Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Heritage: Moving Locomotive 6213
The move of the 6213 was underway as the locomotive was maneuvered onto Newfoundland Drive on the Canadian National Exposition grounds in Toronto, Ontario on 10 June 2009. The CN Tower marked its destination in the background.
TORONTO, ONTARIO - The long-awaited move of former Canadian National steam locomotive #6213 to its new home took place overnight last night. The 1942 Montreal-built locomotive had been on display at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds since soon after its donation to the city of Toronto in 1960. With the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre at the John Street Roundhouse rapidly becoming a reality, the time had come for the 6213 to move to the roundhouse.
The front end of the 6213 was the tail end of the move on Newfoundland Drive in Toronto, Ontario in the wee hours of 10 June 2009
Whitby, Ontario-based Laurie McCullough Building and Moving won the contract to move the locomotive. Its tender had been relocated the previous week, as covered previously on this blog. The locomotive, with its longer length and much heavier weight, presented a greater challenge, but Laurie McCullough pulled off a largely uneventful move.
While the locomotive did not ride through the Prince's Gates as the tender had done, it did pass nearby on Lake Shore Boulevard West as observed on 10 June 2009
One of the consequences of the width of the trailer was that it was decided not to route through the Prince's Gates, instead reaching Lake Shore Boulevard West via Newfoundland Drive, necessitating a complicated tight turn out of the parking lot. While some estimates foresaw the need for five tight turns along the route, entering Newfoundland Drive and the transition from Rees Street to Bremner Boulevard near the roundhouse proved to be the only two such situations.
Toronto Transit Commission crews were on hand to raise the de-powered streetcar catenary at Bathurst Street for the passage of the 6213 on 10 June 2009
Among the other complications encountered along the way were the streetcar wires at Bathurst Street, raised out of the way by the TTC, and the need to add a number of wheels to the trailer to traverse Lake Shore Boulevard West's westbound lanes over Spadina Avenue. The 48 wheels used for most of the trip were expanded to 80 for the trip over Spadina, then removed before making the maneuver onto Rees Street.
The 6213 looked almost like a Southern Pacific cab-forward as it crossed Spadina Avenue in Toronto, Ontario on 10 June 2009
While the wheel transitions and the tight turns helped to draw out the process into an all-nighter, it never dragged as the crews were constantly in motion pushing the activities forward. As the sun started to come up with the destination in sight, some in the crowd were surprised to realize so much time had passed.
The giant Cito Gaston poster on the side of the Rogers Centre seemed to approve of the Laurie McCullough crews re-aligning the wheels of the 6213's trailer on 10 June 2009
A surprising number of people turned out to observe the move. At least forty people were on site as the move began before midnight, and about a dozen followed it for the entire night, all the way to the roundhouse. The majority were either Toronto Railway Historical Society volunteers or members of the Toronto Locomotive Preservation Society, the group that has diligently maintained the locomotive during its nearly fifty years on the exhibition grounds. Global and CityTV were also each around for at least portions of journey.
After sunrise, the 6213 was sitting beneath the coaling tower at the John Street Roundhouse in Toronto, Ontario on 10 June 2009
In the coming days, the locomotive will be eased off the trailer onto the roundhouse tracks and become part of the collection at the roundhouse. For more coverage of the 6213 move and the roundhouse, see the Toronto Railway Historical Association web page.
More photographs from the locomotive move will appear on a future update to my photo site