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The castle on the hill at Madoc Junction

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“The castle on the hill”, reached at the end of a laneway from Tuftsville Road and across the track.  What a perch to look over steam loco’s battling it out with gravity!

As modellers many of us strive to recreate what was on our layouts. I’m no exception.

Madoc Junction on the CN Campbellford Sub. between Lindsay and Belleville, Ontario bore witness for many years to the passage of grain trains from Midland to Canada’s east coast ports. Everything from Moguls to Mikadoes fought uphill for almost a mile up a brutal 1.48% gradient with full tonnage at the drawbar, often racing for a run at the hill or doubling it after stalling.

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Looking westward downgrade at Madoc Junction. It’s a 1.48% grade that trains did battle with to move grain to Atlantic seaports.

“Eastward tonnage ratings include doubling at Keene and Madoc Jct.”, read the employee timetable.

The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 took the grain traffic from this route, at the same time that steam loco haulage ended on CN out of Lindsay and over this line.

It soldiered on for almost three decades as a secondary line with scarce local traffic until CN petitioned for abandonment in 1985. In October, 1987, I had been a few months on the railway when I found a slow day at work to explore the line once more ahead of the scrappers.

Madoc Junction lay derelict with only the sting of spike pullers and track wrenches to look forward to as I photographed it for my first and last time. I look forward to bringing it back to life in HO scale.

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Looking north to Madoc Jct. station, October, 1987.

The residents of the house on the hill were treated to quite a show several times a day as steam locomotives assaulted the grade to Madoc Junction to move tonnage. “A man’s home is his castle” we’re told. Or as Ed Sheeran sings, “the castle on the hill”.

“We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill.”

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Madoc Jct. station, October, 1987.