I crossed another item off my “to do list” – I visited Bayview Junction in Ontario.
I listed three goals for 2022 in my Looking Back, Looking Forward post at the start of this year:
- Ride the VIA Rail “Canadian”
- Photograph grain elevators in Saskatchewan
- Visit Bayview Junction
As the classic Meatloaf song goes, “two out of three ain’t bad.” I rode the Canadian to Sioux Lookout earlier this year, and I visited Bayview Junction earlier this month. I haven’t set foot in Saskatchewan this year, so no grain elevators were photographed there. There’s still 43 days left in the year…
I was in Ontario to visit my son Nick and his wife Onie. I hadn’t seen them in quite a while, so I felt it was time for a visit. I flew into Toronto on Thursday afternoon and met up with them in Waterloo in the evening. We did a little railfanning that night – that’s another story – and then Nick and I went to Bayview Junction to catch the Friday morning trains.
I scouted two locations out earlier: here and here. The first is a pedestrian bridge near Spring Gardens Road, off Plains Road West. The second is a place called the “Broman Lands” in Burlington Heights within the Royal Botanical Gardens.
We headed for the bridge first, since it was easy to get to and had parking right beside it. There were a few railfans already on the bridge, waiting for a train. We chatted with them throughout the time we were there, and a few more showed up later. I wish I had asked their names.
Anyway, on to the trains.
Lakeshore West 1
The first train that Nick and I saw was a westbound GO Transit train at 08:57, led by cab car 255. The photo above shows it under the Plains Road West.
The going away shot shows the actual junction with the GO train transiting from the leftmost track to the centre track.
The track under our feet was the CN Oakville subdivision, shared with Metrolinx (GO). It runs from Union Station in downtown Toronto to Bayview.
The track curving off to the right is the CN Dundas subdivision, which runs from Bayview to London, Ontario.
Past Bayview, the Oakville sub becomes the CN Grimsby subdivision through Hamilton to Niagara Falls. You can see it bending around the corner, with a container train parked on it. That CN train had already passed through the junction before we arrived and was waiting for its chance to continue west/south.
The next train came 10 minutes later.
At 09:07 the westbound Amtrak Maple Leaf came around the bend. This US bound train had departed Union Station and was headed to New York through Niagara Falls. The train had AMTK 104 leading six cars.
The Maple Leaf takes 12.5 hours to travel between New York City and Toronto. Sadly, it only has coaches, although business class is available, and the train has a cafe on board.
In another 10 minutes, we saw…
At 09:17 VIA Rail #70 came off the Dundas subdivision and rounded the corner. I call this “Third Eye Blind” because one of the ditch lights on VIA 6417 was out. I was glad to see the six LRC cars behind 6417, because their days are numbered now that the new Siemens trainsets are coming online.
What the heck are those things on the top of VIA 3352? It almost looks like a roof rack but I’m sure it’s something more esoteric than that.
Just after VIA rounded the corner, here came…
Lakeshore West 1, Again
At 09:19 a GO Transit “Lakeshore West” train headed toward Toronto. This was the same train we saw at 08:57. I guess it takes about 20 minutes for them to go from Bayview to Hamilton and back!
Nick was shooting black and white film, so I am interested to see how his shots turn out, once they are developed.
After that flurry of GO-Amtrak-VIA-GO activity, we had a long wait for the next train.
Lakeshore West 2
The next hourly GO Train passed us at 09:58 with cab car 349 leading the way, and GOT 673 pushing on the rear.
Predictably, about 20 minutes later, we saw…
Lakeshore West 2, Again
At 10:21 the same GO Transit trainset returned as the eastbound version of the Lakeshore West train.
Time was marching on, and we had places to be in the afternoon. I wanted to relocate to the second location to see the junction from the other side, so we said our goodbyes to the local railfans and drove over there.
While I was parking, a CN freight came rolling along. I grabbed a few shots through the fall foliage as it rolled past.
Finally a Freight
At 10:49 CN 3063 and 30?3 led a long eastbound freight through Bayview Junction. Although I wasn’t well positioned, I like the look of the train behind the colourful leaves. Ontario certainly has more colour in their leaves than we do in Manitoba.
