On South Blair Street, my beloved level crossing has closed forever. I am sorry to see it go since it was the first place I used to go to watch trains with my father 20 years ago. However, I understand why the crossing is impeding traffic flow and ultimately inconveniencing the railway companies as well.
In place of the crossing, a new underpass will be built over the next few years. To do this, the GO Sub has been replaced with a shoo-fly track at the former crossing site. A shoo-fly is a temporary diversionary track used by railways to bypass construction or other obstacles (such as a washout). Once the portion of the bridge for GO trains is complete, the Kingston Sub will also be shoo-flied (?) to build the rest.
This photos shows how the site looked as of the end of July. It was taken with a zoom lens at 250mm while standing on the Hopkins Street bridge to the east of the site. Incidentally, the bridge will also be a casualty of the construction as it will be demolished and replaced with an access road to the south of the site, thus destroying one of the best rail photo spots in the GTA. Nothing lasts forever.
Of interest in the image are (from left to right):
- The CN Kingston Sub. Without a level crossing to worry about anymore, CN freights can now go right up to the signal bridge while working the Oshawa yard.
- The red and black pile-driver at the former site of the South Blair crossing and future site of the South Blair underpass.
- The GO Sub shoo-fly with train 916 not-so-slowly rounding the "s" curve on its run east to Oshawa. Temporary signals were installed when the original signal bridge (roughly where the pile driver is) was removed to make way for the construction.
- The berm, marking the southern limit of the future GO maintenance facility.
For more updates, see the Metrolinx Flickr account, which gives good updates on all the major rail construction projects in the Toronto area, including those in Whitby. Even better, no need to trespass!