Formed in 1954 and opened in 1972, I didn’t know the Halton County Radial Railway and streetcar museum existed until a few months ago. Better yet, it’s just a 30 minute drive from my house. With a pair of kids that go batty at the sight of any form of rail vehicle, this place is a newly found wonderland for my family.
It’s not Canada’s Wonderland. Yet, it’s not some stuffy museum, either. Admission allows you unlimited return trips up and down the one kilometre track on some beautifully restored vintage street cars. The indoor museum itself is partially hands on and includes a train of retired TTC subway cars that you can walk through.
Halton County Radial Railway Image Gallery
Click on the individual pictures for full-size, high resolution versions.
What You’ll Find At The HCRR
The Halton County Radial Railway features a one kilometre track that takes riders back through the thick woods of Central Ontario to a picnic area. At ‘Meadowvale Station’ you have the option of getting off the train or staying aboard for the return trip. At the station, there is an ice cream shop (East End Cafe), along with picnic tables scattered around the beautifully manicured gardens and wooded area.
Meadowvale station includes a frog pond that can keep kids occupied for most of the 30 minutes between trains. It should be noted that there are limited washroom facilities at this area so make sure to deal with that before you board at the main Rockwood Station. Besides the East End Cafe, there are a few other retired TTC streetcars and some old box cars. These are a long way from being restored but make for some awesome photographs.
On the day we visited, three different streetcars were alternating runs between stations. These included the London and Port Stanley Railway car #8, a train car that has a spot in my heart, having grown up in London, Ontario. The other two long ago belonged to the Toronto Transportation Commission, cars number 2894 and 327. All can be seen in the image gallery above.
Inside barns number three and four, there is a wide collection of restored streetcars, subway cars, locomotives and maintenance cars. Some are in better states of restoration that others. Some you can visit the inside of and some you can’t.
Rockwood Station is the original train station from the nearby town of Rockwood, Ontario and is beautifully restored. In the main building next to Rockwood Station, there is a gift shop, snack bar and restroom facilities.
This all started back in 1954 when a group got together to save TTC streetcar 1326 from being scrapped. The land is formerly part of the Toronto Suburban Railway and the museum held its grand opening in 1972.
The Important Details
The Halton County Radial Railway is located at 13629 Guelph Line in Milton, Ontario. It is just south of Rockwood, Ontario with Guelph Line being the road that runs along the west edge of Rockwood Conservation Area. The conservation area is a must-visit location in its own right with unique landscapes and some of Ontario’s longest caves.
The HCRR is open from May until October. In the months of May, June, September and October, the museum is open only on weekends and holidays from 10am until 5pm. During July and August, the HCRR is open daily until 4:30 on weekdays and 5:00 on weekends.
The entrance fee is quite reasonable, considering the hefty electric bill this place must get, and includes unlimited rides on the streetcars to and from Meadowvale Station. Adults pay $15 while seniors get a $2 discount. Children from 4 to 17 pay $10. If you’re awesome enough to reach the age of 90 or more, you get in free.
You may want to consider a membership – it certainly has its privileges. A regular voting family membership is just $100 annually. This includes two adults and all their children. A single person membership is $80. Membership gets you free admission, a discount at the gift shop, an opportunity to operate the streetcars, subscription to the newsletter and access to members only events.