Eventually Nick and I found the right path and ended up looking at the junction again, just in time to see…
Lakeshore West 3
At 11 AM we saw another Lakeshore West train, with 367 on the head end and 611 pushing. The CN Dundas subdivision is curving off to the bottom left and the Grimsby sub is at bottom right.
It started raining, so we decided to pack it in and head back to Waterloo. It was a good choice, because the skies really opened up as I was driving the Dodge Charger up highway 6.
Just One More Thing
Bayview Junction is a well photographed area. I have several slides of the area in my collection. Here’s one from August 3, 1995 featuring VIA 70 and 71 passing each other (photographer unknown), and my photo of VIA 70 on the right on November 11, 2022.
There are numerous differences that I can see, mostly in the signaling.
- The overhead signal bridge facing east was replaced by a more distant signal bridge, and signals on the Dundas. The foundation of that bridge is still visible in 2022.
- The telegraph lines are gone.
- The west-facing signals in the distance have been replaced by LEDs.
- Most obviously, there are three tracks east of the junction now.
I always find it interesting to see how a particular location has evolved over the years.
Have you been to Bayview Junction?
16 thoughts on “Bayview Junction”
It has been quite some time since I have been at Bayview Junction . From the pictures, there have been some changes, but there is a lot that hasn’t changed too.
Here is a question. I’ll use the pictures of VIA #70 and GO 656 as a reference. Just as there is a cross-over between the left and center tracks, did there use to be a cross-over between the center track and the right-most track? I seem to think that there was a cross-ver there at one time. Perhaps there still is, but it is outside of the lower edge of the frame.
There was at one time a cross-over to the right most track. Many years ago it was taken out. You’ll also notice that there are three tracks now vs. the two in older photos. At some point, the far right track became a dedicated track to the Dundas sub, and the far left track was added to be a dedicated track for the GO train when it eventually went into Hamilton. It used to only go to Aldershot.
These are my foggy recollections. I moved to Ottawa from Hamilton 30 odd years ago, and this is what I can recall my Dad telling me.
Thanks for the reply, Don. I was fairly sure that there was a cross-over to the right side track. However, sometimes things aren’t as we seem to remember them.
As you describe, there have been a number of changes to the track configuration over the years.
Hello. And Bye.
I am overwhelmed by the huge number of cars the GO trains carry. Having never ridden the carrier, I would have surmised that they might have 4 or 5 units. Some of these look like they have nearly 10 units. They must be carrying huge numbers of commuters.
Hi Bil, it is surprising how many cars GO Transit operates. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has a lot of people and GO moves plenty of them, I guess!
For the Lakeshore line they usually have 12 cars.
Pre-pandemic some trains were up to 12 cars. One analyst has estimated that by 2031 GO’s share of the GTA/Golden Horseshoe travel market could be almost equal to all of Dutch Railways.
Nice story Steve. Yes been to Bayview a number of times. First time was in 1995, think I was last there in 2018.
M A P
Thanks, Mark! I imagine it was quite different even in 1995.
I think the rack on the VIA train is the equipment for picking up the on-board wifi signal.
That makes sense!
Had I know you were here I would have invited you to see our ho version of Bayview at the Railview Historical Society in Markham ON.
I’d love to see that, Mike! Maybe next time..
As a child I lived in Brantford for two years when my Dad’s job relocated us from Illinois. The CN passed by at the end of our street cementing my love for all things rail. Fast forward to 2007 and my return to Brantford 37 years later while at a conference in Toronto. Amazingly, I had an unplanned reunion with boyhood friends, still enjoying trains at the depot. My old friends asked if had ever been to Bayview? Nope. The next day they took me to this skinny bridge over the tracks lined with railfans with lawn chairs and scanners. What a wonderful experience. I was equally fascinated by both people and train watching. I also caught the Maple Leaf but I don’t believe GO came this far back then. I would love to go back for a repeat. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Hi Bryan, that sounds like a great place to grow up – trains passing by the end of the street.
The social aspect of railfanning is often overlooked when we talk about locomotives and such. Hanging out with like-minded people, whether watching trains or sports or birds, is a great way to spend some time. I’m glad you had a good experience on the Bayview bridge.
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