Abandoning Old Rail Line, Published 5 July 1952
Shed a tear for the old Brockville and Westport Railroad
Donald Gordon, president of the Canadian National, the company now owning the Brockville and Westport, applied for abandonment of the line. To this sad proposal the Board of Transport Commissioners have agreed.
Thus goes into history not only one of the most romantic railroads in Eastern Canada, but it also represents the mileage in the east for a long time.
The railway ambles seemingly aimlessly from Brockville to Westport. On the map it is represented as a straight line. Actually, no cow wandering across the countryside would choose a more meandering course. For instance, the Brockville and Westport, starts off for Westport by going due west for 5.2miles. Yet later on, we find the B and W headed east, and crossing the Smiths Falls-Brockville highway at Forthton station. Here it is almost back where it started.
The line threads some famous communities. It touches one place called Athens. once upon a time this community was called Farmersville. Then they got a high school. Legend said that such grandeur went to their heads. With a high school they wanted a high falutin' name. Thus they chose the ultimate, the classical Athens.
Lyndhurst Had Mine
At Lyndhurst is located an old mine. It has had an interesting career. Run by remote control by Cornishmen, they once got suspicious of monkey business at Lyndhurst. So they sent a man out to investigate. He got as far as Brockville. This much is known. But the man disapeared somewhere between Brockville and Lyndhurst and was never seen again. Shortly after that the mine was closed down.
Then on to Delta. Here at what has been called Beverly they used to have open voting. A man was once killed here for voting the "wrong way", says the legend. Presumably he voted against Sir John A. Macdonald's party when Canada was a Union before Confederation.
Delta is a hallowed spot for Queen's men. For it was here that the famous Guy Curtis, renowned as the "conqueror of Yale", in an ancient and never forgotten football game, retired to look after his pigs after a glorious career on the gridiron. He was visited in the fall of 1921 and taken from his swine to return to Queens in triumph. Varsity beat Queens that day 24-1.
Not far from Delta is Plum Hollow. Here the witch of Plum Hollow used to make her auguries and people came a long way to consult the witch of Plum Hollow.
But there is at least one Ottawa man who remembers Plum Hollow for another reason. When cars were hard to get a national agency here in Ottawa had faithfully promised a Citizen man a new car.
When he turned up to get it, the sorrowful smile of the agent told the news before the man could get it out:
"Sorry, the agent in Plum Hollow got your car, " he said.
At 35.1miles from Brockville the B and W crosses the main line of the Canadian National from Toronto to Ottawa. Many people travelling to Toronto will recall this famous country junction.
Crosby, a station nestled in the woods not far from the Kingston-Ottawa Highway has been seen by many. Somebody lives in the station, and the unusual sight of lace curtains in a station is plainly viewed from a speeding car.
Height of Land
Finally before reaching the terminus comes Newboro. This is the heght of land and, in the old days, ore was shipped down the waterway from Newboro to Lake Ontario and on to Ohio smelters.
Go the other way and one comes into the Upper Rideau and on to Ottawa. Thus Newboro offers a two-way waterway out of town.
Once upon a time the elegant Rideau Queen used to dock here and among the distinguished passengers to go through town was John Bracken, aboard the Rideau Queen on his way to his new job in Ottawa.
The Brockville Westport and Northwestern, to give the line its full and elegant name, finally comes to an end at Westport Mountain. The truth is that the old Brockville and Westport was trying to give the Canadian Pacific a run for its money. The B and W had tried to get a transcontinental franchise. But the franchise ended in a hill 44.5 miles west of Brockville.
R.I.P the B and W's transcontinental ambitions.