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Today is the 80th Birthday of the CPR John St. Roundhouse!

Click on each picture for a closer look!
As most of you know, Derek Boles, TRHA's historian, publishes a daily posting on the Toronto Railway Heritage Yahoo Group List. These postings document major events in Canadian history that happened on that day of the year. Among the many items in today's posting is the following:

October 15, 1929:

"The Canadian Pacific Railway Locomotive and Car Facilities opens at the foot of John Street, replacing an older facility first opened in 1897. The new facility was 17 feet higher, required for access to the new viaduct into Union Station. Railroaders continued to call the facility "John Street," even though its actual connection with the street disappeared some months earlier with the dismantling of the John Street bridge across the tracks. John Street contained
43 structures, several miles of track and covered nearly 16 acres of property. It was one of only three roundhouses in Canada that exclusively serviced passenger locomotives. The engines were moved in and out of the 28-stall roundhouse on a massive 120-foot turntable, the longest in Canada. The roundhouse was the first to use the "direct steam process" where steam was pumped into the locomotives so that they did not have to have their boiler fires going in order to move in and out of the building. This created much better visibility and safer working conditions for workers and meant less smoke inhalation.
Up to 150 men worked in the roundhouse 24 hours a day. The locomotives serviced there were so attractively maintained that their appearance became known among railroaders as the "John Street polish." After the original 1897 roundhouse was demolished, four more stalls were added in 1931 for a total of 32. Provision was made for 16 more stalls but the Depression resulted in reduced traffic and these were never built.
The passenger car yard and facilities were almost twice the size of the adjacent CN Spadina yard and could accommodate up to 450 full- length passenger cars. John Street was decommissioned in 1988 and turned over to the City of Toronto for conversion to a railway museum. In 1990, the facility was declared a National Historic Site because it was an
"architecturally and historically important surviving reminder of steam technology and the role of transportation in the City of Toronto."
If you wish to read these daily postings from Derek, simply join the Yahoo Group by clicking here.
In the picture at the above left, we see the finished roundhouse against the Toronto skyline of that era. In the remaining pictures, we see the roundhouse under construction.

Posting by Russ Milland; Pictures from the City of Toronto Archives

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