Can anybody tell me where this train station was?

Madoc train station c. 1905

“G.T.R. (that would be Grand Trunk Railway) Station, Madoc,” c. 1905. Lovely little building. Where was it? (Photo courtesy of Vintage Belleville, Trenton & Quinte Region)

I’ve mentioned before what a marvellous repository of historic photos the Facebook page Vintage Belleville, Trenton & Quinte Region is. (Even if I am sometimes taken aback by the notion that photos taken in my lifetime are “historic.”) And now I’m going to say it again. Because thanks to that Facebook page, not once but twice recently I have seen photos of the no-longer-extant train station in the village of Madoc. (One of the places that is “town” when we here in Queensborough go to town.)

I am almost 100-per-cent certain that when I was growing up here at the Manse in the 1960s and early ’70s there were no trains running to and from Madoc. I don’t know when the train line (presumably running between Belleville to the south and Bancroft to the north? Though please correct me if I’m wrong) was closed; perhaps it wasn’t all that long before my childhood here. But when I read in the remarkable biography/autobiography Your Loving Anna (a book I wrote about here, which is on the subject of a 19th-century family “roughing it” – as Susanna Moodie would say – in the northern reaches of Hastings County) about Anna Leveridge and her children arriving from England, via the Atlantic Ocean and Montreal, by train in 1880-odd in Madoc, I found myself wondering: “Where the heck was the train station?” I just couldn’t at all place where it had been, or might have been. And I certainly couldn’t picture it; I assumed it had been long gone by the time I arrived on this planet.

Then a little while ago the photo atop this post appeared on Vintage Belleville, Trenton & Quinte Region. It’s a wonderful shot of the “G.T.R. (that would be Grand Trunk Railway) Station Madoc,” and the information posted with it added, “c. 1905.” Don’t you just love the greatcoats and the hats and the horses and the all-round turn-of-the-(last)-century feel of that photo?

But: you can’t tell from it where the station actually is – or was – in Madoc, which I found frustrating.

Then a little while later this photo was posted on the same site, thanks to a chap named Dan Ryan. It’s the same train station, only many years later – 1974, to be exact:

Madoc train station 1974

The Madoc train station in 1974. How did I not know about this? (Photo from Vintage Belleville, Trenton & Quinte Region via Dan Ryan)

Nineteen seventy-four? Gracious, I lived in these parts in 1974! I thought I knew Madoc – the town that was where my family shopped for dry goods and groceries and whatnot, and where I went to high school, and that was … well, was town – like the back of my hand! So why did I not know about this old train station?

I gather the building itself is long gone, and maybe someone could tell me when its demolition (which is just too bad) happened. But what I’d really like to know is: where was this interesting historic building? Can someone familiar with Madoc and its history tell me, very specifically so that I can picture the site in my mind’s eye, or better yet go seek it out and see what’s there now?

Because, you know, inquiring minds need to know.

12 thoughts on “Can anybody tell me where this train station was?

  1. Dr. K. is here with the answer to your problem. The Madoc train station was located behind (north that is) the Madoc Firehall. If you turn left as you get to Madoc Farm Supply and drive down Hill Avenue, you or on the old rail bed. So, Anna’s husband would have been standing on the platform looking south down Hill Ave. when he saw the train coming, carrying his” loving Anna”! Just to the north east of the old Co-op mill on the hill was a large area of livestock pens along the railway. I remember trips there to take hogs where a local drover/agent Carl McCoy shipped them out every Tuesday. Now, take two aspirins and call me if there are other questions, I do make house calls…GnG

    • Fantastic, Dr. K.! I will drive over to that part of town and see for myself – and close my eyes and envision the old landscape. How long ago did the train stop running, do you know? And were the hogs headed to Belleville?

  2. Hi Katherine, If you click on this link for Google Maps, it will show you the area. You can enlarge it (I can’t seem to set it to keep it enlarged) by clicking on the + symbol in the upper left corner. You’ll see Hill Avenue and the line that runs north of St. Lawrence W., and you can see where the tracks would have been. When I was in Madoc last summer, we drove out that way and I noticed (but wasn’t too surprised) that the train tracks had been removed since I was last there (I can’t begin to remember when that was.) It’s great that Dr. K. has provided so much information about this.

    • Thanks for this, Sash! I’ll drive over and have a look myself this weekend. I still can’t figure out how I could have been blissfully unaware of the old Madoc station’s existence during all my childhood years in Queensborough – though I will say that, for whatever reason, the west end of Madoc didn’t seem to be one that I spent a lot of time in.

  3. Hi Katherine, you’re welcome. If your view of Google Maps is like mine, there should be small photos at the bottom of the page. Two of those photos are of the path where the railway ran through.

  4. I know this is a very late reply to this topic, but I have noticed that there has been no mention (yet) of Queensborough’s railroad history, especially as the village train station still exists. I have always thought that train time in Queensborough must have been exciting at the time.

    The Bay of Quinte Railway from Deseronto to Bannockburn was in operation through Queensborough from 1902. It followed a route through Napanee, Yarker, Marlbank, Tweed, Actinolite, Queensborough to Bannockburn, connecting with the Central Ontario Railway line from Trenton north to Bancroft. It was eventually merged into the Canadian Northern Railway system, and the Tweed – Bannockburn section was abandoned in 1935.

    However, despite the short 33 year period when Queensborough had rail service, the train station still sits south of town on Bosley Road, and even the station platform is visible at times!

    I enjoy your blog immensely, and check in continually to see what is going on back in the ‘homeland’!

    Wes Cromwell
    Wellington, New Zealand

    • Wes, I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to receive your comment and learn that someone in New Zealand a) is reading my blog and b) has Queensborough connections! Please do share what those connections are. I’m very impressed with your knowledge of the history of the rail line that used to run through the village. I hadn’t thought about not having written about it here, probably because I did write a bit about it in a different place – a walking-tour booklet that the Queensborough Community Centre Committee produced a while back. In the big display of historic documents and photos that was part of Historic Queensborough Day in 2014, there were quite a few references to the railway, all quite fascinating. Hey, here’s something you might be interested in: the very nice home that was originally the railway station is currently for sale. You could return to your Queensborough roots!

  5. Katherine, The rail line into Madoc was active into the 1980’s. CNR moved automotive supplies into Madoc and then moved a tone of marble and talc south out of town. At various times there were other industries as well and a mine south of town, Perry’s Mine that the railway serviced. There are photos of the station in the 50’s at the Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa that are available on-line and in a book by Keith Hansen that shows the line in operation. At one time the line ran through Madoc and terminated in Eldorado. Roadbed can be sen in Google Maps. Any relation to my friends John Sedgwick recently of Perth Road?

    Daniel McConnachie.

    • Thank you so much for this information, Daniel! I had absolutely no idea the rail line to Madoc continued into the 1980s (which seems like yesterday to me, but that’s beside the point). Every day on my drive home from work in Belleville I pass what looks to be an old railway bed on the east side of Highway 62 as one approaches Madoc from the south – and given the information you’ve shared here, my guess is that it is the old railway bed. Thank you so much! And while I do have a brother named John Sedgwick – in Kingston, no less – he’s never lived on Perth Road. I may have to check this out as a previously unknown family connection!

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