Canadian Pacific Railway
Agincourt, Scarborough, Leaside, Don
Oshawa Subdivision Mile 96.3 Agincourt to Mile 109.1 Toronto (middle of Union Station)
This section of track was equipped with an Automatic Block Signal System (ABS) which was controlled by the Operators at Don, Leaside and Agincourt stations, under the Terminal Supervisor (train dispatcher). This system of train movement control was replaced by a Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) system in 1961.
Agincourt Mile 96.3 Oshawa Subdivision
Trenton Pick Up, eastbound at Agincourt, switching
International Waxes. 9.30 a.m. January 7, 1959.
Agincourt is the junction point on the original O&Q mainline (Peterboro Sub. later Havelock Sub.) where the new Lake Shore Line (Oshawa Sub. later Belleville Sub.) meet.
Located at the top of the assisting grade from Leaside and therefore beyond the Yard Limits, Agincourt was in steam days switched by the Trenton Pick Up. The only industry there was an old one, International Waxes.
With the coming of Toronto Yard, a few more industries located in the area and are switched by the Agincourt Industrial yard assignment. Including the team track where one of the main customers was Bick's Pickles.
8921 leaving Toronto Yard westbound on the Havelock Sub. passing Agincourt station.
Scarboro Industrial Spur. c. Mile 97.96 Oshawa Sub. (Mile 201.36 Belleville Sub.)
Located between Leaside and Agincourt at Warden Avenue and Ellesmere Road in Scarborough this industrial spur ran 3.4 miles south to Eglinton Avenue East serving a number of small industries as well as CGE and Volkswagen. Ashtonbee Team Track, small two track facility was located at Ashtonbee and Thermos Roads.
It was switched by the Scarboro Turn, a road job from
Lambton. Later it became the Scarboro Industrial Yard out of Toronto
Yard. With the decline of rail service to private sidings the spur
was shortened and finally it was only 0.76 miles long when abandonment
was approved on August 3, 1994 to be effective in 30 days.
NOTE: This trackage should not be confused with the Scarboro Pit Spur which ran off the Oshawa Sub. (Mile 194.7 Belleville Sub.) just east of Toronto Yard for 2.0 miles. Its abandonment was January 10, 1997.
Don River bridge
650 feet approximately
8921 with the Transfer westbound at Mile 205.18 of
the Belleville Sub. just east of Leaside.
Another view years earlier with a local running as
Extra 999 West between Donlands and Leaside.
Extra 8456 West c.mile 102.5 Oshawa Sub. nearing end
of downgrade approaching Leaside mile 103.6 .
Donlands (Jct. CNR) Mile 102.3 Oshawa Sub.
Connection with CN's Oriole spur from Bala Sub. used in connection with Joint Section trackage to reach Leaside Yard, local industries and North Toronto Sub. Joint Section to Davenport.
Leaside Mile 103.6
CPR once planned a major facility of yards and shops in Leaside, over 1000 acres were acquired at the same time as all of the CNoR activities at Leaside and North Toronto. Had this been built none of the traffic congestion problems that plagued the CPR for many years would have resulted. The situation was further worsened by the abandonment of the line between Orillia and Lindsay, which carried the heavy grain traffic from Fort William and Port McNicoll to Montreal and Saint John. This near-sighted Depression abandonment came back to haunt them when traffic levels returned to normal then went on to greatly increase with Wartime demands. This would obviously have replaced all of West Toronto since it was only at that time that Lambton yard was built. To compare sizes, Toronto Yard was only 432 acres when it opened about 50 years later in 1964. No doubt much of the land was intended for industries that would bring additional traffic.
In the end the CPR only built a small yard of about a dozen tracks on the north side of the mainline. It served mostly local industry, and provided some relief for Lambton yard. Westbound London trains would run with engine and van from Lambton to lift their train there after having been set off by a train arriving from the north. The Leaside Local, a yard job originating at Lambton, had a fourth yardman to "mark up" the cars etc. for switching. The only other yard job to have a fourth man was the King Street Shed, although the Parkdale Lead was assisted by a Rider. A few industries eventually developed along the south side including Crothers Equipment (a Caterpillar dealer), IBM and Coca Cola, along with a small freight shed last used by a small freight forwarder Otter Freightways, who shipped Pool cars to Ottawa. These industries were switched by the Leaside Industrial, a yard job working out of Lambton ,(Toronto Yard after it opened). The pool cars were switched and taken directly to Parkdale for 910. Eventually, Leaside was used mostly for storage and Interchange and now even the interchange is gone!
