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Hornepayne, Ontario (2003)
Hornepayne Yard Hornepayne, Ontario, is the quintessential railway town.

Hewn out of the wilderness of northern Ontario, the town of Hornepayne is symbolic of the railway’s determination to develop that region, and of the character of its inhabitants.

Originally called Fitzbach, it was established in 1913 as a divisional point on the Canadian Northern Ontario Railway’s main line between Montréal and Port Arthur. It was renamed Hornepayne about 1920.

Hornepayne StationThe locomotives and the crews of through trains ran to turnaround points in either direction. Hornepayne was home to the operating crews as well as those employees entrusted with the maintenance and running repairs of the locomotives and rolling stock and it was the headquarters for the Superior Division. Primarily because of its importance as a railway terminal, its future was assured. The town prospered.

A train at HornepayneHornepayne was utterly dependent on the railway; the community’s sole means of communication with the outside world. All of life’s staples — and its luxuries — were brought in by train. All of its residents were inextricably tied to the ebb and flow of railway traffic along the tenuous link of iron through town. Subject also to the whims of Mother Nature and the revolutions wrought by the dieselization of the fifties and sixties and ongoing technological change, Hornepayne persevered. Out of adversity grew self-reliance.

A caboose at HornepayneIt was not until the 1980s, when the highway was extended into town, that the community’s dependence on the railway was ended. Even so, the railway continues to play a vital role in the community.

Hornepayne exemplifies the spirit of the railway town.

 

Hornepayne

 


 

Photos: CN

 
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