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Did You Know

In 1999, GO Transit carried 38.4 million passengers, taking the equivalent of three Don Valley Parkways and three Queen Elizabeth Ways worth of traffic off the roads each morning and evening. (GTA Today, December 14, 2000)

This Month's Quotes

"These guys are crunching numbers and trying to make a business case, but there is also a social case that has to be taken into consideration."

Cochrane, ON Mayor Donald Genier responding to a study recommendation that the Northlander passenger train service be discontinued. (Toronto Star, December 7,2000)

"Freight is their core business. And if they have a choice between freight and passenger, they'll always say freight is more important because that's where most of their money comes from."

GO Transit managing director Gary McNeil on the efforts of GO Transit, West Coast Express and Agence Metropolitaine de Transport to obtain legal recourse and protection under the Canada Transportation Act. (Toronto Star, December 11, 2000).

"I believe passenger rail is in a renaissance. We have to be there because rail is one of the solutions to growing congestion and pollution in the corridor."

Federal Transport Minister David Collenette announcing the purchase of 139 rail passenger cars for VIA Rail Canada. (Toronto Star, December 16. 2000)

Railroad Records

Holly T. Hansen describes the wealth of records that may be found in railroad archives.

Part 1 of this article, appeared in the January 2001 Issue (#289) of "TURNOUT", and Part 2 concludes in the February 2001 Issue (#298) of "TURNOUT" (Courtesy of Juris Zvidris)

Railway Archaeology

by Ian Wheal

During October, 2000 railway archaeology was in the news.

Near the southwest corner of Front Street East and Parliament Street a test archaeological excavation to locate the site of Upper Canada's First Parliament Buildings (1797) in late October uncovered the remains of several different occupancies on the site. White most artifacts relates to different industrial works (Consumers Gas and others) and possibly to a m id-nineteenth century jail (pre Don Jail) the possibility of the First Parliament Building (1797-1813) artifacts may be identified either on or near this site.

Several layers of coal cinders probably were connected to Consumers Gas Works. While few or no rail related artifacts have yet to be found, the site was very close to Gooderham and Worts, Toronto and Nipissing Railway engine house, workshops and other facilities.

In the early 1880', the T&N Railway merged with the Midland Railway and then with Grand Trunk Railway.

The T&N railway station was situated at Berkeley Street and Esplanade just south of the First Parliament Building site.

A Toronto Field Naturalist heritage walk on Sunday, October 29 visited the site during the test archaeological excavation.

Another T.F.N. walk (October 15, 2000) uncovered physical remains along the Toronto Belt Line Railway (late Grand Trunk) route or of a CNR spur line (removed in 1960's)

What was seen was a pit of about four feet excavated by persons unknown (and contrary to the Ontario Heritage Act) in a ravine in dense undergrowth and bush along the ravine in dense undergrowth and bush along the route of Rountree/Lavender Creek.

After the site was pointed out to me, I went back with camera and notebook and walked the area around the pit which exposed rails and ties of what was probably the old CNR spur line(c. 1920's or 1930's)

Spikes and tie plates as well as several lengths of rail also were found.

New Equipment for VIA

by Hollie Lowry and information from Kingston Rail, Toronto Star and Globe & Mail

Recently, VIA Rail Canada has made several new equipment acquisitions and orders.

Firstly, it has placed an order with DDGM in London, ON for seven F59PHI Diesel-electric locomotives. When delivered, they'll replace the seven LRC locomotives presently used in the Quebec-Windsor corridor. VIA is also negotiating g for the purchase of fourteen additional locomotives.

Then, on December 15, 2000, it was announced that VIA will be purchasing 139 second hand but never used passenger cars from England for $125-$135 million. The cars will be made up of 47 seater coaches, 20 service cars that include a lounge and restaurant and 72 sleeper coaches.

The new coaches and service cars will be used to add more trips and faster running time in the corridor while the sleepers will be used in the Maritimes. As a result, some of the existing coaches will be retired.

All of these acquisitions are the result of the five year $401.8 million capital funding that the federal government announced last April. The new passenger cars will be delivered by ship by mid 2001 and the first cars will go into service in the fall.

In addition to these equipment orders/acquisitions, VIA has also spent $16 million to improve tracks and signals between Montreal and Ottawa. These improvements are expected to reduce travel between the two cities to 90 minutes from 120 minutes.

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