Where in the world is Santiago Yard?


Looking east to the site of Santiago Yard, May 1982.  The turnout is the start of the spur line to downtown Lindsay which dated to 1857 as part of the Port Hope, Lindsay, and Beaverton Railway.  In the distance is the Highway 36/Verulam Road bridge, still standing and used by road traffic.  

In 1904, the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada had been running grain trains through Lindsay for a number of years since taking over the Midland Railway of Canada.  As trains got longer with also an increase in car weight due to the use of air brakes and automatic couplers, and more numerous with the increase of traffic through Lindsay, it was found that the existing Durham Street yard in front of the station was getting rather crowded.  Much traffic was simply passing through Lindsay and had no need to be switched.

The CPR was also building a new line from what is now its Havelock Subdivision to Bobcaygeon via Lindsay.  It needed to cross the GTR somewhere to get to downtown Lindsay, and thence to Bobcaygeon.  The original plan seems to have been for the CPR to cross the GTR at grade near here, but the GTR was having none of that.  Figuring that the CPR would cross the GTR at grade, the GTR laid a new three-track storage yard to handle its increased traffic.  Surely the CPR would not cross the GTR’s four tracks on the level?

The CPR instead stayed close to the east bank of the Scugog River, passing under the GTR’s east span of its “Black Iron” bridge over the river.  The GTR objected to this, but was forced to allow the CPR to pass under its line by the Board of Railway Commissioners.

Six years earlier, the Spanish-American war had been fought, with the US blockading the port of Santiago de Cuba.  Some in Lindsay opined that this conflict between the GTR and CPR was their own version of the blockade, whereupon someone unknown gave the new GTR storage yard the name of “Santiago”.

Lindsay0007-2Looking west at the site of the west switches Santiago Yard and Durham St. yard, Lindsay, May, 1982. The yard tracks joined together in a series of turnouts to the left of the main track.  To the right is the spur to downtown Lindsay, on the left the Campbellford Sub. to Lindsay station. 

For over half a century, Santiago Yard was used by the GTR and CN to hold loaded boxcars of grain headed east to Belleville, and empty boxcars destined to Midland from Lindsay, train crews yarding the cars of their trains here.  The train crew’s locomotive and caboose were usually run back and forth on their own between the Albert Street engine shed, Durham Street yard, and Santiago.  It’s known that on occasion, train crews originating at Lindsay would bring part of their train from Durham Street yard, filling out the rest of their train at Santiago.

Lindsay’s yard limits extended 7,920 feet east from Lindsay station to mile 84.89 of the Campbellford Sub.  With the east switch of Santiago Yard being at mile 84.94, this gave five or six car-lengths of space between the east yard switch and the Yard Limit sign for locomotives and the van to be taken off or added to trains without special train orders.


CN 1948 property plan showing the west end of Santiago Yard.  The line branching to the left at the top of the image is the Campbellford Sub. to the Durham Street station; to the right is the spur to downtown Lindsay, the original routing of the Port Lindsay and Beaverton Railway.  The “P.S.” notation beside the circled number “68” indicates the switch points of the westernmost yard switch of Santiago Yard.

Near the east end of Santiago Yard was a level crossing of Verulam Road, which became part of Ontario’s Highway 36 in 1958.  In 1959, the Ontario Department of Highways erected a new steel beam bridge just east of Verulam Road to eliminate this crossing.  An Easter weekend, 1959 photo taken by the late Keith Hansen and in his book Last Trains From Lindsay shows a westward freight hauled by a CN Mikado passing under this still to be completed bridge on the main track alongside a steel boxcar in No. 1 Siding.


We’re looking west in May of this year at the Highway 36 bridge built in 1959.  The original Verulam Road crossing was where my car is parked in the photo.  Note the sheet steel smoke deflector attached to the underside of the bridge where the main track of the Campbellford Sub. was.  You can make out the supports for the smoke deflectors over the yard tracks which were removed in the fall of 1964. The Trans-Canada Trail through here follows the rote of No. 1 Siding, Santiago Yard.

With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, grain stopped moving through Lindsay, but Santiago Yard was used to hold cars for stone and gravel loading at area quarries.  Eventually this traffic disappeared, making Santiago Yard redundant.

In 1964, CN lifted the three yard tracks at Santiago Yard, as it had sufficient capacity for the remaining traffic in its other yards in front of the station and on Victoria Avenue.

In October, 1992, CN lifted the remaining main track through what was Santiago Yard.  Since then this area has become part of the Trans-Canada Trail.  You can walk along where once Mikadoes yarded grain trains from Midland, and imagine what was, more than half a century ago.


Looking westward in May, 2017, at approximately the site of the Yard Limit sign to what was the east switch of Santiago Yard. The turnout for each yard track can be faintly traced, as well as the tracks themselves off the trail.  The cinder ballast of the yard tracks remains, along with indentations in the ground where the ties were removed in 1964. 

More to come…



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