The first train pulled into Cochrane on 28 December 1908. The line was used to bring construction supplies to the area from southern Ontario. As with other railway centres, Cochrane was totally relied on the railway to bring jobs and provide a link to the outside world.
For years, the town was the northern terminus of the Ontario government’s very successful northern railway venture. The construction of a large station recognized the importance of the location and the town soon became the headquarters for much of the construction of the line throughout northeastern Ontario.
Retail businesses of every description—banks, pool halls, hotels, a barber shop, boarding houses, a bakery, and restaurants—all located along the rough, muddy streets of the town.