Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersWest Toronto Diamond

West Toronto Diamond


This paper describes the West Toronto Diamond project in Ontario, Canada. This project has been designed to eliminate at-grade diamond crossings of the Canadian National Railway (CN) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) tracks in the Junction area of Toronto, an area which takes its name from the confluence of these railways. Since the 1880’s, rail traffic here has been constrained by these diamond crossings involving the CN and CPR mainlines and a CPR Wye track. The project will result in a quantum improvement in the levels of service and safety provided by the Railways at this site. The project involves relocating the CN tracks below the CPR tracks, while at the same time maintaining all rail operations with a minimum of interruption to the Railways’ activities. The site is physically constrained and hence, in order to accomplish this goal, Delcan’s design includes the sliding of 4 mainline railway bridge spans, weighing a total of some 10,000 tonnes, into their final positions. Each slide occupies only a few hours, as it is powered by computerized high-speed tandem hydraulic jacks, moving these massive structures on steel / aluminum bronze slide paths, enabling the bridge spans to move quickly and continuously into position during brief possessions of the tracks. This is a first in Canada for this specific technology applied to railway bridges. Delcan’s experience in large-scale heavy bridge slides was a key factor in the Railways and GO Transit accepting this unusual technique at the West Toronto Diamond site. This reduced the cost of the project by some $10 Million, and reduced the necessary time of construction by at least 6 months. The project also is designed to accommodate a remarkable piling method which is called Silent Piling. This method involves the installation of piles with zero vibration, by means of a hydraulic crush piling system. It enables this major deep piling project to be constructed with minimum risk to the environment, as quietly and unobtrusively as possible, and including minimal risk to nearby sensitive buildings, services and utilities. The Project is owned by GO Transit, who operate a commuter train service on the CN tracks. This approximately $125 Million project will greatly enhance all affected rail operations in West Toronto, hence having long term continuing economic and social benefits for the lifetime of the project in service, which is designed to be over 100 years. This is an example of true sustainability.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Archibald, B
Anderson, V
Crabb, J
Werner, J