Schomberg and Aurora Railway

The Schomberg and Aurora Railway (S&AR, also nicknamed the "Annie Rooney") was a 36 km long railway in Ontario, Canada, running from the town of Schomberg to Oak Ridges, just south of Aurora. It connected Schomberg to the Metropolitan Line of the Toronto and York Radial Railway (T&YRR) tram service running along Yonge Street, and from there into the Toronto city proper. The service ran for 25 years between 1902 and 1927; the rails were pulled up shortly thereafter.

Schomberg and Aurora Railway
Schomberg and Aurora Railway station at Oak Ridges.jpg
Aurora Station at Oak Ridges
Overview
HeadquartersToronto
LocaleSchomberg, Aurora
Dates of operation1902–1927
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length22.5 km (14.0 mi)[1]

In 1902, the Schomberg and Aurora Railway was acquired by the Metropolitan Street Railway[2] which in turn was acquired by the Toronto and York Radial Railway in 1904.[1]

HistoryEdit

 
Map of the S&A circa 1915. See the small S&A and the pale yellow patch near the center of the image.

The S&AR started at the request of a Schomberg businessman who wanted to open the local produce markets to day-trippers from Toronto.[3] The T&YRR had greatly increased visitors to similar markets in Newmarket and they were hoping to do the same for Schomberg. The company was chartered in 1896,[4] and construction started out from the Bond Lake area south of Aurora in July 1899.[3]

The line was completed and opened for traffic in August 1902, an oddity that used steam trains to connect to the much smaller electrified trams,[3] a connection made at Aurora. There were four stations in total, Aurora on the west side of Yonge Street north of Bond Crescent,[5] Eversley Station on Dufferin Street, Kettleby Station at the corner of Kettleby Road and Weston Road, and Schomberg Station in the middle of Main Street in Schomberg. (The S&A "Aurora" station was actually in Oak Ridges, a community within today's Town of Richmond Hill to the south of Aurora.) The S&A connected with the T&YRR's Metropolitan line at Aurora. There were also numerous street-side whistle stops along the route, numbers 158 through 171. Because the railway operated on a small budget, it purchased extant buildings for its stations instead of constructing new ones.[6]

There were four spurs, one to Mary Lake to serve a private line to the summer estates of Henry Pellatt and the Eatons (Eaton Hall), two smaller ones near Pottageville serving the Lloyd and Armstrong farms, and a small wye at Brillinger farm.

Initially, the S&A used two old steam locomotives and one or two passenger cars. It ran two round trips daily, three on Wednesday market days.[1]

The S&AR operated independently for only two years before it was absorbed into the T&YRR family,[7] part of William Mackenzie's railway empire. In 1916 the line was electrified[4][7] and connected to the Metropolitan line at Yonge Street, allowing full interchange of cars. Some S&A cars operated through to Toronto via the Metropolitan line, but most made connections at Bond Lake.[8] In addition to passenger traffic, the line generated about 300 carloads of freight per year.[9]

The line was never very busy, and the T&YRR scaled back operations.[3] Between 1923 and 1926, expenses to run the line were about $26,000 per year, but revenues for that period declined from $31,325 to $17,997.[10] The S&AR was closed on June 20, 1927.[11] Attempts by residents in Schomberg to reopen the line failed, and the rails were removed the next year.[3]

Remains of the lineEdit

Portions of the former right-of-way remain easily visible on aerial photos today, notably the portions closer to Schomberg. The final few hundred yards were incorporated into Dr. Kay Road in Schomberg, running between Main Street and the much newer Highway 27 to the east. Other portions have been incorporated in the nearby 19th Sideroad, a private driveway and Brule Trail, but development to the east of Highway 400 makes it more difficult to follow.

The Aurora station was converted into a restaurant before being demolished in the 1960s.[4] The only S&AR building still in existence is a house in Schomberg that was once the terminus of the line.[4][6]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Robert M. Stamp (1989). Riding the Radials, Toronto's Suburban Electric Streetcar Lines. The Boston Mills Press. ISBN 1-55046-008-0. Retrieved 2016-04-16. Chapter 5 - The Toronto & York Radial Railway
  2. ^ Robert M. Stamp (1989). Riding the Radials, Toronto's Suburban Electric Streetcar Lines. The Boston Mills Press. ISBN 1-55046-008-0. Retrieved 2016-04-16. Chapter 3 - Through the Highlands of York to Bond Lake Park
  3. ^ a b c d e Hughes.
  4. ^ a b c d Brown 2011, p. 79.
  5. ^ Robert M. Stamp (1991). "Rails through Richmond Hill: The Radial Railway Arrives". Richmond Hill Public Library. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  6. ^ a b McIlwraith 1997, p. 279.
  7. ^ a b Stamp 1991.
  8. ^ John F. Due, University of Illinois (1966). The Intercity Electric Railway Industry in Canada. University of Toronto Press. Retrieved 2016-05-05. Part II - The Individual Companies / Chapter Nine - Ontario / The Toronto Area Roads / Toronto and York Radial Railway Company
  9. ^ John F. Bromley (1979). TTC '28; the electric railway services of the Toronto Transportation Commission in 1928. Upper Canada Railway Society. pp. 10–11: The Radial Network. Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  10. ^ Robert M. Stamp (1989). Riding the Radials, Toronto's Suburban Electric Streetcar Lines. The Boston Mills Press. ISBN 1-55046-008-0. Retrieved 2016-04-16. Chapter 10 - The End of the Line
  11. ^ Louis H. Pursley (1961). The Toronto Trolley Car Story 1921–1961. Interurbans: electric railway publications.

External linksEdit