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Canadian Railway and Marine World December 1913

The Railway Viaduct Along the TorontoWaterfront

By Frederick H. Moody, B.A. Sc.

Most of the trains entering Toronto come in on the Esplanade, along the waterfront, crossing most of the streets in the central portion of the city at grade. This has been a menace to street traffic which the city has been agitating for years to have remedied. This, in conjunction with a new union station, which it was desired to have built at the same time, was considered by the Board of Railway Commissioners early in 1909, ordering the elevation of the tracks along the waterfront, as well as the building of a new station for the joint use of the G.T.R. and C.P.R. The time limit set by the Board was two years, the cost to be borne equally by the two railways and the city.

This original Order called for a four track viaduct from west of John Street to near Berkeley Street, with three tracks each side of the viaduct to be located on the southern boundary of the Esplanade, the work to be undertaken jointly by the G.T.R and C.P.R. with the city. Independently of this, the C.P.R. was ordered to elevate two tracks from the easterly end of the foregoing viaduct near Queen Street, with necessary viaducts over intervening streets. The corresponding section of the G.T.R. line also ordered elevated on a two track viaduct from the same point to Logan Avenue, crossing the intervening streets on viaducts. All the tracks in this whole length of viaduct as ordered, with the exception of the two crossings at John St. and Spadina Ave., which cross on bridges, have the streets passing beneath the tracks. The city was ordered, in addition to paying one third of the cost of the viaducts, both the joint and the separate, to bear the same proportion of the expense of elevating the C.P.R. passenger car yard, the G.T.R. Don sorting yard, the bridges at Spadina Ave., John St., and Eastern Ave., and the substructures for the new union station. In addition to these liabilities on the part of the city, the latter could collect no damages, for city property taken for the carrying out of the project. Any question of damages between the two companies was to be taken before the Board for adjustment.

At that time, the C.P.R. management spoke of removing a large portion of the passenger service to a union station to be built in conjunction with the Canadian Northern Ry. in the northern section of the city, on its West Toronto-Leaside line, and thus release itself from the congestion and crossing troubles in the lower part of the city. In view of this, the C.P.R. took exception to being included in the viaduct and union station project, and appealed the matterto the Board, which in May 1912, again ordered the viaduct to be built under the original order, with a further extension of two years for its completion, the original two years having by then expired. At the same time, the board approved the G.T.R. plans as the more desireable, and ordered that they be followed, instead of the plans submitted by the C.P.R. for the same proposition. These plans, as ordered to be followed, were described in detail in Canadian Railway and Marine World for Aug.,1912.

Last year the Toronto Harbour Commission was formed to take over all the waterfront properties of the city and formulate plans for comprehensive harbur scheme. As the proposed viaduct would follow the waterfrontthrough practically its full lrngth, this commission was vitally interested in the manner in which the railways would develop that section, and in consequence the two railways, the city and the commission decided to consult each other in formulating of plans that would , in the combined opinion of the four parties, make for a better viaduct scheme. The result of a series of conferences was the preparation of an entirely new set of plans which it was considered would meet the city's requirements more satistactorily and work in with the general harbour scheme then being evolved by the commission. The scheme as developed was approved by the four parties, an agreement, dated July 29,1913, being drawn up on the basis of the new plans.

These substitute plans were presented to the Board of Railway Commissioners, and as it appeared that the works agreed to be undertaken by the four contracting parties of the agreement would be performed on the terms and in the time specified therein, and as all the parties were making application to the board for their approval, the board passed order 19926, July 31, 1913, giving full effect to the agreement and authorizing and approving the construction and maintenance of the works provided in the agreement. Briefly, the order approved the substitution of the new plans for the viaduct for those accompanying the original order 7200, ordering that the work be completed within three years from July 29, 1913. Also, all questions reserved for ultimate determination under former orders 7200, 13568, 16019 and 17033, as well as the necessity for admendments to or recission of thethw whole, were reserved for further consideration by the board on hearing the parties. All changes in the plans as may be required must be approved by the board.

