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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Last Train Pulls In

Collingwood | by Catherine Thompson  

It's a sad day in Collingwood's rail history.

It's a sad day in Collingwood's rail history.

The last train of the Barrie Collingwood Railway rolled into town today.

Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper and Simcoe County Warden Cal Patterson rode in on a GP 9 locomotive built in 1959.

The freight service carried products to and from many Collingwood businesses, but the users decreased over the last few years to just one, Canadian Mist.

The rail service was costing the town between 2 and 3 hundred thousand dollars a year in operating costs, but another hundred thousand in capital costs like repairs and maintenance of the tracks and rail bridges.

Former Collingwood mayor Doug Garbutt, says this is a sad day for him.

He was part of a local committee that fought for over ten years to save the rail line after it was abandoned by CN.

Garbutt says they got CP and Barrie involved and the municipalities bought the line and then found a short line operator, Cando, to run the service.

Garbutt would like to see the rail line saved and wonders if the County can do something.

Warden Patterson says the county will look at the possibility because of its responsibility to look at the long term. But he says any option would be costly.

The first locomotive, a wood burner, came puffing through Collingwood in 1855.

That first passenger service brought people to the area and the town was formally established in 1858.


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