Parry Sound Rail Fan 

Trains have played a prominent role in Parry Sound, since the first railcars arrived in the area in 1899.  Today, both CN (Canadian National Railway) and CP (Canadian Pacific Railway) travel almost parallel routes in the area, creating many opportunities for railfans to view and photograph trains, trestles, bridges and unique train stations in the area.

©David Glass

©Jo Bossart

©Jo Bossart

©Richard Spiegelman

©Richard Spiegelman

©Ryan Gaynor

©Donna J. Fink

©Tina Forrester

In 2006, CN & CP created a directional joint operations from just south of town ( at the Reynolds crossover) to Sudbury.  All northbound trains operate on the CP Parry Sound subdivision, while southbound trains are on the CN Bala subdivision on the east side of town.

Located just meters from the CP train trestle, our Parry Sound bed and breakfast is perfectly placed to provide you with great views of trains crossing Ontario’s longest trestle bridge (517 m or 1,695 feet and 32 m or 105 feet high).  All of our deluxe rooms with en-suite baths have direct views of the trestle and trains crossing over it.

For information on great places to view and photograph trains, learn more about the history of the railroad through the Parry Sound area  and meet fellow railfans, download your copy of the “Railfan’s Guide to Parry Sound” here.


History of Trains in the Parry Sound Area

The Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway was formed in 1897 by John R. Booth, who owned timber rights in the Algonquin Park area and wanted to create markets for his lumber in the eastern United States.  He decided that creating a rail line to Georgian Bay, then shipping the lumber via boat over to the St. Lawrence River and on to the Atlantic Ocean was the route.  Booth felt land in the village of Parry Sound was too expensive, so he took advantage of a law that allowed Indian lands to be expropriated for railway use, and extended the railway to Depot Harbour (located on Parry Island).  In 1901 a 3-mile section connecting this line to Parry Sound was built.

In 1905, this railway was sold to Grand Trunk Railway to extend the line north to James Bay.  In 1918, the Canadian National Railway took over the lines.  Canadian National Railways (CN) was incorporated on June 6, 1919 and was comprised of several railways that had become bankrupt and fallen into the hands of the Canadian Government, including the Grand Trunk Railway (which had defaulted on repayment of construction loans to the government).  CN was a crown corporation until November 17, 1995, when the federal government privatized it. 

CN is the largest railway in Canada, in terms of both revenue and the physical size of its rail network, and is currently Canada's only transcontinental railway company. A passenger station was built in Parry Sound in 1932; but since 1978, the crown corporation “VIA” runs the passenger trains from Toronto to Vancouver three times a week on the CN line. The majority of traffic along the line is freight.Ron-Brown

Canadian Pacific Railway was formed in 1881 to physically unite Canada and Canadians from coast to coast and completed the job in 1885 - six years ahead of schedule.  In the early 1900’s they built a line from Toronto to Sudbury.  Construction of this rail line required many trestles, rock cuts and fills   The largest trestle is the one located right by our bed and breakfast, where the Sequin River meets Georgian Bay.  The trestle took 3 years to build and remains the longest trestle bridge in Ontario at 517 meters long (1,695 feet) and 32 meters high (105 feet). In order to accommodate the new railway and station, some of the most prominent citizens in town had to move their homes.  CPR's 14,000-mile network extends from Vancouver to Montreal. 

Canadian Pacific is a freight rail service provider, with limited passenger service through the Rocky Mountains in vintage rail cars. 

Since both railways have parallel lines through central Ontario, in December 2005, CN and CP implemented a plan to reduce train by utilizing CP’s tracks for all westbound traffic through the area, and eastbound trains use the CN tracks.

To find out where you can learn more about the history of trains in the Parry Sound area, the best places to view trains and take photos or videos for your collection and to meet fellow railfans, download your copy of the “Railfan’s Guide to Parry Sound” here.