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LETTER: Traces of railway line still visible today

A reader shares some fascinating history regarding the radial railway that once flourished in Newmarket

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Re: Remember This? Radial railway from Toronto to Jackson's Point flourished until 1930s.

I've been researching the T&Y since the early 1970s. While born in Scarborough, I grew up in King Township and our house backed onto the former S&A line to Schomberg. This line was part of the Metropolitan. When my wife and I moved to Newmarket in 1980, there were still many traces of the line to be found.

Let me correct some of the dates mentioned in the article. The TTC acquired the line in 1921 not 1919. The line was part of the acquisition of the private lines owned by McKenzie in Toronto. The TTC contracted with Ontario Hydro to run the line. In 1927, the contract with Hydro was terminated and in the spring of that year, TTC widened the gauge to the City Gauge. Interestingly, they installed dual gauge track in Aurora as the line served three industries in that town. The Aurora Historical Society has pictures that show the installation of this track.

For many years the roadbed was visible where the line left Yonge Street at Mulock. Of course, this has disappeared under the car dealerships located there now. The current road that is built on the original roadbed is Towercrest Drive, not Cane Parkway. Cane Parkway was the Eagle Hills developers idea and was to connect with Main Street. The town fought this at the OMB and stopped the road short where it currently ends. Interestingly, this land-locked two lots that were sold to the adjoining lots. My friend owns one of these lots and has a pool on it

The roadbed still exists as it leaves Towercrest and crosses Roywood, the Tom Taylor Walkway is built on it. You can see this if you walk it as the property lines behind the houses on the south side of Andrew indicate this alignment. This roadbed continues on to the Cachet Restaurant. This is the original roadbed. If you walk from William toward Cachet, you can see the hydro poles following the original ROW that connected with Main.

When the line moved its tracks off of Main Street, it kept a spur to the Cachet building because it was originally the waterworks for Newmarket and the line delivered tank cars of chlorine to this facility. The line's original substation was here also and if you go to the back of the restaurant, you can see evidence of this function. The building was the Newmarket Hydro Office for years before it became a restaurant.

The line built a Y at Andrew and William streets. The screen capture I've included shows the outline of this feature as the line now turns north toward Market Square. The ROW is clearly visible in the property lines behind the houses on Eagle as it turns north. The roadbed itself is pretty clear where it crosses D'Arcy Street and the tree line in the photo shows it heading toward the driveway on the west side of the Town Hall. Market Square was actually the site of the station, a car house and a small railway yard. When we moved to Newmarket, the station was still on site and was a pool hall/apartments.

Raglan Street is built on the roadbed, as well, which is why it is at an odd angle compared to other streets in this section of town. The intersection with Tecumseth is also odd because the tracks started turning toward Queen leaving Raglan. There is a gap between the houses here for it still.

To get from Queen to Davis, the Met had to build a ramp. Thus the Arch over the river. There are also concrete supports for the trestlework for this ramp behind the snapd building still in place. The line filled this trestle/ramp in with dirt from the Newmarket Canal. I have pictures of the process. This was from the locks that were being built in Richardson's Park and from the locks at Roger's Reservoir and from the turning basin being excavated beside the Davis Tannery.

The line is still traceable through Richardson Park. It is the hydro pole line running through the park. Electric railways always provided high tension wires as part of their infrastructure so when the line was abandoned by the TTC in 1930 Hydro acquired the right of way for their pole lines. This pole line actually runs all the way to Keswick still to-day.

I discovered this railway line when I first moved to King and have been researching it off and on now for many years. I do hope you find this information useful and thank you for letting me share it with you.

Daniel McConnachie