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Old Time Trains


Canadian Pacific Railway

Toronto Division

Agincourt, Scarborough, Leaside, Don

R.L.Kennedy

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.
2662 is a G2 class 4-6-2 Pacific type. Photo by Bob Shaw CPR Ret'd

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.

Track Map

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

Leaside high bridge

8921 with the Transfer westbound at Mile 205.18 of the Belleville Sub. just east of Leaside.
Friday, June 18, 1971 David M. More

Another view years earlier with a local running as Extra 999 West between Donlands and Leaside.
February 11, 1959 James A. Brown

Extra 8456 West c.mile 102.5 Oshawa Sub. nearing end of downgrade approaching Leaside mile 103.6 .
April 9, 1955 James A. Brown

 

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!



Official opening November 23, 1946 of the new Leaside station valued at $145,000. N.R.Crump, Vice President and General Manager, Eastern Lines is at the microphone, along with Leaside mayor H.H.Talbot. Also present were about 100-125 people. (Pop.11,000).
CPR Staff Bulletin January 1947

First CP Express shipment
arriving just before opening.

Old and new Leaside Stations

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. It changed hands but failed and was closed down. Some cars were disbursed and others scrapped. Following this it 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.


OS Leaside

A look at operations in July of 1953.


2200 with a very short passenger train at old Leaside station likely off the Peterboro Subdivision
Jim Adams/Ken MacDonald/Joseph Testagrose Collection

Dayliner 9051 stopped at Leaside eastbound to Peterboro. April 30, 1955
Toronto Public Library/James V. Salmon Collection

2233 and 5417 an Extra West to London. The power and van would have come over from Lambton Yard.
Sunday, April 15,1956 Toronto Public Library/James V. Salmon Collection

Building in the background: The Corrugated Paper Box Co.

2659 waiting at Leaside to assist another train "Up Wexford" to Agincourt.
In this case it was a Second Class train from Lambton powered by 2408 a
St.Luc engine. 2659 was a London engine. Very unusual situation as normally
both engines working this train would have been assigned to Lambton.
Note that it is displaying signals and markers having been Extra 2659 West
backing down from Agincourt to Leaside as a "light engine" movement.

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.
Warden Avenue 9/14/1957 Bill Carruthers/Bruce Chapman Collection

2815 with FA and RS-3 eastbound up Wexford.
Warden Avenue 1/17/1958 Bill Carruthers/Bruce Chapman Collection

 




Don Branch

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).
The Don station was at the T.T.R. limits. Operators issued orders to C.N. northbound and eastbound freight trains, but seldom handled anything for C.P.R. trains except for some ticket sales. A joke among the Operators was that they worked for the C.N.R. but got paid by the C.P.R.! This station opened October 19, 1896, closed December 5, 1967 and was moved in August 1969 to Todmorden Mills park. It was moved again in December 2008 to Roundhouse Park in downtown Toronto.

Note: The last train to stop at the Don was #388 the Peterboro Budd Car on Saturday, April 27, 1968 (due 6.34 p.m.) when two passengers (railfans) from Union Station detrained.

See more views of the Don station and surrounding area.

Proposed new, large station 1914
Canadian Pacific Historical Association
formerly, CP SIG; documents library.


8917 Train Master with the City Transfer westbound to Parkdale Yard.
June 15, 1965 John Mellow

New GP35's 8202_8208_lead an RS-18 and a covered wagon passing Don station. July 16, 1964 John Mellow
This is likely 929 one of three daily piggyback trains from Montreal to Toronto Coach Yard in downtown Toronto.
Note: 927 due 5.00 AM, 929 due 7.00 AM and 931 due 9.30 AM.

8202 (re# 5002) first unit of 24 ordered, 8208 (re#5008) GMD A2035, A2041 5/1964.


Next: Cherry Street, George Street, Esplanade, Ashbridges Bay, East Wharf
and Queen's Wharf.

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