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Ontario - Muskoka Heritage Place Portage Flyer

Huntsville, ON - The Portage Flyer steam train began its proud legacy as the world's smallest commercial railroad, operating from 1904 until 1959 in Dwight Ontario. Transportation in Muskoka around the early 1900's meant for "some fun with steam" as visitors and supplies chugged along The Muskoka River aboard the Steamship Algonquin from Huntsville through Fairy Lake onto North Portage at the far end of Peninsula Lake. And that is where The Portage Flyer took over. The train served as (as its name suggests) a portage vehicle operating on 1 1/8 mile of narrow gauge track between what is still called North and South Portage. With 170 feet of elevation variance between Fairy Lake and Lake of Bays, dredging was not an option and a lock system would have proven too costly. So the Flyer was responsible for providing transport of everything from mail, cargo, building supplies and tourists to South Portage where the steamship Iroquois carried the last leg onto such lavish resorts as The Britannia Inn, The Wa Wa Hotel and the most celebrated Bigwin Inn.

In the 90's the Portage Flyer was purchased from St. Thomas where it operated as The Pinnafore Railway and relocated closer to its origin At Muskoka Heritage Place. Thanks to countless volunteer efforts and generous donations, track was laid and the Rotary Village Station was completed and equipped with a telegraph office. On featured days we're able to allow visitors to create a message to be wired down the line to end of the track at Fairy Lake Station where it would be waiting upon the Flyer's arrival.

We pull the authentic coaches namely, the Algonquin and Iroquois in our shoulder seasons of May, June, September and October by our 1949 diesel locomotive, so as to prolong the steam engine's longevity. Whichever locomotive is pulling the authentic coaches expect a return journey that will take about 30 minutes.

Site URL: https://www.muskokaheritageplace.ca/en/discover-the-museum/steam-museum.aspx
Date resource added: 16-Jul-2000
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