Friday, February 17, 2012

Vestiges of the Schomberg & Aurora Railway


The Schomberg & Aurora Railway (S&AR) existed from 1902 to 1927.   It connected the village of Schomberg, in north-west King Township, with a station on Yonge Street in the south-east corner of King Township.   The southern terminus was known as Schomberg Junction, later to be called Oak Ridges, and connected with the electric railway that ran up and down Yonge Street from Toronto.   From 1902 to 1916, the S&AR , also known as the "Annie Roonie" (after a comic strip locomotive), was powered by steam but was then electrified until its demise in 1927.   Once electrified, cars on the Schomberg & Aurora Railway were interchangeable with the cars of the Toronto & York Radial Railway on Yonge Street.   In the photo above, the Schomberg station is seen at the right.   It was a red brick house that was converted for use as a train station.   When the railway ceased to exist, the train station reverted to its former use as a house.   It is pictured today, below.   

The one-time S&AR train station in Schomberg ~ 368 Main Street
Three kilometres east of Schomberg, the raised track-bed of the Schomberg & Aurora Railway can easily be seen today, from King's 8th Concession, a short distance north of the Aurora-Lloydtown Road.   The view above is looking east from the 8th.   The railway cut through the Pottageville Swamp, passing north of the hamlet, before making a long, semi-circular climb up onto the high ground where the Carrying Place Golf & Country exists today.   It then headed east and south, to the Kettleby Station, on the south-east corner of the 6th Concession and the Aurora-Kettleby Road.
Looking north-west from the corner of Weston Road and the Aurora-Lloydtown Road, one can  see the huge hill which presented a steep incline/decline  on its western flank, for trains to climb up or down.   The drop in elevation from the point at which this photo was taken (within a 100 metres of the the old Kettleby Station site) and the the Pottageville flats was 75 metres (300m. down to 225m.) within a distance of about 2 kms.
The S&AR's Kettleby station was on the south-east corner of the Aurora-Lloydtown Road and King's 6th Concession a hundred years ago.   Today the site is occupied by this modest gas bar/car wash/coffee shop.
The one-time railroad right-of-way today serves as private driveways in spots, or as seen above, as an assumed township street.   King Hills Lane angles off to the south-east from Jane Street, halfway between the 18th and 17th Sideroads.
Above, one of the more picturesque sections of old S&AR rail-bed is to be found on the grounds of Seneca College's King Campus (the old Eaton Hall Estate).   The rail-bed is now a hiking trail that begins just behind the gatehouse at the Dufferin Street entrance and heads north to a spot where it connects with the Oak Ridges Trail.
Although a long way from the village of Schomberg, the Schomberg Road in Oak Ridges angles north-east from the King Road, just west of Yonge Street, along the one-time S&AR route.   On the south side of the King Road, the old railway angled south-east for a couple of hundred metres before ending at the station and the place that became known as Schomberg Junction.   Below is an ancient photo of a S&AR train at the Schomberg Junction Station, on the west side of Yonge Street.   It was here that passengers could transfer between the S&AR train and the Toronto & York Radial Railway's electric trolleys on Yonge Street.   This photo would have been taken some time between 1902 and 1916.
Modern photos by Barry Wallace  ~  Old photos from Wikipedia
Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace 

6 comments:

  1. Daniel McConnachieMarch 27, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Barry, you missed the former S&A Substation after it was electrified on the 6th Concession (Weston Rd.). It is just north of the Kettlby Station area on the west side of the road. It is now a house. There is more. If you are interested you can contact me. Cheers.

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  2. I just came across this page this evening. I would be interested in more information about the S&A.

    Thanks,

    Christopher Creighton

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  3. Hey Barry, you mention that the old photos are from the Wiki, but I can't find them. Can you point me in the right direction?

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  4. Hi there, I really enjoyed viewing all the pictures above...thank you...

    Wondering if anyone knows of a gas station/ pop shop that use to be located on lloydtown-aurora rd just west of weston rd.....any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

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  5. Hi Barry. I was at a model train show in September and got a photo of the S&AR combine shown in your first picture. The photo appears to be copied from a postcard. The combine in the picture is hooked up to a unique baggage car and was taken at the Schomberg station. If you are interested, I can e-mail you a copy. I am a model railroader and am planning to build the combine. Thanks. Peter (pjb@rogers.com)

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  6. In 1970 they filmed a movie in this area...anyone recognize the railways and station? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlofPHPxnZ4

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