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Press Release ... Turntable Restoration Begins

The historic turntable bridge at the John Street Roundhouse is to be removed for complete restoration to operational status this Wednesday and Thursday, 27-28 June. This is the first major step in the development of Toronto’s new Railway Heritage Centre adjacent to the CN Tower. The "lift" is a complex maneuver as the turntable bridge alone is 36.6m long (120ft) and weighs 76 tons.

The Toronto Railway Historical Association, (TRHA), the community body working directly with the City of Toronto and various other entities to help realize a permanent railway heritage centre at the site of the former CPR John St. Round house is pleased to announce that on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Western Mechanical Inc. will be onsite to remove the historic roundhouse turntable bridge from its current storage location inside the roundhouse. The bridge will be crane lifted out and then placed on a large truck for removal to their Barrie Ontario shops for a complete restoration. In September, the restored bridge will be returned to the property and re-installed complete with is its original compressed air motor system. While it is being refurbished, the radial tracks leading to each of the stalls at the round house will be re-installed along with lead tracks that will allow the museum to display and "lift" rail equipment in and out of the facility.

The removal of the turntable bridge for restoration was triggered by the signing of a long term private sector restoration and lease agreement with the City for the Roundhouse. Beyond the turntable bridge rehabilitation and radial track re-installation the deal triggers the funding release of millions of dollars for the creation of the museum and the critical relocation of former CNR 4-8-4 Northern class 6213 steam locomotive from her resting place at the CNE to her new home at Roundhouse Park for eventual restoration as part of the museum's interpretive mission.

When restored, the turntable will be the largest and oldest working turntable bridge of its kind in Canada.

For more information on the move or the Railway Heritage Centre please contact us at the addresses list below.

Contact Information

Orin Krivel, President, TRHA
(416) 917-1903

Doug North, Director, TRHA
(416) 543-4627


The turntable bridge structure was built in 1929 by the Canadian Bridge Company of Walkerville Ontario. At 120 feet long (36.6m) it is one of the largest in the country and capable of rotating a locomotive weighing up to 771,000 lb or 350 tonnes. The bridge alone without rails, wheels and drive motors weighs 76 tons and is of "built up" construction using steel plates rolled steel angles and rivets. Welding is not used anywhere on the structure.

Referred to as a "twin-span" turntable, it has three points of support, the centre bearing and wheels under each of the two ends. There are two independent drive mechanisms, both are small twin-cylinder reciprocating steam engines arranged to run on compressed air and driving one carrying wheel through gearing. Each "air motor" is capable of moving the loaded turntable alone giving 100% redundant drive capability.

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