Metrolinx Meeting Wrapup April 2011

The Metrolinx board met on Thursday, April 28 and there were a few items of note on the public agenda.

  • Toronto Transit Plan Update
  • PRESTO Update
  • 2011-12 Operating and Capital Budgets
  • GO Quarterly Report for 1Q11
  • Union Station Update

Toronto Transit Plan

An update on the Toronto Transit Plan set out the Metrolinx position in the still-evolving relationship with the City of Toronto and Mayor Ford.

The report reproduces a map we have seen a few times now (page 4), and its inaccuracies raise a few questions of their own.  Although the eastern end is shown as Scarborough Town Centre, it will really be at McCowan although this may just be for yard access.  McCowan is a minor station on the SRT and Metrolinx could save the expense of rebuilding it simply by dropping it from the line.  McCowan Yard may be repurposed as a depot for some of the LRVs operating on the Eglinton/Scarborough corridor.

At the western end, the map ends at Black Creek and the new maintenance yard.  Metrolinx needs to rethink the whole section through Weston Road and out to Jane Street given the new “all underground” design.  During the EA phase, the TTC (and behind them Metrolinx) fought bitterly against an underground option at Weston on the basis of cost.  Now, Metrolinx is prepared to spend billions to placate Mayor Ford and get their project underway.  Thanks to this, the line may never get further than a connection to the GO Weston corridor.

I spoke to Bruce McCuaig, Metrolinx CEO, about the extra cost of burying the Eglinton line and what this might do to the supposed benefit/cost ratio for the project.  He replied that the numbers still look good because, in part, the faster trip will attract more riding to the line.  Metrolinx hopes that up to 50% of riders from the Scarborough leg will opt for the through ride across Eglinton rather than changing to the BD subway at Kennedy.

That may be, but the Metrolinx analysis model is skewed to favour expensive projects because it counts the economic benefit of the construction cost — the more you spend, the greater the benefit.  The same money could be spent elsewhere, and the spinoff benefit would shift to another corridor such as Finch or Sheppard.  It’s not specific to Eglinton.

Metrolinx has been evasive on the subject of station locations.  They talk about 26 stations, but this appears to be the simple math of assuming a 1km average spacing on the 25+ km route.  That will certainly be fewer stations than originally proposed for the subway-surface Eglinton LRT, and Metrolinx is keenly aware of the cost difference between a $10m surface station (even that sounds extraordinarily high) and a $100m underground one.  In a separate comment thread, one reader has pointed out that preliminary design work for stations on the west end of the line notably omits Oakwood which is close to Eglinton West.

The table on page 5 raises a question about underground construction because it suggests that Eglinton may be all below grade.  (The difference between the total length of 25.2km and the tunnel length of 19.5km is almost entirely accounted for by the SRT mileage.)  However, the Memorandum of Understanding between Metrolinx and Mayor Ford clearly states that the Eglinton line would be below grade except at the Don River crossings.  In his verbal presentation at the meeting, Metrolinx VP Jack Collins left the question of the valley crossings open for future design work.

The report sets out the terms of the MOU which were discussed in an earlier post.  An amusing note on page 7 states that the MOU “provides [a] framework for negotiation of agreements to be approved by each party’s governing body”.  The last time I looked, that’s Council for the City of Toronto, a body notably absent in the discussions to date.

Construction plans for Eglinton will see actual tunneling begin in 2012 when the first pair of Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) is delivered from the manufacturer, Lovat.  These will drive east from an access shaft at Black Creek, and two more will drive west from an access originally planned for the hill east of Brentcliffe and Eglinton in East York.  The plan may change thanks to the undergrounding of the east leg, although the extraction site (the point where the two tunnels will meet and the TBMs will be removed) is, for now, still at Chaplin where the tunnel is close to the surface.

Tunneling should be finished on the central section in late 2014 followed by station construction.  All stations will be built to 3-LRV lengths (110m) from the outset rather than making shorter versions with extension capabilities.  The ridership projection decades into the future sits at about 12,500 at the peak point, and this does not require full subway capacity.

Construction of the added tunnel sections cannot begin until the TBMs from the central portion are finished their work, presuming that the “extensions” will be bored, not cut-and-cover.  This raises the intriguing thought that a new Mayor and Council may be in place before work actually starts on the outer parts of the line, but that’s not an option anyone is talking about for obvious reasons.

Construction staging will be reviewed as part of the redesign of the eastern and western sections, and options for early opening of part of the line will be reviewed.  One possibility might be to operate the Scarborough leg as an independent segment before construction on Eglinton reaches Kennedy Station.

The Finch project came up in discussion because it is still officially on the table in Metrolinx plans for 2018.  McCuaig replied that Finch was still a Metrolinx priority for “higher order transit”, and the project would be discussed with the City of Toronto “at an appropriate time”.

During the media Q&A, I asked about the option that up to $650m in “left over” money from the Eglinton/Scarborough project might be transferred to the Sheppard line.  Metrolinx will be in no position to know it actually has a “surplus” until fairly late in the game, certainly long after City Council would have made a decision of the financial plan for the Sheppard project.  Bruce McCuaig replied that the Metrolinx and City projects are on the same timeframe, although this implies that the Sheppard project will be much more extended than Mayor Ford’s original claims of having the line open by 2015.

Presto Update

[The link above goes to a PDF version of the report on my own site.  The Metrolinx version is a PowerPoint file that some readers would not be able to open.]

The rollout of Presto is now well underway and the GO system will be completed this summer.  Implementation schedules for various systems in the 905 depend on each of the local operators, but all are expected to come on board this year.  OC Transpo (Ottawa) will implement Presto in 2012.

This leaves Toronto, although Metrolinx is hopeful that thanks to the MOU with Mayor Ford, plans to embrace an alternate system are now off of the table.  This does not entirely fit with statements yesterday by TTC Chair Karen Stintz as reported in the Sun.  I have heard that the TTC has received an attractive offer for implementation of an “open payment” system, but this has not yet been made public.  A choice of systems will be made by the Transit Commission by June, according to Stintz.  This sounds like sabre-rattling in the interest of better funding, and argument that has merit considering the disproportionate spending by Queen’s Park on GO Transit (see below).

