There was a time when the TTC had a fleet of surface work cars: rail grinders, flat cars, cranes, a sand car, snow ploughs and sweepers. They’re all gone (a few survive in museums), and maintenance of the surface system uses much more prosaic vehicles.
My favourite was W28, originally Toronto Civic Railway 57, that operated as a rail grinder from 1955 until it was replaced with a PCC rail-grinding train in 1976.
As an early Easter gift to readers, here is a photo gallery of W28 from 1967-8.
W28 southbound on Broadview passes ex-Birmingham car 4738. The station only has a single track loop (a runaround track and, later, two loading platforms were years in the future). “Streetcars Curve Here”, not “Turn”, is the admonition to wayward motorists. The northbound track, used at this time as a tail track, was formerly the lead to Erindale Loop, one block north, which had already been replaced by a new building in this photo.
W28 northbound on Broadview at Montcrest. Not much has changed in this neighbourhood, although the houses are a lot more expensive, and most of the block behind where I was standing has been bought up and converted to the Montcrest School.
Southbound at Broadview and Langley. The gingerbread house on the corner was torn down for a low-rise condo years ago.
Northbound on Broadview crossing Withrow. A far less functional passenger shelter now graces the southbound stop thanks to the City’s standard street furniture program.
Southbound at Don Jail Roadway. The old jail, now under renovation as part of a new Bridgepoint Hospital (formerly Riverdale) complex, was still in use in the 1960s.
At Bathurst Station Loop. W28 was the only car the TTC owned that would fit on the run-around track between the sidewalk and the platform.
At Exhibition Loop. A great transit site was lost when this loop was moved north under the Gardiner Expressway to make room for the new Trade Centre. There might have been a large underground loop as part of the complex, but nobody wanted to spend the money. Transit was relegated to the north edge of the CNE grounds where it will serve, with difficulty, any new developments on that land, let alone Ontario Place to the south. And why, you ask, was there no streetcar to Ontario Place? They didn’t want to give up their parking lot. That’s what passes for “planning” in what could have been the largest entertainment centre of Toronto.
W28 sits in Hillcrest Yard. The track here was dual gauge so that freight cars delivering materials (notably rail and related hardware) could be switched off of the CPR freight line into the yard.
W28 in front of what we now call Harvey Shops with a Gray Coach Lines bus in the background. At this time, GO Transit had barely started to operate a limited service on the Lake Shore corridor, and GCL was a major carrier in southern Ontario.
At a still-active St. Clair Carhouse, years before Artscape got its hands on the property. A Rogers car peeks out of the open door.
Northbound on Wychwood toward St. Clair.
In this view, looking across the Nordheimer Ravine, W28 is roughly at the current location of the east portal of St. Clair West Station.
Westbound at St. Clair and Inglewood, the east end of the bridge over the Avoca Ravine.
Westbound crossing the bridge over the Avoca Ravine.
And, finally, back at Hillcrest.