Since our model railroad is inspired by the city and county we live in, we thought it might be nice to show the history of the real railroads of Essex County and Windsor, Ontario. All 150+ years of history are below.


1854Great Western Railway comes to Windsor (then GTW, then CN)
1874Canada Southern arrives in Essex County (to Amherstburg)
1880/06Ontario and Quebec (CP) arrives in Windsor
1882Michigan Central leases the Canada Southern Railway
1884CASO/MC 'cutoff' line to Windsor from Essex built
1885CP comes to Windsor
1887Construction of Leamington & St. Clair railroad completed
1888/12Opening of the Lake Erie, Essex and Detroit River Railroad
1902ETR formed and begins laying trackage
1903/01Pere Marquette obtains the LE & DR (formerly LEE&DR)
1905Construction of the Windsor, Essex and Lake Shore interurban begins
1907The Essex depot survives explosion number one
1910/07Detroit River Rail tunnel opens
1920ETR completes track laying to Amherstburg
1932/09/15The Windsor, Essex and Lake Shore interurban ceases operations
1947/06LE&DR merged into C&O
1952NYC ceases electric operations through the tunnel
1953The last NYC steam-pulled passenger train departs Windsor (eastbound)
1953The NYC Windsor roundhouse closes
1955/12C&O gets tunnel trackage rights and moves the ferries to Sarnia
1957C&O Station in Walkerville demolished
1961CN Waterfront passenger station closes
1961'Temporary' passenger station opened at CN Walkerville - It's still there! (well, was...)
1962CN introduces the 'wet noodle' herald
1968CP introduces the 'multimark' herald
1971/07CP ends RDC passenger service to Windsor
1975/10Amtrak begins operations through Southern Ontario
1975Local chapter of Canadian Railway Historical Association (CRHA) begins restoration of Essex depot
1976VIA Rail Canada begins nation-wide passenger service
1976The Bombardier LRC is introduced
1976/06/16Last run on the Amherstburg branch - McGregor to Amherstburg
1976/01/15Last Penn Central westbound freight (BM-7) in Canada
1976/09/10CN westbound pasenger #77 derails at Tecumseh (Lesperance Rd.)
1976/03C&O closes Harrow and Kingsville depots
1976/04/01Conrail is born
1977/08/18ETR trades in SW8 102 for EMD SW1500 113 (to be 107)
1977/10/23CN #73 derails at Windsor (Lauzon Rd.)
1978/08PM Tower (ETR & C&O) torn down
1978/01/21World record flatload of lumber in Windsor (110K boardfeet)
1978/04/16Ex-CP 2860 with BC museum train visits Windsor
1979/01/31Last run of the Amtrak Niagara Rainbow through Southern Ontario
1979/10/17N&W's last operating F7A 3725 heads dead to U.S.
1979/05ETR obtains PC caboose 23045 [Now privately owned in West Windsor]
1980/06/24GTW officially acquires remaining 50% of DT&I from Penn Co.
1980/04C&O begins painting Canadian Geeps in Chessie scheme
1981/02/16CP celebrates 100th anniversary
1981/09/31GTW takes over remaining 50% of D&TSL from N&W
1982/04VIA Walkerville depot modernization completed
1982/04/24VIA demonstrates new LRC equipment at Windsor
1982/05/03The LRC begins regular service into Windsor
1985/08/08CP/SOO begin Chicago/Montreal container service
1985/05/01CN & CP acquire Conrail's Canadian Division (CASO)
1986/12The F40PH enters VIA service
1986/06/15Windsor NYC roundhouse torn down
1986/04/11ETR obtains AC GP9 172 (becomes 102)
1986/07/06CP begins Manual Block System operation on Windsor Sub.
1987/01/19CN begins direct service to U.S. (trains 383/382)
1987/04/25ETR runs National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) charters to Amherstburg
1988ETR becomes all GM with sale of 101 and 103 (to La Salle Pkg), and 106 (to A&M)
1988/04Detroit Michigan Central Depot closes
1989/07/17CP westbound 507 derails near Windsor south dropping containers onto Tecumseh Road
1989/07/20A westbound CSX local derails at washout (due to 7-10 inches of rain) near Kingsville
1989/07The CP Windsor Star spur is pulled out of service and the ETR diamond signals removed
1989/11/25ETR obtains Cartier GP9 #59 (renumbered 108)
1980/10/20Fire at CP docks destroys 60-100 vehicles loaded in multi's
1980/10/01CN converts from MBS to DOB (Daily Operating Bulletins)
1990/04Due to deteriorating track conditions, the CSX locals now run in dalight if on their own track
1990Last online industry closes on ETR factory branch. Line soon torn up.