2011-12 Operating and Capital Budgets

The Metrolinx budgets were presented for the Board’s information.  They are not yet in final form as approval has not come from Queen’s Park for what was submitted, and that is expected before the June board meeting.

To me, the most interesting part of these budgets is a comparison of GO with TTC.

GO’s total revenue, almost entirely from fares, is expected to be $338m on total expenses of $427m, or 79%.  Revenue grows from a combination of better ridership (2% in the budget, but 3-4% is expected based on recent experience) and an increase in the average fare (about 1.3% due to increasing riding from new parking lots on the outer ends of lines).  Total ridership for 2010-11 was 57.8m.

GO finds that parking capacity is key a driver for ridership, but without train capacity, parking alone isn’t enough.  Increasing all trains to 12 cars is the short term answer.  The Board briefly discussed the fact that one cannot build parking lots forever, and that there is a role for local transit, cycling and walking as feeder modes to the rail network.  This ties in with the “Mobility Hub” concept, something that looks good on paper, but which always seems to take a back seat to more parking.

No fare increase is expected in 2011-12 because of the strong revenue position, but also because the subsidy from Queen’s Park goes up from $83.6m to $91.0m.   (8.85% relative to last year’s subsidy, and over 2% relative to fare revenue).  It’s easy to freeze fares when your subsidy goes up, a factor not mentioned in the presentation.

On the expense side, “operations” goes down slightly because this budget line includes payments to CN for track rights.  Now that GO owns more of its system, these costs drop, but there is an increase under “facilities and track” that GO must now maintain, and to a passenger, not freight, standard.  GO expects the cost of diesel fuel to rise faster than the 2% factor allowed for most other parts of their budget.

Any problems with budget creep (either from lower approvals in the final version, or through unexpected cost pressures) would be addressed by delayed introduction of new services and by “expenditure restraint” for items that don’t affect customer service.  That’s an odd comment — one would hope that there are few big ticket items in the budget already that don’t bear somehow on “customer service”.

On the Capital side, Metrolinx is now evolving away from its GO Transit background to a wider scale.  Total funding for this fiscal year includes $316.3m for GO state of good repair.  GO has a capital asset base of about $5b, and it doesn’t stay in good shape without considerable reinvestment.  GO expansion projects will consume $662.4m, not including the Georgetown South and Airport projects that have $294.1m.  Finally, $665.7m will be spent on Rapid Transit, in effect, the Eglinton/Scarborough project.  Details are in the linked presentation.

The GO Board was very impressed that management had come in almost exactly at the budgeted spending level for capital in 2010-11.  This was achieved by shuffling money among budget lines to accommodate changing conditions and to use up GO’s allocation in the “use it or lose it” world of Provincial budgets.  By contrast, City policy prevents the TTC from shuffling money between projects as this can lead to unexpected, unbudgeted future project costs to make up for scope creep and to “repay” monies borrowed from projects that were running late.

Contrast GO Transit with the TTC.  The only operating funding the TTC receives is taken from the $150m in gas tax revenue.  About $91m of this goes to the operating budget and the rest to capital.  There was no increase in this revenue stream in 2010, and demographics cause the share Toronto gets to fall, not rise, as the 416 becomes a relatively smaller part of the population.  As I discussed in another article, the only capital funding stream that is no project-specific (such as the Spadina Subway) or winding down is the gas tax.  GO gets over $300m for its state of good repair budget, while the TTC gets $150m in gas tax, of which only $60m goes to capital.  The balance rests on Toronto’s shoulders.

The TTC’s operating budget for 2011 is about $1.43b with total ridership of 487m.  That’s 3.3 times the budget of GO to carry over 8 times the ridership.  The big differences, of course, are that TTC riders travel much shorter distances on average than GO riders, and over half of TTC riders travel outside peak periods.  The average fare on GO was $5.53 in 2010-11, while the average TTC fare was $1.94.  TTC’s operating cost recovery stands at about 70% compared with GO’s 79%.  Although the GO percentage recovery is higher, the dollar subsidy is also higher because of the much higher cost per rider.

GO’s rail car fleet will grow to over 500 bi-levels in 2011, about 70% of the TTC subway fleet size simply counting raw cars.  Again, the relative size of the fleets shows the much higher productivity of the TTC’s network on a passenger trips per vehicle basis.

What we see here is the combination of two factors.  First, GO serves a more widely-dispersed clientele whose travel is concentrated both in time and space.  This is the direct cost of sprawl in the transit network, and we must remember that a large majority of commuters cannot use GO because they don’t work in downtown Toronto.  Second, GO depends on Queen’s Park for its subsidies (although there is some clawback from municipal governments on this).  The per rider subsidy for GO is much higher than for the TTC.  In this context, it’s not hard to understand why GO riders are a much different lot whose daily antics can amuse Peter Kuitenbrouwer in the National Post

GO Quarterly Report for 1Q11

This report gives an overview of many aspects of GO’s operations and capital projects for the first quarter of 2011 (the last quarter of GO’s fiscal year).  Beyond what has already been covered, the most interesting discussion among Board members was the observation of how important proximity to GO service has become in selling new developments along GO corridors.  This shows there is a market for car-free (or at least car-reduced) commuting, but this can only occur if governments invest in good service.

Union Station Update

The work at Union Station consists of three major projects, each with its own lead sponsor:

  • The train shed roof replacement (GO Transit)
  • The expansion of the concourse area and the “big dig” (City of Toronto)
  • The second platform at the subway station (TTC)

This report addresses the GO project.

As work progressed on early stages of the work, its complexity grew as GO’s contractors found unexpected site conditions.  This has delayed the project, although other changes are hoped to bring this back closer to the original schedule.  Some of these changes are detailed in the presentation.

Pages 6-7:  The northernmost span of the trainshed will be rebuilt more or less “as is” to preserve an example of its heritage character.  Most of the central portion will be removed and replaced with a glass atrium.  The east and west wings of the trainshed will be rebuilt in a form similar to the existing shed, but without the attention to heritage materials to be done on the northernmost span.

