Woodstock is the seat of Oxford County and is a center of automotive manufacturing. Both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific own track through Woodstock, and the Ontario Southland Railway enters town on a branch to interchange with CP. VIA Rail Canada passenger trains call on the Woodstock station located on the CN main line. There, three specially painted boxcars display VIA’s past, present, and future across the tracks from the station.
The next busiest line through Woodstock is the CP main line with 20 trains daily. The line follows the Thames River into town from the northeast. Vansittart Avenue crosses both the railroad and the river on a high bridge that features sidewalks on both sides for safe viewing. Tecumseh Street drops down to track level from the north end of the bridge and follows alongside the CP main to a small yard that also serves as an interchange point with Ontario Southland.
The short line, which uses Montreal Locomotive Works power, makes its entry into town from the southwest, following the road from Ingersoll. It crosses the CN on a diamond at Carew, which is readily visible from the Ingersoll Road crossing. Ontario Southland interchanges with CP every weekday and often on weekends.
CN and VIA radio chatter is sparse, so a productive strategy for train-watching entails hanging out along CN and listening for CP. CP trains receive track warrants on the radio, which tip off train-watchers to their approach and allows time to reposition to their line.