The plans accompanying sectional illustrations, which show the scope of the work, from the C.P.R. diamond crossing west of Bathurst St. on the west, to Logan Ave. on the east. The grade separation work in the west end of Toronto undertaken by the G.T.R. in 1910-12, terminates at the C.P.R. diamond crossing west of Bathurst St. which is the ruling point on that section of the work, the diamond remaining at its former elevation. From that point easterly the tracks through the city will be elevated, with a consequent rearrangement of many of the yard tracks and spurs.

The pricipal varation in the route through the city from that laid down in the former plans, is in the section from Yonge St. easterly to the Don River, which will follow a straight line, instead of the sweep northerly along the Esplanade. To do this, a large portion of the land south of the present right of way will have to be exproprTo thiated, and as the new line will run across water lots, there will be a great deal of filling. The principal advantage in the new route will be the facility offered to the construction parties in carrying forward the work uninterupted from the necessity of maintaining the regular train service as would be required if the former right of way were followed. As the route at present followed is comparatively narrow, with both sides occupied through the greater part fo the route by buildings where it would be impossible to secure temporary space fro use during construction, it would be practically an impossible task to elevate the tracksand at the same time maintain the service without serious interruptions. With an entirely new right of way through the more difficult section, this phase of the work is simplified. Another advantage to new line is that the through tracks will follow a tangent from Spadina Ave. on the west to Parliament St. nearly 1 3/4 mile.

From the west, the grade revision completed to that end of the city, brings the tracks on a descending grade of 0.25% to the C.P.R. diamond crossing, continuing on the present grade to a point midway between Strachan Ave. and Bathurst St. From this point to near Bathurst St., the line is through the old cutting, with no change from the present conditions. In consequence, the bridge across the tracks at Strachan Ave. will not be done away with, but is said that the present wooden bridge will be rplaced by a more modern steel structure, but this will be apart from the viaduct proposition. From there to just east of Bathurst St., there will be no change in exisiting conditions, the steel bridge across Bathurst St. remaining.

To this point theline will be tangent, changing there to 1 degree curve through 12 1/2 degrees, terminating at Spadina Ave., from which point the line will be again tangent. From the point of curvature at Bathurst St., the line will commence to ascend to the viaduct on a 0.4% grade, reaching elevation 26.5 at York St., from which point the easterly to the Don River the line will be level at an elevation of 18 ft. above the present base of rail.

From Strachan Ave. to Bathurst St. there are four tracks, but just west of Bathurst St., the G.T.R. old main line and the C.P.R. main line join from the west, there being 7 tracks under the bridge. East of this the lines will diverge to the different yards and siding requiring long highway bridges to carry Spadina Ave. and John St. over the tracks. The present G.T.R. freight yard and shop arrangement to the north of the tracksbetween Bathurst and John Sts. will require rearrangement, the plans for which have not yet been drawn. To the immediate north of the tracks between Spadina Ave. and York St. the new scheme calls for an elevated passenger car yard for the G.T.R. consisting of 12 tracks, approached by a ladder track from each end. From Bathurst St., along the south side of the viaduct, there will be a surface track leading to the old Northern Ry. docks and the different industries located along the harbor front.

Under the exisiting arrangement, the Spadina Ave. bridge, which is 700 ft. long, only crosses the yard tracks to the north of the through tracks, which, as in the new scheme, pass along the south side of the yards. The ascending grade of the viaduct will necessitate the raising of this bridge 5 ft., and it will be extended to span the full width of the tracks, eliminating the steep ramp from the south side of the bridge to the grade over the through tracks. This new arrangement will call for a complete change at this point, as the old arrangement of crossing the tracks at grade was necessitated by the slip at the foot of the street coming right up to the tracks, making impossible an overhead bridge approach at that end under exisiting conditions. The new bridge will be about 770 ft. long, leading off from the higher ground to the north at practically the same level, and descending on the south on a light ramp, filing in the slip of the city wharf to the south. This extended roadway will connect with the Lake St. extention, which the city proposes to put through in conjunction with the scheme. The John St. bridge will not require to be extended, but as the viaduct level is to be 11 ft. above the present level at that point, the bridge will be raised that distance, the approaches from the south connecting to the Lake St. extension.

