The opening of Toronto Yard in April of 1964 Lambton Yard assumed a new role since it was no longer the main freight marshalling yard. Lambton became a secondary yard mostly for local industry and storage.
A tower was added about 1963 next to the yard office near
the block of Here 13. This was for an additional yardmaster and was intended
to get them used to working in a tower as would be done at the new hump
yard at Agincourt. It stood vacant for some time following the opening
of Toronto Yard before it was dismantled.
One-of-a-kind 8921 "Empress of Agincourt" and 8738 arriving at Lambton on the Transfer,
April 1974. Ron Lipsett.
Note: Yardmaster's tower next to yard office was no longer in use.
More views of 8921 at Lambton. Demonstrator photos of this engine.
The old wooden Car Department building in the Here Yard was demolished along with the tiny wooden beanery located between it and the yard office when Toronto Yard opened.
Due to the distant location of Toronto Yard and the lack of public transportation, plus the fact many employees lived near Lambton, an employee shuttle train using Budd Cars (RDC) was operated around-the-clock, seven days a week from Keele Street.
West Toronto Yard lost most of its shops following the opening of Toronto Yard in April 1964. This included all of the car shop buildings, powerhouse, stores building and the RIP tracks themselves. The two auxiliary trains of course went to Toronto Yard as well. Remaining was the Erecting Shop minus the Blacksmith shop and the tender shop and office building. The transfer table remained in use, as did the turntable along with most of the roundhouse. The Back Shop was no longer required by Motive Power, so it was taken over by the Maintenance of Way as an equipment maintenance shop. Here track machines were overhauled in winter. A portion of the Machine Shop was used by the Stores Department, while the roundhouse was used by the Signals Department, and the B&B (Bridge and Building Department). These structures remained in use until 1999 when all were demolished to make way for a Supermarket, which was sold before it opened. It became a lumber and building supplies store under the name Revy. The coaling tower was long-gone as was the ice house many years earlier, certainly pre-1955.
West Toronto Freight Shed located near the Diamond, and just west of the Depot was demolished December 1978 following the end of LCL service. An overhead crane, and team tracks were located between the Shed and the Depot, and these too were eliminated. Part of the shed was built under the Old Weston Road bridge which was closed to automobile traffic in 1972 due to its deteriorated condition, and later to pedestrians. The eastbound Galt Sub. mainline had a 25mph curve that made its way between bridge supports. Realignment of this curve late in 1979 to 50mph required demolition of the bridge, leaving the long street approaches in place for many more years. It was not until 1999 that the north approach was finally removed to allow for construction of the Wye Connection between the Mac Tier Sub. and the Galt Sub. via yard tracks.
Old subway on Runnymede Road, looking north.Galt Subdivision mainline is closest to camera. R.L.Kennedy
A new underpass was constructed at Runnymede Road after decades of waiting, widening it from one narrow lane in each direction to two lanes each way. The street alignment was straightened out at the same time eliminating an abrupt curve necessary to take it across the City of Toronto boundary into York Township. The City would not fund the subway but, the Township did. Streetcar tracks once ran through the subway but, were never used. Work began May 25,1982 and re-opened to road traffic August 5,1983. It had been impossible prior to the opening of Toronto Yard to disrupt railway operations to rebuild the underpass.
View looking north. Engine 6523 sitting on the bridge January 1981. Note the fencing and compare to next view which shows the new completed underpass. Once again, note the fencing, now you can see how the road was straightened out and widened. New houses are on Maria St. Old floodlight tower has been replaced by a modern one out of view to the right or east. July 1984. Both photos: R.L.Kennedy Note: Both will enlarge.
Same view, September 6,
1954 Toronto Public Library/Salmon Collection
Runnymede Road, south of St.Clair Ave.W. looking south, showing old subway (underpass) and new Lambton Yard Office. Left, view from east sidewalk at laneway north of Ryding Avenue. Right, west sidewalk and original fencing at the old "big gate" entrance. The roundhouse was once located behind the camera. R.L.Kennedy Note: Both images will enlarge.
Old layout of tracks. New yard office just visible at
left. Engine sitting on Here Yard lead. Next is the Center Lead, "hump"
towards West Toronto can be detected by the slight downgrade beyond second
Rebuilt yard following the new underpass construction.
Note the realigned tracks, some coming farther over the bridge to the
middle lead, with wider spacing, and the new, low Racor, run-through,
"rubber" switches. These switches can be trailed through (without
damage) without stopping to align them. July 1984. Note slag ballast,
hard to walk on and the new floodlight tower. Crew working the Big Lead,
Bob Stroud in right foreground, in distance Russ Clarke and Jake Bishop.
Dick Jefferson on engine 1240 out of sight. Sitting in to clear is 250A
the Day Transfer, 5731-8921 with engineer George Koch. July 1984. R.L.Kennedy
Jane Street underpass had been rebuilt previously beginning June 1,1971 and re-opening to road traffic November 2,1972. Keele Street (built c.1890, rebuilt 1928) and Scarlett Road (1912), both remain at their original narrow width.
A new freight shed for pool cars was built on the site of Lambton Roundhouse in 1966. It replaced the smaller North Toronto Shed being used by Tormon (Toronto-Montreal Assembly Agency) which handled traffic for various Department store chains.
Later, this operation was again relocated, this time to an even bigger shed at Toronto Yard. The shed and office were rebuilt in 1982 to enclose the box cars while being loaded. This time the tenant was another Pool Car operator, Consolidated FastFrate, which relocated from a smaller shed at Parkdale. Musical sheds! Labour Day weekend of 2000 saw one more move, when Fast Frate relocated from Lambton to a brand new shed at Vaughan Intermodal Terminal, it opened September 5th. The change over from box cars to containers was now complete, there is not one piece of track at the new shed!