Page 9:  This shows in cross-section the work involved in the “big dig” under Union Station.  Columns under the tracks now rest on footings that go down below the existing floor of the station.  After temporary bracing is installed around a column, it will be cut away, and a new column will be installed.  Although the drawing does not show this detail, the columns really will be new steel pillars, but they will be wrapped so that these look like the round columns they replaced giving structural integrity within the historical “look” of the building.  (The new columns will actually be slightly narrower than those now in place as this gives a considerable amount of floor space spread over the entire station.)

Page 10:  This shows columns exposed in the preliminary stage of replacement, as well as a challenge posed to construction by the maze of conduit under the track slab for GO’s signalling and passenger information systems.

The original construction plan had 11 stages, but this has been reduced to 7 (pages 13-14).  Also, the original scheme used mobile cranes within each work area, but this arrangement presented many problems for actual construction (pages 15-16).  Instead, a tower crane will be erected between tracks 7 and 8 (platforms 14/15) with a reach that will cover the work site.  The crane will be anchored below the basement level, and will occupy a space in the middle of the VIA concourse.

All of the work at Union Station will be done with the future electrification project in mind.  One effect will be that the new smoke vents over the tracks will be about 6 inches (about 15cm) higher than at present to give extra clearance for the overhead.  The electrification has also required a redesign of the window washing scheme for the glass atrium which will be above the tracks.

The new construction schedule aims for fall 2016 completion, two years after the original target, but GO hopes that they can improve on this date through planning and experience as the work progresses.

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This entry was posted in A Grand Plan, Beyond 416, Eglinton LRT, Fares & Fare Collection, GO Transit, Transit, Union Station. Bookmark the permalink.
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47 Responses to Metrolinx Meeting Wrapup April 2011

  1. Jacob Louy says:

    “The ridership projection decades into the future sits at about 12,500 at the peak point, and this does not require full subway capacity”

    Is this number an hourly ridership? Didn’t the original EA’s project the peak ridership to be around 5,000 – 6,000 pphpd for the Eglinton line?

    And I thought LRT capacity was 12,000 pphpd. So wouldn’t 12,500 exceed LRT capacity?

    Steve: City Planning has always thought that the Metrolinx projections tend to be high, but for the sake of argument, I will assume Metrolinx is correct on this. There are a few caveats. First, the question is where, and over what distance, does the peak demand exist? If it is, say, between Don Mills and Yonge, then nothing prevents the operation of more intensive service over that section of the route. As for 12.5k on LRT, much depends on the service design and whether the line (or at least the part with very frequent service) is completely grade separated. For service design purposes, if we generously (ie spaciously) use a capacity of only 150 per LFLRV, that gives us 450 per 3-car train. That requires about 28 trains/hour or a headway slightly above 2 minutes. That 150 value can be pushed especially if it only applies to a small stretch of the line. The issue for “LRT” is that a three-car train is a tad long for surface operation, and there can be issues with station platforms and pedestrian traffic volumes at intersections at that intensity of service.

  2. Denis T says:

    If the Scarborough RT will possibly operate as independent before it is connected to Eglinton, wouldn’t McCowan Yard need to have the capacity for both maintenance facilities and storage tracks, which is currently a problem due to no available space around the area? They may have to build a sizeable temporary tailtrack at Kennedy to store some of the trains.

    Steve: Yes. Much depends on what sort of facilities are foreseen for McCowan Yard (or even if the Sheppard LRT and Conlins Yard are reactivated after the 2014 election).

  3. Andrew says:

    Hopefully Metrolinx won’t go too far in cutting stations on the Eglinton line. In particular, I hope that the Mt. Pleasant station survives due to the high density of the area and the fact that it is 2km from Bayview to Yonge. (Note: I am biased because I live near that proposed station).

    Steve: They have said that the average spacing will be 1km, and that makes Mt. Pleasant a good fit. Also, it’s in the middle of a high density part of Eglinton (although I remember when it was all houses).

  4. Richard says:

    I am not too thrilled about the fact that there may not be a McCowan station even if it isn’t used too much since it’s so close to Scarborough Town Centre. Since the RT opened, the Provincial Government has been talking about an extension to Malvern Town Centre that has never been built. If McCowan station is chopped during the rebuild, it makes the idea of an eventual extension of the line to Malvern Town Centre seem even more remote. Besides, this contradicts Metrolinx who initially came out and said the line would be built to McCowan but now has reversed course and says the terminus might be at Scarborough Town Centre. There’s too much uncertainty in this project for my taste.

    The good thing about have the Eglinton-Scarborough line as one large line is that it eliminates the transfer at Kennedy station. I would just travel along that line to Eglinton or Eglinton West and then transfer to go downtown. I’m sure many people in Scarborough will eventually do the same if the line ever gets built.

    I had a quick question as I may be confusing two different projects. Whenever, Metrolinx of the TTC shows images of the new LRV’s there are 5 cars per train. However, Metrolinx maintains that the Eglinton-Scarborough line will run 3 cars per train. Are the 5 car LRV’s going to be running on the streetcar system (i.e., Queen, King, etc.)?

    It is interesting that Metrolinx hasn’t decided where the terminus is yet, Black Creek or Jane. I’m thinking Black Creek because it will be cheaper and easier for them. The way this project is going I’m still skeptical if it will ever get built. We might end up with the central section only. If the eastern and western parts are built that will be great but I won’t be holding my breath for extensions to the airport and Malvern Town Centre as I don’t see that happening.

    It’s interesting that they will start constructing the outer sections in 2014 just as Mayor Ford leaves office. That gives them the opportunity to switch the plans back to a surface LRT if the new Mayor (if there is a new Mayor) is more friendly to surface transit. I’m also glad to hear that Finch is still on the table. It’s too bad the people in north Scarborough won’t get anything on Sheppard because the Province has wiped it’s hands clean of that corridor. Thanks for nothing Ford.

