When 150 of years of Almonte trains came to an end

by Brent Eades

The first train arrived at Almonte back in 1859, when the tracks of the Brockville & Ottawa Railway reached town.

And trains continued to roll through Almonte until 2011, when last-ditch efforts to keep CP from tearing up the Ottawa Valley Railway line failed.

I came across this evocative video today of one of the last trains through town, on September 9, 2011. It was carrying the rails that were being ripped up further down the line. It was, as they say, the end of an era.

Here is one of the first locomotives to arrive in Almonte, apparently called the “Renfrew” and standing at the Brockville depot. Date of the photo is uncertain, but it was in the early days of the line’s operation.

According to a schedule published in 1860 in a Brockville newspaper, the trip from Almonte to Brockville took four hours, with stops at Carleton Place, Franktown, Smith’s Falls and Irish Creek.

This would have been astonishing speed to people of the time, when a journey there by horse and carriage would have taken at least two days.