London and Port Stanley Railway

The London and Port Stanley Railway (L&PS or L&PSR) is a historic Canadian railway located in southwestern Ontario. It linked the city of London with Port Stanley on the northern shore of Lake Erie, a distance of approximately 25 miles (40 km).[1]

Port Stanley, St. Thomas and London, were the stations on the London and Port Stanley Railway. Railway ferries used to carry coal hopper cars from Conneaut Ohio to Port Stanley, which then proceeded to London.


The L&PS was one of the first railways to be built in Ontario, with construction starting in 1856. It provided connections between London, St. Thomas, Ontario and Port Stanley, Ontario. It was built primarily to facilitate trade with the United States, particularly of wood and coal. As a result of its rail connection, a substantial investment was made in the port facilities of Port Stanley, which in turn attracted American and Canadian shipping. Until 1932, coal from Conneaut, Ohio, was transported via railroad car ferries to Port Stanley.

The railroad also proved popular with local residents, particularly in the summer when many commuters utilized the system to travel to Port Stanley's beach and resort facilities. However, the railway's service was not always impeccable, as it also earned the nicknames Late & Poor Service, Lost & Presumed Sunk, and Lean, Push & Shove.[2]

Originally, the railway operated steam locomotives, with the first passenger train arriving in 1856. In 1914 the line was leased by the City of London, which proceeded to electrify it. The City bought the line outright in 1950, 36 years into its 99-year lease.[3] During the 1950s passenger traffic suffered from automobile competition, and passenger operations were suspended in February 1957. Canadian National purchased the line in 1965.

The London & Port Stanley Railway was inducted into the North America Railway Hall of Fame (NARHF) in 2008 in the "Local" category for "Communities, Business, Governments and Groups" for those who have made significant contributions or achievements relating to the railway industry.[4] The L&PS made good use of the Canada Southern Railway Station in St. Thomas (home to NARHF,) helping to make it one of the busiest station in the country in the early 20th century.[5]

The portion of the line from London to St. Thomas is now part of the CN Talbot Subdivision, while the St. Thomas to Port Stanley portion is operated by the Port Stanley Terminal Rail.

Rolling StockEdit

Passenger cars
Numbers Builder Built Notes
Motor cars (even numbers)
2, 4 Jewett 1915
6, 8, 10 Jewett 1915 Steel combines with modified roof similar to those used on the New York, Westchester and Boston Railway.
12, 14 Jewett 1917
16, 18 Kuhlman February
Built as Wisconsin Traction, Light, Heat and Power (Appleton, WI) 102 and 106. To The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company. Rebuilt in 1924 as parlor cars 2 ("Menominee") and 1 ("Mendota"). Renumbered 1135 and 1136 in 1927. Sold to the L&PS in 1941. 16 returned to the Illinois Railway Museum (Union, IL) for restoration. 18 sold as a summer cottage.[6]
Trailers (odd numbers)
1, 3, 5 Preston 1915 5 "modernized" by covering upper sash windows.
7, 9, 11 St. Louis 1908 3 of 8 cars originally ordered by the St. Louis, Monte Sano and Southern from St. Louis in 1908 before bankruptcy. Car bodies bought by the L&PS in 1916. (The other five became Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Railway numbers 88–92.)[7]
13, 15, 17, 19 Former steam railroad coaches rebuilt to MU with the electric cars.
21 Kuhlman February
Control trailer. Built as WTLH&P 104. To TMER&L 1129. Rebuilt as a coach in 1924. Sold to the L&PS in 1941. To IRM in 1955 and repainted as TMER&L 1129.
23 St. Louis 1907 Control trailer with extra baggage door in left side. Built as TMER&L 1110. Rebuilt in 1924 as parlor car 3 ("Waubeesee"). Renumbered 1134 in 1927. Sold to the L&PS in 1941. Sold as a summer cottage in 1955.
Freight and non-revenue equipment
B1, B2 Baggage cars (modified box cars)
E1 St. Louis 1915 Express motor
L1, L2, L3 GE March/April/
May 1915
Boxcab locomotives. Builder's numbers 5000 thru 5002.
L4 GMDD September
1300 hp model G12 diesel electric locomotive. Serial number A831. To CN 991 in 1966.[8]
L5 GMDD July 1957 G12 serial number A1384. To CN 992 in 1966.
AF1 Auxiliary flanger
SP1 Snowplow
Line Car (rebuilt from a caboose)

Freight cars
Numbers Type Introduced Withdrawn
1-4 boxcar 7/1916 5/1920
2-5 boxcar 11/1920 7/1939
100-105 ballast 7/1924 10/1946
100-113 twin hopper 1/1956 1/1966
114-120 twin hopper 1/1959 1/1966
200-203 flatcar 7/1916 1/1949
204 flatcar 11/1930 1/1949
300-302 boxcar 10/1939 1/1949
300-303 boxcar 1/1956 1/1966

Boxcab electric locomotive L1, electric interurban 14 and the Port Stanley incline cars are preserved at the Elgin County Railway Museum in St. Thomas.[9]

Locomotive L5 (now Canadian National 992) is preserved at the Canadian Railway Museum (Exporail) in Delson, Quebec.

Trailer 3 and motor cars 4 and 8 are preserved at the Halton County Radial Railway, near Rockwood, Ontario. The latter is operational, while the former two are stored awaiting restoration.[10][11]

A boxcar from circa 1929 is preserved in Whitby, Ontario at The Station Gallery. [12]


A vintage postcard view of the L&PS depôt in Port Stanley.


  1. ^ Curnoe, W. Glen (1976). The London & Port Stanley Railway 1915-1965: A Picture History. W. Glen Curnoe. p. 8.
  2. ^ William E. Miller. "London & Port Stanley Railway". Electric Lines in Southern Ontario. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  3. ^ Ian Cranstone (2011). "London & Port Stanley Railway". Canadian Freight Cars. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  4. ^ North America Railway Hall of Fame (2008). "North America Railway Hall of Fame". London & Port Stanley Railway Induction into NARHF.
  5. ^ North America Railway Hall of Fame (2008). "North America Railway Hall of Fame". Canada Southern Railway Station Induction into NARHF.
  6. ^ Don Ross (4 February 2012). "The Milwaukee Electric Ry. & Light Co. Kuhlman Interurbans". Don's Rail Photos. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  7. ^ Don Ross (25 February 2012). "London & Port Stanley Railway". Don's Rail Photos. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  8. ^ Wayne Campbell (23 November 2010). "L&PS Rolling Stock - Diesel Electric Freight Locomotives". London And Port Stanley Railway. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Elgin County Railway Museum > Roster". Elgin County Railway Museum. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  10. ^ "London & Port Stanley Railway 8". Halton County Radial Railway. Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  11. ^ "London & Port Stanley Railway 3". Halton County Radial Railway. Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association. Retrieved 8 March 2012.