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West Toronto Diamond

Mile 4.7 CPR Galt Subdivision
Mile 5.8 CPR North Toronto Subdivision
Mile 4.8 CNR Weston Subdivision

After 130 years the West Toronto diamond is no more. Friday, May 23, 2014 with the passage of the last westbound GO train Number 269 to Georgetown (due Bloor Street 1900) the GO (former CN) Weston Subdivision main track was closed. Beginning Monday morning the first GO train from Mount Pleasant went underneath the CPR North Toronto Subdivision.

Heading north over the diamond cab car 221 trails GO 269 engine 615 on GO (former CN) Weston Subdivision westbound on double yellow signal to Georgetown is the last train to cross the diamond with CPR North Toronto Subdivision. New track underneath being tamped in preparation for cutover. 1900 Friday, May 23, 2014 Paul Cordingley

Note: Other last movements were eastbound (southward) from Sarnia VIA 84 engine 6459.due 10.40 A.M. Westbound CP T15 engine 2254. Eastbound CP 142 engine 8933. Recorded by Paul Cordingley.

Massive undertaking by Metrolinx is to accommodate the new Union-Pearson Express, all day long passenger trains between Union Station and Pearson International Airport due to begin in May 2015. It will also facilitate additional GO commuter trains on the Kitchener (formerly, Georgetown) line. VIA Rail passenger trains also use this line via Stratford to London.

Note: Following changes to signals an Operating Bulletin was issued as follows: Effective after 1900 Thursday June 12 2014, the remotely-controlled interlocked junction and railway crossing at grade at West Toronto is permanently removed from service.

This interlocking was originally installed circa 1909 to protect the multiple routes over diamonds on the many lines that first crossed in May of 1884 and added to as more railways met. In other words 130 years of history has come to an end.



1920 and onward

West Toronto diamond looking southeast. Men are working on the MacTier Subdivision diamond with the double track CNR Weston Sub. originally GTR broad gauge (5' 6") to Stratford. Galt Sub. originally CVR main line to St. Thomas at far right. Note the crossovers and station platforms. Crossways double track is North Toronto Sub.originally O&Q main line from Havelock The arrival of the O&Q in early May of 1884 created the need for the diamond. Far left single track is Old Bruce Service track, originally TG&B narrow gauge (3' 6") main line through Weston to Bolton and Orangeville. April, 1923.

Plan of track layout after interlocking installed c.1909.
Double tracking of the North Toronto Sub. in 1905 was likely the impetus for interlocking.

Old Weston Road bridge, looking southeast, CPR freight crossing West Toronto Diamond, entering West Toronto Yard.
Taken from the roof of Campbell Milling Company, July 28, 1920. Arthur S. Goss/City of Toronto Archives

Weston Road Viaduct

Note: This bridge was closed to traffic in July 1972 due to deteriorated condition and the lack of government funding to rebuild it caused it to be demolished in July of 1981 although the approaches remained for some time before being removed. Traffic congestion has existed ever since as only a narrow ancient Keele Street underpass remains in the area.

G3 2318 could be a time table train (no signals displayed) from Mac Tier backing into the yard on westbound track off the
North Toronto Sub. Note low coal supply and direction of smoke and steam. Engineer not visible meaning movement being controlled by tail-end crew on the van. Typical method of yarding a train although at other times a southbound train would head down the Galt Sub. past West Toronto Depot and back in from there.

Fireman Jack Ansell maintains a lookout around the sharp curve of the Galt Sub. westward track running light from Parkdale Yard off 905 the Toronto Merchandise (LCL) from Montreal. August 2, 1954 James Walder/John Riddell Collection

Note: The van and tailend crew have been left at Parkdale. The reason for this practice is uncertain although it may be related to the eastbound train 910 "Mae West" which handled LCL from King Street shed to Montreal.

P2 class 5370 a London engine is backing over the diamond eastward from Lambton with its van to lift its train in
Leaside yard. It will later return westbound for London right past this same point.
This was a common practice in the mid-late 1950's when this photo was likely taken. Bud Laws Collection

Note the large steam delivery pipe along the running board. This was used in work train service such as powering a Lidgerwood steam winch unloading ballast or for thawing culverts in winter. It is more visible on 5361 here:

Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter August 1961

Originally an all-mechanical interlocking built 1908 by Saxby and Farmer in England controlled the diamond through a system of rods and bell cranks. Installation, operation and maintenace; 100% CPR. It consisted of 44 levers controlling 21 switches, derails and locks plus 17 signals (6 levers were spare). This system was finally replaced in March 1965 with modern CTC controlled by a train dispatcher at Union Station. The tower was demolished in September 1964 temporarily replaced by a small shanty and around-the-clock switchtenders to manually control tracks during the changeover.

