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Grand River Railway Reporting mark: GRNR

The Grand River Railway (GRNR) was an interurban electric railway, operating in southwest Ontario. It provided service to the neighbouring communities of Galt, Preston and Hespeler (combined as Cambridge in 1973), Kitchener, Waterloo and Wellesley.

Photo of a GRNR Railcar
Photo: William Hood, Brantford, 1948

The GRNR first began operating as the Galt and Preston Street Railway in 1894. It was reincorporated and renamed in 1895 and subsequently leased to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1903. In 1914 it became known as the Grand River Railway after being consolidated with several other CPR subsidiaries.

Although the railway began as an amalgamation of street railways, most of the street trackage had been removed by the 1920s, and the GRNR ran on an exclusive right-of-way. In 1931 the CPR merged the Lake Erie and Northern Railway into the line, and formed the Canadian Pacific Electric Lines (CEPL).

The GRNR had a total of 15 stations on the rail line. Bus lines were added later. In addition to passenger transport, the railway also handled freight, mail and express services. Most of the rolling stock was built and maintained in the shops located in in Preston.

Passenger service on the GRNR lasted until 1955. In 1961 the CPR switched all their electric lines to diesel. Today a small fragment of the line remains in use as a spur line to the Toyota plant in Cambridge.