At John St., between the through tracks and the G.T.R. passenger car yard, the station tracks will lead off in a double ladder, the plans calling for 10 passenger and 2 freight tracks through the station. At John St. also the leads to the C.P.R. freight and passenger car yards will branch off to the south. This yard will be on the same level as the viaduct, The plans for the elevation and arrangement are not yet outlined, but can be cared for apart from the general scheme. Various considerations entered into the reasons for this yard. In the first place, such an arrangement is undoubtedly more convenient for making up the trains, with no ramps to negotiate, but the principal reason lay in the disposing of York St., which will be carried under the tracks in a long subway. Under this scheme, all the tracks at York St. will be carried over the street. Were the yards on the level, all the tracks leading into the yard from the east would be crossed at grade, reducing the effectiveness of the whole grade crossing elimination project. The shunting of cars in the making up of trains would be a constant source of danger, and from the railway standpoint, the yard accommodation would be materially reduced by the breaking up of trains at the crossing.

The double ladder leading into the station will be approached from the through tracks by crossovers to the west of the ladder approach. To the south of the station there will be 4 through tracks. The Canadian Express Co.'s present building on the north side of the station tracks at the foot of York St. will be approached by a ramp along the north side of the G.T.R. passenger car yard, requiring a concrete retaining wall along that side, as the building is on the ground level.

Bay St. will be carried under the easterly end of the station tracks and the through tracks, in a subway, the tracks for the C.P.R. freight and passenger car yards branching off on the vaiduct at this point.

From Bay St., the station tracks will converge through double ladders to the northerly of the through tracks at Church St., east of which there will be crossovers. The only portion of the entire viaduct to be built with concrete retaining walls will be between Yonge and Scott Sts., the balance will be earth embankments. From the station east there are to be 6 through tracks, crossing all the streets on viaducts.

It is from the station easterly that the new viaduct plans differ from those originally ordered, the line instead of following the genral trend of the Esplanade, striking across the wharves to where the lines looped south at Cherry St. The right of way secured across these water lots is 230 ft. wide, as compared to 200 ft. on the present right of way. Through this new right of way there will be 6 tracks, with an embankment width at the top of 85 ft. The property damages under normal conditions to expropriate this property would be enormous, as practically the whole wharf frontage (..... text missing here ......) seemingly wanton destruction of property works in admirably with the harbor improvement scheme of the Toronto Harbor Commissioners. It is proposed to fill in the slips, and extend the bulkhead line considerably further out into the harbor, this arrangement making possible a better wharfage arrangement.

From Parliament St., the line will follow ( ............. text missing here ............) degrees, again following a tangent to the Don River. At Cherry St. the old G.T.R. right of way will be again struck, the through tracks following the south side of the former right of way, as the new arrangements provide for a new Don exit for the C.P.R. line. In the exisiting arrangement, the G.T.R. and C.P.R. diverge at Berkeley St., the G.T.R. sweeping southerly to the Don River, and the C.P.R. following approximately a straight line through to the northerly turn at the Don River. In the new arrangement, the two lines will continue together to near the Don, the C.P.R. branching north along the west bank at that point. As mentioned, the right of way between Cherry St. and the Don will be slightly south of the present one, as the C.P.R. has its own linen from Cherry St. east, there being crossovers from the common line just west of Cherry St.

To the south of the parallel sets of tracks will be the G.T.R. Don freight yard, from which the additional width for the right of way will betaken. It is proposed to rearange the yard, but plans have not yet been prepared.

The 2 track C.P.R. line will sweep to the north on a 10 degree curve through 92 degrees, along the west side of the Don, following the right of way of the old G.T.R. Belt Line to its former right of way just south of Queen St. The line will commence to descend at Cherry St. on a 0.44% grade, easing to 0.09% around the curve, increasing to 0.45% to the former grade at Queen St. Quen St. is at present carried over the tracks on a bridge at Eastern Ave. the plans call for an overhead bridge, probably the same type as that at Queen St., bridging the river, the through tracks, and freight yard approach tracks to the west.

