viewed off CN's Canal Sub bridge). Clean ballast, fresh rail, and bare banks hint that the new Townline Tunnel had opened for rail service just a few months back in January. The new alignment of the Welland Canal runs across the background, crossing over the west portal of the rail and road tunnel that travels underneath it.

The Townline Tunnel was one of the results of the Welland By-pass project, a massive undertaking in the late 60's/early 70's to create a new Welland Canal alignment in order to reduce delays for local automobile and rail traffic in the area, caused by growing shipping traffic in the old canal alignment (think delays caused by multiple lift and swing bridges that carried road and rail traffic over the old canal). Rail-wise, this required more than a few railway line re-alignments in the area, part of which involved moving much of the mainline traffic to pass through a tunnel running underneath the canal including the NYC/PC's CASO mainline and CN's Cayuga Sub. The powers that be probably crunched the numbers and found rail traffic at the time was high enough in this Southern Ontario corridor (and expected it to continue or increase) to warrant a three-track rail tunnel underneath the new canal. When it opened, PC owned the north track, CN the south, and the middle track was shared.

However, traffic declined in the decades that followed. Eventually after the sale of PC successor Conrail's CASO trackage to CN and CP in the 80's, and CN's eventual pull-out, CP now owns all of this trackage as part of their Hamilton Subdivision. One main track has been removed, one is now CP's Hamilton Sub mainline, and the other became CP's Brookfield siding, often used for storing autoracks. A bit of a fall from grace, as traffic today is a trickle of what it once was when the tunnel opened.

Photographer unknown, Dan Dell'Unto collection slide.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Unknown, Dan Dell'Unto coll. all rights reserved.



Caption: A lone Penn Central Geep, GMD-built GP7 5827, speeds westward on the PC's Canada Southern mainline with a lone van in tow, climbing the grade out of the new Townline Tunnel near Welland (as viewed off CN's Canal Sub bridge). Clean ballast, fresh rail, and bare banks hint that the new Townline Tunnel had opened for rail service just a few months back in January. The new alignment of the Welland Canal runs across the background, crossing over the west portal of the rail and road tunnel that travels underneath it.

The Townline Tunnel was one of the results of the Welland By-pass project, a massive undertaking in the late 60's/early 70's to create a new Welland Canal alignment in order to reduce delays for local automobile and rail traffic in the area, caused by growing shipping traffic in the old canal alignment (think delays caused by multiple lift and swing bridges that carried road and rail traffic over the old canal). Rail-wise, this required more than a few railway line re-alignments in the area, part of which involved moving much of the mainline traffic to pass through a tunnel running underneath the canal including the NYC/PC's CASO mainline and CN's Cayuga Sub. The powers that be probably crunched the numbers and found rail traffic at the time was high enough in this Southern Ontario corridor (and expected it to continue or increase) to warrant a three-track rail tunnel underneath the new canal. When it opened, PC owned the north track, CN the south, and the middle track was shared.

However, traffic declined in the decades that followed. Eventually after the sale of PC successor Conrail's CASO trackage to CN and CP in the 80's, and CN's eventual pull-out, CP now owns all of this trackage as part of their Hamilton Subdivision. One main track has been removed, one is now CP's Hamilton Sub mainline, and the other became CP's Brookfield siding, often used for storing autoracks. A bit of a fall from grace, as traffic today is a trickle of what it once was when the tunnel opened.

Photographer unknown, Dan Dell'Unto collection slide.

Photographer:
Unknown, Dan Dell'Unto coll. [563] (more) (contact)
Date: Circa September 1973 (search)
Railway: Penn Central (search)
Reporting Marks: PC 5827 (search)
Train Symbol: Not Provided
Subdivision/SNS: Brookfield - PC CASO (Townline Tunnel) (search)
City/Town: Welland (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 39797

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

Full size | Suncalc
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13 Comments
  1. Could this have been a test train? When did the tunnel officially open?

  2. MrDan, yes you are right and I was as well, in my mind. The spot you indicated is what I had in my head I typed the wrong subdivision name.

    ngineered4u- the Canal Sub (14 Mi long) ran from Feeder West where it connected with the Cayuga Sub North to Thorold Jct where it connected with the Thorold Sub on the West side of the lift bridge. It was still listed in the 1992 Trackside Guide as under CN ownership. I think Trillium got it in 1997 when CN did alot of the changes in the Niagara Region.

  3. Thx Mr Dan…never saw it in any of my timetables. Must have been removed a while back

  4. This was shot from the west side. The CN Canal Sub ran up the west side of the Welland Canal from CN Feeder West to Welland and Thorold (now operated by Trillium/PCHR). The Stamford Sub ran up the east side of the Canal.

  5. Here is a picture that offers a view of the bridge this picture was taken from if it helps clear things up! http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=40539

  6. Thx jknott88. Never heard of the Canal Sub b4.

  7. The road is north of the tracks. The stamford would look west to the tunnel. This is looking east to the tunnel. Dan is correct.

  8. I agree with homerjay84. Sure look like the Stamford Sub to me.

  9. A triple track racetrack. Amazing how much traffic it had when it was built, and how much less traffic it had a mere 20 or so years later when the middle track and CTC was all removed from service.

    Even the Humberstone was given CTC between Yager and a couple miles south with double main track…. so much money.

  10. Definitely shot from where Dan indicated

  11. Great photo, interesting to see what it looked like after the by-pass project was completed. Judging by the look of the photo the photographer was standing on the CN Stamford sub Bridge overpass.

    One of the reasons for the by-pass project was to enlarge the canal. The old canal was sufficient for traffic flow however wasn’t large enough to accommodate the newer vessels making very tight quarters.

    I recently read a book on this subject, most of the articles in it said the biggest complaint by the ship captains was the PC swing bridge in Welland. Heading North, it was very tight to come around the old curve and navigate in between the bridge center pivot and the canal wall.

  12. Very cool shot Dan.

    Brookfield Siding was renamed to Rusholme Siding (a couple of years ago I believe) to avoid confusion with Brookfield East. I heard someone on a CN crew call it Rushmore Siding recently and the hogger in turn called him Jefferson.. pretty funny but I’m not sure if the guy who originally said Rushmore got it or not.

  13. Nice Beetle.

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