Sunday, October 17, 2010

Port Stanley Terminal Rail - Lake Erie Fun

While zillions of people head north on the summer and fall weekends I take the opportunity to visit the lands along Lake Erie and I start with the Port Stanley Terminal Rail which is an operating tourist railway. The line started in the mid 1800's as a passenger and freight line between London and Port Stanley, then became an electric commuter railway which ceased in 1957 with the freight train ending in 1982 with the railway now running as a scenic tourist trip up and down a short section of tracks. You can lean out the train in the cars that don't have windows or stay in the enclosed car and later check out the trains at the park at the end of the line, like the train plow below.
The period in the 1910's into the 1940's provided transportation to over a million people a year, many of them servicemen on a pleasure run to the Stork Club in Port Stanley for some weekend fun before they had to go overseas. I know this because of the volunteer conductor on board rhyming off his little golden nuggets of information. I especially loved his blurbs about the type of wildlife we could see during the ride. You could see deer, coyotes and foxes - you probably won't see them, but you could. I would say that the highlight of the animal life is the few Blue Herons that hang around the creek. He also liked to point out that they didn't have to signal when going through private crossings; so if you got run over, too bad, it's your own fault!
The trip passes right by Union Station. It is so tiny that the cute little station house would be smaller than a bathroom in Toronto's own Union Station.

The train ride, including a stop at the park at the end, takes about an hour and the 15 km/h ride (I panned the camera to give a fake sense of the speed of the train, above) is a pleasant journey on a weekend afternoon. You can even arrange for a party car to be added to the train and enjoy a birthday or wedding party - now that's fun.

See more pictures of the train at the park and a tiny, little rail car after the jump.

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