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“History and Trains”

York-Durham Heritage Railway
Ranked #5 of 19 things to do in Uxbridge
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Attraction details
Owner description: The York Durham Heritage Railway is a non-profit heritage and tourist railway. The YDHR operates train excursions between Stouffville and Uxbridge on weekends from June to October using restored heritage equipment. The YDHR also maintains a small museum inside the 1904 restored Grand Trunk train station. Visit our website for up to date schedules and fares.
Reviewed July 9, 2012

My wife and I took our boys, 5 and 7 to Uxbridge to explore the York-Durham Heritage Railway. We arrived on July 8, 2012 and found that parking was limited. There is some parking behind the station on a dirt lot or along Railway Street. If you do park on Railway Street make sure you don't block the GO Transit bus stop. The Uxbridge Train Station is only used for the YDHR. It is in great original shape and kept clean. The landscaping is nice too. One of the waiting rooms has been made into a country type antique store. The back of the station is a small museum with many interesting artifacts from Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways. There is also an old handcart and a motorized rail cart. The station has one washroom that can accommodate one person at a time. The wooden passenger platform is in excellent shape and just outside the station door. To the north there is a ramp to allow wheelchair access to the train.

While we were waiting we took a horse wagon ride through a few blocks near the train station. It was sponsored by the Farmer's Market while we were there and no cost. I don't know if it's always sponsored by the market or not. It was a pleasant ride with the family. On a side note, the Farmer's Market, just up the road, is a great place to walk through and spend an hour or so.

We were going to be riding on the 2:30 pm train and arrived at 1:40 pm. There's no need to be that early but we were already in the area. We were told that there was a delay and that the train would be late arriving. As a result the train didn't depart until 3:00 pm. The staff at the station are very nice and they are all volunteers. We purchased our tickets at about 2:45 pm and it was $48.00 for my wife and I. Our two boys were free because it was "Teddy Bear" day and children with a Teddy Bear rode free. Seats are not assigned. We boarded the train and made our way into the second passenger coach. The seats were arranged in groups of four with one large window that had two smaller glass panels that could slide horizontally to allow some outside air into the car. This is an historical train and has no air conditioning. The seats are fairly comfortable but don't recline. The nice thing about this train is that passengers are allowed to leave their seats. The first car is an old baggage car that has two washrooms and a small convenience counter that sells cold drinks, freezies & candy. Very nice when there's no air conditioning.

Once the train departed there was entertainment for the kids. A "Teddy Bear" doctor passed through the coaches and provided an exam of each child's bear. Two guitar players were going from coach to coach singing kid's songs and a clown made a balloon for each child. Each seating cluster had a stuffed animal hanging above the window. I think this type of entertainment is only provided on themed trains, such as "Teddy Bear" day.

The coach was very hot and the windows provided very little breeze. This is something that I would expect from an historical train. I've traveled on many of them over the years all over North America.

The train doesn't move very fast, but most historical trains don't. The first portion of the trip from Uxbridge doesn't offer much scenery and the brush is so close to the track that it scrapes along the sides of the train. Don't put any part of your body outside of the windows. Once the train clears that area you begin to see marshes, open fields and level crossings. It's a pleasant ride. At Lincolnville the train enters the Canadian National mainline and must wait for clearance at the signal. We waited about 20 minutes for the clearance. Once clearance was given the train proceeded and stopped at the Stouffville GO Station. We were only there fifteen minutes because the train was so late.

The train left Stouffville and there were only about a dozen passengers on the train. Most tend to board at Stouffville. Since this was the final trip and the train is yarded in Uxbridge there weren't many people. This allowed us to explore the train more freely. Most of the coaches were the same as ours. The very last coach was older than the rest and had bench seats that grouped four passenger together. The seating wasn't as comfortable and was much more cramped, but each seat cluster had one window that opened fairly wide. It was much cooler in this coach and we rode most of the trip back to Uxbridge in that coach.

Just past Lincolnville the train stopped at a siding and the diesel locomotive went from the rear of the train, back to the front. The trip then continued.

Overall we really enjoyed it and my boys were asking to do it again soon. Keep in mind the scenery isn't spectacular and that the main attraction is to ride an historical train.

3  Thank OTRC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dknight2008, Social Media Manager at York-Durham Heritage Railway, responded to this reviewResponded July 18, 2012

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell others about your experience with the YDHR. Teddy bears always are popular on our themed train days. I do apologize for the delay in departing that day as the extreme heat and the newly installed signals from GO Transit (the operator of that stretch of the line) were a challenge for us that we managed to overcome on that day. The details and photos you have provided will be very helpful to future travelers. Keep an eye on our website as several new theme days are planned for this season. We are glad you enjoyed the ride on our heritage train and hope to see you again in the near future!

