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Old Time Trains


Until the opening of Toronto Yard in April 1964, all freight crews were based at Lambton Yard where all freight trains originated including way freights etc. except for some fast freights which originated at Parkdale Yard, however, even for these trains crews, engines and sometimes a few cars started at Lambton.

Trains operated north to Mac Tier, east to Trenton and south to Hamilton. West trains operated to London by crews and locomotives based there. These London crews waited at Lambton for a return trip staying and usually sleeping in the bunkhouse in the case of head-end crews (engineers and firemen), or in their assigned van (caboose) in the case of tail-end crews (conductors and brakemen.)

Passenger trains originated at Union Station with the tail-end crew coming on duty there and head-end crews at John Street roundhouse. A small bunkhouse accommodated out-of-town crews, mostly London men. A small number of trains from North Toronto station actually originated at Lambton since there was no roundhouse there, although there was a small coach yard. Until 1927 passenger tail-end crews had separate seniority.

In the steam and early diesel era, almost all freight and many heavy passenger trains required assist engines to overcome grades up hill out of Toronto up in three directions. West to Orrs Lake (beyond Galt), North to Bolton and eastward between Leaside and Agincourt and from Parkdale or Union Station to Leaside and/or Agincourt.

Yard crews were based at Lambton, West Toronto, Obico, Parkdale, King Street, and John Street. At one time Lambton and West Toronto ground crews had separate seniority from Parkdale and John Street men. Engineers and firemen had one seniority list for all of the Ontario District.

Like all railways the standard crew during the steam and early diesel era consisted of five men; an engineer and a fireman (head-end crew), a conductor and two brakemen or trainmen (tail-end crew). One brakeman rode the locomotive. Yard crews likewise consisted of five men except for a few small towns where four men excluded one yardman. Assist engines required and engineer and a fireman. Thus, a freight train leaving Lambton required seven men. Today, much longer freight trains use only a two person crew.

For further explanations of trains and crews see the link General Ad 1982

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