Welcome to the virtual Public Information Centre (PIC) for the NS&T Trail Feasibility Master Plan.

The primary objective of this project is to develop a Master Plan for a city-wide trail that will link downtown Niagara Falls with nearby communities, connect parks and open spaces, and enhance recreation, tourism and active transportation opportunities across the City.

The project area extends within the general footprint of the historic Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto (NS&T) Railway corridor approximately 9.3km east-to-west across the City of Niagara Falls.

With help from public and stakeholder input, the Trail will provide an all ages and abilities connection across the City with consideration for user comfort and safety, minimizing impacts on existing infrastructure, maximizing existing connections, and providing homage to the historic NS&T Railway.

Community Feedback and Engagement: Now Closed

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the City hosted the NS&T Rail Trail Feasibility Master Plan PIC online. The engagement period has now closed. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey, place a pin on the interactive map or reach out to the project team.

For those interested, a video presentation, led by Tim O'Brien, Associate Manager of Landscape and Architecture from the IBI Group, is still available for viewing. This presentation provides a brief overview of the project, touches upon the history of the NS&T Rail Line, outlines key opportunities and constraints, identifies priority segments and alternative routes, and highlights potential trail design principles and guidelines.

An accessible PDF of the presentation is also available for viewing.

Historic Context

The NS&T started as an “interurban” electric line, which refers to streetcar-like ‘light’ electric railcars running primarily within (but also to-and-from) neighbouring cities and towns. Prior to electrification, the railway had its beginnings in the 1870s with horse-drawn streetcars.

Changing ownership throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century, the main lines of the NS&T provided service to St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Port Dalhousie, Thorold, Welland and Port Colborne and was pieced together from several smaller lines. These included the St. Catharines Street Railway, the Victoria Lawn Line and the St. Catharines & Niagara Central Railway. It wasn’t until 1899 that the NS&T was incorporated.

At its peak, the NS&T comprised roughly 120 kilometres of track and numerous yards, carrying passengers, mail, express baggage and freight. The railway’s popularity rose during World War II when bus service was reduced to ration fuel, however by the 1950’s, improved roadways and a new reliance on the automobile had critically reduced demand for the rail service. The railway slowly began to wind down and lines were gradually replaced with buses. In 1960 the NS&T fully merged into CN.

Many of the remnant lines and their vestiges remain visible throughout the City and provide the unique opportunity for a new and modern transportation network.

Source: https://www.canada-rail.com/ontario/railways/NSCT.html