Toronto Terminals Railway
The most noticeable asset of the Toronto Terminals Railway
is Union Station, yet the name Toronto Terminals Railway itself is almost
unheard-of to the public. One of the few places it was displayed was
on the cap badge of the Red
Caps, yet even that likely went un-noticed by most people once
they saw the familiar Red Cap.
The Toronto Terminals Railway was created July 13,1906 with ownership 50/50 between the Grand Trunk (later CNR) and the CPR. It came about in response to the need for bigger station facilities due to the ever increasing growth of travellers.
Initially, Toronto was served by separate stations of the different railways with a gap between them along the waterfront. Ontario's first railway the broad gauge Ontario, Simcoe & Huron (opened May 16, 1853) had Toronto's first station on the southwest corner of Bay and Front Streets. It was demolished in 1858 and Toronto's first union station located on the Esplanade West between York and Simcoe Streets was built by GTR and used by NRC and GWR opening June 21, 1858. It too was demolished (1871) and replaced by a new union station (a stone structure) also west of York Street which opened in 1873. The Grand Trunk Railway entered Toronto from the east from Montreal and stopped at the Don with through pasenger service beginning on October 27, 1856. So too did the narrow gauge Toronto and Nipissing enter Toronto coming from the north east to stop nearby at Berkeley Street in 1871. The Great Western was opened from Hamilton to Toronto December 3, 1855 and later ran to downtown where its new station was opened March 2, 1866 at Yonge Street and the Esplanade East. This was actually considered a branch as the main line ran between Niagara Falls, Hamilton, London and Windsor. The Northern Railway of Canada had its passenger and freight facilities at Brock Street (Spadina Avenue) and Front Street West. It later opened its City Hall station June 10, 1867. The GTR ran west via Parkdale, West Toronto and Weston to Stratford and London in July 1856. Credit Valley also ran west from Toronto through Parkdale, West Toronto and Streetsville Jct. to St.Thomas and Orangeville. The CPR was forced to run above the top of the city across to West Toronto and then change direction to run south through Parkdale to reach Union Station until a line was opened in May 1893 from Leaside down the Don and along the Esplanade to the Union station.
Agreement was reached in 1893 to join the waterfront lines along the esplanade ending the hopes of those who desired a place to walk unassailed by machinery and smoke. Such a wide esplanade has been promised citizens for years in the 19th Century. In the 21st Century they are still struggling to create a pedestrian friendly place along the waterfront!
The second union station (1873-1927) was owned by GTR and used by it and the Toronto, Grey & Bruce and Credit Valley both of which were taken over by the CPR in 1884. The first CVR train used the station on May 17,1880 and it became a union station for GTR and CVR effective September 5, 1881 although the CVR (and later the CPR) shared no ownership. Following amalgamation August 12, 1882 of the GWR with the GTR the GWR station was closed on August 28th although it reopened three days later as a bonded shed until the new freight sheds Front and Simcoe Streets were opened c.1904.
There were repeated expansions of the station including a major one completed January 1, 1896 at which time CPR shared joint operating authority along with GTR. Another official opening May 11, 1896 was still insufficient to handle the increase in traffic of the growing city. A new station was required and the disasterous fire of April 19, 1904 that destroyed 86 buildings along Bay and Front Streets provided an opportunity to build one just to the east although it would be many years before that was finally realized.
The growing population of Toronto resulted in greatly increased railway traffic. The location of all of the railway lines entering Toronto along the waterfront created conjestion for rail as well as public use. The large number of level crossings presented considerable hazards to pedrestrians and road users. To overcome this the city sought grade separations of the crossings.
Like anything owned by more than one entity as well as the involvement of the city, disputes quickly arose. The GTR wanted the tracks to be elevated over York, Bay and Yonge Streets, while the CPR did not. The squabbling went on between them and the City year after year over the extent of the work to be done and the cost sharing involved. Contracts for the 12 track station were finally let in 1914 but the bickering wasn’t over yet.
A viaduct was first proposed by
Toronto mayor E.F.Clarke to council March 12,1888 along with a central
union station as a means to aleviate the dangers of level crossings.
It wasn't to be. At least not for a long time.
Sorting Yard and Cherry Street Area 1924
New Union Station
Royal Train with new 4-8-4 6120 carrying the Prince
of Wales approaches Union Station from the east
Station was finally opened to the public on August 11, 1927 after having lain
nearly finished since 1919!
Note: Union Station had been planned with a much different layout were the viaduct not built. Tracks 1 to 6 were to be pairs of stub tracks on both sides of a center structure. Tracks 7 to 10 were to be through tracks.
Mechanical and Electrical Equipment
Historically, the TTR owned Union
Station and the tracks leading in and out of it, along with John
CPR offices took up several floors above the public area of Union Station while CNR offices had a separate entrance at the west end. CPR train dispatchers were also located here. A TTR restaurant was located at the west end of the great hall while Liggetts operated a cafeteria at the south end of the lower concourse that was the favourite place of railway employees. These two places and two news stands were contracted August 31, 1956 to Canadian Railway News which also provided News Agents a.k.a. "newsie" on certain trains. The Terminal Credit Union was located near here as well.
CNR shed at left. John Street Tower in middle (and Royal
York). Union Station in far distance.
train of Super Continental equipment in new paint scheme at west end of
Central Heating Plant also owned by the TTR was located at Bay and Fleet Streets (now Lakeshore Blvd.). It opened in 1929 replacing Toronto Hydro's Scott Street plant. It was the biggest such facility in Canada with 7 large boilers that supplied up to 330,000 pounds per hour of steam heat to the Union Station, the Royal York Hotel, and all buildings on the south side of Front Street between Yonge and Simcoe Streets; Canada Customs, CP Express, CN Express, CN/CP Telecommunications; and the main Postal Terminal building on Bay Street at Lakeshore Blvd. as well as the CPR coach yard and roundhouse. Oddly enough it did not supply the CNR Spadina roundhouse and coach yard until late years. It was converted from coal to natural gas, although two boilers were capable of also burning oil should gas supply have low pressure in winter. The plant was closed down and demolished following the closing of John Street roundhouse in 1986 by which time the demand for steam had dropped significantly. The TTR then bought their steam supply from Toronto District Heating Corp. plant on Pearl Street, which later became Enwave.
The Railway Viaduct Along the Toronto Waterfront Canadian Railway & Marine World Dec.1913
Toronto Grade Separations, Viaduct and Parkdale. pdf Railway Age Gazette June 1913
Viaduct Gallery Photos of before and after conditions along this extensive area.
50th Anniversary folder issued by the TTR.
Map TTR, CNR Spadina. CPR John Street also Esplanade. 1945
Transit Toronto (Link) web site article
Toronto Terminals Railway (Link) Official web site
Other stations beyond the TTR within the CPR Toronto Terminals including Sunnyside.
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