Before anyone says something in the comments, I understand that Dovetail has said steam locomotives won't be done for a while. I'm putting this route suggestion out there in advance for when they do with the hope that they give it a look and, with any luck, release it for Train Sim World at some point. If you manage to make it through the massive wall of text and images below, I salute you. I had to cut a lot of it out to meet the 25,000 character limit and 20 image limit. Classic Canadian Railroading in the Transition Era Allow me to take you back to the final years of the steam engine in North America, before almost all were removed from revenue service and the vast majority were scrapped, when trains went clickity clack on jointed rail. Much like the United States, the diesel locomotive began making an appearance in Canada during the late 1940's, and by the following decade they had mostly taken over main line passenger service as well as most yard switching. Steam locomotives, some of which dated back to the previous century, were mostly relegated to lower priority freight moves and branch lines. It's thanks to the railfans of the time who saw the writing on the wall that we have so many excellent photos of these beautiful machines before they were gone for good. A lot of these railfans never returned to the hobby once the steam locomotive was gone, and it's not hard to see why. Extra 2238 South straddles the very scenic Niagara Escarpment between Forks of the Credit and Inglewood with a single boxcar and caboose in tow in this shot from 1955. There's a number of differences in the way railways operated between the 1950's and now. Firstly, the computer had not yet come into play and radio communications were still a very new concept. Before I talk about the route itself, I'll quickly go over these operations concepts that may be interesting to model in Train Sim World. Train Order Operation Before radio communications and computers how exactly did train crews know if an extra train, one that was not on the timetable, was running that day? How did they know if their timetable was temporarily altered for a delayed train ahead of them? The answer is train orders. At the time, each station had a station agent - the fellow who sold you your tickets - who had a telegraph in his office. If, for example, another station agent reported a delay over the telegraph, the station agent would manually operate the station's order boards to indicate that the next train had to pick up orders. Every station in Canada had order boards, and by the 1950's most were of the upper quadrant semaphore variety, not unlike railway signals of the previous century. Next would come a practice known as "hooping up", in which the train would slow down at the platform and snatch the orders from a hoop carried by the station agent. If you missed, you'd have to reverse and hope you weren't delayed too much! This practice was mostly eliminated by the following decade with the introduction of Centralized Traffic Control and the adoption of the two-way radio. You can learn more about train order operation here. The station master "hooping up" orders to Canadian Pacific's flagship cross-country streamliner, The Canadian in 1957 at West Toronto Station. Water and Coal Obviously, steam engines run on coal and water. As a result, for fuel to be modeled we'd have to have refuelling represented in-game especially as water runs out quickly. Thankfully, this route featured one coaling tower and a number of water towers during the steam era. Some water towers had a spout on the side of the tower that locomotives could fill up from, while in many other instances the tower was connected through underground pipes to water standpipes adjacent to the track. Usually these standpipes were at either end of a station platform, so the steam engine could fill up while stopped for passengers. Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 #1267 fills up on coal in 1954 from a typical modern coal chute built earlier in the 1950's at Ottawa West. A similar coal chute was built in Orangeville. The Route At A Glance The route that I'm suggesting for Dovetail focuses on what was once the Canadian Pacific Railway's Orangeville Subdivision from Streetsville, Ontario to Orangeville, Ontario. Preferably, for reasons I will go over momentarily, the route would be set during the 1950's. At a distance of 34.6 route miles - almost 20 miles less than Sand Patch - it begins and ends at divisional points where crew changes would be carried out. For this reason, the route makes sense from an operational standpoint. For its entire history, the Orangeville Subdivision could be described as a branch line. Rail traffic was never particularly busy, but had an appeal that couldn't be found on the mainlines especially into the diesel era. Trains never got long enough on most branch lines to warrant upgrades in infrastructure, such as bridges. Not only did many of these trains not require the bigger and more powerful locomotives of the time, but often times the infrastructure simply wouldn't be able to handle them. As a result, you'd often find the older and smaller steam locomotives on branch lines. Some of these engines dated back to the 19th century, the rest from the early 20th century. Rail photographers who visited branch lines like the Orangeville Subdivision in the transition era often described it as like taking a step back through time. The appeal of Canadian branch line railroading is talked about in numerous books written by railfans of the era. It truly is an aesthetic that you couldn't have found anywhere else. A little fun fact. This route's claim to fame is that it's where the rotary snowplow was first tested, as it was patented by a resident of Toronto and expanded upon by a resident of Orangeville! You can read more about that here. Services According to a timetable dated April 26th, 1959, the following trains ran on the Orangeville Subdivision: Locomotives Part of what makes the transition era so appealing for railfans is the sheer amount of different locomotives you could see in operation on any particular day. Here's a handful of steam and diesel locomotives that were commonly found on the Orangeville Subdivision during the transition era: 4-4-0 Canadian Pacific had a total of 60 locomotives of the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement. These were primarily constructed between 1882 and 1883, and while they were originally built for the mainlines they remained on branch lines right up until the end of the steam era in 1960. One 4-4-0, #136, was preserved and kept in operating condition. It currently pulls excursions for the South Simcoe Railway in Tottenham, Ontario, not far from Orangeville. 