    Steve: There are five sections making up one 30m car, and three cars making up one train.

  5. Ming says:

    With the Eglinton LRT going fully grade separated, was there any talk of possibly going with fully automated trains? That might be interesting to see.

    Steve: Given that the line won’t open for years, I am still concerned that there might be a technology conversion to ICTS. Not only would this scotch any further expansion at grade, it would more or less kill off the hope for an LRT network in Toronto and possibly the GTA. Metrolinx is talking about renegotiating the vehicle contract for much later deliveries, but they seem to forget that there are other LRT proposals on the drawing boards for the GTA and beyond.

  6. DavidC says:

    I note that there is no recent talk of a new Bus Station in Toronto to consolidate bus operations in one place and replace the one at Bay Street and Dundas. A couple of years ago GO/Metrolinx were talking of increasing the capacity of the Union Station bus terminal – possibly by ‘double-decking’ it. Most of the under-utilised space south of Union Station seems to be getting developed by others so this would seem the only viable space left. Do you have any idea of what they are planning?

    Steve: The plans for a new bus terminal keep shuffling around for many of the reasons you cite. I don’t think there is a definitive scheme now, although I am sure there are various proposals.

  7. There is one serious fact that all Torontonians must acknowledge sooner or later: get rid of Ford.

    If Toronto doesn’t take transit seriously, then we are simply screwed.

    Toronto is actually going the opposite direction to a smarter city .

  8. M. Briganti says:

    Steve, I’m fairly certain that it will change to ICTS for two reasons:

    a) ICTS will lower the overall cost of upgrading the existing SRT trackage
    b) ICTS has a higher capacity than LRT

  9. Sean says:

    I hope they don’t delay the expansion of Go Train service to Guelph/Kitchener this fall. They have already started putting together the layover area in Kitchener and Guelph has its train station being renovated along with the new Transit Terminal.

  10. Tom West says:

    Steve, I am not quite sure what you are trying to say when compare GO with the TTC. You point out that the TTC is funded almost by the City, while GO is almost entirely funded by the province… so? That reflects their service areas. Also, using number of vehicles for to measure efficiency (passengers per vehicle) seems a bit silly when you consider the differences in capacity. That said, if you did the calculations on a “passenger per seat” basis, I’m sure the TTC would still come out better, because the typical TTC seat spends most of the day in service, while the typical GO seat spends most of its day in a [yard].

    Steve: My complaint is that Queen’s Park tells us, as often as possible, how much money they give Toronto, notably via the gas tax. In fact, the tax Toronto receives is only half of GO’s capital subsidy for routine state of good repair, never mind its operating subsidy. Proportionately, Queen’s Park spends a fortune on GO and certainly a much higher subsidy per rider. I’m not saying that they should stop, but that the gradual shutdown of all other funding machinery except for the gas tax leaves them as bit players in the municipal transit scene. I mentioned the fleet sizes because GO wrings its hands about the fact that some riders have to stand, while the TTC’s problem is that they can’t even get on. There is a fundamentally different standard for GO and its passengers that makes it much easier to have good “customer service” for GO, and almost impossible for TTC. GO should stop patting itself on the back, and start to think about what they will do when their network is much bigger and busier.

    I agree with your point about parking and access to stations. GO cannot transport more people by train than are able to get their stations. Regardless of parking capacity, the surrounding roads carry other traffic, and the limiting factor is (or soon will be) how many people can actually get to the station. The only way round this is to get more people arriving by transit. The 75% subsidy currently offers does help, but if you look at the route structure around many GO stations, there isn’t sufficient bus capacity to serve current demand. (Bearing in mind the low frequency of many 905 routes, en at rush hour, means commuters won’t wait for the next bus).

    Slightly off-topic, but there is a question that never seems to get asked by Metrolinx: what role, is any, should GO play in moving people within the Toronto? (What do you think Steve?)

    Steve: GO regards inside-416 riding as “not its job” and actively discourages it by failing to have fare integration with the TTC. This has nothing to do with technology, as they have been doing fare integration with 905 systems since before Presto was invented, and still do. If the Toronto is forced to build a rapid transit system to handle all of the demand within the city, we will be wasting the capacity of the regional rail network that should have an important role in communities like Malvern, Agincourt and Rexdale, not to mention the near-416 areas like Vaughan and Richmond Hill.

    Rumours and suggestions that GO should take over the TTC always ignore the fact that such a takeover would eliminate the institutional distinction, and force an examination of GO’s role within the 416.

  11. Robert Ruggiero says:

    Steve,
    I’ve been reading your blog, tweets, and articles on Spacing for some time now. I was wondering if you could explain why Metrolinx/City of Toronto doesn’t implement a bus-lane on Finch Ave immediately? Wouldn’t it be the easiest way to get faster, more efficient transit?
    Thanks.

    Steve: This is a bit messy. There was a proposal over a year ago called the “Transit City Bus Plan” which proposed various improvements to the bus network, including some express operations, although not BRT. It was never implemented due to budgetary constraints (amusing considering the situation we are in now). A very odd thing about this plan was that it deliberately ignored routes that were part of the Transit City LRT plan on the assumption that they would be under construction soon and open not long after. Therefore, we have a plan on the table that specifically ignores streets like Finch. It needs a major rework, but the current crew don’t seem inclined to do anything about improving transit.

  12. Jacob Louy says:

    “Steve, I’m fairly certain that it will change to ICTS for two reasons:

    a) ICTS will lower the overall cost of upgrading the existing SRT trackage
    b) ICTS has a higher capacity than LRT”

    Is this true? I thought if LRT is also grade-separated, it will have the same capacity as ICTS.

    Steve: It depends. ICTS gets a higher capacity than LRT in two ways. First, it can operate with shorter headways and unmanned trains compensating for the smaller train capacity. However, the issue is how many people we need to carry, not what the theoretical maximum load might be. Also, using ICTS effectively prevents extensions on the outer ends of the line at grade or sharing of facilities with other LRT lines as originally proposed for Sheppard East.

