Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The train doesn't stop here anymore

There is train rumbling from various quarters at the moment. Friend Larry is researching a book on the dozens of railways in the Quinte area in those exciting early days - and linking the trail systems built upon the abandoned railbeds.

I am working on my stated intention of attempting to  photograph extant train stations (and commune with the spirits of those gone before) on my travels.

3 hours gets you from Picton to Belleville

I've been collecting some of the prolific Ron Brown's series on Canadian railways and their stations, most recently The Last Stop (profiling Ontario's heritage railway stations.) I like that he tells the story of Brighton's Memory Junction, which I wrote about in August. Incidentally here is a poster on the Friends of Memory Junction Facebook page, announcing the September 26/27 Applefest invitation to visit the Junction. Sounds like a party!

Tom going the distance for train artifacts

Last week I braved the busy lumberyard of C.F.Evans Lumber Co. Ltd. on West Mary Street in Picton, determined to get to the bottom of the Picton train station story. I just knew it was there - and when I peered across the sea of tarmac, I recognized the familiar red brick form.

Far from getting shooed off for trespassing, I was treated to a delightful visit with Tom Evans, a train geek, who showed me memorabilia from the building's life as a train station.

one of the few bits of history CN left behind

a window latch - back when craftsmanship was valued

freight shed roof recycled from a CN boxcar

On the weekend I picked up a copy of another great resource, recommended by Larry. It's called Life on the Trails, Past and Present, written by Dorothy Fraleigh, and published by County Magazine.

I got my copy at Books and Company in Picton. The scrapbook style volume follows today's Millennium Trail (PEC), Lower Trent Trail, and the Hastings Heritage Trail routes, and illustrates the recreational trails' former lives with photos of the train stations which stood along the lines. Great nostalgia.
the stationmaster's windows - long ones allowing
for a view up and down the tracks

The photo to the left provides just that 'the way things used to be' feeling. This is taken in front of the former station, looking west along right of way of the former tracks of the Central Ontario Railway/CNR that in its day, ran from Picton to Maynooth.

Incidentally, the early brick house in the background wouldn't have been visible in the day. The home which now sits adjacent to the Millennium Trail, was recently moved to accommodate Picton's expanded LCBO being built at the corner of Lake and West Main Street.


  1. This is very interesting, thank you. I remember when the train used to pass through Consecon and Picton. I can still see the train crossing the highway at Consecon (Weller's Bay) right where a former cheese factory was located. Do you have any idea when they took up the tracks in PEC? I was in Picton last fall and as we entered from the west end, I was wondering how long it had been since the tracks were there. I'd love to know more about the train system in the County, so I'll be pleased when Larry's book is available. An aunt also mentioned taking the train from school one time (near the Demorestville area), to see the Queen when she was in Belleville, early 1950s. Thanks for posting such an interesting article, with excellent photos.

  2. Thanks for visiting Ancestral Roofs, Brian. I do recommend Life on the Trails by Dorothy Fraleigh, it would answer all of your questions.In her introduction, she says that the tracks were taken up in 1997.

    1. Thank you for mentioning the book by Dorothy Fraleigh. Do you know where this can be purchased? I'm not finding much luck searching on Google. Thanks.

  3. Why not contact Books and Company directly. They're a great independent bookseller in Picton. Their phone number is 613-476-3037. Email: The book was $17.99. They could advise about shipping costs.