In 1834, a charter for the London & Gore Railroad was granted. It was given for the purposes of constructing a single or double wooden or iron railway from London to Burlington Bay. Then in 1845, a grant was given for the London & Gore Railway to expand its rail line to the Detroit River. After this expansion the name was changed to the Great Western Railroad, which became the first railway across southern Ontario.
In 1848, the first suspension bridge was constructed at the foot of Bridge Street. A settlement grew up around the Canadian terminus of this bridge and became known as the Village of Elgin and a similar settlement sprung up around this bridge on the American side, the Village of Bellevue.
In 1849, a grant was given to extend the Great Western Railway to Niagara Falls and the contractor was Samuel Zimmerman Service between Hamilton and Niagara Falls began in November of 1853. The first steam engine was the “Great Western”. During the maiden trip the rail bed gave way approximately six miles from Niagara Falls stopping the train from proceeding any further. In order to connect this railroad to the American shore, the Great Western Railroad had to build a bridge to span the Niagara River Gorge.
On March 8th 1855, the first locomotive named “London” crossed the bridge. It was one of the largest engines of its time, weighing 23 tons and it crossed at a speed of 13 km/h (kilometres per hour). This new railway bridge gave the Great Western Railroad a direct connection to New York.
In 1884, the Great Western Railroad became known as the Grand Trunk Railroad.
In 1923, the Grand Trunk Railroad was purchased by the Canadian National Railroad.