  13. Will_L says:

    This number in the Presto presentation really jumped out at me:
    Total Cards Issued: 36 500

    Does Metrolinx understand that the system is going to need to expand by at least 3200% with the TTC fully on board? That’s something like 200% annual growth if it happens over four years…

    I’m also surprised that GO is considered to be almost fully Presto-ized with only about a sixth of its daily ridership carrying a Presto card. Did they give any indication as to what sort of public education effort is going to be happening over the summer to get the system fully up and running? I can imagine a lot of frustrated commuters if the transition is botched.

    Steve: Metrolinx exudes chutzpah about the issues of scaling up the use of Presto. So far, the whole thing has been smoke and mirrors with a tiny implementation out of the entire region. I asked Ernie Wallace how they were going to handle scaling up given how long it’s taking just to do GO, and he brushed aside my concerns. We shall see.

  14. Steve, question for you. Derek Boles and I had a discussion on the weekend regarding Metrolinx’s plans for Union Station’s trainshed and perhaps you can clarify a few things.

    In their presentation it mentioned that they would replace part of the trainshed roof with like materials to preserve the roof pretty much as-is. Is this not a violation of the heritage act that states that restoration work has to use the same materials present in the original construction? Like materials are only supposed to be used when the original materials cannot be obtained.

    Steve: Only selected portions of the roof have to be replaced like-for-like.

    Also, I noticed in the one part of the presentation they had a tower crane going through the roof of the Via concourse. How is this going to work, the Via concourse is usually quite busy and any sort of crane placed there would cause severe problems for passengers using the station.

    Steve: Metrolinx claimed to have done a mockup to see how blocking off the space would affect the concourse, and say all will be well.

    Lastly, any idea how they are getting away with narrowing the pillars? If I am not mistaken the pillars support the tracks and are a heritage element of the station. You cannot really change the pillars without causing some issues regarding heritage aspects.

    Steve: The narrowing of the pillars is part of the City’s Union Station project, and this was approved by Heritage Canada as part of the new design. We knew about this on the Union Station advisory committee two years ago, I think.

    Just my two cents here but it seems Metrolinx has great ideas but ones that are not going to come to fruition because of the layers among layers of protection Union Station has both Federally and Provincially with regards to its heritage status. Their plans seem rather grandiose but in reality are not practical. What is there is there and nothing can be changed to that extent without prior approval. For that reason alone I do not see any of the changes Metrolinx has in mind coming to pass.

    Steve: You seem to be out of touch. All of what Metrolinx and the City are doing was approved some time ago, with the exception of the tower crane which is net new. The effect of that crane can be reversed after construction. In any event, in one plan for the station, there was to be a new vertical access between the Via concourse and the new lower concourse below. Whether this is located where the crane will go (effectively eliminating the need to fill in the hole) remains to be seen.

  15. Jos Callinet says:

    I am thinking, at the rate things ACTUALLY get done, that essentially nothing will be accomplished even by the time Rob Ford comes up for re-election in 2014. Perhaps, by then, if he does not win another enthusiastically-supported term and his replacement is more favourable to surface light rail, that perhaps at least a modified version of Transit City could still be implemented?

    As things stand, all the surface portions of the Eglinton Line are having to remain on construction “hold” while the original surface-route plans are re-drawn t0 subway specifications, subject to final-design environmental review and, I assume, public hearings where Toronto citizens presumably get to review and comment on / suggest revisions to, the redesigned plans, before they are given their final approval from Queen’s Park to proceed. Meanwhile, no revised sections are being built, and 2014 isn’t that far into the future.

    At the same time, I am wondering why Toronto City Councillors have not exercised their right to vote up or down Mayor Ford’s total rescission of Transit City, without their at least insisting that they review and vote on it? Are not the mayor’s initiatives subject to review and an up-or-down vote by Toronto’s City Council?

    Steve, I realize that you and a majority of the others posting here are convinced beyond a doubt that Ford has bullied the City Councillors into complete and utter submission to his edicts and dictates, and that, in essence, his word is final, whether based on sound principles or not. If so, either Ford truly has the entire City Council under his firm dictatorial grip or, if he doesn’t, they are proving themselve incapable and/or unwilling to stand up to him.

    Thoughts, Steve and others?

    Steve: Ford has avoided a vote in Council by not doing anything, yet, that requires Council approval, and by having a working majority in his camp. This is particularly effective on major committees such as Executive and on the TTC where attempts by the opposition, even if they had a majority on Council itself, can be thwarted. There are potential “opposition” votes on Council who have opted to support the Mayor who is seen as popular, and who is quite clear in the way he will use the favour or disfavour of his majority to reward or harm. Only when and if there is a clear working majority for the opposition, and when Ford’s electoral popularity wanes with the effect of his actions, will we see Councillors shift to the opposition role in anticipation of future elections.

  16. M. Briganti says:

    “Is this true? I thought if LRT is also grade-separated, it will have the same capacity as ICTS.”

    ICTS, now known as “Bombardier Innovia ART 300″ can supposedly handle 30,000 passengers per hour per direction. This seems like a stretch, but it can comfortably handle 20k per hour without breaking a sweat. Even if Eglinton is built as LRT, the TTC will never extend it in a semi-ROW, just as they refuse to extend a converted SRT in anything but a totally grade-separated exclusive ROW.

    Now that the line is totally separated from traffic, ICTS should be used. It has lower capital costs than LRT or conventional subway when built underground (as the tunnel diameter and stations are smaller), and it will reduce the cost of converting the SRT trackage. It’s not an orphan line anymore either. If costs are the same, why would you go with LRT technology that has lower capacity? ICTS gives you that extra insurance. Finally, expect to see a lot of design changes on this line, fare collection/non-POP and manned stations being one of them.