4-6-0 "Ten Wheeler" Canadian Pacific had over 300 locomotives of the 4-6-0 wheel arrangement, nicknamed "Ten Wheelers" because obviously they had a total of ten wheels (unimaginative, I know). They were built between 1890 and 1912, and later models often had different features than their earlier counterparts such as superheating or their general size. The South Simcoe Railway also has one 4-6-0 that used to be in operating condition, though in recent years it's been in storage awaiting an overhaul. Regardless, plenty of images and videos of this as well as their #136 for reference. 4-6-2 Pacific Canadian Pacific had over 400 locomotives with the 4-6-2 wheel arrangement. These engines were built for fast passenger service in the early 1900's but were quickly relegated to lesser roles as the larger 4-4-4 Jubilee and 4-6-4 Hudson took the higher priority passenger trains in the 1920's. In the 1950's, many found themselves on the Orangeville Subdivision. There's a surviving example at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania that was used in excursion service for a time. Budd Rail Diesel Car Probably the only passenger diesel that you'd find on the Orangeville Subdivision in the '50s is the Budd RDC. These self-propelled passenger cars were built as early as 1949, but Canadian Pacific didn't order any until 1954. They owned a total of 53 of these cars, nicknamed "Dayliners" by the railway. They were very successful on Canadian branch lines as their operating costs were significantly lower compared to steam engines and conventional rolling stock. All ended up in VIA Rail ownership by 1979 and they still have a few in service in northern Ontario. They came in a handful of variants; RDC-1, RDC-2, RDC-3 and RDC-4. RDC-1's were all-passenger, RDC-4's were all-baggage and the RDC-2 and RDC-3 were a mix of both. GMD SW1200RS A very successful diesel road switcher built by General Motors Diesel, Electro-Motive's Canadian subsidiary in London, Ontario. They were built between 1955 and 1964. In addition to mostly yard assignments, some were photographed on the Orangeville Subdivision in the mid to late 1950's hauling wayfreights. It wasn't unheard of for some to haul mixed passenger services either. Points of Interest Streetsville Streetsville Station was built in 1914 to replace an early structure further north at Streetsville Junction. About 1.5 kilometers north of this is Streetsville Junction, where the original station used to be and where mile 0.0 of the Orangeville Subdivision begins. The Galt Subdivision was and still is double-tracked due to the high volume of trains, while the Orangeville Subdivision was and still is single-tracked. A couple of classic cars parked in front of Streetsville Station in this photo from 1964. Passenger service ended three years prior in 1961, but the station remained a train order office for a couple of decades afterwards. Meadowvale Meadowvale is the first station on the Orangeville Subdivision beyond Streetsville Junction, located at mile 2.04. It was of the few original stations on this line built by the Credit Valley Railway back in the 1870's. By the 1950's it was little more than a flag stop. The station building remained, but its platform and nearby cattle pens were removed. Opposite the station was a short siding for trains to pass each other. 4-6-2 #1263 stops for just a single passenger at Meadowvale in 1954. Churchville Churchville was one of the few stations on the route that was clearly originally intended as a flag stop, likely located at Chinguacousey Road back when it was just two lanes instead of four. It was just a small shelter with no platform. A 1962 photo of the flag stop at Churchville. Brampton The first substantial station on the Orangeville Subdivision was Brampton, built in 1902 to replace an earlier Credit Valley Railway station. Here, the single track mainline expanded to three with the main in the middle. On the east side was the platform track for the station, and on the west was a siding for the freight shed. It was located at the corner of Queen Street and Park Street, and was thankfully preserved and moved to the Mount Pleasant Village Square. Just half a kilometer north of the station is where the Orangeville Subdivision crossed the double-tracked CNR Halton Subdivision at grade. There was an interlocking tower located in the northeast corner of the diamond. A pair of southbound Budd RDC's depart Brampton while a wayfreight pauses next to the freight shed. Snelgrove Next was Snelgrove Station, another former Credit Valley Railway station from the 1870's. It was located north of Mayfield Road on the east side of the tracks. Just north of the station on the east side was a short siding for trains to pass each other. Southbound #1263 passes another train in the siding at Snelgrove in 1956. Cheltenham Cheltenham was yet a third former Credit Valley station, this one built to the same design as the one at Meadowvale. It, too, lost its wooden platform and was little more than a flag stop by the 1950's. Much like the other stations covered so far, it had a siding for trains to pass each other. Looking south at Cheltenham in 1962. The evening sunlight seems to have made the sign "Cheltenham" unreadable. Inglewood At about halfway along the route was Inglewood. The CNR's branch line to Allandale (now the Caledon Trailway recreational trail) crossed the Orangeville Subdivision at grade. A station was built in the south part of the diamond that served both railways simultaneously. Just north of the station was a small freight shed and interchange