• Railfanning the Toronto metro area without a car

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.

Moderator: Ken V

  by njtmnrrbuff
I'll look into Uxbridge. It might be very fun.

As far as Milton goes, do any VIA Rail trains pass through there? Something tells me they don't, but I know they use the Georgetown Line. Thanks.
  by njtmnrrbuff
How is Ronge Hill for railfanning? I see that the right of way runs alongside the lake in some places. I also see that I could get a bus from one of the stations on the Scarborough Rapid Transit Line to there. Thanks.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Looking at pictures of Aldershot, it might interest me, but the timing might not exactly work. One of the afternoons, most likely, I'm going to ride the TTC to Kipling and then to Islington Avenue. I would switch to the 110 and get off near where Mimico Yard and the Oakville Main go underneath Islington. I would take a few pictures there, and walk to GO's Mimico Station. I would take some pics there, and then ride GO to Oakville, and spend an hour to an hour and a half there, and then head back to Toronto. How's Oakville for late afternoon photography? Thanks.
  by amandakev
hi all-

just wanted to let you know, with regards to the don valley thing, that i am going to [respectfully, of course] disagree, and notify you guys of a great spot my son and I watch the trains. Its an interesting little spot, its not fenced off so you can get very close, and the CN does, in fact, go along it. I will tell you where it is as long as you won't overpopulate it because its been a best kept secret for me ever since i moved to leaside.

It is along wicksteed and vanderhoof. during weekdays the trains come as frequently as every half hour in the summer, both north and south, usually around the half past mark is when i get there so i won't miss it when it gets there at about quarter or ten to the hour. if you see a [cute :P] mum with an [also cute] toddler, that'll be us-say hi! if you follow vanderhoof all the way east from laird until you reach where it forks into wicksteed and such, you'll see all the businesses, youre in the right place. if you're taking the TTC there is the bus 88 south leaside that goes right along it.. ask the driver where it is, he will tell you where to hop off. alternatively if that schedule isnt frequent enough for you there is the eglinton bus, where you can exit at brentcliffe and walk south, then east on vanderhoof, but its a bit of a walk. you can also get there via the 81 thorncliffe park bus, exit at beth nealson and walk along there. if you google map my crap directions im sure you'll somehow get what im saying here.. nearest landmarks would be thorncliffe mall, and the plaza with homesense, staples, marshalls and robert lowreys nearby. enjoy :D
ps there is also a nearby bridge that the trains take, very high up at leslie and eglinton.
  by Ken V
Welcome to the forums amandakev. I know exactly the spot you are talking about. I've been there many, many times before although not in the past couple of years. I sometimes watched the trains from the Tremco plant where there are (were) some picnic tables set up for the workers but there was nobody there on weekends, except a security guard who I'd sometime chat with. More recently I've been watching from below the bridge in E.T. Seton Park (just off Eglinton Ave at Leslie). Another good spot is/was just east of the Millwood Drive underpass (by the Esso car wash across from Loblaw's) near where the CP Police office is located.
  by amandakev
Thanks Ken!

I like the spot at Loblaws as well, but with the super high fences and stuff, plus the sheer amount of people there, I feel like I can never just relax and watch.. especially if I want pictures, I feel like its troublesome. I can't believe you remembered Tremco, haha, that's awesome! I will definitely check out the views from the park, I live quite close to it, and I think fall is a great time to spot since its not so hot but not quite frigid yet.

Excited to be here!

  by warwgn3
Yes WITH a car this time. I debated whether or not to start a new thread but figured there are already 2 threads re: Toronto w/ no car, so I might as well just tack onto the latest thread.

I figure railfanning with / without a car both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Without a car, Cons: Can only carry what you can; at mercy of public transit; some distant stuff would be hard to get to. Pros: No worry of leaving your car somewhere, don't have to walk all the way back to your car (if you had to park it some distance away). And you get some excersize.

With a car, Cons: extra costs (gas/rental etc) Risk of parking tickets; finding a safe parking spot at railfanning sites. Some places seem a little seedy, others the road is too narrow, others the road is too busy/can't just park on the shoulder (example I don't think we can just park on the shoulder of the bridge over Mimico or the north end of Agincourt... that's a LONG bridge over Mimico.) Pros: can bring whatever you want with you! Food, camera stuff, scanner stuff, big antenna, you name it. The car is also a portable recharging station! Freedom to go wherever you want to, whenever! Certainly faster that public transit (unless you decide to drive across downtown T.O. at the worst time of day, if so, YDI.)

A couple friends and myself are going on a railfanning trip to Toronto next weekend. We're taking the train from Ottawa friday night, and staying in a hotel near Union Station. Saturday morning the plan is to pick up the rental car bright and early, and then whip right over to Bayview Ave to catch the arriving eastbound Canadian coming around the corner under the big CP trestle. Hopefully we can park on the shoulder there (doesn't look too bad according to Google StreetView), otherwise we'll have to get it at Pottery Road.

After that, the next idea is to go back downtown and take the GO train out to Aldershot and back. Never been past Toronto that direction. GO transit site says the train stops at Aldershot. :-( Doesn't look like there's a way to get to Bayview Jct. So unless we find a way to bayview, we're just gonna take the next GO back to Union.

Other places on the table to check out: John Street Roundhouse/Steamwhistle Brewery; old North Toronto CP station/LCBO (see what happens when you DON'T tear everything down CP?); Summerhill pedestrian overpass North Toronto sub in Leaside; Osler Street / West Toronto; Do you think it's worth checking out the north end of Agincourt? If it's fairly quiet on the weekends we won't bother. A lot of yards are really hard to see into. (Love Smiths Falls) One website which was last updated in 2005 was talking about being able to see stuff at OBICO, but I couldn't see squat in Google StreetView so I crossed that off the list. What about the Wye at Snider? Especially at night, we want to catch the departing westbound Canadian, is that a decent spot for that? Last time I saw anything from there is on the VIA Rail: Last Seven Days tape from January 1990. Oh yeah and there's a section of the Hamilton sub between union and mimico where the locos and GO trains are always zipping back and forth next to a highway, thinking of checking that spot out too.

One of us also wants to catch the Amtrak train, I haven't found when that is yet. During the day the skywalk should be ok but at night internal lighting + dirty glass = can't see out :-(.

Anyways any suggestions on where/when to go places would be great. Otherwise we'll just look at a map and go "lets go here" and hope something is happening. We have the full day saturday and we are leaving Toronto mid-afternoon sunday to come back home.

Thanks a bunch.
  by Ken V
That's quite an ambitous itinerary. I don't know if you can get all squeezed into one weekend.

In keeping with the without a car theme, Burlington Transit Route 1 offers local bus service between Aldershot GO Station and Bayview Junction (Royal Botanical Gardens) every 30 minutes on Saturdays.

The highway the trains whiz past in that 1990 video is the Gardiner Expressway and there is a pedestrian overpass by the Palais Royale to view the action from (although it's not all that busy on weekends). There's plenty of parking available in the area along Lakeshore Blvd. And, by the way, it's the Oakville Sub and not the Hamilton Sub there.

CP Rail's North Toronto (Agincourt/McCowan) Yard is fairly active 7 days a week with hump action happening near the southwest end and usually some train marshalling work going on on the north side. The Obico Yard used to be very busy before CP built the Vaughan Intermodal Terminal further north but there's still stuff going on there much of the time.