One of the most special aspects of the Iron Horse Festival is its continued roots to St. Thomas’s railway heritage. St. Thomas was once a huge hub for the railway industry, with eight major rail companies bringing through over 100 trains a day by 1914. We largely owe the development of our town into the city it is today to the prosperity the railway brought. This central part of our history will be proudly displayed at the festival as always, with tons of great railway activities bringing our past to life.
The Iron Horse takes place right next to both the Canadian Southern (CASO) Station and the Elgin County Railway Museum, both hugely significant rail assets for St. Thomas. Enter the CASO Station to discover one of our biggest buildings, built in 1871. The CASO Station is now home to the North American Railway Hall of Fame, and will once again host the festival’s Psychic Fair. You can also explore the many artifacts and displays of the Railway Museum, once a Michigan Central locomotive repair shop. The museum will also host the Kids’ Junction and Fresh Fest.
The BX Tower on Moore Street will be open for tours throughout the festival. The Tower was constructed in 1910 as a control point at the junction of the L&PS and MCR rails, serving to prevent accidents.
Perhaps the best representation of our railway legacy living on at the festival is the train rides! Each day, there will be free train rides departing the festival for a trip around the Railway City. You can pick up your tickets on the day-of from the CASO station on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Take the many opportunities presented by the Iron Horse to immerse yourself in our railway heritage, as there’s no better way to do so than this historic and fun festival!