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Trains and Perth Road Village

by Peter Bird

My  wife  and  I  moved  into  the  Perth  Road

area  about  18  years  ago  and  after  settling

down, wondered how Perth Road and Sydenham came about.  The  following synopsis  (reprinted with permission from  writer Ralph Boston) gave us some answers.
    Today,  with  modern  roads,  cars  and

trucks,  it’s  hard to realize  how important railroads  were 100  years  ago.  South Frontenac  had forests  that could support local  industries  and provide  employment, but only if products  could be  transported economically to large markets.  At that time, horses and wagons were not up to the  task. Nor were local roads. Railroads were the answer.  The Kingston and Pembroke 

(K & P) and The Canadian Northern Ontario (CNO) brought logs and lumber south as far  as  Kingston,  and logs  to the  paper mill  at Strathcona.  Railroads    moved    mining products  to ports  on Lake  Ontario.  Mica from  South Frontenac  was  shipped to the U.S.   (The  world’s  largest single  sheet of mica was found in Sydenham.)   Potash, iron ore and lead were also mined in the area.  Prospecting,  mining  and processing  ore

were important sources of employment.
    Agricultural products were another source  of local  freight for  the  railways.  They  also were a  boon to farmers  in the  area.  For example,  pigs  were an  important export from  the  Sydenham  area,  and potatoes  from  Perth  Road  Village.   Raw milk in cans and drums was shipped to local creameries  and cheese factories. This  provided an important cash crop for many  subsistence  farmers trying to live off the land. Hunting, too was  an important source  of railway


traffic.    Hunters  used  the  train  to  access  the

northern  deer  territory,  and  then  to  bring  the

carcases  out  of  the  woods.   One  K&P  station

reported  100  deer  shipped  out  on  a   single

train  trip.


Photo of Grand Trunk / CN 4-8-2 Locomotive (looks like no. 6060) hauling passenger coaches (circa 1972) *

     Hunters were not the only passengers on local  trains.   One  Chaffey’s  Locks  resident reported using the CNR (Canadian National  Railways)  to  go  to  and  from  work  at  the  Strathcona  paper  mill.  A   Perth  Road resident  remembers   people  attending dances  in  Perth Road  and  then  using  the  train to go  home  at  Rock Lake.  Apparently, the rule of the road was that if a single male was  to  be  dropped  off  along  the  line anywhere, the  train  just  slowed  down  and the  guy  dropped  off.   Misbehaving  drunks  were assisted with a push  or  a  boot,  usually down a  steep slope and  preferably into  a wet ditch.   If  a  man was accompanied  by  a lady, a  full  stop  was  made.

*Information about this locomotive may be inaccurate. Please let me know (Peter Bird) if

you have more information. Contact me via

Dave Kuhn through this website. Thanks

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