  17. Ed says:

    M. Briganti thinks we’ll get ICTS on Eglinton because:
    a) ICTS will lower the overall cost of upgrading the existing SRT trackage
    b) ICTS has a higher capacity than LRT”

    I am not going to argue whether larger high-floor vehicles might be better, now that apparently it’s going to be all separated ROW. But, out of the choices that have higher capacity, why on earth ICTS? Downsides include:

    a) Electricity-guzzling inefficient pig of a propulsion system
    b) The maintenance benefits of undriven wheels never materialized
    c) All sorts of other maintenance issues
    d) Proprietary technology locks you into a particular vendor
    e) All the high-tech features that were gee-whiz in 1984 (LIM, steerable axles, computerized operation) turn out to be either technological dead-ends, just like Coleco’s Adam computer and Betamax, or features that are just as easy to implement in a regular old rotary-motor design

    I suspect that, in the long run, it would be as cheap or cheaper to just build the line as a high-floor system, maybe using a lighter car than the regular subway system. The Scarborough RT is a small part of the complete project; it makes no sense allowing it to drive the technology choice.

  18. TTC Passenger says:

    I thought I read that the Eglinton LRT was going to use automatic train operation in the tunnelled sections of the line. Now that that’s the whole line, automatic train operation isn’t going to be a benefit that ICTS holds over light rail vehicles since you don’t need to get ICTS to get ATO. Then there’s all the other excellent reasons enumerated by Ed to not choose ICTS.

    My two main concerns now that the Eglinton tunnel is all that’s left of Transit City are that it either gets cancelled or becomes an ICTS line after failing to learn from the experience in Scarborough, with all the expense and problems combined with ending the idea of cost effective LRT ever happening in Toronto.

  19. John says:

    I tend to agree with Ed. I’m just so dismayed with the direction the city, and to a greater extent the TTC is headed. It literately makes me sick thinking about how much we will suffer, due to the stupidity strangling our once great city and transit system.

  20. Raymond Jean says:

    We all know in Toronto, proposed Subway lines and Transit City LRT lines are never carved in stone even when there’s funding for them (at least at the start). And we know how politics always play into subway planning.

    Mayor Rob Ford is passionate about extending the Sheppard Stubway line westward to Downsview Station and eastward to Scarborough Town Centre. The federal Tories seems more willing now to help fund some of Toronto’s subway expansion, or at least that’s what Mayor Ford and the media is thinking. One problem: Expanding the Sheppard Stubway line eastwards along Sheppard Avenue East towards Scarborough Town Centre … this major infrastructure project will go right though the federal riding of Scarborough-Agincourt, which is Liberal Red. And the Conservatives has a history of not funding major projects in non-Tory ridings.

    But from Don Mills Subway station, dipping the Sheppard Stubway expansion south along the Don Valley to York Mills and then running it east along York Mills and Ellesmere towards Scarborough Town Centre will avoid Liberal Scarborough-Agincourt riding. Instead it’ll run through Scarborough-Centre riding, which is Conservative Blue. But from just east of Kennedy Rd it’ll run below the current Scarborough RT system, which doesn’t make any sense at all … so might as well just convert that part of the Scarborough RT system south of Ellesmere RT station to subway so Sheppard Stubway will join with Bloor-Danforth subway line. That’ll leave Ellesmere station as a transfer point between Sheppard-Bloor-Danforth Subway line and the remaining Scarborough RT system which will just run east of Ellesmere station towards Scarborough Town Centre/McCowan.

    Expanding Sheppard Stubway westward from Yonge to Downsview station won’t have the above problem since it’ll go though Willowdale and York-Centre ridings which are both Conservative Blue.

    Steve: Gerrymandering rapid transit lines to suit riding boundaries would show us that we’re still dealing with the “old” Stephen Harper. I think this is a totally nonsensical proposal.

  21. M. Briganti says:

    “e) All the high-tech features that were gee-whiz in 1984 …”

    You haven’t seen the new version of ICTS (in, get this, a monorail format). It can handle 48,000 passengers per hour per direction — 1000 passengers per 7-car train, with trains running on automated 75 second headways. That’s pretty impressive for an “ICTS” monorail. It even exceeds our subway’s capacity. I’m sure Bombardier would love to put that on Eglinton, and then we wouldn’t have to listen to people say we’re undersizing the line.

  22. MarkE says:

    I recollect from way back that the Eglinton tunnels were to be convertible to full subway if capacity increases ever became necessary. This would involve tunnel size etc. But Steve says stations are 110m long, far less than the standard subway station (over 160m), which means major work and inevitable closures to lengthen every station on the line, likely precluding it ever being done.

    Steve: Provision for longer stations also requires that the line stay “flat” and that there’s nothing in the way of a future extended platform.

    Also with the Union Station replacement of support columns, would it not have been possible to combine this with moving the tracks into pairs, and removing every other platform so as to widen the remaining platforms. I am always struck by the narrow width of existing platforms, the consequent dangers with hundreds of people waiting, and the very slow train movement through the station. Wider platforms it seems to me would reduce the danger and allow faster train speeds, chopping a couple of minutes off every schedule Go operate, and with consequent increase in capacity of the station.

    Steve: No, you can’t move the tracks because the columns are replaced one at a time. You would have to take an entire track out of service and totally rebuild the structure under it from east to west. The project now underway in the west wing is moving from north to south, and moving the columns all the way across would require severe intrusions in the Via and Go east concourses.

  23. Ed says:

    “You haven’t seen the new version of ICTS (in, get this, a monorail format). It can handle 48,000 passengers per hour per direction — 1000 passengers per 7-car train, with trains running on automated 75 second headways. “

    Leaving aside whether or not claiming 1000 people on a train is remotely possible in regular operations, I have to like the scheme of selling undersized expensive cars and then advertising that we can run them at really short headways so buy some more cars — lots more cars — to be able to achieve those headways!

    “Our solution is undersized so you’ll have to buy a lot of it!”

    Steve: The TTC routinely puts 1,000 people on a train on the subway. The real issue is whether stations on the Eglinton line would be designed to handle that level of demand. Also, to have stations that long (or expandable to that size) would require early provision for dual exits far enough apart to meet fire code. This isn’t impossible, it’s just that more advance planning and preconstruction would likely be required than might seem obvious.

  24. Ed says:

    “The TTC routinely puts 1,000 people on a train on the subway.”

