Wednesday, December 12, 2018

CN Toronto MacMillan Yard, December 2018

I'd reached the end of steel. Having dropped my $3.25 into the farebox and boarded Northbound Route 1 for Vaughan, I was now in the cool air of Vaughan. Home of Rapido Trains Global HQ and George's Trains. So many choices. But I needed a walk. And coffee. And trains. But not in that order. Exiting the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, I headed east. At least I thought it was east. 
Yes, it was east. I was soon atop the Highway 7 overpass at CN's Toronto MacMillan yard. It was so thoughtful of CN to provide Railfan Platforms so I could safely watch the freight action below. Did I say safely? At this point, the boulevard narrows, the sidewalk shrinks and when not on the Railfan Platform, I was mere inches from a steady parade of frenzied commuters, stone trucks, and full-throttle semis and horn-honking courier trucks. Not exactly railfan-friendly. Not really even life-friendly.
An imminent movement warmed me. Otherwise, it was becoming cold. Cold as a Bay Street banker's heart. CN 5760-2124, the latter with the flaming-toaster logo of the 15-year "shareholder bonanza" anniversary headed south from the west side of the yard (above). Forgive my lack of knowledge of the sprawling scene that unfolded before me. A spaghetti-bowl of parallel tracks! Mac-aroni! But let's leave that in the past-a! Ten minutes later, a second train departed south, having been parked in front of the yard office. DPU 2240 chugged by:
Just then, a four-engine train made its approach known from south of Highway 7. I moved to the east Railfan Platform just in time to photograph CN 2639-2684-2516 and former ATSF warbonnet (now barfbonnet) leaser PRLX 211. What would Chico say, indeed!
As the train slitheringly stopped, a second train slipped in behind it. CN 2181-2108 with intermodal/auto racks sidled in from the snowy south as the snowflakes shimmered earthward.
Now it was coffee time. Literally. At the nearby Coffee Time on the north side of Highway 7, I contemplated packing it in. This was not Winnipeg. It was only -1, after all. Fuelled by caffeine and warmed by the thought of more CN movements, I returned to my rather unsafe perch. Indecisive like me, CN 2956-8897 appeared from the south, seemingly unsure of where to go or which way to face:
Right behind them, this short local appeared with a wintry mix of motive power:
Those tank cars in the background were on a lead that led south under the Highway 407 overpass, holding more tank cars and covered hoppers. Their spur disappeared northeast around a curve behind a warehouse that appeared non-rail-served. CN 4726-GMTX 2264 led BAEX boxcars, a few tank cars, three Winchester & Western and two DJTX covered hoppers:
CN 4726 bore traces of its previous wet-noodle logo as 5506, plus its current scrappy stripes:
WWUX 4458-4461-4701, this one with the most graffiti:
A hump set that I'd been watching work the west side of the yard now pulled under the overpass: CN 6019 still wearing its CN North America scheme:
It was coupled to CN232-IC 6201 and soon revved up to push its long train of New Brunswick-bound cars back north:
Another headlight beckoned from the south at 1451: CN 5679-5783-5475-2340 led CN No 305. A cut of ICG bulkhead flats imbued with ingots were on the pin....
...faithfully followed by Fort Saskatchewan-bound gondolas with their distinctive bagged loads, including ATW 87070 and COER 800983, many more auto racks and a few Canpotex empties on the tail end:
Could this consist be topped? Probably not, but a final parting shot of ex-CN 1394 working CN's transload terminal just west and south would do. Having just pulled a cut of hi-cube boxcars clear of the warehouse, it returned for two more boxcars, while scrap gons between the two cuts continued a-loading:
Geep hump sets buzzed around, such as CN 7274-208, here having deposited 15 auto racks into the auto compound to the northwest, and now returning to the yard for their next assignment. The friendly crew waved, perhaps glovingly gladdened (as were the many CN vehicles buzzing around) that I had no nefarious intentions - or perhaps marvelling at my continuing survival in such a challenging environment. That little green sign says 'Halton Outbound'.
 The falling snow was as white as...Michael Buble's teeth. Time to head south toward Union Station!
This post has come full circle - first train I caught at Mac!

Running extra...

My three favourite places to be in Toronto:
  • Yonge and Dundas
  • Mac Yard
  • Kingston
Watch for Trackside Treasure's annual Christmas greetings post. Baby, it was cold outside but later on we'll perspire, as we sweat by the fire, and face unafraid the photos we made, walking in a Highway 7 wonderland. Ever heard of Seven View Dodge? That's a dealership, cleverly named to reflect the near-total lack of scenery in the area!
Full circle! Seems fitting that this might be my last trip aboard VIA Rail for awhile, and I'm publishing this blog post - my 600th including draft posts. And VIA has just announced its contract with Siemens for new equipment. Due to their bright yellow hue, I'm calling them Dayliners. But that's just a working title. And this LRC is rocking like a Dayliner!


Mark Walton said...

There's an equally good platform at the Rutherford Road bridge, over the hump pullback tracks. There, you can see trains pulled from the receiving yard, then pushed toward the hump. The tracks curve toward the northwest, the end of steel abuts Paramount Canada's Wonderland.

Eric said...

Thanks for that additional information, Mark. The faaaaar north end of Mac yard!

Michael said...

Wow, so much to pick from, so much to comment on. So many thoughts to end on a preposition. I didn't know there was a railfanning perch at this yard. Next time I am in TO, I will make my way there!

Eric said...

Wasn't it Winston Churchill who said, "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something with which I will not put?". As a yokelly out-of-towner tower tourer, I colloquially asked a local, "Where's the subway station at?". He snidely corrected me, "My dear peasant, in Toronto, we never end a sentence with a preposition!!" So I said, "OK, I see, um, where's the subway station at, you jerk??"

A perch to perch on? I would become hoarse speaking its virtues, as horse as a Percheron! I wanted to try this Mac Yar perch, just for the halibut! Oh my cod! It's the egg nog!

Seriously (if that's possible at this point) thanks for your comment Michael, and I trust you'll survive to blog the results as I did!

Merry Christmas to you and your family,

Unknown said...

Name is Wayne
I know the yard very well. I worked there from 1967 to 1995 but not in Mac yard next to it looking north east of the hump is a very large building that was the CN express freight now operated by Clark Traffic. Just to the west of that building was the container yard called CN Conport I last worked there till the end of 1995 when the container operations was all moved out by the Airport Malton.
It was a very busy place for many years. I think CN still operates their rail bulk car operations out of there. Some of the old yard north east near Keele is rented out to Auto operations of some kind hope this give you some history.

Eric said...

Great to have you aboard, Wayne!

You've certainly had a long career with CN.

Thanks very much for your comment,