The Train Track

In The Case for Killing, Peter Bradley stumbles upon an abandoned railway track in the middle of Toronto. That explains the book’s cover design.

The train track, like most geographical locations in the book, exists. It’s about five kilometres long and runs from Leaside to downtown Toronto. And it is indeed abandoned, at least for the time being.

I came across the northeastern part of the track accidentally while doing research for the book. Here are two shots taken May 18, 2014.

Don Branch Looking Northeast True Davidson Bridge in Sight
Don Branch Looking Northeast
True Davidson Bridge in Sight
Don Branch Looking Southeast
Don Branch Looking Southeast

When you stand on the track where the photos were taken, there is little impression of being in Canada’s largest city. Sure, there are houses to be seen and there is some traffic noise from the Bayview extension. But, except for birds, it’s eerily still.

The track is known as the Don Branch of the CPR Belleville subdivision, running, as it does, alongside parts of the Don River. Canadian Pacific Railway built the track in 1888 to create a direct route into downtown Toronto.

For more than a century, freight and passenger trains used the track. CPR stopped its passenger service and the demand for freight declined as industry in Toronto’s core declined. The track was last used in 2007. Metrolinx bought the Don Branch and Go Transit intends to use it for future expansion.

It’s possible to hike most of the track. This excellent article gives details and more history. Warning: hiking some of the bridges is not for the faint of heart.

Copyright © Peter Fritze 2014

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