Field Trip: Cochrane, Ontario - Part 1 of 2
Click on each image for a closer look!
In 1908, the town of Cochrane was established as a permanent settlement at the junction of the National Transcontinental and the Temiskaming & Northern Ontario railways. Today, Cochrane remains an important railway centre for the Ontario Northland Railway. The ONR operates the station, a hotel, a freight yard and both passenger coach and diesel locomotive shops in the town. Apart from freight trains, Cochrane is also served by the Toronto-Cochrane ‘Northlander’ and Cochrane-Moosonee ‘Polar Bear Express’ passenger trains.
I travelled to Cochrane aboard the ‘Northlander’ from Toronto. It feels more like a community on wheels than a train, connecting remote communities along the line. The train uses former GO Transit commuter cars built in the 1960s. They have been refurbished to include better seats as well as luggage room. Each train also has a snack car. As I travelled north, snow began to fall. By the time the train arrived in Cochrane, several inches were on the ground – at the end of April! Even more snow fell during my stay.
Just before arriving at Cochrane station, the line passes by the ONR yard. Stored right next to the main line is #219: a 4-6-0 locomotive built by the Montreal Locomotive Works in 1907 for the Temiskaming & Northern Ontario Railway. It is in poor shape, but worth looking for on the journey.
#1: #137 at the Museum.
#2: #219 in the yard.
#3: One of the ONR’s chain cars, carrying a pickup truck, on the ‘Polar Bear Express’. With no road access, the train is the only way to get vehicles to and from Moosonee.
#4: Two locomotives in the ONR yard putting together the consist for the northbound ‘Polar Bear Express’.
Click here to read the second posting in this series.
Posting and photos by Thomas Blampied