Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Railway Bridges of the Lower Don

There are six railway bridges that cross the Don River south of the forks of the Don. There are four separate rail lines with two lines having two bridges each. Here they are from south to north.

This bridge is hard to see because it abuts right up against the Lakeshore Blvd East/Gardiner Expressway bridge. This bridge is owned by Toronto Terminals Railway. It connects the main Union Station rail yard to the west to a smaller one just east of the Don River. From the eastern yard there are two more spurs that serve a few customers in the portlands to the south. It is not used very often as most freight now comes and goes by truck. The one regular customer I know of is the Ashbridges Bay Sewage Treatment plant. They still receive some chemicals delivered in tank cars which need to cross this bridge.

This bridge has three separate rail lines and is the main Lakeshore line which connects Toronto to destinations to the east (a fourth track appears to be the tail end of the rail yard). In 2006-7, the span was lengthened to accommodate maximum flood levels that could impact the Don if a Hurricane Hazel style storm hits the watershed some time in the future. This necessitated the closure of the lower Don path for 9 months. While inconvenient it was worth it since the new path connection is much nicer than the old one.

This bridge is the first on the CP line that leads to an unused spur. It runs beside the Don Valley Parkway and up to the rail line behind the Millwood Road Loblaws site. It is the first of two bridges on this line south of the forks.

This is the second bridge on the CP spur and is the highest rail span on the lower Don. It is owned by CP rail and was once used as a commuter line connecting Toronto to Durham and Peterborough. It is currently unused and there has been some talk about converting it for pedestrian use. However, the Federal government has nixed this idea since Jim Flaherty, the MP for Peterborough has mooted about reviving GO service.

First of two bridges on the CN line. This is just north of Pottery Road. It was hard to get a good picture of this bridge because it is obscured by trees lining the riverbank. This bridge along with the other CN bridge and the first CP bridge are of the same construction. I don't know when they were built but they probably date from the 1920s.

Second CN bridge at Beechwood Drive. Note the tree trunk stuck on the bridge. This became lodged here due to a recent flood. On the far bank you can also see a ramp built underneath the railway bridge which is used by cyclists.

1 comment:

jp said...

Thank you so much for this information on the bridges.