Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Transport: Lambton Yard Closed

In a scene probably not to be seen again, a long string of power for local trains rested for the Good Friday holiday at Lambton Yard in Toronto, Ontario on 10-April-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - I didn't realize when I selected my current residence that I was moving walking distance from an active railroad yard, but it turns out that Canadian Pacific's Lambton Yard was located not far to the north. The base for a series of local trains and a common set-out and pick-up location for local traffic taking heat off the more modern Toronto (Agincourt) Yard to the east, Lambton has provided a nice bit of entertainment to this railfan.

All that changed on Saturday. Because of the economic downturn, Canadian Pacific has decided to close Lambton Yard. All of the local trains formerly based at Lambton have been moved to Toronto Yard, there will be no yard switch crew, and many trains that formerly worked at Lambton will just pass by on the mainline. The last run of the Lambton Transfer job pulled all of the locomotives used for local runs out of the yard on Saturday.

No longer an active office, the Canadian Pacific Lambton Yard Office stood with only inactive company vehicles around on 27-April-2009. Previously, this view would have normally been blocked by rail cars in the yard.

I headed out to see what had changed on Monday. Perhaps a transition is not complete yet, but while the yard office is definitely closed and there are no locomotives sitting nearby, the yard tracks themselves are not completely empty. Over the course of the day, the trains that normally had work at Lambton did stop to make set-outs or pick-ups. Even the local jobs came out from Toronto Yard and stopped to work at Lambton Yard before continuing on to their normal work. Had I not heard what was going on, I would not have noticed that the local trains were originating at Toronto Yard instead of Lambton.

Canadian Pacific has tried to shut down Lambton Yard before and failed. However, in the current economy and traffic downturn, they just might manage to move all its work to Toronto and also Obico Yard, to the west. The yard jobs, both the switch crews and yardmaster shifts as well as the crews of the Lambton transfer trains, may be gone forever.

All this drives home the old railfanning adage--shoot what's there, because tomorrow it might not be. In the case of Lambton Yard, what I took pictures of as recently as Easter weekend may now be impossible to see again.

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