Construction of the new Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station in Downtown Toronto is in full swing, pictures posted in the Urban Toronto Forum show. 

Construction of the state-of-the-art facility began in late May, although the project is now picking up speed. The recently taken photos reveal the extent to which excavation has progressed. Crews have excavated down several metres already, and a heavy excavator and a light bulldozer can be seen on the site.

Toronto Hydro, Clare R. Copeland Transformer StationA view of construction of the Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station on August 12, 2013, image by Red Mars

The transformer station is begin built up against the west walls of the John Street Roundhouse, across from the Rogers Centre. The station will be built underground, extending down 4 storeys, in order to minimize the valuable real estate the station occupies above ground and also to minimize the station's visual profile. 

Toronto Hydro embarked on the project amid concerns that existing hydro infrastructure in downtown Toronto was not sufficient to support the growing energy demands of the city. There are currently 189 high-rise buildings approved for construction in the city, and along with many other infrastructure projects under way, the city's power needs are predicted to increase significantly in the future.

Toronto Hydro, Clare R. Copeland Transformer StationClose up view of construction of the Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station on August 12, 2013, image by Red Mars

When plans for the transformed station were originally announced, it appeared as though the Toronto Railway Historical Association (TRHA), who were originally promised space in a part of the roundhouse complex known as the machine shop, would not be able to use the space: Toronto Hydro declared the space was now needed for access to their site. A compromise has since been reached, and the railway museum will be able to mount their displays in the reconstructed machine shop space whenever Toronto Hydro does not need to access for major equipment to the $195 million Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station below. 

Toronto Hydro, Clare R. Copeland Transformer StationClose up view of construction of the Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station on August 12, 2013, image by Red Mars

The machine shop was disassembled brick-by-brick before starting excavation work. It will be reassembled after construction of the transformer station is finished. 

Toronto Hydro, Clare R. Copeland Transformer StationConstruction crews dismantling the machine shop on June 10, 2013, image by kram74

The land is the property of the City of Toronto, which had previously leased portions of it to the TRHA, with other portions leased to the Steam Whistle brewery and Leon's. The TRHA Museum, Steam Whistle, and the Leon's store all operate from the other side of the roundhouse, an area which is not affected by the construction.

The TRHA museum includes original steam and diesel engines and train cars, a station, cabins, and equipment dating back to the early 20th century, all of which have all been restored. There is also a fully operational miniature steam train stretching the length on the grounds which is particularly popular with children.

Toronto Hydro, Clare R. Copeland Transformer StationView of Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station construction looking toward the base of the CN Tower, image by Red Mars

The Toronto Railway Historical Association was established in 2001 to work with the City of Toronto to establish a railway museum at the John Street Roundhouse. The TRHA is incorporated and is a federally registered charity. In addition to the John Street Roundhouse, they are also have a presence at Union Station. The TRHA is a volunteer based organization, and they primarily seek to promote and preserve Toronto's railway history. 

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