An Insider's Guide to Waterloo Region

Interesting places on and off the beaten track

Archive for October 19th, 2010

Freeport Bridges

This picture shows the King Street East bow bridge over the Grand River at Freeport with the rail bridge in the foreground. Several of my older patients at Freeport Health Centre have told me stories about the electric rail passenger service between Preston, Freeport and Kitchener-Waterloo which was in operation between 1903 and 1955. It is interesting that discussions about a new light rail transit system are in progress at this time.

Here is an informative website about the history of electric rail passenger service in Waterloo Region. I have copied a couple of paragraphs below.

“In 1894 with the completion of the Galt-Preston line, a charter to build an electric rail line between Preston and Berlin (Kitchener) was granted to Thomas Todd of Galt (President of the G & P), Fred Clare of Preston and J.A. Fennel of Kitchener. For various reasons, the Preston and Berlin Street Railway lay dormant until 1900 when it was reorganized. Construction on the new line began in 1901 at the G, P & H connection at east Preston. From there it followed the G, P & H line to Preston Junction at the entrance to Riverside Park. From there it traveled through Freeport and on to Berlin where it connected with the Berlin and Waterloo Street Railway. The laying of the track was completed by 1902 but initial passenger service on the line was delayed until February 5, 1903. The official opening of the line occurred on August 21, 1903 with normal service in place five days later.

However, the other modes of transportation began to make inroads into the rail passenger traffic and in April 1950 the Grand River Railway requested permission from the Board of Transport Commissioners to discontinue passenger service. As a result of local protests, the request was refused but business did not improve. In 1955 the company renewed its request to discontinue passenger rail service and this time the request was granted. On April 14, 1955, electric rail passenger service in Cambridge came to an end. Electric freight service continued for a few more years but the end of the local electric rail service same on October 1, 1961 when diesels took over the local freight traffic.”

Written by Ruth

October 19, 2010 at 12:02 am

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