The 5 G.T.R. tracks will continue across the Don River, south of the former right of way, crossing the river on a 120 ft. double girder, slab floor bridge, carrying 18 tracks, to accomodate the freight yard approach tracks as well as the through line. From the Don bridge, the line will swing to the north as far as Queen St. through a 40 3/4 degree angle on a 2 degree curve, thence on a short tangent to a reverse curve. From the Don, the line will ascend on a 0.4% grade to Queen St., from which point it will be level to Logan Ave., where it will again reach its former grade. Both Eastern Ave. and Queen St. will be carried under the tracks, the street level at Queen St. being slightly depressed. From Queen St. north the line will have only 4 tracks.

The two companies at present have most of their team tracks along the Esplanade. Under the new scheme this team track accommodation will remain about the same as at present, the abandoned through tracks being retained for this purpose. The Board of Railway Commissioners' original order expressly prohibited grade crossings west of Church St., and in consequence the old tracks have been stopped off at that street. Entrances to the two fruit markets at Yonge St., one on the north side and the other on the wharf to the south, are to be made over trestle approaches from the viaduct. The trackage along the Esplanade east of Church St. is to be rearranged, and while the Yonge St. to Church St. portion is being removed, this arrangement will make trackage equal to that at present provided there. This arrangement of trackage will also provide access to all the industrial sidings along the old line. The approach to the viaduct will be over the old G.T.R. right of way, up a ramp that reaches the C.P.R. separate tracks where they diverge at Cherry St. All the tracks in this district will cross the streets at grade, with the exception of Trinity St., on the ramp approach, which will be carried under the tracks. With the exception of the approach tracks, all the tracks along the Esplanade will be stopped off at Parliament St., and in order that the grade crossing feature may not present its objectionable feature, the Board's original order provided that on all surface tracks there should be no movement of cars except during specified hours at night, or, if the freight be perishable, when the train was preceded by a brakeman on foot. This Esplanade team track arrangement will have decided advantages over the accommodation provided in the last plans drawn up. In that there were three tracks at grade on each side of a concrete retaining wall vaiduct to serve as team tracks and approaches to the industrial sidings. The closeness of the surface tracks to the mouth of the subways would make them a menace to the public crossing.

From the C.P.R. line at Queen St. there will remain the present C.P.R. entrance, which will be used solely for entering the C.P.R. and Canadian Northern Ontario Ry. east end freight sheds. To serve industries located along the present line between the freight sheds and the Esplanade, there will be a single track line crossing the intervening streets. It will thus be seen that except for a little shunting of cars there will be no train movement on the level.

Most of the street crossings will be by subways. As mentioned, Bathurst St., Spadina Ave., Eastern Ave., and Quuen St, will pass over the tracks on bridges. Yonge and Bay Sts. will have 80 ft. subways; York, Scott, Church, Jarvis, George, Frederick, Sherbourne, Princess, Parliament and Cherry Sts., 66 ft. subways, and Trinity St., two 30 ft. subways. The design of the subways has not been completed, but they will likely be of steel, with concrete abutments, facings and deck.

An estimate of the work places the quantity of earth filling for the vaiduct at about 3,500,000 yds., and the total cost of the completed project, including the union station, at about $14,000,000. The plans for the new station are in course of preparation, but nothing definate has been decided in this connection pending the formation of the new terminal company.

The viaduct plans have been prepared under the direction of H. R. Safford, Chief Engineer, G.T.R., and J. M. R. Fairbairn, Assistant Chief Engineer, C.P.R. Eastern Lines, by J. R. W. Ambrose, M. Can. Soc. C.E., who was in charge of the G.T.R. grade separation work through the southwest portion of Toronto, and who has been appointed Engineer of Grade Separation for the two companies. We are indebted to Mr. Ambrose for the data on which this article is based, and to Messrs. Fairbairn and Safford for authority to secure the same and for copies of the plans.



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