What to see between Smith Falls & Delson??

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by kirkendale, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. kirkendale

    kirkendale Member

    Summer drive time is here... going to take a day trip up to Smith Falls. I don't know if I will spend the night there or start to drive to Montreal to visit the museum in Delson. From Delson back to Toronto.
    :confused: My question is,,, I hear train watching is good in Smith Falls. Do you agree? If not where do you think a good spot between the two are?
  2. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Smiths Falls - Hershey Chocolate factory, Smiths Falls Railway Museum, CPR division point, excellent spot to watch the trains sitting in the outside platform seats at the VIA station.

    Come to the Museum first to get your bearings. http://www.sfrmeo.ca If it's a Saturday or a Sunday, ask for Bob - that's me. Then take a trip over to the VIA station to see what action there is. No guarantees. It can be as busy as hades and therefore will take up all of your afternoon or morning, or it can be as quiet as a church mouse. A good time to see some action is between 1:15 and 1:45 when the Ottawa- bound VIA comes off the CPR Smiths Falls sub and passes the Toronto-bound VIA waiting to get onto the CPR Smiths Falls sub. In the meantime, there might be a freight train or two on either the Winchester sub, the Belleville sub, or the Chalk River sub waiting for the VIA trains to clear. There might also be some switching action in the yard.

    Also, July 21 - 22 - Chocolate, Railway & Music Festival with lots of action at the Railway Museum. Get to meet the engineers from CP Rail. Then follow the signs to the east side of town to climb aboard one of their heavey-haul freight locomotives, sit in the engineer's seats, ask the engineers the questions you were always afraid to ask. Lots of action in town.

    When do you plan to come?
  3. kirkendale

    kirkendale Member

    Thanks Bob, I'm thinking of heading out this Sunday or Monday. I have been to both museums a couple of times in the past.
    My aim on this trip is to take some more shots of the "Nolan flag stop" station and to measure it.... this could be next winters scratch build project.
    I am not sure where, but I do remember the last time I drove to Ottawa I passed a small girder bridge that is now part of a rail trail beside hwy 7. :pLast time kids and wife timetable meant no time for picture or measurements. I hope to be able to take a small diversion and look for this bridge.
    A friend of mine would like to see Delson again. He has not seen it since before the new display building. So, if he is available we will slip over to Delson from Smith Falls,,, if not then I'll meander along the back roads back to T.O.
    Once I know our plans I'll drop you another post. I am now looking at scheduling to be in Smith Falls on Sunday before the museum closes, just to be sure to say Hi. :thumb: Then maybe late on Monday we can head to Delson....

  4. galt904

    galt904 Member

    Bob, is the Smith Falls museum open during the week as well? Heading to Ottawa next Friday for my sister's wedding, and I'm looking for a stop for the kids to break up the trip.
  5. slekjr

    slekjr Member

    You guys are really hurting me. I spent many weeks in Innisville, just North of Perth fishing over the years and never knew there was anything like this in Smith Falls. Next trip will really be interesting.
    Thanks for the very informative post
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Here's the Smiths Falls Railway Museum web site:


  7. slekjr

    slekjr Member

    What a great place. Seems like they need volunteers too. I know how tough that is. I will definately try to help out next time I go fishing, which won't be til I retire but I can still do track work if I have to.
  8. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    The Smiths Falls Railway Museum is open 7 days a week 10 am to 4:30. I plan to be at the Museum on Sunday, eta around 9:30. If you're there, ask for me.

    Lots of plate girder bridges left on the old Ontario & Quebec Havelock sub between Silver Lake and Glen Tay (about 5 miles west of Perth). Keep you eyes open for when the O&Q swings in alongside Hwy 7. You should be able to find 4 - 5 of these 20' - 25' plate girder bridges.

    Also as a side trip, go into Sharbot Lake and find the old road-bed of the Kingston & Pembroke and the O&Q. Go right through the village until you come to the old railway bridge that crosses the two sides of Sharbot Lake, then turn around, take some side streets and drive on the roadbed (it's nice and wide and easy to drive). At one point, you will come to a widening where the station used to be located. To your left straight ahead is the K&P. You can drive down this until you bump up against Hwy 7 (a large ATV-size culvert crosses Hwy 7 but isn't large enough for a car). Veering off to your right is the O&Q Havelock sub to Perth. You can drive along this for quite a long distance. However, finding a place to turn around can be a bit tricky.