    To clarify, my skepticism was whether 1,000 people could be usefully carried by one 7-car nouveau-ICTS train. Kind of like those discussions about what the real capacity of a GO bilevel car was….especially in local-type service.

  25. Andrew L. says:

    Hi Steve,

    Great blog. Lots of useful information here.

    In reading over the ‘Eglinton‐Scarborough Crosstown Update’ presentation from April 26th, it seems to me that the Midtown Tunnel section of the project is on a more progressed timeline than the end sections (Jane-Black Creek section, Laird-Kennedy section). The latter’s EA are not yet done and they’ll only be tunnelled after the Midtown section’s tunnel is complete in 2014. This is likely because of the change to bury the latter sections instead of the original surface designs. I suspect that there’s risk still that the end sections may revert back to surface routes to save on costs, if a new regime takes over City Hall.

    Given that the midtown section will be completed well before the end of the entire project, can we expect the midtown section to be operational a couple of years earlier? I can’t see any reason why the TTC couldn’t operate the Crosstown LRT from Black Creek to Laird while end sections are still being constructed.

    Steve: Metrolinx is looking at options for staged openings. Further info will come out later this year when they start the public meetings for the new EAs.

  26. Alexander S says:

    While it is all good that construction of the line is going ahead, let’s not forget about a certain someone by the name of Tim Hudak, especially since Ontario has officially swung Conservative in the federal election and gave dictator Harper a majority. I am worried about this line being possibly cancelled like the Eglinton West subway in 1995, especially with the cancellation fees for the TBM and LRV contracts if this were to happen. Steve, do you think that given the severe congestion in the GTA, the skyrocketing TTC ridership, overcrowding on the subway, and the current awarded contracts will prevent the second coming of the Eglinton West curse?

    Steve: Anything is possible. I expect that a Hudak government will look very hard at Metrolinx, especially considering the level of funding that organization foresees, and the new taxes (whatever you want to call them) that would be required. Nothing is safe.

  27. Brent says:

    I have strong doubts that an Eglinton ICTS could come anywhere near 48,000 passengers per hour. If the line is operating at capacity, every train will be packed; the trains need to load and unload; most of that will be at Yonge and Eglinton, and there will be two-way flow. Basically, it’d replicate what we see at Yonge and Bloor in rush hours. With ATO in place the TTC is claiming that a 90-second headway is possible, but there are doubts that even that is feasible.

    Between dwell time on the platform for loading and unloading, and time for trains to clear the platform, surely it would mean that exiting trains and entering trains would be traveling nose to tail?

    Steve: I don’t think Mimmo was saying that Eglinton will ever carry that level of demand (after all, if it did, there would be serious problems on connecting routes). Yes, trains would run very close together and, indeed, TTC subway trains used to operate that way at Bloor before the more restrictive operating practices were introduced after the Russell Hill crash. It was not uncommon to see a train leaving a station, and its follower coming onto the platform.

  28. M. Briganti says:

    Ed, the new “ICTS” monorail cars are as large as our subway cars. See here.

    Another interesting video on their LRT Primove technology.

  29. Mark Dowling says:

    If LRT is not seen as high capacity enough now and given the tunnel will be subway sized, what would make ICTS a more appropriate mode than transferred T1 cars with a mid-life update?

    There appear to be development in LIMs for transportation (I noticed an article about “Seraphim” LIMs on a tech blog a week ago) but I think we’ve had enough of being on the leading edge of ICTS, right?

  30. Ed says:

    M. Briganti writes: “Ed, the new “ICTS” monorail cars are as large as our subway cars.”

    Okay, but now I don’t see how on earth choosing a subway-sized monorail ICTS LIM design can possibly reduce the costs of converting the Scarborough RT section compared to converting it to LRT (or subway for that matter), as you posted originally.

    Even the Mk II cars would have required rebuild of the subway portion north of Ellesmere, as I understand it. So even ‘upgrading’ the SRT to Mk II will require some expensive rebuilding. But that may be the cheapest conversion option for that section of the line. Once we start talking about subway-sized cars on monorails, that doesn’t apply. In any case, there’s no point in saving a little on the conversion of the SRT by using Mk II instead of LRT, while spending a whole lot more on the rest of the line. Unless LRT is more expensive than ICTS, which would….surprise me.

    (Well, we’ve been told by the ‘consultant’ Richard Gilbert that it would be cheaper to make Eglinton a subway line than an LRT line. I suppose a new-concept ICTS would be double-plus-cheaper than LRT.)

  31. Jacob Louy says:

    That PrimoveCity technology looks really cool! I look forward to hearing how the experiment goes in Augsburg.

  32. Robert Wightman says:

    I looked at Bombardier’s Monorail and I would like to know what its horizontal and vertical curve minimums would be. I don’t think that they would be anywhere near as small as the LRT, HRT or ICTS. On top of that can you imagine a swiths. I beleive that most monorails of this type slide out a straight section of rail and slide in a curved section. Do you want to imagine the time required for that and how well it would work in an ice storm.

    I would also like to see how well all those rails, especially power rails, work during snow or ice. If they use LIMS, I suppose that they could use the vast quantities of waste heat to cause a phase change in a tectonic solution which would melt any ice and snow.

    The rail may make for an unobtrusive right of way but I would hate to see the size of the stations required to do a capacity of 48 000 pphpd.They would be lucky to get headways down to 2:00 minutes with those switches so each train would need to carry 1600 passengers which would be 10 TTC subway cars. Eight hundred foot long aerial stations are not intrusive at all.

    I can’t believe that Bombardiers believes that is an achievable goal. But I can believe that they would try to sell it.

  33. Richard says:

    Alexander S says:

    “I am worried about this line being possibly cancelled like the Eglinton West subway in 1995…”

    I am also worried about this. The Conservative government under Mike Harris canceled the Eglinton West line in 1995. Rob Ford, another Conservative, canceled Transit City in 2010. This includes the Sheppard East LRT which was already under construction. My feeling is that the regressive Conservative mandate will continue with Tim Hudak in 2011. Not only may he cancel the Eglinton Crosstown line, but the effect of this action would be permanently shutting down of the Scarborough RT in 2015 as the line will no longer be safe to operate at that point due to aging equipment.

