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Take the steam train to Elmira

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July 30, 2013


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Take the steam train to Elmira

Take the steam train to Elmira Steam Engine Number 9 will run a special Steam Excursion to Elmira and return on Monday, August 5, 2013 departing Waterloo at 12:00pm sharp.  Boarding will begin approximately 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. The train trip will last between 2 and 3 hours and include one runby on the southbound journey for photography and video. For safety reasons, those wearing sandals, flip flops or open toed shoes will not be allowed off the train at the run past.



The Waterloo Central Railway is a proud part of Waterloo Region.

The Waterloo Central Railway currently operates on track owned by the Region of Waterloo. This track was originally built by the Grand Trunk Railway in 1885 from Berlin (Kitchener) to Waterloo and extended to Elmira in 1891. When Canadian National Railways abandoned the track in the 1990s, it was purchased by a group of investors for the proposed Waterloo-St. Jacobs Railway. This railway folded in 2000 and ownership was transferred to the Region of Waterloo. At the time, the Waterloo Spur was identified as an important transportation corridor between Elmira and Kitchener.


The Waterloo Spur remains an important link for the industrial properties in St. Jacobs and Elmira.  Freight traffic is handled by the Goderich-Exeter Railway.  In 2007 the Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society proposed to operate a new, non-profit, heritage railway service between Waterloo, St. Jacobs and occasionally Elmira. Under an agreement with the Region of Waterloo, the Waterloo Central Railway operates the railway spur during daylight hours while the Goderich-Exeter Railway operates during nighttime hours.


When the Region acquired the railway right-of-way in 2000 planners were already planning some form of rapid transit within Waterloo Region. The three mile contiguous piece of land stretching from King Street in Waterloo to Northfield Drive was an attractive proposition for a link within a larger network.  What form this transportation system might take was a decision that required further study.

An initial report proposed rapid transit in Waterloo Region that stretched as far north as Conestoga Mall. While extending the network to St. Jacobs and Elmira was initially considered, it was dismissed early in the process for lack of ridership potential in the near future.


Early in the planning process, two alternate routes were proposed for the northern portion of the new rapid transit system. One option traveled straight up King Street in Waterloo and terminated near Conestoga Mall. The other option diverted from King Street where it met the railway tracks and traveled along the right-of-way before diverting onto Northfield Drive to travel east to Conestoga Mall.  At the end of the process, Council elected to route the proposed rapid transit system up the Waterloo Spur.

The steam train’s departure point will be moved to Northfield Crossing when the LRT begins construction next year.

Where: Waterloo Station

When: August 5, 2013

Time: 12:00pm

For more information please visit website

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Keith helps home buyers understand homes, schools and neighbourhoods in Kitchener Waterloo. He is an author, an award-winning realtor and an agent of change. On Twitter @kdmarshall. Online at

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