Gallery - Great Gorge Route
The electric operation known as the Great Gorge Route was actually started in 1891 as the Niagara Falls Park & River Railway, running from Suspension Bridge to Table Rock. In later years, after the American operation, known as the Great Gorge Route started, the name was changed to the Niagara Belt Line, as well as the International Railway Company. The Canadian operation ran along the top of the gorge from Falls View to Queenston, and the new Queenston-Lewiston Suspension Bridge. On the American side, the route ran through the gorge at river level, under the GTR & MCRR bridges, and then began to gradually rise up the gorge wall to Niagara Falls, New York. It followed the top of the gorge to the Falls View Bridge (Honeymoon Bridge) and then crossed back to the Canadian Side. The gorge route was very difficult to construct, and to maintain, with rock falls and accidents. On September 11th 1932, the Canadian operations ceased, and, after a tremendous rock fall at the Whirlpool rapids, the American operation was suspended in 1935.
The NFRM has in it's collection a large number of Great Gorge Route items, among these brochures and postcards.
Below is a number of links to pages (currently there is only one) that will showcase some of these items.
Niagara Gorge Belt Line Brochure
Tickets and Tokens from the Great Gorge Route
Great Gorge Route postcard showing the curve coming around on the US side at the Whirlpool.c-1910 - NRM CollectionGreat Gorge Route car 27 is down grade under the Cantilever and Whirlpool Bridges.c-1910 - Niagara Railway Museum Inc. Collection
A Great Gorge Route car is downbound passing the Whirlpool Rapids in this postcard view. The background shows the Whirlpool and Cantilever Bridge, while the boardwalk on the Canadian side is visible at right.c-1910 - Niagara Railway Museum Inc. CollectionOne of the plaques along the Niagara Parkway, this one deals with the Niagara Falls Park & River Railway, which ran from Queenston docks to Chippawa, and was actually the start of what became the Great Gorge Route.
The plaque reads as follows:
"The Niagara River Recreation Trail at this point is laid along the former double-track roadbed of the Niagara Falls Park & River Railway. From 1892 to 1932, before there was an auto route along the gorge, this electric railway carried millions of passengers from the boat docks at Queenston to Queen Victoria Park."Ken Jones Jr.
This is the second car barn of the Great Gorge Route The first car barn burned on Feb. 12, 1906. The barn was located in the open space across from the Spanish Aero Car on River Rd.September 10th, 1932 - Niagara Railway Museum Inc. Collection3 Great Gorge Route cars await passengers at the foot of Bridge St & River Rd.
1915 - NRM Collection
Great Gorge Route car #76 and an unidentified car are heading towards the Canadian entrance to the Honeymoon Bridge. Note the other Great Gorge Route train just a little ways up the bridge. The sign on the building in the distance reads "4.4% Canadian Ale and Beer". Also note the long line of cars waiting to enter Canada.Unknown - Niagara Railway Museum Inc. CollectionGreat Gorge Route car #24 is waiting at the switch at Victoria Park. Another Great Gorge Route car is approaching from behind. Note the switch stand next to the bushes and the General Brock hotel in the background.September 11th, 1932 - Niagara Railway Museum Inc. Collection
Great Gorge Route open car #7 is seen north of the Whirlpool Bridge at river level on the American side. Note the guardrail on the outer track.Unknown - NRM CollectionThe front of a postcard depicting one of the most featured parts of the entire Great Gorge Route; Giant Rock. This geological feature can still be found in the gorge, although it is covered in a lot more vegetation now than when this painting was madeNiagara Railway Museum Inc. Collection
This image from a post card entitled “Clifton Hotel, Niagara Falls, Canada” was published by Rumsey & Co., 1528 Queen St. West, Toronto, Canada , as design #236734.
The track in the foreground shows a cable pulley, most likely used for hauling the incline car which travelled to the Maid of the Mist at river level below the Falls.
The double tracks of the Great Gorge Route can be located in the image using the line poles as a guide, although the actual trolley wire cannot be seen.Unknown - NRM Collection