    One roadbed a bit more difficult to find is the never-completed Toronto & Ottawa Railway. Construction and grading was started around 1880 but was abandoned with the construction of the O&Q and Grand Trunk taking over the Midland Railway of Canada. This is between Sharbot Lake and Silver Lake.

    If you're looking for a bridge to model, you might want to take a side-trip into the southwest end of Ottawa. Find the south end of Moodie Drive on a map (locate the Bankfield/ Brophy Drive exit on Hwy 416 - the end of Moodie Drive is to the west of the exit). About 5 km north you will come across a large lumber yard - Kott Lumber. Right at Kott Lumber, VIA's Smiths Falls sub crosses Moodie drive. Immediately to your left is a nice girder bridge - a full scale Atlas bridge. Be careful! It's a live line with a blind curve and VIA runs trains at 60 mph along the line. (I pass it twice a day on my way to work!)

    To keep the kids and the wife happy, you can always include the Hershey factory and Chocolate Shoppe in Smiths Falls on your itinerary. Pick up your chocolate (a large bag for a toonie or two) and bring your swag over to the Railway Museum. The kids can eat their chocolate on our picnic tables while you take a tour around the Museum. As we're a non-profit organization with bills to pay, regular admissions will apply.

    I won't be at the Museum on Friday (I'll be unbolting some tracks elsewhere) but I should be at the Museum on Sunday. If you're looking for a personal tour, look me up. Simply mention that you're from "The Gauge".

    And yes, if anyone wants to volunteer, whether it's "hand-laying" 85 lb rail, building switches from scratch (well, we have the parts but some assembly is required), painting passenger cars, etc, etc, we have many tasks that can suit your talents.

    Have fun. (I am!)

    Bob M.
  9. galt904

    galt904 Member

    Thanks for the info Bob. If I stop by it will be on Monday. And I'm proud to say my girls would rather look at the trains with me than sit and eat chocolate.
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Chad: If you go through Perth, could you check out the monument to the mammoth cheese for me? It's down where the station used to be, if you can imagine a concrete model of umpteen tons of cheddar. I'd like a pic and some dimensions if possible.
  11. kirkendale

    kirkendale Member

    Well, plans have changed. Going to skip Delson
  12. kirkendale

    kirkendale Member

    Well, plans changed. :eek: Going to have skip Delson... maybe later. Good news is I will spend more time between Peterborough and Smith Falls.
    Bob, I hope to make the museum mid to late Sunday afternoon. I will certainly ask for you. I know time will be short for the visit, but I will visit again on Monday.
    David, I'm spending time driving around the area. I will also look for the cheese. I have seen pictures of it in the past.

  13. kirkendale

    kirkendale Member

    Okay, plans are set. Going to leave around 8am, back tract to Burlington to pick up a friend then the drive to Smith Falls. I estimate we should arrive around 1pm ???? I know Madoc is two hours from T.O. would you say the museum is another hour or so ??? Only delay would be if there is anything parked in the yard at Havelock. :eek:

  14. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    I personalluy cannot wiat for thetrain fest in smiths falls, if the gf does not want to go I am going to grab the train out off ottawa and take via to it, how else should one travel to a train show lol
    i hear the chocolate is good too lol, been to all those sites in the falls a few times and i really enjoy the train museum. I have pics ( not good ones) of the cars while they sat in toronto awaiting a new home. they got a nice home now
  15. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    The Chocolate, Railway & Music Festival takes place July 21, 22, Saturday & Sunday throughout the whole town of Smiths Falls. At the Smiths Falls Railway Museum, we've got a whole line-up of railways, music (but only a bit of chocolate).

    There will be some layouts (Z, N, HO, G), handcar and speeder rides, some demos, and lots of railway music.

    Saturday features Dominic D'Arcy, the singing policeman, with some of his up-and-coming young stars (Alanis Morrisette used to be one of them). Performances at 11:00 am and 1:30 pm.

    Sunday features Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Famer, Tom Wilson, and Border Bluegrass with bluegrass gospel music at 11:00 am and sweet bluegrass at 1:30 pm.

    We'll have the engineers of CP Rail in attendance and you can ask them all of those questions you never had the chance to ask or were afraid to ask.

    On the east side of town in the CP Rail yard (we've got signs to get you from the Museum to the yard), CP Rail will have some of their heavy-haul freight locomotives on display. You can climb up into the cab and sit in the engineer's seat, ask more questions, and kick the tires... er ... wheels.