1990/10CN's waterfront yard closes (last spike ceremony - Nov. 30th)
1990CN's two-track main to Chatham now operated as single mainline
1990/11/24ETR obtains two CP wide-vision vans
1990/06CN Chatham Sub. between Windsor & Chatham single-tracked
1990/01/01Windsor railway tunnel flooded by broken water main
1990/01/15Federal policies force reduction in VIA services
1990/06CN purchases CSX line from Tecumseh Rd (mp2) to Oldcastle (mp8), plus mile around Leamington
1990/12THe town of Essex takes possession of the Essex depot
1990/01CP starts running cabooseless trains
1991/12The Windsor-Essex chapter of the CRHA winds down.
1991/09The gate tower at CN Walker Road (Walkerville) removed from service
1991/05/07CP begins Detroit Toronto NS Roadrailer service
1991/09/16Pelton diamond removed and signals shut off
1991/07/27CN waterfront roundhouse levelled by fire
1991/11/19Pelton tower razed
1992/03CP Operator jobs moved to Toronto
1992/01ETR's chopped caboose heads to the States
1992/01New tunnel project planned for Sarnia
1992/01/01CN North America absorbs GT, CV, DW&P
1992/04CSX Local 1 terminated
1992/04CN not to upgrade Windsor tunnel; CP to go ahead alone
1992/06B&SW 3-foot railroad last run - equipment to Heritage Village
1992/07CN Stoney Point depot damaged in fire (again and for the last time)
1992/01CN starts running cabooseless trains
1992CN starts lifting westbound (north) track between Essex and Tilbury
1993Last trains run on CASO from Windsor to Leamington. CN abandons the line shortly after, donating it to Essex Regional Conservation Authority. Chrysler Canada donates money to ERCA to convert it to a rail trail in exchange for naming rights.
1993/06City to gate grade crossings and bring in no-whistle bylaws.
1993/05CP dual-flag scheme appears in area
1994/05CP/NS Railbarge services terminated
1994/05North (westbound) tube dimensions increased for double stacks and TOFC (trailer on flat car)
1994/05/17CN Windsor South closes. CTC Control moves to Toronto
1994 lateCSX freight station in Walkerville damaged by fire
1995CN opens new Sarnia tunnel - much of CN's Windsor traffic rerouted through Sarnia
1995Rails on CASO, Amherstburg Branch and Leamington Spur removed, converted into Chrysler Canada Greenway from Oldcastle to Ruthven
1995/03CSX freight station in Walkerville razed
1995/06CSX begins running rights throughout the CASO Subdivision.
1996/11/11CN Windsor South depot burns down
1996/07CP Rail begins (returns to) Canadian Pacific Railway
1997/09CPR introduces new image with gold beaver herald
1999/06Conrail absorbed (shared) by NS and CSX
1999/11ETR acquires ex-IC SW14 1475; renumbered to 104
1999CN makes new connection at Pelton from CASO to Pelton spur
2000CP adds new yarding and siding from Lauzon Rd to Walker Rd.
2001/09Leamington Branch torn up - rail removed
2001/11Southwood Hotel (across from CN Windsor South depot location) damaged by fire; repaired
2001/11Last VIA LRC locomotive run
2001/lateVIA acquires new locomotives (9xx-series) from GE. In service
2002STL&H officially disappears into CP fold
2002CN gets Roadrailer contract - trains how handled through Sarnia
2002?CP takes over control of tunnel from CN
2002/09ETR #9 (0-6-0) visits Windsor for week long ETR 100th anniversary. Accompanied by a VIA Renaissance trainset
2003/06Royal Hudson CP 2816 makes an appearance
2004/06Royal Canadian Pacific (RCP) visits - CP 1401, 1900, 3084
2005/lateNew acquisitions from GE appear, minus the 'Golden Rodent'
2005/lateNew F40PH Budweiser scheme for VIA promotion of 2006 Superbowl in Detroit
2009New grade separation completed at Walker Rd.
2007easternmost 1 km of CASO Amherstburg branch converted into paved rail trail within the Town of Essex by ERCA.
2010/064-stall roundhouse at CP Windsor yard razed
2010/lateVIA starts construction of new Windsor/Walkerville station
2011/earlyNew grade separation completed at Howard Ave.
2015CASO tracks from Pelton to Chatham removed from service. ERCA considers conversion into another rail trail from Pelton to Tilbury
2017/04/27Remaining sections of CASO Amherstburg branch converted into gravel rail trail, with a generous donation from Cypher Systems Group (in exchange for naming rights). Two former rail bridges over streams near McGregor were also repaired.
2017/lateERCA begins extending trail through grasslands owned by Essex Pollution Control Plant (sewage treatment) to Victoria Street and Highway 3 traffic lights.

This page’s information was created in 2011 by Ken Garber, updated on November 13, 2017, by Shawn Colley. Corrections and additions are welcome. Many thanks to those who have already done so!