Railways

CNRStation2

CNR

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above, The Great Western/Canadian National Railway Station constructed in 1853

The Great Western Railway was the first railway to come through Oxford County [1853].  A survey was in progress from London eastward, passing about two miles north of the village of Ingersoll, which would not benefit the village in any way.  Therefore a deputation of business men of the village headed by Henry Crotty J. P. met the railway officials in London and placed before them a description of Ingersoll’s business enterprises and extended to them an invitation to visit the village.  The officials were satisfied with the possibility of growth in the village and decided to alter the survey to go through Ingersoll.  A site for the station was staked on the west side of Mutual Street, north of the Thames River, but this site was abandoned when the officials learned it was subject to flooding.  The stakes were moved to the west side of Thames Street where a frame station was built – later Christopher Brothers, contractors, built a brick station.  In 1882 the name of the railroad was changed to the Grand Trunk Railway and after adding several branches the named was again changed to the Canadian National Railway in 1923.

When the first train came to Ingersoll, all workers dropped their tools and rushed to see the train emerge from the unbroken wilderness.  The train stopped at Ingersoll for wood and water. Twelve hundred men were engaged in construction of the railroad, carving its path through virgin forest.  There were groups who felled the trees and others who grubbed out the stumps and still others with teams of horses who filled holes and down graded hills.  There were tie layers, rail layers, spikemen, water boys, culvert and bridge builders, teamsters, blacksmiths, camp cooks and telegraph operators.  Neighbouring farmers made extra money by working on the railroad.  Carpenters built large construction camps to accommodate the workers; these camps were usually eight miles apart and later became the nucleus of many villages in Oxford County. Many farmer’s wives made pin money serving home cooked meals of meat, fowl or fish.  Pickles, pies, fresh bread and pastries were readily sold.

Excerpt above from the scrapbook of Byron Jenvey

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above, an historic postcard depicting the Canadian Pacific Railway Station

above, an historic postcard depicting the Canadian Pacific Railway Station

above, an historic postcard depicting the Canadian Pacific Railway Station

above, an historic postcard depicting the Canadian Pacific Railway station

above, a photograph depicting the Canadian Pacific Railway Station

Formerly located off Thames Street North, just west and north of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church.  The Canadian Pacific Railway station was demolished in June of 1976 to make way for sewer construction

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above, photograph depicting the train wreck on the Grand Trunk Railway at Ingersoll Station in 1913.  In the background can be seen the spire of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church

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