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Reviewed July 2, 2012

We took the YDHR on Canada Day, one of the hottest days of the year (32 plus) and quickly discovered that the train is not air conditioned and he intercom was not functioning. The slider windows were open as wide as possible, but due to the low speed (<15 MPH) there was barely a breeze. The train is worn out. the plexiglass windows are hazy, kinda like looking through a fog. Vegetation along the railway line is so close to the edge of the tracks that many branches struck the window, so sticking your arms out to catch a breath of air was hazardous. There simply isn't much to see along the line except for a few swamps and a sand quarry or two. Our 1.5 hour layover in Uxbridge was met by a horse drawn wagon for a short tour of town, again not much to see in Uxbridge. The station houses a small museum and a concession sells chocolate bars and ice cream. There are no restaurants or other facilities nearby so bring your own lunch if you travel from Stouffville to Uxbridge...perhaps in reverse there are more options, but the layover in Stouffville is less than 30 minutes. A chip wagon or hot dog cart could make a tidy sum at either end of the line. All in all it was another train ride experience. Staff were friendly and made every effort to accommodate passengers where they could.

1  Thank olegar31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 4, 2012

Hi. Thank you for your review and for taking the time to ride with us. Our heritage coaches are 1950's era (and earlier) and, as such, do not have modern air conditioning. We do offer passengers the option of riding in our baggage car with its large open double loading doors or upgrading their seat to ride in the caboose with its large upper open windows. Plans are underway to offer more varied passenger seating options. In Uxbridge, there are two full service restaurants within a two to three minute walk from the station. Our Stouffville stopover has several fast food and cafe options right near the tracks; passengers on our morning trip to Stouffville have just under fifty minutes to explore the shops and restaurants or they can stay in town and be picked up on our afternoon trip. We encourage you to keep an eye on our website for the latest news on our upcoming passenger travel options. If there is anything we can do to make your next trip with us more comfortable, feel free to call or email us. Thanks.

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Reviewed March 25, 2012

I live in Uxbridge, my son loves trains so we took a ride and I am a huge believer in preserving historic buildings and so on such as this. The one thing is, if you are looking to take a ride with a view, it is not for you. I really believe Durham needs to clean up the massive amounts of brush that cover any type of view, you get peoples trashy yards or a sand quarry. I was disappointed to find that none of our community members were on the train supporting. There were a ton of people from other countries speaking different languages, we felt like we were no longer in our town, but at least someone was paying to keep it running. If the case is that it is attracting a lot of Torontonians, they really need to make it look more appealing to bring in continuing riders from the outside. I know I won't be back on because it reminded me of riding the subway in downtown TO. I was hoping for a small town feel, but it felt like a geto slum ride.

2  Thank chebryry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2011

We took this heritage train, which runs from Stouffville to Uxbridge,as a treat for my two grandsons.The trip takes about an hour and then you spend about an hour in Uxbridge to go shopping or have lunch or anything you want to do before coming back.. I believe you can book a little tour = but we did not do that. The train ride is great fun. They have a little booth on the train you can buy coffee.tea and snacks. They have a clown on board that makes up balloon animals for the little kids.( My two got a sword.) Best of all they have a couple called "Shoes and Socks" they play instruments and lead a singsong all the time on the train.Oh what fun we had , my friend was with me and we enjoyed it more than the boys as they did not know some of the songs. When did you last sing along to "Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah" You should check out there schedule as they run mostly in the summer but have lots of special runs = even a Xmas one. This train is restored and run by volunteers and is really worth the ride. Loads of fun for young and old.A group of "The Red Hat Society" ladies were on at the same time as us and had a ball.

2  Thank wendy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dknight2008, Social Media Manager at York-Durham Heritage Railway, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2012

Thanks for your positive review! At the York-Durham Heritage Railway, our volunteers are always glad to hear about great guest experiences such as the one you have written about. I will be sure to pass along your kind words to them. We all volunteer with the YDHR for the love of railways and preserving their history for all to enjoy! The on-board entertainment was enhanced for our 2011 season and it definitely is receiving similar praises to your comments. We hope to see you on board again real soon!

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Reviewed October 23, 2011

Went here on a Saturday for their fall colours train. It's a vintage train car, with the conductor and ticket takers dressed in old timey costumes. The ride took about two hours and we were entertained with a singer/guitarist, magician and clown making balloon animals. It was an enjoyable train ride, even though most of the leaves had already fallen on the ground by the end of October, so go earlier if leaves are your goal. Buy your ticket an hour early: there was a long line for tickets. The train is run entirely by volunteers, and it was well done, and children will like it. The train station has a two-room free museum with memorabilia. When we went they also had colouring books and a Halloween costume contest for children. We went to a nearby farm afterward for a corn maze and pumpkin patch and spent a nice, full day in the area out in the country.

4  Thank MaryG_from_Toronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dknight2008, Social Media Manager at York-Durham Heritage Railway, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2012

Thanks for your kind words. We strive to allow our guests to experience a little bit of history when they come and ride with us while providing a couple hours of entertainment for their families. We are glad that you enjoyed your time on board, in our station museum, and got some time to explore our town of Uxbridge. We hope you will come for another ride with us in 2012!

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