The following images and text are displayed on our CRHA Niagara NS&T plaque in Welland near the corner of Thorold Road and Rice Road just west of the intersection on the north side of Thorold Road at the entrance to the Steve Bauer Trail..
Click on each image for a closer look!
We unveiled a new historical plaque at the Recreation Trail’s crossing of Thorold Road, near the intersection with Prince Charles Drive, Welland. The unveiling will occur on Monday, October 23, 2017 at 10:30 AM. The dedication was performed by Welland Mayor, Frank Campion, the City’s Heritage Advisory Committee, and Tammy Frakking, President of the CRHA Niagara Division.
The plaque commemorates the Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto (NS&T) passenger railway station stop at Electric Park/Stop 19 in Welland, and NS&T’s electric interurban passenger and freight service in Niagara. The NS&T system connected Toronto by boat, and by rail the Main Line between Port Dalhousie, Port Weller, St. Catharines, Merritton, Port Dalhousie, Thorold and Niagara Falls, and the Welland Division that went all the way from Thorold to Welland and Port Colborne. One of Canada’s first electric interurban railways, the NS&T began service in 1899, ending in 1959.
Tammy Frakking, President of the CRHA Niagara Division said, “If local history is not preserved, it is forgotten. The Station stop and tracks are gone; this plaque preserves information for the younger residents of Welland, and visitors to the Niagara region. It is a reminder of a by-gone era; of how our parents and grandparents used to get around Niagara.”
This local history plaque project is the fifth of several planned by CRHA, with funding provided by the City of Welland and the City’s Heritage Advisory Committee.
The trail near this sign is on the former right of way of the Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railroad (NS&T). In 1899, the NS&T was created. It was an electric freight and passenger interurban railway serving communities along the Welland Canal corridor plus Niagara Falls and Niagara On The Lake.
The NS&T expanded their system, and in 1906 began construction of a new line running from Thorold to Port Colborne. By October of 1908, the rails had crossed a new trestle over the Welland River to a station just south of the river. The line was completed to Port Colborne in 1911. In the first photo below (undated) a northbound NS&T car is shown crossing the Welland River Trestle.
The NS&T line, like most interurban systems originally operated as numbered stops. Near this location was Stop 19. Based on a government order, all stops had to be named. This stop was renamed Electric Park although there was no park at the site.
In the second photo below, NS&T cars 620 (in the green) and 83 (in the red) meet at Electric Park. Car 620 is running as a special. This was one of the normal meeting locations between north and southbound cars.
Interurban passenger service was particularly important at that time because most people did not have automobiles and relied on the railways to travel. Even in 1938, there were 18 trains in each direction on most days providing convenient connections to other communities. Passenger service continued on this line until March 29th, 1959. This lien was the last interurban passenger service in Canada.
Freight was interchanged in Welland with the Toronto. Hamilton and Buffalo Railway and the Michigan central. Freight operations to Welland continued using diesel locomotives for a number of year after the electric overhead was removed in 1960.
This display honours the 50 years of service by the NS&T to the community of Welland.
This interpretive board was erected by the Niagara Division of the Canadian Historical Association with the financial assistance of the Welland Heritage Advisory Committee.
NS&T – Major Interurban Routes
Crossing the Welland River Trestle
Image from the collection of Andy Panko
NS&T #620 (green) and #83 (red) Meet at Electric Park
Image from the collection of Andy Panko