The original station was replaced in 1946 with a very modern style of station that CPR was building at various locations including Owen Sound, Marathon, Red Rock, White River, in Ontario and elsewhere. It was closed as an Agency, February 28, 1973. Once used by many trains it last served a few commuters using the Havelock Budd Car until its discontinuance by VIA Rail in September 1982. Between 1975 and 1983 (closed May 29th) it operated as the Village Station Restaurant owned by CP Hotels. It was the first of a planned series of such restaurants. Several old passenger cars were incorporated into it. It was not very successful for a number of reasons not the least of which was the food. Since it was owned by CP Hotels people no doubt associated that with the Royal York. Unfortunately, you didn't get Royal York quality food since it was prepared by Cara Foods who also supplied CP Air. The other factor was its somewhat out of the way location, which wasn't easy to find. It did a good lunch business due to area workers, but it wasn't sufficient to keep it going. Some of the passenger cars wound up at the Ossawippi Express Dining Cars in Orillia to expand it. It changed hands a number of times but eventually failed and was bankrupt April 1, 2010. Some cars were disbursed and others scrapped as late as 2017. Following this the former station was rebuilt in 1984 into offices for the CCAC (Customer Credit and Accounts Centre), a centralized freight accounting office which took over from local station agents. It too ended some years later with further centralization after which it was used as the CPR Police office when they moved out of Union Station. In April of 2009 the property was sold to the province for future GO service.
2200 with a very short passenger train at old Leaside station likely
off the Peterboro Subdivision
Dayliner 9051 stopped at Leaside eastbound
to Peterboro. April 30, 1955
2233 and 5417 an Extra West to London. The power and
van would have come over from Lambton Yard.
Building in the background: The Corrugated Paper Box Co.
2659 waiting at Leaside to assist another train "Up
Wexford" to Agincourt.
Sunday, July 15,1956 Toronto Public Library/Salmon Collection
The diesels are creeping in. 4027 an Alco FA-1 doubleheads
with 2804 with eastbound second class train.
2815 with FA and RS-3 eastbound up Wexford.
After trying since 1886 to get a route from the east directly to downtown Toronto the Don branch between Leaside Junction and Toronto opened for freight trains September 7, 1892. It saw its first scheduled passenger train on May 14, 1893 following an agreement July 26,1892 with the GTR to use their station. (With an 1895 expansion it became a "Union" station.) Prior to that trains between Montreal and Toronto had to operate by way of (West) Toronto Junction and Parkdale in both directions. The delay was due to difficulties in getting a right of way along the Esplanade, an already crowded area, and to the objection of the Toronto Belt Line Railway which felt there wasn't room for another track in the narrow valley.
The Don Branch which parallels the Don River is on a steep (1.75%) grade northbound requiring an assist engine from Parkdale (freight) or Union Station (for heavy passenger trains) to Leaside and often onward to Agincourt. Fast freight 910, known for many years as "Mae West" handled mostly LCL shed cars and other "rush" traffic from Parkdale to Montreal. 910 usually required two assist engines, one as far as Leaside due to the much steeper grade "up the Don", while the second continued on to Agincourt. It was the only freight train that used this route (although it sometimes operated in two sections) until the coming of the Piggyback trains. The name Don Branch came about as a result of an Order in Council authorizing its constuction as an extension of the O&Q main line, once named the Oshawa Subdivision and re-named the Belleville Subdivision. It is referred to simply as the "Don". At one time it was controlled by an electric staff block system.
The closing of Parkdale Yard reduced the importance of the Don Branch. The last train was 405 (old 965) March 4, 1986. It continued being used by the Circle yard job out of Toronto Yard to the Ash Bay area until finally in 2007 servicing of the very few remaining customers was handled by CN. It was reopened in December 2007 for one movement, the Holiday (Christmas) Train. Finally, it was sold April 2009 to Ontario for future GO train service. It was intended to be used for the Richmond Hill service rerouted via the CN Oriole spur to get the route away from the sometimes troublesome Bala Sub. when the Don River flooded. However, a costly tunnel would have been needed to get the CPR mainline and this likely killed off the idea. The use of the Oriole Spur by so many GO trains would have bothered all the new residents used to a lonely CN transfer once a day.
Don Mile 107.1
OS Don 1955
April 1964 Al Paterson
This C.P.R. station was jointly used by Canadian National
Railways (as was the C.N.R. station at Sunnyside to the west).
Proposed new, large
8917 Train Master with the City Transfer westbound
to Parkdale Yard.
New GP35's 8202_8208_lead an RS-18 and a covered
wagon passing Don station. July 16, 1964 John Mellow
8202 (re# 5002) first unit of 24 ordered, 8208 (re#5008) GMD A2035, A2041 5/1964.
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