tracks. Beyond that on the Orangeville Subdivision was a water tower for refilling steam locomotives on the north side of McLaughlin Road. Extra 2230 South at Inglewood looking north in 1954. This side of the station was the platform for Canadian Pacific, while on the left side was the platform for Canadian National. The two railways crossed at a diamond just beyond the station. Cleaning out the clogged smoke box netting of #136 on its famed excursion to Orangeville in 1960. Here it is at Inglewood, with the station behind the water tower. The train is currently sitting on the diamond about halfway along. This water tower is of a typical hexagon shape that was built by Canadian Pacific just about everywhere in the early 1900's. The northward approach signal to Inglewood at the grade crossing of Olde Base Line Road. Just another example of dated infrastructure on this line. Most of these semaphore signals were replaced in the early 1900's by "searchlight" signals, and yet here it is in this photo from 1980! Forks of the Credit As the railway ascends the highest point of the Niagara Escarpment, it crosses a particularly scenic section in a deep valley carved by the Credit River. It curves across a steel trestle which still exists today before reaching Forks of Credit station, a small structure likely meant to serve the nearby community of Belfountain. Breaking off the line to the west towards Belfountain was the Crowsnest Spur, extending about 1,900 feet. North of the station was a siding for trains to pass each other. A 1928 photograph showing Forks of the Credit station with the steel bridge in the background. The track in the foreground is the Crowsnest Spur. The wooden platform and canopy were removed by the 1950's, leaving only the station building and a newer concrete platform. Cataract No, not the eye condition. This "cataract" specifically refers to the type of waterfall. Home to several grist mills, Cataract was also a junction with the Elora Subdivision and its station served both lines. The Elora Sub is now the Elora Cataract Trailway recreational trail. Located at the junction between the two subdivisions was also a water tower for refilling steam locomotives. It at one point had an "armstrong" turntable, though it was removed around 1932. A 1962 photograph of Cataract Station, by this point with all of its windows boarded up. The switches in view on the right are yard tracks, while the junction with the Elora Subdivision is behind the photographer. Alton A depression-era structure built to replace the original Credit Valley station which burned down. Adjacent to the station was a siding for trains to pass each other with a platform in between. The Elora Mixed waits at the platform at Alton in 1953. Melville At one point a junction with the narrow-gauge Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway which was torn up about 1932, by the 1950's just a flag stop in the rural community of Melville. The tiny shelter at Melville in 1962. The crossing behind it is Highpoint Side Road. Orangeville The spot on the Orangeville Subdivision with the most expansive rail facilities was Orangeville. This was the divisional point with the Owen Sound Subdivision and Teeswater Subdivision. It had a large Victorian-style station. Southeast of that was a bunkhouse for the station agent. Beyond that was a small freight shed, and further a 5-stall roundhouse. Orangeville had a water tower to refill steam locomotives, but rather than have a spout connected to the water tower the water was carried through pipes underground to water standpipes located at either end of the station platforms. Additionally, southeast of the roundhouse was a small coaling facility built in 1952 to replace a much larger 200-ton wooden coaling tower. Orangeville is often where helper locomotives were coupled to trains heading north, as they would have to ascend a steep grade up to Fraxa Junction. The station closed in 1983 and was moved a few blocks away where it was repurposed as a restaurant. Orangeville was one of those places that had the hustle and bustle of the mainline combined with all the appeals of the branch line. Station at left, and bunkhouse behind it in this 1955 photo. The coal chute can be seen off in the distance. Sitting atop the coal chute, the photographer captures the 5-stall roundhouse and turntable, as well as the freight shed. The bunk house and station are partially obscured by trees in the distance. Note the coal hopper at left lettered for the Nickel Plate Road. Some old heavyweight passenger cars sit stored next to the roundhouse. A cold winter day in Orangeville shows #1263 with the southbound train to Toronto at the station in February 1956. The bunkhouse is partially obscured by the smoke. Note the water standpipe at the south end of the platform. Closing Remarks and Further Resources While perhaps a little on the ambitious side, I think that a period route from Streetsville to Orangeville would be a welcome addition to Train Sim World, especially once steam locomotives are introduced. It could offer a fair mix of everything, and I think people would especially appreciate the scenic portion near Forks of the Credit. If anyone from Dovetail is reading this and wants to know where they could find more information to accurately represent this route, I know of some other resources that can assist further. Many of the photos used in this post are from Ray Kennedy's Old Time Trains website, which you can find here: http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/ A great treasure trove of old photos from the steam and early diesel area in southern Ontario with plenty of information. While it doesn't cover the whole route, the City of Toronto Archives has aerial photographs of the area from about Streetsville to north of Brampton as early as 1968. It could help significantly in understanding the track layout and building placement. You can find that here. If further information is needed, feel free to contact the Toronto Railway Historical Association. Their historian Derek Boles is very knowledgeable and has authored numerous articles on railway history in the Toronto area.