The first major alteration to the yard (other than building Lambton shed), was the result of a new type of intermodal train, RoadRailer, which began May 15,1991. This system uses specially reinforced and equipped highway trailers and "bogies", or special trucks. It resulted in the removal of several tracks, 10, 12, 14-21 in Lambton Yard, leaving 11 and 13 and paving the entire roadrailer area.
Iron Highway was a new method of handling piggyback trailers. It later became Expressway.
Lambton Yard "closed"
The most serious change, following the opening of Toronto Yard came about on October 20,1989, after a previously rejected proposal in June 1987. In an ill-conceived attempt to consolidate operations, Lambton Yard was "closed", at least officially. The operation was shutdown with local trains being re-assigned to Obico Yard or Toronto Yard, where the long-missing group of classification tracks was finally built and a third Pulldown job was assigned to cope with the increased traffic. The Roadmaster sat poised; it was intended to rip up all of West Toronto Yard! Had this happened it would have been disasterous, as there was simply no place else aside from Leaside, to store equipment, especially empty intermodal flats. Lambton would remain for trains setting-off or lifting. One employee worked out of the closed section men's shanty, called a "Switching Supervisor", he was in fact a yardmaster, and a car checker or anything else needed! This was a failure, due to the long distance to Toronto Yard causing overtime and delays getting traffic to/from there, along with congestion etc. After too long a period of time, following the transfer of the management people involved in this fiasco, the yard was re-opened, although everyone knew it had never really been closed. Gradually, yard jobs were re-established at Lambton beginning with 18A at 0700 March 21,1994.
Late in 2008 a big Recession hit North America and Lambton Yard was once again closed in April 2009. This eliminated four yard jobs; 10A 18C 19B and 80D. (last job 10A engine 1578-1013 Sunday, April 26, 2009) Also 250A Transfer ex Toronto Yard. Local trains (Streetsville RS, Obico A and Obico B) were relocated to Toronto Yard. Recovery of traffic brought about changes starting before Christmas 2010 when a yard engine (3 man crew inc. engineer, no more "Pitch and Catch" remote control) was established "24x7" as they say. These four jobs were called Lifter 1, etc. and were used to switch cars being lifted by outbound trains such as Honda traffic from Aliston. A Spence job operating to Toronto Yard was rerouted into Lambton to save travel time and delay. These were the only jobs. No other positions, management or car department were re-established. Finally, in May of 2011 the yard was fully reopened with a supervisor of train operations around the clock. (Down from 5-7 management people previously at Lambton). Local trains were moved back including the Emery, Obico and Streetsville jobs. A carman on days and afternoons was also restored.
Connecting Track at the Diamond
A new wye track was also built from the MacTier south and west into West Toronto Yard, opened July 19, 1999. Additionally, moves could now be made to and from the Galt Sub. to Obico. It not only made possible this move but also permitted trains to move easily in and out of the yard without backup moves which had become particularly difficult with the removal of vans (cabooses). In fact this connection had been proposed 50 years earlier! All trains to the MacTier Sub. from Lambton Yard and from MacTier to West Toronto Yard required a backup move either across the Diamond to the North Toronto Sub. or down the Galt Sub. in front of the Depot. When Lambton was the main marshalling yard this made for a lot of delay, although crews were used to doing this (without radios!), with a man on the rear platform watching and whistling, using the backup hose which included a whistle and an emergency brake valve. The whistle gave off a unique shrill blast that could be modified by holding and releasing your hand over it to give urgent warning signals. It was nowhere near as loud as a diesel horn, let alone a steam locomotive whistle, but it sufficed as a warning due to its shrillness.
One somewhat minor change resulted in history being made at Lambton Yard, when for the first time CNR trains began entering Lambton. This happened when the Interchange location was changed from Leaside to Lambton. West Toronto interchange had closed June 16, 1986 due to sharp curvature problems for new multi-level autocarriers. In the 1950's major Interchange points (places where cars were exchanged between CPR & CNR), were at West Toronto, opposite the Depot, accessed off the Old Bruce, and Parkdale/Bathurst St. While minor points included, Leaside, Cherry Street, Keating Street, Weston, and New Toronto. Consolidation of these points due to reduced traffic and a desire to make less interchanges resulted in Leaside being chosen as the only point in the Toronto area. The CNR brought their cars to Leaside for the CPR and the Transfer would handle cars between there and Toronto Yard and vice-versa. Following the closing of Leaside, the CPR took over switching the remaining four industries (APCO, House of Metals, J.R.Short and Colgate Palmolive) for CN. The first CN train on December 27, 1999 was led by CN 9433 as it pulled into West Toronto Yard via a new Connecting Track at Mile 5.48 of CN Weston Sub. (near where the single track ends), onto the CP MacTier Sub. at Mileage 0.58.
Looking northwest, Connecting track at left, Diamond with
double track CNR Weston Sub.
Looking same direction, but on Old Weston Road, Connecting
Track in foreground,
Same spot as last picture but, looking south. MacTier
Sub. on left curves to the east.
Today Lambton Yard still performs a vital role in handling freight traffic to and from all parts of Canada and the US although most of it is no longer for local industries since they have nearly all left the West Toronto area, many simply no longer in existence. What the future holds no one knows for sure but it is likely that Lambton Yard will continue to be of use for some time to come.