The Evening Rush at Toronto
While in Toronto recently, Paul and I decid.ed to go down to the-Union Station to observe the action as the commuters were going home. The best vantage point is the covered (but unheated) overbridge that gives access to the CM tower. This is placed midway between the Via Spadina roundhouse and the west end of Union .Station. In about 1½ hours we observed 46 train movements with 64 units from four different owners. A pair of binoculars and an. updated version of the Trackside Guide to Canadian Railway Motive Power (published by Bytown Railway Society) to round out our fun.
By far the most numerous trains observed were the GO trains. These are stored in holding sidings to the west and moved into Union Station one after another. Most trains had two units, (including an auxiliary power unit converted F unit), while some had three, I was glad to see recently acquired B unit 801 while just about all of the recently acquired ex Rock Island GP40’s were much in evidence.
VIA provided a great deal of variety from Budd cars to Alco and GM A and B units. Perhaps the most interesting was a combination of LRC, 6500 and Alco minutes late behind the traditional pall. of Alco smoke.
Apart from the-usual S-13 Alco switchers in the 85xx series the only CN units in evidence were five out of the six Tempo RS-18's. These are stored in a line at Spadina. Only one was operating (3150) and we thought this was just in order to provide-a smokescreen for the rest.
CP only managed to provide three units but, nevertheless, a great deal of interest. 6545, a 1955 S-3, beetled its way through the maze early on. A red snout appeared pointing west on the station bypass track. He impatiently reminded John Street tower that he wanted to cross the entire layout (therefore maximum disruption in the middle of the peak.) with some empties. The unit turned out to be newly rebuilt SW1200 No. 1240. To add. insult to injury there was a. boxcar on the .back outside the van. Perhaps the gem of the whole period was 7011, an S-2 of 1943 vintage quietly lurking among, the warehouses to the north of Front street.
Having enjoyed the fun Paul, and I repaired to Union Station to enjoy the antidiluvian washroom facilities. Having just preserved an operating passenger car hopper this aspect of preservation was fresh in my mind. It was a pleasure to use the marble faced facilities. The ornate urinals are very impressive with their separate marble cubicles. I understand the ladies facilities are equally impressive with extensive use of marble and brass railings and hooks.
Toronto sure has a lot to offer besides streetcars.
Bytown Railway Society, Branchline, June 1983.