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To imagine what Palmerston, Ontario would have been like to photograph in person during Canadian National’s steam era or early dieselization is almost impossible as very few can say they did.  A once thriving railway hub, with the legendary Bruce branch lines spreading out in multiple directions, Palmerston was the division point. With a bustling shop, large roundhouse, car repair facility, an expansive yard as well as a turntable, the town and its fabric was solely tied to the railway. However, as time had progressed by the 1970’s Palmerston was a shell of its former self as only a few branchlines remained active with passenger trains no longer operating on them. By 1994, the only industry actively serviced was the feed mill at Harriston on the Newton Subdivision and that was only as required. CN had eventually applied to abandon this section and on April 4, 1995 they were given permission to do just that 30 days from the date of order. However, the heavy rusting rail on the Newton Subdivision was worth a considerable amount to CN. So, almost a year to the date after getting approval to abandon the line, on April 1, 1996 CN GP9RM’s 4115 and 4140 slowly hauled a rail train from Stratford to Harriston to begin the process of removing the line. During that month, CN removed the rails that linked Harriston with the festival city of Stratford creating another void in the Ontario railway landscape and secured the Newton Subdivision’s future in the history books. Here, on a sunny spring morning, the rail train is seen rolling towards Stratford through the long curve in Palmerston at the King Street crossing after having gone along the yard and by the station in town for the final time where several on-lookers had gathered.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Carl Noe (Collection of Jason Noe) all rights reserved.



Caption: To imagine what Palmerston, Ontario would have been like to photograph in person during Canadian National’s steam era or early dieselization is almost impossible as very few can say they did. A once thriving railway hub, with the legendary Bruce branch lines spreading out in multiple directions, Palmerston was the division point. With a bustling shop, large roundhouse, car repair facility, an expansive yard as well as a turntable, the town and its fabric was solely tied to the railway. However, as time had progressed by the 1970’s Palmerston was a shell of its former self as only a few branchlines remained active with passenger trains no longer operating on them. By 1994, the only industry actively serviced was the feed mill at Harriston on the Newton Subdivision and that was only as required. CN had eventually applied to abandon this section and on April 4, 1995 they were given permission to do just that 30 days from the date of order. However, the heavy rusting rail on the Newton Subdivision was worth a considerable amount to CN. So, almost a year to the date after getting approval to abandon the line, on April 1, 1996 CN GP9RM’s 4115 and 4140 slowly hauled a rail train from Stratford to Harriston to begin the process of removing the line. During that month, CN removed the rails that linked Harriston with the festival city of Stratford creating another void in the Ontario railway landscape and secured the Newton Subdivision’s future in the history books. Here, on a sunny spring morning, the rail train is seen rolling towards Stratford through the long curve in Palmerston at the King Street crossing after having gone along the yard and by the station in town for the final time where several on-lookers had gathered.

Photographer:
Carl Noe (Collection of Jason Noe) [383] (more) (contact)
Date: April 7, 1996 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 4115 (search)
Train Symbol: CN Rail Train (search)
Subdivision/SNS: CN Newton Subdivision (search)
City/Town: Palmerston (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 40228

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

Full size | Suncalc
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2 Comments
  1. Thanks Todd for your comment and story from 1995. That was most likely one of the last runs you saw that day. That’s neat you got to see it at least and in your home town too. Yes, there were people lined-up watching the rail train throughout the town and especially on April 1, 1996 when it first arrived from Stratford that afternoon.

  2. LOVE THIS HISTORICAL PHOTO!! I was born in ‘Pamerston’ as the locals called their town. Having come back for a visit around Apil 1995, I will never forget the sight of seeing a train stopped at Main Street! Not knowing this would be the last train I’d see in Palmerston, I did not have a camera with me. Wish I had stopped and grabbed one of the disposable kind, so popular back then. Nonetheless, so much railway history of a once busy branchline operation. Glad to see it was preserved in photos, and that quite a few gathered around to see the line pulled up. Shows that they cared, and knew of the importance it once held.

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