Rails of the past: Trains in North Grenville

Rails of the past: Trains in North Grenville

Did you know that Kemptville used to have passenger trains? In celebration of Trainfest in neighbouring Smiths Falls, here is a little bit of train history of Kemptville!

Way back in the day (1854), the Bytown and Prescott Railway company had laid down rail from the Prescott docks up to New Edinburgh (Ottawa). This line carried passengers, lumber, and farm materials, mostly for export to Montreal and beyond. The rail company went through financial struggles, went bankrupt, changed names and leadership over and over. Today the rails are owned by Canadian Pacific (CP) for their freight service, and many sections of the line have been torn out, reduced from double-tracking to single-tracking, or no longer in use. 

"The first train to reach Kemptville" - NG Times

The Rail Trail in Kemptville was part of this railway; this seven kilometre out & back trail provides access to several Kemptville neighbourhoods, and passes through Kemptville Campus. Take a nice stroll on this path of even ground and minimal inclines. Bring your dog (must be on leash) and enjoy the endless rows of green. Fall time offers a colourful twist that you don't want to miss!

If you reach the south exit of the trail and if you’re lucky, you might catch a rare sight of the occasional CP locomotive heading down to Oxford Station from the Bedell Crossing, where the railway is still partly used. Past Oxford Station, the rail is once again torn away and replaced by trails. 

Another part of the former Bytown and Prescott Railway is now used by the O-Train Line 2 (Trillium Line) in Ottawa, expected to be in service by the end of 2023. 


For more information on the 50+ km of trails in North Grenville, check out our website.

Read more about the rail history of North Grenville in this three-part report by the NG Times.

For more information on Trainfest by the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, check out their Facebook Event page:

 With files from North Grenville Times