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Chronology

1872

  • Charter granted to the Thunder Bay Silver Mines Railroad.

1881

  • Application made to incorporate the Thunder Bay & Minnesota Railway (T.B & M.R.R)

1882

  • T.B & M.R.R bill thrown out of Parliament.
  • Application made to incorporate the Thunder Bay Colonization Railroad Company (TBCR)

1883

  • Charter granted to the TBCR on February 1st.; authorized to build From Prince Arthur’s Landing to a point east of Arrow Lake on Pigeon River.

1884

  • First sod turned for the TBCR on November 22nd.

1885

  • The TBCR granted a Dominion subsidy of $92,000 from Murillo Stn on the CPR to the east end of Whitefish Lake.

1886

  • TBCR granted an additional $179,000 subsidy for the extension of line from Whitefish Lake to Crooked Lake.
  • TBCR extended to Nameukan Lake, with a branch to Crooked Lake.

1887

  • Renamed the Port Arthur, Duluth, & Western Railway (P.A.,D.&W.). by Provincial Statute on April 23rd.
  • Construction begun.
  • First sod turned at the foot of John St. on September 24th.
  • Nine miles cleared and graded

1888

  • Ontario Government authorizes railway to change projected route; from Port Arthur, via Whitefish Lake to Gunflint Lake
  • The P.A.D & W incorporated by the Dominion Government on May 4th, and declared a work for the general benefit of Canada
  • The P.A.D & W receives a Dominion subsidy of $271,200 for 84 and 3/4 miles from Port Arthur to Gunflint Lake

1889

  • Initial work abandoned; new route chosen
  • Construction resumed; reaches Kaministiquia River at Stanley (mile 19) by years end

1890

  • P.A.D & W given a $3200 per mile subsidy for a five mile branch to Kakabeka Falls by the Dominion Government
  • The P.A.D & W signs a running rights agreement with the Ontario and Rainy River Railway
  • Construction is hampered by financial problems; Thomas Marks is removed as president of the railway and controlling interest of the company passes to the “Toronto Syndicate”
  • Loans from the Bank of Commerce re-start construction
  • Tracks laid to Silver Mountain (mile 40) by December 20th.

1891

  • A fire in January destroys the company’s engine house, damaging two engines and causing $10,000 worth of damage.
  • US engineers survey the Duluth & Iron Range Railroad route north to Gunflint Lake.
  • Rails reach almost to North Lake by the end of the year

1892

  • The Gunflint Lake Iron Company incorporated in March
  • The P.A.D & W given a Provincial subsidy of $21,000 to complete the line to Gunflint Lake, as well as a $7,000 subsidy for 3 and ½ miles of the Kakabeka branch
  • the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway Company of Minnesota incorporated in Minnesota in May
  • Contract signed to haul 1 million tons of ore over 10 year
  • Ore docks proposed in both Port Arthur and Fort William; never undertaken
  • Forest fires delay the completion of the line
  • William Rees Brock elected president of the company
  • Railway completed to Gunflint/Paulson Mine

1893

  • Railway officially completed on January 4
  • Town of Leeblain is christened on January 4
  • Publishes its first full timecard on June 16

1894

  • US portion of line damaged by forest fires

1895

  • The railway granted a $3,000 per mile subsidy for a 80 mile branch line to the Rainy River District

1898

1899

  • The bankrupt P.A.D & W is ordered sold by tender by the High Court of Ontario
  • The tender of Æmilius Jarvis & Co. for $500,000 is accepted by the court; subsequently sold to Canadian Northern Railway (C.No.R)
  • Ontario & Rainy River Railway authorized to acquire the holdings of the P.A.D & W
  • Telegraph lines put up along the line

1900

  • First 19 miles of PD to Stanley Junction becomes the cornerstone of C.No.R’s O&R.R.R.
  • Becomes Canadian Northern Railway-Duluth Extension

1902

  • Section between North Lake Station and Gunflint Narrows is abandoned
  • Plans made by the Duluth & Northern Minnesota Railway to construct north to Gunflint Lake
  • Pigeon River Lumber Company (PRLC) constructs the Gunflint & Lake Superior Railroad which branches from the Duluth Extension at Little Gunflint Lake

1903

  • Tri-weekly service to Leeblain is restored for the balance of the year

1906

  • New C.No.R station constructed in Port Arthur

1907

1909

  • Railway does considerable business hauling logs from Gunflint Lake
  • In April, the PRLC closes its operation at Gunflint
  • Forest fires in June cause extensive damage to the line, including the destruction of a 1000-foot trestle on North Lake; severing the line to Gunflint and the US
  • The Duluth Extension becomes the North Lake Branch

1912

  • C.No.R completes the Stanley cut-off; North Lake Branch and Main Line Section trains now diverge at Twin City Junction

1915

  • All rails removed from the Minnesota portion of the line; some rails west of North Lake removed as well

1918

  • The financially troubled C.No.R re-organized under the Canadian Government Railways

1919

  • Nationalization; becomes Canadian National Railways-North Lake Sub-Division

1921

  • Plans made by the Palatine Mining & Development Co to re-open the Paulson mine and re-build the abandoned section of line

1922

  • Wooden trestle over the Kaministiquia River replaced with a concrete and steel structure

1923

  • Section between North Lake and Mackies abandoned

1936-37

  • Caterpillar infestations hamper operations

1937

  • All rails west of Mackies torn-up

1938

  • High water on the Whitefish River causes washouts and weakens several bridges near Hymers
  • Last train runs on March 24th.; application made by CNR to abandon line
  • CNR formally abandons the line in October

1938-39

  • Rails between Mackies and Rosslyn removed; 1.74 miles of track left as an industrial spur

1989

  • Last section of rails removed at Rosslyn
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