Ontario variety show
VIA Rail train No. 73 is pulling into the Woodstock station on time on Sept. 20, 2011. The train operates daily between Toronto and Windsor. Michael D. Harding

Woodstock, Ontario

Woodstock is a city of 38,000 in southwestern Ontario, located between Hamilton and London. The city promotes itself as “The Friendly City” and is known as the Dairy Capital of Canada.

Woodstock is the seat of Oxford County and is a center of automotive manufacturing. Both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific own track through Woodstock, and the Ontario Southland Railway enters town on a branch to interchange with CP. VIA Rail Canada passenger trains call on the Woodstock station located on the CN main line. There, three specially painted boxcars display VIA’s past, present, and future across the tracks from the station.
icon_railroad_45TRAIN WATCHING
The busiest line through Woodstock is the CN main line from Toronto to London with about 25 trains daily, about 15 freight and 10 VIA passenger trains. The VIA trains operate in the busy Toronto-Windsor corridor. The station is located on the south side of downtown. Wellington Street curves up and over the CN main from the parking lot side of the depot and has sidewalks on both sides of the bridge crossing the tracks. Between the station and the overpass, there are a variety of safe train-watching vantage points in the immediate area.

The next busiest line through Woodstock is the CP main line with 20 trains daily. The line follows the Thames River into town from the northeast. Vansittart Avenue crosses both the railroad and the river on a high bridge that features sidewalks on both sides for safe viewing. Tecumseh Street drops down to track level from the north end of the bridge and follows alongside the CP main to a small yard that also serves as an interchange point with Ontario Southland.

The short line, which uses Montreal Locomotive Works power, makes its entry into town from the southwest, following the road from Ingersoll. It crosses the CN on a diamond at Carew, which is readily visible from the Ingersoll Road crossing. Ontario Southland interchanges with CP every weekday and often on weekends.

CN and VIA radio chatter is sparse, so a productive strategy for train-watching entails hanging out along CN and listening for CP. CP trains receive track warrants on the radio, which tip off train-watchers to their approach and allows time to reposition to their line.
tracksideicon_frequencyRAILROAD FREQUENCIES
CP, 161.325; CN Road, 161.415; CN Dispatcher, 161.205; Ontario Southland, 160.575.
tracksideicon_famFOR YOUR FAMILY
The Woodstock area features all the amenities of a small city, including a museum, art gallery, and a historic shopping district with specialty stores and boutiques. London, with all of its cultural, sports, and entertainment attractions, is less than 30 miles west.
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