GO Transit and More, Part 3

This is the third of five posts in a series. Go here for part 1 if you wish.

As I continued walking west along the Union Station Rail Corridor in downtown Toronto, I came across a rather attractive pedestrian bridge over the tracks.

West end of West Bathurst Yard
West end of West Bathurst Yard

This is the Puente de Luz, aka “Bridge of Light”, reputed to be the largest public art installation in Canada. It was built in 2011 and was designed by Francisco Gazitua. There’s a very short video on YouTube showing the installation of the bridge at night.

As I walked up the ramp onto the bridge, yet another GO Transit train came rolling by, with GOT 643 at one end.

GOT 643
GOT 643

One thing you notice very quickly about GO Transit trains – other than the characteristic bilevel passenger cars – is that there are at least three different shades of green in use on the equipment. There’s a bright green, which seems to be the newest as it uses the Metrolinx branding, and then there’s a faded light green and a darker green.

Three shades of GO Transit green
Three shades of GO Transit green

The Puente de Luz is an attractive bridge, but it doesn’t really serve as a railfan bridge… in my opinion.

GOT 362
GOT 362

The main problem with the bridge is the fencing corridor that encloses it. We all know why that’s there, but the holes in the fence are too small to jam a camera lens through. I ended up with shadows of the wire in all my shots, and I had to be careful about exactly where I put the camera so the wires weren’t between me and the trains.

GOT 651 on the tail end
GOT 651 on the tail end

Railfan jail?

GOT 563 behind bars
GOT 563 behind bars

Well, I tried.

I decided to keep going west to Bathurst Street, and the iconic bridge over the tracks there. I caught this double ended VIA train in a triangle of sunlight under the bridge.

VIA Rail under Bathurst Street
VIA Rail under Bathurst Street

As I approached Bathurst Street, I passed this agglomeration of railway signals, both old and new, with the placard “Union Station Rail Corridor Ends”.

Union Station Rail Corridor Ends
Union Station Rail Corridor Ends

One look east at a pair of GO Transit trains, with the CN Tower looming against the morning sky.

Two trains passing
Two trains passing

On to part 4 and Bathurst Street!

Just One More Thing

I just finished reading Turmoil and Triumph: The Controversial Railway to Hudson Bay by Ian Bickle. This book chronicles the building of the railway to Churchill, Manitoba and its operation.

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This book is really a story about the people who built the railway, “the navvies who work upon the railway, swingin’ our hammers in the bright blazin’ sun,as Gordon Lightfoot sang. The author goes into considerable detail about the rough working conditions during the railway’s construction, and the men who traveled long distances to build the line through the muskeg to Canada’s north.

There are a lot of details about the politics behind the railway’s planning, construction and operation, but I’d say the book’s real value is in the stories of the people who built it.

The book is basically two small books in one. The first part details the planning and construction, while the second part covers the operation of the railway and the continual struggles to bring enough traffic to justify the line’s continued existence – a struggle that continues to this day.

The Manitoba Historical Society wrote a review of this book 25 years ago, so it’s not a new book!

If you’re interested in the history of the railway to Churchill, this is a good one to read.

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