Saturday, April 8, 2017

VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre, Part 1

An early morning arrival into Toronto aboard VIA No 651 was not quite early enough to make it to outdoors to catch Amtrak No 64's departure for New York City. But I was able to snap VIA 916 with the CANADA 150 wrap (top photo). There are ten more Youtube videos posted here from this day's visit. The trainshed continues to grow ever brighter, making rail enthusiast photography easier than ever. Check out the VIAish orange paint:
With time on my hands later in the day, I decided I had enough time to make it out to Toronto's Maintenance Centre. A trip over to the new GO Transit concourse brought me to a ticket agent who not only answered my questions about how the heck to get to Mimico (Willowbrook? she helpfully suggested) but then printed off a Googlemap with directions for me to take along. Just the kind of assistance I needed - thank you very much! I gratefully plunked down my $11.48 for the return fare, then I acted like a Metro meerkat peering up at the screens looking for my departure track for the 14:13 aboard cab car 253. Here's my route, starting from the Mimico GO station at top right.
The entrance sign has seen better days. Perhaps rampaging hordes of VIAphiles have dislodged the planks in its platform. Security waits at left to discourage nosy neophyte notetakers:
Suddenly sumac. VIA 909, an LRC car and coach 8113 awaited camouflaged behind the spider-like sumac sprigs:
I didn't really expect to have this visual VIA visiting opportunity. So Googlemap in hand, I trucked along to see what I could see from public access areas, with a definite dearth of pre-arrival research. Cityscape sign:
Realizing that the Toronto home of those Lantic sugar destination of those CGMX/LATX covered hoppers was nearby (watch for an upcoming post) I took a few photos there before ascending the Islington Avenue overpass. Canadian cars 8106-Amherst Manor-Lorne Manor-Skyline 8501-Drummond Manor-Dawson Manor-Elgin Manor-Jarvis Manor are coupled together and fouling that distant switch. This scene is the opposite of most model railway layouts - too much track and not enough rolling stock! 
Here's an online auction site photo, taken from the same viewpoint in October,1986. Things were different then. VIA was waiting on its flashy F40PH-2D fleet:
Drummond Manor is one of three cars with non-standard font:
My morning ride, No 651 is visible pointing eastward, between the GO motive power and a J-train consist which a crew can be seen boarding:
A GO cab car in the Metrolinx scheme and the short 'consist' behind VIA 909:
A view timetable west showing the GO Willowbrook facility north of the CN mainline. Check out the 4000-series roof numbers on GO's new bilevels in foreground. (As always, click for a larger image.)
The role of Bombardier in GO operations can be sign on signage, uniforms and vehicles:
Ex-BC Rail lounge car VIA 1750 Glenfraser wears a one-of-a-kind 'leaves' wrap to mark Canada's 150th:
Coming down off the west side of the Islington overpass and to the left of the CAD bay and run-through track are some of those off-spot LATX covered hoppers. I got some closer views of the Lantic Sugar operation.
Some say this is the future of VIA. I say two words - pipe dream. Whether these RDC's will ever contribute meaningfully in VIA intercity operations is dubious at best. Rapido Trains' 6133 reposes second from right with its awesome underbody detail with 6138, 6111, 6215 on its left:
Doors-open GO F59 558 ,and a bilevel being refurbished are visible on the south side of the VIA/CAD building:
This brick bystanding building, Dominion Colour Coating was one of several that looked to have lots of modelling potential:
Renaissance sleepers 7505, 7514, 75xx have felt the irridescently-multicoloured ire of the taggers' touch. A CN maintenance compound is in foreground:
In Part 2, we circumnavigate the remainder of this rambling facility.

Running extra...

One of the last unscenicked areas on my HO scale Vancouver Wharves received a coat of paint recently. Whether it will be building flats, an open fenced area or an area of vegetation is yet to be seen. By scenicking, we reduce the amount of real estate that's available to put, well, junk on. That's helpful. Plus it makes the layout look more finished, adds to realism and operational fidelity and satisfaction.
For fans of ballast and roadbed, look away. For fans of Flextrack, Lindberg Ford trucks and Robertson screws, feast your eyes! My great-nephew and I installed the nearest track with the ice reefer and it bears his name. It connected two spurs, serving Overseas Commodities and Dominion Bridge. Now used for off-spot cars or short-term storage. Pass the spaghetti bowl.
If you've read this far, you are a very thorough, fastidious Trackside Treasure reader. You probably want to find something fun and entertaining here, not another update on my VIA Rail book project! Enjoy a VIA CANADA 150 rolling stock update while you're here.
You are fastidious! The book project is in the hands of my graphic designer. Printing will begin soon after final draft and we are still on target for an April release. Somewhere, a stand of Canadian trees, an evergreen eldorado, a coniferous cornucopia, a fat fircone future is about to become cases of train books for venerable VIAphiles!


Canadian Train Geek said...

Looking forward to part 2 almost as much as I'm looking forward to your book!

It makes me angry to see those three vandalized Renaissance cars. I'm sure a few people might say it improves their look, but geez. :(

I do like the look of the Canada 150 GLENFRASER. Send it west!

Eric said...

Thanks for your comment, Steve. Not sure at which point those Rens were tagged, presumably within TMC. That one looks to have some GLARE on them!

It was rumoured Glenfraser would have gone through to the West Coast with 6454. Would've been a nice looking addition. It's making lots of trips along the Corridor, just east to Montreal.

Thanks also for the excellent expectant expectation about my fourth volume!

Zartok-35 said...

Cool post! Looks like a fun trip! Obviously the tracks were much more needed and better used in 1986. Did you ever get to visit 'The Glen' back in the good old days, Eric?
That Meme picture is destined for greatness in lots of Rabbit Video chat streams. Also, your layout looks great!

Eric said...

My one and only brief visit to the Glen was in 1984:

This may end up being my one and only trip to TMC!

My daughter took that meme photo one night on our front step and it sat in the folder for probably 3 years and I finally, finally found a use for it.

The Vancouver Wharves is 10x11 and as I mentioned, the scenicking is coming along well!

Thanks for your comments, Elijah.

Michael said...

Nice post. I have yet to see any meaningful photos of the maintenance centre. Thanks for the tour.

Eric said...

No problem, Michael. It was my pleasure. And wait for Part 2 - the tour continues!

I was slightly underwhelmed by the limited amount of VIA equipment there, especially with memories of Spadina bouncing around in my head. The GO Transit side was more plethoric.

Agreed that this is an under-reported facility!
Thanks for your kind comments,