CPR Lands at Sharbot Lake

The CFRHS archives has a map of the CPR Lands around the station at Sharbot Lake during the 1950s. It was given to us years ago by George W. Miller who was an assistant chief engineer on the CPR in Montreal and a cottager at Sharbot Lake.

Unfortunately the map is now in very poor condition and it was laminated. We have been able to, however, create a digital copy of the map for all to view.

Header found on the map.


This water mark is visible on the map.

The C.P.R. Lands at Sharbot Lake, Ontario were rather unique. In a very small footprint there were many interesting features associated with a railroad:  a rail yard, a station, a water tower, a cattle pen, and a pump house, just a to name a few. Sharbot Lake was  the junction of two rail lines that ran through Sharbot Lake: the Kingston and Pembroke Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The C.P.R. side of the rail yard consisted of three tracks: the main line (Havelock Subdivision), a passing track and a siding. On the K.P. side there were two tracks: the main line (Kingston Subdivision) and a passing track.

At centre of it all was a Van Horne style station built by the Ontario and Quebec Railway in 1884.  It was a simple two-story building with protruding windows and a large, attached freight shed. It was used by both railways and was a vital commercial hub for the village handling mail, freight, passengers and baggage. Several stores and a hotel were located close by.

Sharbot Lake station circa 1923. Photo courtesy of the McJanet family.

Another impressive feature of the rail yard was the 40,000-gallon steel water tower (located near the middle of the rail yard) and the associated pump house and standpipes.

Two standpipes were located on the C.P.R. side and one on the K&P side. The pump house was located on the K&P side of the yard. Also located on the K&P side, was a motor car and tool shed, a gas shed and in earlier years, before 1945, a coal shed. On the C.P.R. side, near the water tower, there was a motor car shed. On the south side, there was a large freight shed and a tool shed. At the east end of the rail yard, a concrete overpass, built circa 1935, replaced a level crossing just west of the overpass. Just past the yard limit heading east towards Perth, Ontario, there is a creosoted ballasted deck, pile trestle over Briggs Creek at mile 20.7. Locals call it “the tar bridge”. There’s a similar bridge at mile 23.5 over Stone’s Creek.

Photo courtesy of Robert Sandusky.

Visible in the photo above: in the distance, the highway 38 overpass, a motor car shed, the water tower, the cattle pen, several telegraph poles and barely visible, a standpipe. In the foreground is the K&P track. That’s passenger train #36 heading east to Montreal.

The C.P.R. needed to crossover the K&P line at some point to proceed on its own line. A crossover track, originally installed on the west end of the causeway facilitated this. It was later relocated further east near the government dock at mile 56.65. The new crossover track was automated. Possibly the approach of a train set the switches. Two, electrically operated, gantry style semaphores and interlocking switches completed the crossover.

One of the semaphores (signal 215A/215B) – Photo courtesy of Robert Sandusky.

Location of signal 215A/215B and the control box on the map.

One of the prominent physical features on the C.P.R. lands was the huge rock cut that was blasted out when the K&P went through in the mid 1870’s. It was wide enough for two tracks. Another physical feature was the causeway, also called a dump, built by the K&P to cross the Narrows. The C.P.R. widened the causeway in 1884 on the west side to avoid paying a $14000 usage fee to the K&P.

To allow boats to pass between the upper and lower end of the lake, a wooden bridge was built on the west end of the causeway by the K&P.  This bridge does not exist there today. It’s removal date is unknown although it’s been suggested it was removed when the K&P line was closed between Tichborne and Sharbot Lake in 1964. A wooden bridge was also built on the C.P.R. side of the causeway. It was later updated to a 24′ half-deck girder bridge. It’s still there.

A cattle pen was also part of the landscape. It was located almost directly across from the water tower between the siding and Elizabeth Street. It was very noticeable with its white-washed, wooden planks. The cattle pen was removed years ago. It’s removal date is unknown.

Other items on the map:
Pump house – 22’ 8” x 17’ 6”
Motor car and tool shed – 40’ 3” x 14’
Station – 110’ 11” x 24’ 2”
Double privy (at the station)
Freight shed – 24’ 5” x 16’ 6”
Single privy (at the freight shed)
Cattle pen – 46’ 0” x 52’ 6”

No. 9 switches – qty 5 in the rail yard
No. 11 switches – qty 5 on the main line

Semaphores – two plus one (order board) in front of the station.

Area around the station.

A hand drawn plan, date unknown, author unknown.  It looks like a plan for extra lots for homes and a subdivision north of tracks. Hard to read but it documents the barber shop (also called the green house), Thompson’s saw mill, docks and the hotel garage.

Hand drawn plan of the area just west of the station.

Below is the full blue print (shown in grey scale) of the C.P.R. lands. It’s a very revealing map that details the location of the buildings, semaphores, and switches mentioned above as well the geometries of the tracks. Closer examination reveals much, much more. Have fun with the map!

Blue print of the C.P.R. lands circa 1950’s

If you have any questions about the map or spot any errors, please e-mail us at