Two views of the City transfer from Parkdale Yard enroute to West Toronto Yard and (below) crossing the diamond on the way back to Toronto Yard. 1965. Both photos Bill Thomson.

 

8406-8745 (likely 953) heading north on the Mac Tier Subdivision at Noontime. Bill Thomson

Little has changed in these two 1963 scenes before CTC installation.

Local job on the westward North Toronto Sub. crossing Osler Street level crossing.

Upper level interior views. Leverman Lorne Biggs. There was also a train order operator on duty.
Note the crank telephone. One long was the ring on the party line which ran throughout the yard.

Interlocking controls mean conflicting movements are not possible providing complete safety.
Panel indicates tracks and route details by lever numbers required to be aligned.
Levers must be thrown in correct sequence one after the other.
Black lever unlocks (with a foot device) and locks a switch.
Blue levers throw the switch (normal or reverse).
Red lever controls signal engineer sees.


CP Rail era


NOTE: Eastern Daylight Saving Time adopted with Time Table 43 Taking Effect 0300 Sunday April 28, 1974
This required elaborate measures to insure safety. Instructions for changing railway time.
24 hour clock adopted on Eastern Region with Time Table 41 Taking Effect 0001 Sunday, October 27, 1968
24 hour clock traditionally used on Western Lines. 12 hour (A.M. and P.M.) used on Eastern Lines.


On two separate days a year apart Fred Clark spent a long day photographing and taking notes
of operations across West Toronto diamond. Here are the results. Note time explanation above.

8747_8467_8771_8140_8151 eastbound off the Galt Sub. approaching the diamond on the way to Toronto Yard.
1125 EDST 6/11/1977 Fred Clark

Two tracks in foreground are CN Weston Sub. Next is CP Mac Tier Sub. At left curving is westward track Galt. Sub. Eastward track is hidden behind section shack. Old Weston Road bridge. "the Mill" in right background.

Van (43)4440 PAT (Pacific Auto Train) hottest thing on CP Rail! Nothing but multi-levels of new automobiles.
Out of Parkdale Yard northbound on the Mac Tier Sub. At right is the connecting track from North Toronto Sub.
Note yellow EMD SW1 yard diesel on property of Andrew Merrilees Ltd.
1000 EDST 6/11/1977 Fred Clark

Back again! RS-18 8747 a filthy RS-10 8467 in old colours, 8771 and a B-unit 4431 leaving North Toronto Sub. on connecting track to Mac Tier Sub. northbound. Likely power was turned on the wye under the hump at Toronto Yard.
1810 EDST 6/11/1977 Fred Clark


A year later

No 12 eng 1411 The Canadian is crossing over both the Weston and North Toronto Subs. arriving at West Toronto
depot near the end of its run from Sudbury. Crossing gateman tower at Old Weston Rd. in background and CN station.
6/16/1978 Fred Clark

Extra 4737 West on the North Toronto Sub. about to hit the diamond with an all-MLW consist C-424 4210 RS-10 8563.
Heading for London, or maybe Hamilton. Note large bird! 1538 EDST 6/16/1978 Fred Clark

Track in foreground is Mac Tier Sub. which begins at Galt Sub. near West Toronto depot.
Double tracks are CN Weston Sub. from Parkdale.

MLW S-10 6603 westbound Galt. Sub. from Parkdale. Alco S-2 7024 on "bush" track eastbound to North Toronto Sub.
Note dispatcher's phone box next to signal cabinet. 6/16/1978 Fred Clark

Both of these local jobs appeared again. Later in the day 6603 returned from Lambton Yard moving eastward across the North Toronto Sub. At 1545 the 7024 reappeared making two more movements, first eastward shoving with van ahead
and then at 1550 westward with engine cab leading up the MacTier Sub. obviously one of the Emery Road Switcher jobs.


GO 503 northbound on CN Weston Sub. bound for Georgetown with 7 single level coaches.
Tower stood to left of 503's cab. Double tracks in foreground are North Toronto Sub.
Single curving track is Mac Tier Sub. with begins at switches off double track Galt Sub. at far right.
West Toronto depot in right background looking south. 1643 EDST 6/16/1978 Fred Clark

 


 

CNR 7501 switching on the CNR Weston Subdivision at the Diamond. 1952 Chuckman's Photos

 

 

 



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