2023/05/04 – Hamilton Mainline

Good morning from near Plains Road and York Boulevard. I’m taking the day off to trace the GO Lakeshore West / Niagara line (also known as the Oakville and Grimsby Subdivisions) through Hamilton. I’ll head over the Spring Garden footbridge and curve around the lake into downtown. Let’s go.

As the rail corridor comes into Hamilton, it navigates the confluence of Grindstone Creek and the northwest tip of Lake Ontario. The Long Pond from Cootes Paradise also meets here, but I believe it’s cut off from the lake.

With the natural intersections come a delta of built ones two. Rail lines from Toronto, Campbellville, London and Niagara all meet at this triangle of land, while diving over a freeway and a major road. Lots of foamer trails, pretty cool to be here.

Another significant intersection. The Desjardins Canal, a trail, a junction between CN/GO and CPKC lines from downtown, York Boulevard and the 403 all meet here. Instead of taking the lower trail into the city, I’m staying up above the subject rail corridor.

Apparently the rail corridor parallels a battle path made by old white people. Through Dundurn Park, the corridor widens up into CN’s Hamilton Yard (A and B Yards, north and south of the mainline, respectively). After zigzagging through local streets, you get down to track level.

Past the freight yard is the (relatively) new GO train station for Hamilton, West Harbour. I’ve managed to get a couple GO trains in my pictures because they’re in and out of here every half hour. Still weirds me out they didn’t just expropriate the old CN station, but it works.

Another junction, this one leading to the spurs in Hamilton’s industrial sector. Buildings and bridges make the city’s blue collar foundation clear.

The tracks are nearly impossible to parallel (without trespassing) as you get further east. Lots of crisscrossing through rusty industrial lots. It smells like a robot farted, so we’re definitely downwind of steel town.

More red brick warehouses, beam and panel shops and vacant lots. A small post-war subdivision between Gage and Ottawa, with a park and rail-over-rail crossing featured in a Netflix series. Then back along the edge of the steel district.

It’s a long, long way to get around the Dofasco Complex, which includes a long rail yard. Another post-war subdivision with alleyways sits beside it, with many dead-end streets

1.5 kilometres later, back across the tracks at Parkdale Ave. Then another 800 metre jog to Woodward Ave. Finally, some parallel action and a connection to the Red Hill Valley.

Through Nash and Bancroft, the old route for GO’s Niagara bus stop in Stoney Creek. It was such silly looping, but fortunately it’s less silly as a new GO station is half-built at Centennial Parkway. Trains will stop here one day. This is where I’m stopping today.

Date: May 4, 2023
Length: 21.7 km
Type: Railway / Freeway

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