A Canadian Regional Railway - 1930's - 1940's
Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway


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The Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway (TH&B) was a railway based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, that ran in Southern Ontario from 1894 to 1987. Its main extended from Hamilton to Welland (toward Buffalo), 38 miles, and from Hamilton westward to Waterford, 43 miles. It never reached the other two cities in its name. To reach Toronto from Hamilton it used the Canadian Pacific who had trackage rights on the Canadian National (Grand Trunk) and to reach Buffalo, from Welland, it used thr Canadian Southern which was leased by the Michigan Central and/or the New York Central. Trains on its route provided through Pullman and coach service from Toronto to New York and Boston, and many other US and Canadian destinations. The TH&B also had a branch extending to Dunnville and Port Maitland, 19 miles, In it's high days, including the 30's and 40's it cooperated in operating as many as six passenger trains daily on it's through trains to and from Toronto. The TH&B was the first railway in the world to install the electric block signal system for single-track operation with signals one mile apart on the line between Brantford and Hamilton and Hamilton and Welland The Canadian Pacific merged the TH&B in 1987. The Hamilton-Welland main is still in use, but most other segments have been abandoned or reduced to industrial spurs operated by various owners.
Brief History of the Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway
1880's - Charter obtained to build the Brantford Waterloo & Lake Erie Railway (BW&LE) from Brantford, Ontario westward to Waterford to connect with the Canada Southern Railway (Michigan Central). Attempts to get MC to pay for it failed, and local interests, bond sales and government help finally obtained money.
1884 - A charter was obtained to build a railway between Toronto, Hamilton, and Buffalo.
1884. The charter forbade the TH&B from acquiring other lines and, for this reason, the line wasn’t completed before this charter expired.
1890 - New charter allowed the TH&B to terminate the eastern end of the line at Welland and connectwith the Canada Southern.
1890 - First train, on the BW&LE, from Brantford on February 1.
c 1890-91 - New owner fails to meet obligations to build BW&LE east to Hamilton.
1892 - The TH&B was rechartered, by new investors, with the restrictions on the


THB cover
Toronto Hamilton
& Buffalo Railway
October 27, 1957
purchase of other lines removed. This new TH&B acquired the BW&LE and its unfinished line from Brantford.
1894 - In October the TH&B reached Hamilton. The line between Waterford and Hamilton became the Waterford sub-division.
1895 - TH&B completed to Welland on December 30, 1895. The line between Hamilton and Welland became the Welland sub-division.
1895 - Regular service between Brantford and Hamilton started on May 27, 1895 (Brantford Expositor, May 27, 1895, p. 3).
1895 - The TH& was sold to a consortium that included the New York Central, the Canada Southern, the Michigan Central and the Canadian Pacific Railway. Ownership of the line was distributed in the proportion 37.16% NYC, 13.89% CASO, 21.81% MCRR and 27.14% CPR. The Canada Southern and Michigan Central were subsidiaries of the New York Central so the actual ownership of the TH&B was 73% NYC and 27% CPR. 1896 - The TH&B survey of a liine to Toronto closely paralleled the Grand Trunk Railway so the Canadian Pacific obtained trackage rights on the GT. The TH&B built a short connection from the GT at a place called Hamilton Jct to connect to it's main west of Hamilton. The TH&B leased this line to the CP. The lione from Toronto through Hamilton and Welland to Buffalo is now completed using CP(CN), TH&B and CASO (MC) tracks.
1897 - The TH&B built a connection from thrir main line west of Hamilton to the Haniilton & Dundas Railway and obtained trackage rights over the H&D, a local interuban line, for the provision of freight service into the town of Dundas. This was known as the H&D branch.
1900-1911 - The TH&B completed the Hamilton Belt Line and two other branches to tap Hamilton's expanding industrial areas.
1914-1916 - The TH&B completed a 19 mile branch, the Dunnville sub-division, from Smithville to Dunnville and Port Maitland at the mouth of the Grand River at Lake Erie. The TH&B Navigation Company was created and operated between Port Maitland and Ashtabula, Ohio.
1923. The H&D ceased passenger train operations and the TH&B continues trackage rights to haul freight in and out of Dundas.
1926 - On January 18 the trackage agreements with H&D expired but TH&B continues frieght operations into Dundas without an agreement.
1927-30 - TH&B undergoes long series of negotiations and improvements which culminate in purchase of H&D.
1927 - The TH&B obtains trackage rights over the Canadian National Railway from Welland to Port Colborne.
1930 - In May an extension of the H&D branch up the Niagara Escarpment north to the Canada Crushed & Cut Stone, Ltd provided competition to the GT/CP and added much revenue to the H&D branch.
931 - The TH&B is participating in through train service from Toronto to New York, Boston and other major US cities, operating 6 trains a day (2 except Sunday) on the Hamilton-Welland line. These trains included Pullman sleepers, club cars and some diners. Two passenger trains a day ran on the west line to Waterford, with connections to Chicago, and two on the branch to Port Maitland.
1954 - The last passenger train stopped at Brantford’s TH&B station on September 25, 1954 (Brantford Expositor, September 25, 1954, p. 2).
1957 - The TH&B through car service Toronto, Hamilton, Welland, Buffalo and US destinations is down to 3 trains a day. Brantford to Hamilton is by bus only. No service to Waterford or Port Maitland.
1977 - CP Rail acquired NYC's portion (at that point part of the bankrupt Penn Central giving the CPR 90% ownership and the TH&B was destined not to be included in Conrail which held a 10% ownership),
1981 - - All passenger service on the TH&B was discontinued on April 26, 1981.
1985 - CP & CN buy the CASO.
1987 - The CPR merged the TH&B into its system in 1987.
1989 - Old TH&B line from Hamilton to Bantford abandoned after a washout along Grand River.
2001 - A portion of the branch from Smithville to Port Maitland abandoned, and old NYC trackage connects the port to Welland.
2008 - TH&B line between Hamilton and Welland is still in use by the CP. The CN operates industrial spurs, of the old THB in Brantford

M&SC31
Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway - 1957 
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TH&B 1931 PASSENGER TINETABLE


Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- various editions
TH&B Historical Society
David O'Reilly - H&D and TH7&B reswarch
Tom Luton - H&D and TH&B history
Kevin R. Leddy - Dummies to Diesels, A History of the H&D Branch

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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright © Richard Parks, Last updated April 9, 2011, revised Nov.5, 2011