Continuing Efforts to Learn how the Railroads Served Liberty Village

During my lunch break yesterday at work, when I needed to clear my mind, I spent a few minutes trying to do some historical research.  Today, I’m writing about that searching to help me get what I learned into my head a bit better.  In this case, yesterday I was specifically looking for information on “Employee Timetables”, something I know of, but which I don’t have any of for either the Canadian National or Canadian Pacific railways in the mid-late 1950’s era I am looking to set my layout based on Liberty Village in Toronto on.  These are regularly available at Train Shows at seemingly ever inflating prices, which I have usually refused to pay, though inevitably I will need to consider buying a few from the right era to help my understanding of operations on my layout.

One of the web pages I have read before, is that of Charles Cooper, a railfan and author in Ontario.  I own his excellent book “Hamilton’s Other Railway” on the Hamilton & NorthWestern that built what would become the CNR line between Hamilton and Barrie via Milton and Georgetown.  Building a model of Georgetown’s station to go with my model of CNR D-1 is a long term goal, but that’s a different story.  Where Charles Cooper is important today, is a section of his website with scanned public and employee timetables.  In the list, is a CNR Employee Timetable for the Toronto Terminals, dated April 28, 1957, square in the middle of the era I am looking to set my layout in!

CNR_TorontoTerminals_ETT38_April1957CoverCNR Employee Time Table 38, Effective April 28, 1957 for the Toronto Terminals district.

He has the entire document scanned on his website, after a quick leaf through the PDF, it has all kinds of interesting information in it for me.  Not necessarily train times, as an industrial district like Liberty Village would have been switched as needed after incoming cars were delivered to the appropriate nearby yard, or as shippers needed loaded cars moved from their docks, but on operating rules and restrictions.  It includes all kinds of information about restrictions on operations in the area, such as limits on where different locomotives can run as shown below:

CNR_TorontoTerminals_ETT38_April1957Restrictions.jpgEngine Restrictions – “over which only a standard six wheel yard engine can operate” including a number of Liberty Village destinations under the Oakville Sub including Mowat Ave, Toronto Carpet, Pardee Ave, Hinde & Dauch Paper.

The engine restrictions list is fascinating, confirming that only small steam locomotives would be allowed into Liberty Village to switch the industries.  This makes sense, as all the maps and plans indicate how tight some of the switches and curves are when you look at the narrow 20′ wide streets and maximum 60′ building to building dimensions including the street, tracks and any setbacks for the buildings from them.

Sadly, this restriction means one of the locomotives I own that I intend to use on the layout wouldn’t have been permitted into Liberty Village.  I have a Life-Like Proto 2000 0-8-0 switcher which I bought many years ago.  It was a regular runner on my old shelf layout in my parents basement when they lived in Georgetown, and I’d been planning on pulling it out of the box after I move in June to look at converting it to DCC.  I may still do that, but clearly, It will be a locomotive operating on Rule 1, “It’s My Railroad and I’ll Run what I Want” when I feel like taking it out, and not a locomotive to be used during prototypical operation sessions.

3148949101_95e3017a0b_oMy Life-Like Proto 2000 Heritage USRA 0-8-0.  I had hoped to use this as an occasional visitor to Liberty Village, by the late 1950’s, much of CN and CP’s switching jobs would have been handled by diesels, but I figured an occasional steam interloper would be allowed.

I have a small steam locomotive project for Canadian Pacific already on my workbench, a friend gifted me a Life-Like/Walthers 0-6-0 locomotive without a tender.  The dimensions almost perfectly match a CPR U-3-e yard locomotive, of which several were assigned to John Street and Lambton Yards over the years, and which likely would have switched Liberty Village.  That’s a bit of a long term project, but I’ve got the plans for the tender body from the CPR Historical Society, and have been slowly collecting detail parts to build a tender and modify the locomotive to better resemble the CPR prototype.

The next time I’m at a train show, I think I’ll need to take the time to more carefully go through the timetables and information for sale on the CNR and CPR Toronto districts in the mid-late 1950’s to try and acquire some Employee Timetables to help me fill in the operational restrictions and rules of both railroads for eventually developing Ops Sessions once the layout gets built.

2 thoughts on “Continuing Efforts to Learn how the Railroads Served Liberty Village

    • Thanks Bruce, I hadn’t even thought about them, and I’ve certainly used their site many times for plans and drawings. They had an early 1950’s and a mid 1960’s ETT for the area, but happily, their instructions to crews are virtually identical between them. I’ll still be on the lookout for a 1957/58 era CPR ETT, but some information is always more useful than none.



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