Saturday, April 22, 1967, Vol. 103, No. 94 The Barrie Examiner Page 3, col. 6

Cookstown CN station will be closed today

Brian Baker

[Photo not reproduced]

James Arnold, Stationmaster, sends last message out of Cookstown station over dispatcher's telephone before the station was officially closed today. The station is on Canadian National's Barrie-Hamilton and Georgetown branch line.

After some 90 years of continuous use, Cookstown Canadian National Railways station was officially closed today.

The closing of this station, on the Barrie to Hamilton branch of the C.N.R., is part of the railroad's streamlining program. However, freight service will continue to be available in Cookstown. Small freight or express will be delivered and picked up by CNR truck service at Roberts' General Store, formerly that of the Couse Family, on Queen Street, Cookstown. Cookstown and area residents wishing bulk and carload delivery or pick-up of freight at Cookstown will now contact Barrie station, CNR. There will be no inconvenience to patrons, the line is still open to way-freights.

Stationmaster at Cookstown for the last several years has been James Arnold, Barrie. Mr. Arnold recalls the story of his uncle who as a boy rode the first train out of Cookstown, before the tracks were properly levelled. The boy was so impressed with the trip that for weeks after he imitated a train, complete with toots, hence ever after he went by the nickname Toots Donald.

According to old records, Cookstown station was once a very busy place, remarks Mr. Arnold. Up into the 1920s there were four passenger trains every day and six during the Christmas holidays stopping at Cookstown station. An old Cookstown undertaker, Mr. Jebb, remembered that the freight shed used to be paced almost to overflowing with freight. Double header steam freight trains hauling all coal used to stop at Cookstown, split the heavy train and take half of the cars up the long, steep grade to Thornton, and then come back for the other half.

One of the best early photographs of the station is owned by Douglas Hopper, which shows a group of hunters with 15 deer laid out along the platform. It also shows the old gas lamps on tall posts along the platform.

Railways: C.N.Rys.

Stations: Cookstown