From the 1880s, to the late 1950s, there was a short line railway that had a large vision of servicing two countries. Unfortunately, the line's hopes were larger than its pocketbooks and it never achieved the status it strived for.. From the beginning, the route it tried to build across Canada was always put into question, thanks to the Canadian Pacific Railway. Then came a moment when yet another new light of recognition could be made, bridging between the Canadian capital and one of the largest cities in the United States, New York City. For this, the Canadian company was able to partner up with an American line that shared the same vision and together were hoping to gain success. That success never came and the dream died even before it could actually begin.
The Ottawa - Tupper Lake was still a popular route, offering an alternative way to ship goods, but during the 20th Century, it was the Canadian side that proved to be the major supporter and customer. The tracks were abandoned on two separate occasions, leaving four areas that still use the track. Back when I was 16 years old, my grandmother told me how my great-grandfather worked this line and that our backyard was a large switching area in Cornwall. It wasn’t until I began to research my family history in 1997 that I discovered two other members of the family were employees of this route, my great-great uncle and great-great-grandfather. Immediately, I set out to find information to their records of work. I was surprised to find very little and what I did find was useless as I already knew those facts.
Since 1998, I travelled from Cornwall, to Ottawa, to Tupper Lake, gathering
what I could on information. I met people who shared what they remembered
of the line and was even blessed to find a few write ups on the line, but
only focussing on certain sections. This web page is to help put
all the history of the Ottawa line together as well as share it with all
who are interested. Hopefully, the manuscript I have prepared will
be printed up in the future and offered for your readership, keeping what
occurred on this line alive, instead of buried in our past.
The History Of: New York Central's Ottawa Division
The Related Company Lines
A Map of The Route
Other Sites Of Interest
Ottawa Line Chronological
If you have comments or suggestions, email me at
Member of the following Organizations
Bytown Railway Society
Moccasin Railroad Club
Cornwall Local Architeture Conservation Advisory Committee
Cornwall Township Historical Society
Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Historical Society
Lost Villages Historical Society