York-Durham Heritage Railway


The York-Durham Heritage Railway Association

is a non-profit organization created to preserve and promote the heritage of Canadian railways of south-central Ontario. Our goals are:

  • to purchase, preserve and operate railway equipment indicative of the mid-1900's.
  • to provide tourist train operation with vintage equipment reminiscent of the era when steam gave way to diesel.
  • to establish a museum of railway memorabilia.

Achieving our goals

Currently, we own a variety of diesel locomotives from the 1950's, passenger coaches built just after World War 1 and from the 1950's. We also own a variety of other rolling stock including a caboose (van), flat car, hopper and track maintenance equipment.

We gratefully appreciate the support of individuals and businesses in and outside our community without whom we would be unable to operate The Heritage Train. Ongoing support through the form of donations, memberships and volunteering are vital to our continued tourist train trips and operations.

how you can support YDHR


The York-Durham Heritage Railway

was established to operate the tourist railway between Stouffville and Uxbridge.

And we have created a small museum in the former CNR railway station in Uxbridge.

We accomplished these goals through the dedicated efforts of our volunteer membership as well as contributions of cash, services and goods received from individuals, corporations and government agencies.

how you can support YDHR


Locomotives, Passenger Coaches, & Other Equipment

Click image thumbnails to view gallery.

History of the Rail Line

The rail line that we use was built in the late 1860s

as the Toronto and Nipissing (T&N) Railway. It was built to allow its owner, William Gooderham, a well-known distiller from Toronto, to carry grain to his distillery as well as...

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We Wish to Thank

History of the York-Durham Heritage Railway Association (YDHRA)

Nothing happens unless there is first a dream.

The following is a concise chronological history of the railway. It summarizes key events and happenings. As you read this brief account, let your imagination work to visualize what the writer feels is such an important but unwritten part of the Association's history: the human endeavour.

  • AUGUST 1987 the first recorded meeting of the railway, officers were elected and the York-Durham Railway was given a name.
  • SEPTEMBER 1987 a post office box was opened in Stouffville, letterhead was printed, a membership fee of $25.00 was established and a bank account was opened. Canadian National announced plans to abandon the railway line and the wye was removed from Blackwater Junction.
  • NOVEMBER 1988 the Township of Uxbridge purchased the Uxbridge railway station from CN for $1.00. CP Rail agreed to donate a caboose to the railway.
  • DECEMBER 1988 the railway entered “floats” for the first time in the Stouffville and Uxbridge Santa Claus parades. The first logo for the railway was sewn by Ann’s Fabrics of Stouffville.
  • JUNE 1989 The first issue of the railway newsletter “The Connecting Rod” was printed.
  • 1990 (February) the York-Durham Heritage Railway was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation. The word “Heritage” was officially added to the railway’s name and in October a new oval logo, a green maple leaf with gold lettering on a red background was approved by the directors.
  • 1991 The little promotional train, used by the railway at community events as a fundraiser, was built by Rob Paré, one of the founding members during the winter. This “little train” generated lots of attention for the Association over the ensuing years. (October) The railway received tax exempt status from Revenue Canada.
  • 1992 (October) The first two pieces of rolling stock were moved to Uxbridge. Passenger coach #1462, built in 1926 in Montreal, was purchased from Don Zoller in 1991. It was housed at the Hearne Generating station in Toronto and was used to exhibit model railway layouts. CP Rail caboose #434411 was built in 1972 at the CPR Angus shop in Montreal. (November) Railway volunteers began the restoration of #1462.
  • 1993 (March) CN sold the right-of-way through Uxbridge to GO Transit.
    (November) Provincial Bill PR-64 “An Act Respecting The York-Durham Heritage Railway Association” received final reading in the Ontario legislature on Nov 29th and royal assent on the 30th. The bill established the YDHR as an operating short-line railway in Ontario.
  • 1994 (May) Bruce Brillinger donated CPR caboose #434908, circa 1953, to the YDHR.
    (September) Ontario government grant awarded to the YDHR.
  • APRIL 1995 Stouffville District High School students restore an antique railway handcart for the YDHR. Final logo was approved in May by the directors.
    1995 Superintendent of Operations and Department Heads appointed by the Board of Directors.
  • SEPTEMBER 1995 the YDHR takes possession of a wooden box car circa 1918 plus 3 sets of automatic signaling equipment. Engine #1310 , an RS 3, is purchased by the railway. It was built in 1954 at Montreal Locomotive Works. Prior to coming to the railway it was owned by Abitibi-Price and operated at Iroquois Falls, Ont. The YDHR leases a 50 ton centre cab, side-rod locomotive.
  • MAY1996 GO Transit approves leasing the railway line between Stouffville and Uxbridge to the municipalities. In turn,
    the Township of Uxbridge and the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville agree to lease the line to the railway.
  • 1996 Additional rolling stock was acquired by the railway including a “Rules Car”, a flatcar, 2 former VIA café cars and a
    baggage car. This equipment is in addition to 2 older passenger cars owned by the railway plus one leased from Bytown
    Railway Society.
  • 1996 (part 2) Also acquired by the railway was Locomotive #3612 , an RS 11. It was one of 15 built by Alco in
    Schenectady. It worked at a CN subsidiary in the Winnipeg area in the 1950’s. It came to the railway from active service at
    a Montreal firm. 34 members were qualified as trainmen.
  • SEPTEMBER 1996 The grand opening of the YDHR was celebrated on the 14th. It included gala celebrations in both
    Stouffville and Uxbridge and thousands of residents of both municipalities joined in the celebrations. The opening
    ceremonies were held on the 125th anniversary of the grand opening of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway in 1871.
  • 1997-1998 1997 (April) Ground breaking for the new Stouffville station. It was built by a coalition of many organizations with some
    funds provided by the YDHR. The station opened in July. 1997 (July) Railway mural, commissioned by the railway, is painted on a wall of the Masonic Lodge in Uxbridge by a local artist. 1998 (September) First corporate trip.
  • SEPTEMBER 1999 Train made 2 round trips to Union station to carry passengers to and return from Uxbridge for a TSO
    concert. The railway receives a grant from the Trillium Foundation for equipment and renovations to enhance wheelchair
    Background on the association and the railway line accessibility, guest services and ongoing track maintenance.
  • 2001-2004 2001 (September) First special excursions to Markham and Unionville plus first murder mystery on train.
    2001-2004 The railway is widely used as a backdrop for movies.
    2004 The railway receives a grant from the Trillium Foundation to complete the restoration of a historic locomotive with
    passenger cars and to support a strategic marketing initiative.
  • 2005-2006 2005 (July) The railway sends its one operating vintage passenger coach to St. Thomas Ontario to be part of the “Thomas
    The Tank Engine” celebration. The railway returns the other vintage coach to the Bytown Railway Society after 9 years of
    usage. 2006 (September) The railway celebrates its tenth anniversary with $10 fares for all.
  • 2008 Members of the Association work very hard throughout the year on track maintenance to improve operating times between Goodwood and Stouffville.
  • 2009 (June) The railway completes installation of crossing signals at the 6th Concession Road in Uxbridge.
    (November) The railway receives a grant from the Trillium Foundation for a program co-ordinator, advertising and
    website enhancement.

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