    Regular admissions of $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, $2 for children (under 3 free) apply for both days.

    So, plan to come out and join us!

    Bob M.
  16. galt904

    galt904 Member

    Change in plans for me too. Since my wife had a miscarriage last weekend we won't be stopping in Smiths Falls any more, probably just head straight home on Sunday afternoon, depending on what time we want to hit Toronto traffic...
  17. kirkendale

    kirkendale Member

    Chad, Sorry to hear of your loss. Time will heal all.

  18. kirkendale

    kirkendale Member

    Dear Railway Bob,
    Thank you for your hospitality. Brian and I had a great time, we are glad we met and spent time with George, John and yourself.
    We spent time at Smith Falls VIA station later on Sunday evening as well as just after lunch on Monday. We were not expecting to see that much action :row1:. I'm not sure if we can make it back this year, but it is certainly on our list for next year.
    We left on Monday and drove over to Perth. I was still looking for the bridge I had seen once before on a return trip from Ottawa. So we drove along #7 past Carlton Place then gave up. So you know what happened, the bridge is on the west side of Perth not the east. :confused:
    We found two, one on each side of Wemyss.
    We drove down to the CP line south of Maberly but decided that as it was late it was not the best spot for the night. We headed back up, over to and south of Sharbot Lake. Again we drove to the CP tracks. At least 8 trains flew past during the night.
    Tuesday was spent at Havelock; part of the station is now a Mr Sub :curse: the rest is still the Havelock resturant it, but it was still closed; too early. The lift locks in Peterborough were being reparird. Two hours of waiting then as we left they started to load. :sad:
    Another three hours in traffic.... two to get Brian home and another to back tract to Toronto, beat the rush "hour" crawl. arrived home at 4:30pm drove a total of 1,270 km.
    What a trip. Don't know what the best part was ? I think it's a close call between the museum and the time at the station. Lots of action and every body we met was very friendly. The restoration work at the museum is great.

    thanks again
  19. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Hello Ken (and you too, Brian). Glad you enjoyed your trip to Eastern Ontario. Yes, those bridges are west of Perth, actually, they're west of Glen Tay. It's kind of hard to find them when you're travelling west as the driver is the one who's looking for the bridges while, at the same time, keeping an eye open for oncoming traffic. They're easier to find if you're coming eastbound. Now that you know where they are, you'll know where to stop alongside the road and take your photos and measurements.

    I don't know if you found the wooden road bridge that crosses the CP Rail main line south of Maberly? This is where the railway comes through a nice rock cut immediately out onto a high trestle bridge that crosses a swamp for several hundred feet and then goes into another rock cut and underneath the road. This is referred to as the Mud Lake trestle (not the Mud Lake shown on your map). Rumour has it that if you take a canoe out into the swamp, you can still see the boxcars that fell off the trestle in a train wreck sometime back in the early 1900s. There's also the rumour that these boxcars were loaded with Model-T Ford chassis.

    As you probably found out, the freights are going at quite a clip along the track - around 50 - 60 mph. And you can't hear them until they're right on top of you.

    I don't know if you had a chance to explore the rail lines that used to go through Sharbot Lake. This is quite an interesting piece of track work.

    As a hint to help you find the abandoned and live rail lines, you might want to pick up some topographical maps of the area you are exploring. They cost a little bit but they are invaluable in finding the location of these old railway lines relative to the highways and backroads. The highway maps don't give enough detail to find where even the live lines are.

    Another finding aid to go hand-in-hand with the topographical maps is a map of the "Railways of Southern Ontario. It's now out of print but I think the Bytown Railway Society has copies. Using this map and the topo map, you can locate the details of these old lines. I've got topo maps from the Quebec border to a line that goes through Oshawa/ Pickering north. I've transposed the information from the "Railways of Southern Ontario map to the topo maps so that I can keep things straight (eg what was CN or CP, was this part of the Belleville & North Hastings (GTR, CN), the Bay of Quinte (CNoR, CN), Ontario & Quebec (CP), Brockville & Ottawa (Canada Central, CP), etc, etc).

    Let us know next time you come up this way and we can put you to work re-roofing some cars or laying some track.

    Bob M.
  20. galt904

    galt904 Member


    2 of 3 kids and my wife were sleeping when we went through Perth. There's no sign for the cheese monument either when travelling on Highway 7. So sorry, no pictures. I really did enjoy the drive though, took 7 from Ottawa to the 115 by Peterborough.

Share This Page