Canadian National Railway
The stretch of the Canadian National Railway running to Toronto was built through Coniston in 1907. When built, it crossed the Canadian Pacific Railway lines, requiring an interlocking switching system to be installed and manned 24 hours a day. In order to provide this service, the first railway station was established in Coniston in 1912. This station was a simple boxcar which also served as the living quarters for the station's first agent, Mr. Aubrey Chiswell. Mr. Chiswell would serve as station agent for 28 years until his sudden death in 1940. Two years after the arrival of the first station, the boxcar was replaced by a new railway station. As before, the station provided living arrangements for Mr. Chiswell and his family. In 1934, the manual switching system was replaced by an electric system.
The railway station remained in operation for over 30 years until in September of 1967, the station was closed. It was later rented to the Chevron Company for many years until in 1977, the Chevron Company also closed its doors. One year later, in 1978, the structure was demolished.
Canadian Pacific Railway
In Coniston's early years, the Canadian Pacific Railway had established two stations. The first station, known as Romford Station, was built in 1905, while the second station, located in Coniston proper, was constructed in 1912.
The Romford station was manned by one station agent and two operators and controlled the three tracks that passed through the area. The station located in Coniston was a one-man operation performed by Mr. Paul Hugli. Mr. Hugli served as station agent from 1912 until his retirment in 1950. During his time with the CPR, Mr. Hugli had possibly the busiest express business in Canada in the summer months. This was because he would ship hundreds of baskets of blueberries to Toronto via the CP Express.
The Coniston railway station was responsible for the three tracks owned by the International Nickel Company (the third being added in 1932). In an average day, the track would see two ore trains from Levack, six passenger trains, fourteen freight trains, and a few other trains passing through the community.
Both railway stations operated for many years before their eventual closure. In 1970, the Coniston railway station was the first to shut down and sometime later, the structure was demolished. The Romford station managed to exist for an additional nine years, but in August of 1979, it too was closed. With its closure, so ended the existence of railway stations in Coniston.
Material compiled from The Coniston Story.