A Visit to Mimico, Part 2

Over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, we were in Toronto to visit our daughter. I went to Mimico on Sunday morning to see the GO Transit / VIA Rail yard there. See part 1 for the trip to Mimico.

I spent some time photographing the GO Transit side first, then turned my attention to VIA Rail.

GO Transit

GO Transit and "Just Say No To CRO" sticker
Words to live by

A large portion of GO Transit’s vast fleet was on display at their maintenance facility in Mimico. I imagine that the yard was more full than usual since it was Sunday morning and not a weekday. Bilevel cars abounded, some headed by locomotives but most were just sitting there in long rows.

Sign featuring GO Transit and Bombardier
Committed to Customer Service Excellence

The phrase “Committed to Customer Service Excellence” is flanked by GO Transit on the left and Bombardier on the right. This is apt, given that GO’s passenger car fleet is entirely composed of almost a thousand Bombardier* bi-level cars.

* by Bombardier I mean the current Bombardier, now owned by Alstom, and its predecessor companies.

I really liked the personnel bridge over the tracks in the shape of bilevel coaches.

GO Transit facility in Mimico
GO Transit facility in Mimico

Occasionally a GO Transit train would whiz by while I was walking up and down the Islington Avenue bridge.

GOT 674 heading east

I do like GO – clearly I never see it in Winnipeg, except for the occasional car being shipped – but after a while all the trains look pretty much the same.

For that reason, I turned to the VIA side of the yard.

GO Transit train heading east toward Toronto's downtown
GO Transit train heading east toward Toronto’s downtown

VIA Rail

VIA Rail LRCs and other cars in Toronto
LRCs abound

VIA Rail doesn’t have nearly as many cars outside their maintenance facility, but they have more variety. Bombardier LRCs formed the majority of the visible cars, but there were a smattering of stainless steel cars as well. I was OK with that, since we don’t see LRCs ever in Winnipeg.

VIA 913 was visible through the open doors of the TMC.

VIA Rail locomotive 913 in the Toronto Maintenance Centre
VIA 913 in the TMC

Behind the TMC, I spotted the small but growing fleet of ex VIA Rail cars owned by the VIA Historical Association. Go support them! A trio of RDCs and Edmundston were visible. I thought about walking around the TMC for a different angle, but I didn’t think I could get a better view from public roads.

The VHA fleet behind the TMC in Toronto
The VHA fleet behind the TMC in Toronto

A GO Transit car was parked at the TMC, protected by a blue flag.

GOT 4159 at the TMC in Toronto
GOT 4159 at the TMC in Toronto

There were a few Park cars nearby along with some other stainless steel cars. I wouldn’t say it was a Canadian “set” but certainly cars of that type.

VIA Rail cars in Toronto
VIA Rail cars in Toronto

VIA 6427 was facing east at the head of several LRC cars. As I watched, a VIA Rail van rolled up to the head end, presumably delivering a crew for the train.

Some of the cars and locomotives by the TMC included:

  • LRC cars: VIA 3452, VIA 3312, VIA 3313, VIA 3317
  • Locomotives: VIA 6453, VIA 6421, VIA 6431, VIA 906, VIA 904
  • East of Islington: VIA 8308, VIA 8717 (Waterton Park), Banff Park
VIA Rail cars east of Islington Avenue
VIA Rail cars east of Islington Avenue

A pair of VIA locomotives idled under the bridge – 904 and 6431 – also at the head of trains.

VIA 904 and 6431 wait their turn to head east
VIA 904 and 6431 wait their turn to head east

While I watched, a westbound five car VIA train headed by 6418 rolled past. Islington Avenue was definitely a good place to see passenger trains.

VIA 6418 among many other cars
VIA 6418 among many other cars

I’m not sure what this giant blue VIA structure is – maybe for washing cars?

VIA 6421 waiting to head east
VIA 6421 waiting to head east

All good things come to an end, and so did my time at Mimico. It was time to walk back to the station and catch the GO Lakeshore train back to downtown Toronto. More to come…

Back to part 1

6 thoughts on “A Visit to Mimico, Part 2”

  1. Hi Steve,

    I made a TMC visit back in 2017. I walked all the way around, but you’re right – there aren’t a lot of good sightlines on the south side of TMC. A lot of industrial buildings, in their own right interesting, but the bridge really is the best view and you’ve documented it well!


  2. Hi Steve:

    some guesses

    The blue structure looks like a fuel stand, (3 “A” frame loading arms in the center) Also there appear to be several fire extinguishers, maybe sand also with the circular tank on top to the right on the roof. The white rollup door could store spill kit “stuff”. The red box to the left of the white door could be a remote emergency fuel stop.
    Photo 6 shows a single-track rectangular building on the left, I vote wash shack. the blue structure is in the middle and to the far-right are above-ground fuel stores, piping, and mechanical room for pumps, valves, filters, etc. Better seen in photo 11. I have seen Via locos that appear to be washed by a mechanical means with a circular brush that get partway up the roofline leaving round swirls on the angled roof in a consistent line like a machine and not by hand
    I don’t see any wash equipment unless the stands were pressure washers, however too low tech for big Via 🙂

    Steve O

    • Hi Steve O, a fuel stand makes sense to me now that you explained the details. Thanks! It would make sense given that it is near the main line.

      I’ve seen VIA people washing cars in Jasper and they do it “by hand” but that’s mostly just washing windows.

  3. Steve:

    Your last picture is awesome. I am really impressed with the VIA [VIA Rail Canada) blue banner against the huge skyscrapers in the background. A great photo by all means. Like you said you are uncertain what it is for; but it gives a beautiful oversight of the area. Thanks for this great article.

    Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA

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