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Word on the street is, CN has practically ceased all operations within Toronto's city limits. The Portlands Spur is abandoned, the GECO branch is abandoned, those switches that lead off the Kingston Sub around Port Union are no longer used, and CN no longer serves the industries around Mimico. CN is very sneaky when it comes to industrial switching though, and unless you're a nocturnal Torontonian, you'll believe all the abandonment rumours. None of those listed above are true, and the Portlands Spur in particular has been victim to these rumours. Unfortunately for photographers and curious people who pass by, because Metrolinx purchased the Oakville and Kingston Subs between Oakville and Pickering, CN is forced to do all of this activity in the dead of night. CN 543, which originated in Oakville at 2100hrs, worked both the GO and Via sides of Mimico, and eventually snuck its way into the Port Lands. To those drivers that witnessed 543 backing through the Port Lands, some of their reactions were as if a train just dropped out of the sky. However, it routinely does this every early Monday morning. Why it showed up on Tuesday instead is because of a screwup by Toronto Terminals Railway (TTR), in which they lined 543 through Union Station, rather than the wrap around tracks. The potential ensuing chaos of reversing and getting realligned around Union was not worth it, and it had already lost precious time, so 543 simply returned to Oakville. So why does CN still switch the Portlands? Well, the Ashbridge's Bay Treatment plant is the only reason left. Three empty tankers are delivered, and three loaded ones are taken away. As you can probably guess, the tankers are not filled with oil, but fresh Toronto sewage. Tasty... Here, 543 is sitting on the Leslie Street crossing while the switch into the plant is thrown. For power is CN 4784 and 7038. In the background is one of the Portlands' many majestic incinerator stacks.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Daniel Odette all rights reserved.



Caption: Word on the street is, CN has practically ceased all operations within Toronto's city limits. The Portlands Spur is abandoned, the GECO branch is abandoned, those switches that lead off the Kingston Sub around Port Union are no longer used, and CN no longer serves the industries around Mimico. CN is very sneaky when it comes to industrial switching though, and unless you're a nocturnal Torontonian, you'll believe all the abandonment rumours. None of those listed above are true, and the Portlands Spur in particular has been victim to these rumours. Unfortunately for photographers and curious people who pass by, because Metrolinx purchased the Oakville and Kingston Subs between Oakville and Pickering, CN is forced to do all of this activity in the dead of night. CN 543, which originated in Oakville at 2100hrs, worked both the GO and Via sides of Mimico, and eventually snuck its way into the Port Lands. To those drivers that witnessed 543 backing through the Port Lands, some of their reactions were as if a train just dropped out of the sky. However, it routinely does this every early Monday morning. Why it showed up on Tuesday instead is because of a screwup by Toronto Terminals Railway (TTR), in which they lined 543 through Union Station, rather than the wrap around tracks. The potential ensuing chaos of reversing and getting realligned around Union was not worth it, and it had already lost precious time, so 543 simply returned to Oakville. So why does CN still switch the Portlands? Well, the Ashbridge's Bay Treatment plant is the only reason left. Three empty tankers are delivered, and three loaded ones are taken away. As you can probably guess, the tankers are not filled with oil, but fresh Toronto sewage. Tasty... Here, 543 is sitting on the Leslie Street crossing while the switch into the plant is thrown. For power is CN 4784 and 7038. In the background is one of the Portlands' many majestic incinerator stacks.

Photographer:
Daniel Odette [153] (more) (contact)
Date: 09/22/2015 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 4784 (search)
Train Symbol: CN L54331 21 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Mile 0.1 Ashbridge's Bay Treatment Plant Lead (search)
City/Town: Toronto (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
Share Link: http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=20771
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9 Comments
  1. Here’s the RFQ issued by the city for supplying liquid chlorine by tank car to Ashbridges Bay for the most recent period. Annual liquid chlorine requirements is specified at 567 tonnes, to be delivered in 90-ton railcars. Another document for 2010 states cars are be to delivered approx. every 6 weeks.

    Theoretically speaking, more movements are possible since cars may be delivered before they’re due, and empties lifted at a later date after they’ve been fully used up.

    https://wx.toronto.ca/inter/pmmd/callawards.nsf/fa687bbbf211bf4a8525791100515d51/A190278007CDC61A85257C000054DFC3/$file/6606-13-7179%20Viewing%20Copy.pdf

  2. Thanks Mike. Speaking of which, I managed to see 546 switch Port Union just last night. I forgot about the stuff around Lawrence on the Uxbridge though. I managed to talk with the conductor of 546, and he said they were switching the GECO branch tonight, so I’m guessing they’ll also head up to Lawrence.

  3. Very nice night shot indeed, Daniel… and obscure operation, too.
    There are still active industries on the Kingston Sub between Manse Rd and Beechgrove Dr west of Port Union, as well as Scepter and one other shipper just north of Lawrence Avenue on the Uxbridge Sub.

  4. Everything about that document sounds correct except for the six week part. As far as I know, 543 runs down every Sunday night. I guess I’ll find out next week.

  5. According to city documents, liquid chlorine is shipped inbound to Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant in 90 ton tank cars for disinfecting wastewater, every 6 weeks or so.

    All other waste and drinking water treatment plants in the city are supplied using 908kg containers of liquid chlorine supplied by truck.

  6. Awesome! Love this

  7. Thanks Peter! Stephen, you’re correct, it’s chlorine.

  8. Wonderful night portrait, Daniel!

  9. Sewage? Unlikely – probably chlorine. Check the sides of the tankers for contents.

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