Lambton Locomotive Department
Lambton Roundhouse in all its smokey glory! Paterson-George Collection
Circa 1935 photo shows shop tracks and roundhouse before
final expansion from 30 to 37 stalls.
A new roundhouse was built in 1913 at Runnymede and St.Clair to replace
the old one at West Toronto.
The roundhouse was expanded from 30 to 37 stalls (a.k.a. pits), these were longer and some contained drop pits. It required the severe shortening of Here Yard 3, 2 and 1 plus Storage yard tracks. Here 4 was equipped with a steam Barco connection at the block, it was here that the Rule Car, or Eye Car (vision test) would be spotted when visiting Lambton. Steam came from the roundhouse boiler room and also heated the Car Dept. building, (the Car Foreman's Office was at the south end next to the "Blindman's" beanery) and the yard office. A larger (100') turntable was installed on June 29, 1937, having been relocated from Sortin Yard (Montreal). This is likely about the date of the final expansion to 37 pits.
A new brick two-storey office building was constructed in 1945, immediately west of the boiler room. It contained the Locomotive Foreman's office re-located from the machine shop and other facilities. In the late 1950's the three, locomotive-style boilers were replaced by two automatic oil-fired boilers. This eliminated the need for stationery firemen to be on duty around-the-clock. There were three boilers, the third only being backup when one of the others were getting a washout or repair. The boilers were said to be from 0-6-0 yard engines, but were likely actually new ones of the same size. Following demolition of the roundhouse in the Fall of 1960 steam demand was greatly reduced and in the Fall of 1961 a single diesel locomotive steam generator unit (S.G. 11, a spare from Ogden Shops) replaced the two boilers to heat the Locomotive Foreman's Office building and the Yard Office.
The wooden coaling tower was replaced in 1945 with a modern brick and concrete structure of a 450 ton capacity, near the old one. At this time the high ramp track for hopper cars was also eliminated. The wooden water tank, near the Storage yard was replaced in 1947 by a modern, 60,000 gal. steel one next to the bunkhouse. Both were eventually demolished after the end of steam.
Left Runnymede Road, looking south from St.Clair Avenue West.
TTC Runnymede Bus has just made a left turn off St.Clair. Auto next to
it is where TTC tracks ended. ENLARGE
P2 5394 next to Stores Dept. building. G1 2235 on next
track. Looking north. August 17, 1957
Looking east from underneath the coal chutes.
This 1950's view inside the shop shows 2228 a G2 Class 4-6-2. (Note the fitter's cart in foreground). The photo comes from the Baldwin Room in the Toronto Reference Library by way of the IGA grocery store (later, Price Chopper. Now, FreshCo) on Dundas Street West just west of Runnymede Road. For a number of years in the 1970's IGA stores all around Ontario displayed local history photos in big enlargements high on the walls around the store. Original size of this sepia one is 30 inches x 30 inches and 2 inches thick.
Sunset at Sunset
An old steam locomotive slowly chugs off into the sunset,
stopping at the coal chutes,
It is 12:30 PM, Sunday May 29th, 1960 and a handful of steam locomotives are inside Lambton Roundhouse, among them 2414 and Royal Hudson 2857, waiting for a call to duty that never came. R.L.Kennedy
Summer of 1960. R.L.Kennedy Larger
Lambton roundhouse looking east towards Runnymede Road with St.Clair Avenue West, at the left of photo. This scene shows most of the facility except for the coal chutes and sand house (where this photo was taken from) and the diesel fuel tanks. At left is the bunkhouse (an old duplex) where London-based engineers and firemen stayed. A large steel water tank fed trackside stand pipes to refill steam locomotives. Next is the stores building for parts and supplies, followed by the office building for the General Locomotive Foreman (note bay window), his clerk, the shop foremen, boiler foreman, the crew clerks, and the all-important timekeeper! It also contained a booking-in room for engine crews. All this was upstairs while downstairs included the trimmer's room, lunch, locker and washrooms etc. The tall chimney stack is attached to the boiler room which adjoins the machine shop which in turn is built onto the roundhouse itself. The turntable sits in the centre and from it radiates the 37 tracks used by locomotives to enter the house where each sits over a pit to be repaired. Note the extended smoke stacks each with a large number on top to identify it to the municipal smoke inspector who would use the infamous Ringleman Smoke Chart to assess fines. Shortly after this photo was taken the roundhouse was demolished in October 1960. Diesels of various makes and models including MLW and GMD road and yard engines await their work. The remainder of these buildings and facilities were removed in later years following the opening of a new diesel shop in April 1964 at the new Hump yard in Agincourt. Later it became the site (and still is) of a freight shed used by trucks to load box cars with various kinds of small merchandise. The red Volkswagen in front of the building is the Radio Technician's van.
As diesels became more common a large new facility to refuel them was built in 1957 where the Bone Yard was once located. Two long tracks next to the fence along St.Clair Ave. West, from west of the bunkhouse to Jane Street. Here above ground tanks were filled from tank cars, but later it came by trucks which simply parked on the street and ran hoses through the fence! The refineries would supply diesel fuel at the same delivered price as by rail. Seems strange, but it meant they did not have to lease a fleet of tank cars to shuttle between Clarkson and Lambton with a slow turn around. The railway did no have to switch or haul the tank cars either! This was what is now referred to as a "Win-Win" situation. This replaced a small facility located in the Here Yard consisting of a pump house on an old OCS flat car at the block of 12, diesels used track 13, the last one, (closest to the Here Yard Lead). Tank cars were spotted in the Here yard. The new facility was removed when Lambton shop was closed. The roundhouse itself was demolished in October 1960, but the turntable and all other facilities remained in use until Toronto Yard opened in April 1964.
Looking east from underneath the coal tower. The end is near!
Following the opening of Toronto Yard a facility was still needed to service the yard and way freight engines that worked jobs remaining at Lambton. Since the large piece of property where the roundhouse and shop tracks had been located was better utilized for a new freight shed for the fast growing pool car business it was decided to reopen West Toronto. A small part of West Toronto roundhouse had been used for the maintenance of yard diesels from their first appearance in Toronto in October 1944 until the end of steam when space became available in John Street roundhouse.
The shop tracks and surrounding area had been taken over by the Maintenace of Way for a scrap dock. This was relocated and the tracks once again became shop tracks. The turntable remained in use and once again became active on a regular basis. Most of the remaining part of the roundhouse was used by Signals and by the B&B. A small locker and lunch room and booking room were re-established at the north end of the roundhouse. This continued in use for a number of years before finally being done away with. A short deadend spur on the northeast side of Runnymede Road opposite the yard office became the new "shop" track. This saved paying the engineers 15 minutes to walk to and from the yard office.