  34. Richard says:

    I’m still not too impressed with Bombardier’s new monorail. However, the Primove technology looks innovative.

    Steve: Primove is being sold primarily for situations where overhead wires are not acceptable. Using it for overall replacement is not practical especially in climates with lots of snow and salt.

  35. Richard says:

    Let’s not forget about the issues with ICTS technology in inclement weather. The Scarborough RT shuts down when there is a lot of snow or when it’s really cold. The Scarborough RT portion of the Eglinton-Scarbrough line will still be exposed to the elements. Contrarily, I’ve ridden the Queen Streetcar in snow storms before and it operated in inclement weather with no problem. LRT’s don’t seem to have much trouble in Edmonton and Calgary. Just some reasons why I’d prefer to keep the line as LRT.

  36. Walter says:

    Harris did cancel the Eglinton Subway, but apparently that wasn’t such a bad move since the subsequent Left wing governments (Liberal Provincial and Miller city) were together for 7 years and also did not build it – in fact they concluded it should be LRT so it is good that it was not started as Subway. If it was built as subway in the central portion, we would be limited to having extensions (to the airport and Mississauga in the West and Kennedy, STC and eventually Malvern in the East)) as subways, or as unpopular LRT with transfers needed to the subway portion.

    In these past 7 years, all that was built was a troubled streetcar line on St. Clair and one station extension on the YUS line.

    Under the previous Conservative government a new line with 5 stations was built on Sheppard. Going back further, you have to go to the Davis Conservatives to find any other significant transit construction.

    So, in fact, it appears that things may be looking good for transit in Toronto. With like minded governments being elected at roughly the same time, they can start and complete some transit initiatives in one term. Perhaps some better leadership and co-operation would lead to enhanced or integrated GO service within Toronto.

    Steve: I hate to point this out, but the Sheppard subway was announced by David Peterson in his failed bid for re-election in 1990, and started by the Rae government. Harris wanted to kill it, but he needed to keel Mel happy so that he would not oppose amalgamation. Harris then killed all other transit funding.

    You have also completely ignored the Spadina extension to Vaughan now under construction.

    You have your history totally distorted.

  37. What on earth happened to the smarter city?

    Is there is not even a mention of the project in Toronto!

    Why would they skip us?

    Steve: It got a brief mention at a recent conference where an IBM VP talked about it, and then vanished.

  38. Jacob Louy says:

    Considering how Hudak totally bought into the “War on cars” rhetoric when the Jarvis Bike Lanes were being debated, I doubt that he would be a transit-supporting Conservative.

  39. Alexander S wrote, “…let’s not forget about a certain someone by the name of Tim Hudak, especially since Ontario has officially swung Conservative in the federal election…”

    As Steve said, “anything is possible,” but keep in mind that Ontario voters have a very stable pattern of voting in “balancing forces” (for lack of better term) between Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill. When current issues have pissed off the Ontario electorate do they switch one which almost always is followed by the other getting switched to maintain that balance.

    I am not saying this is carved in stone, just that the conservative “tide” that many seem to fear may be overblown. The real question is: “is the electorate still very pissed off at the HST?” If they are, be worried, but I suspect that Dalton planned its timing to just be early enough to wear away the worst of feelings before the election that will be preceded by some feel-good promises dampen enough of the HST reminders to have the voters maintain that Queen’s Park-Parliament Hill balance.

    Again, anything can happen, but my money’s on Dalton getting re-elected (much to my chagrin).

  40. Jos Callinet says:

    When one thinks about what Rob Ford truly intended to accomplish by canceling Transit City and pushing for subways, instead – what he has REALLY wanted all along – is NOT subways, but NOTHING, transit-wise, WHATSOEVER.

    Ford has already made it unmistakably clear that he doesn’t give one owl’s hoot about public transit – “Let ‘em ride the bus!” All he wants is to prevent transit from taking up HIS valuable road space, and that is precisely what he has now guaranteed it won’t do. Toronto’s new mayor knows fully well that his subway alternatives to Transit City aren’t going anywhere, as all of them are going to cost far more than the City, the Province of Ontario or Ottawa are prepared to pay – so, nothing whatsoever will be spent on transit while Ford is mayor. That is exactly what he wants. He ran on the promise that he would save Toronto’s taxpayers a fortune by cutting way back on expenses. By killing Transit City he has eliminated one major expense, despite incurring cancellation penalties and throwing away the money already spent on the project.

    All our educated guessing about what final form the Eglinton Line will take is likely to prove of no avail, even though it’s fun to speculate about; it will probably continue for the foreseeable future just as it exists now, in the form of a bus route. As for the life-expired Scarborough Rapid Transit, I’m betting the TTC will sooner rather than later be forced to close it down, demolish it, and replace it with a bus.

    Ford will be chiefly remembered as the “put-an-end-to-the-war-on-the-car mayor” who halted all meaningful transit expansion and improvements in the Toronto Metro area during his term in office. All his talk about wanting subways is so much hot air.

  41. Walter says:

    In my attempts to keep my comment shorter, I did not explain my points very well. Sheppard subway construction started in 1994 and finished in 2002. Thus, 1 year of costs are attributable to the NDP (equivalent of less than 1 station out of 5). There was a Quid-pro-quo dance between Harris and Lastman, but this was just posturing to appeal to their respective bases – and Sheppard did get built.

    The YUS extension to Downsview Station, with construction from 1992 to 1996, was mostly done in the time of the NDP. For the Vaughan extension, construction started in 2008 and it is expected to open in 2015. Thus, just under half of costs are attributable to the Liberal government (equivalent of 2.5 stations, not 1, out of 6). Going back farther, you can give Peterson credit for the North York Centre infill station in the late 80′s.

    If we look at periods when subways were not being constructed, it is 2003 to 2007 and 1988 to 1992. These were predominantly Liberal periods. You can also look at stations or kms built per year in office. So although Harris was no Transit saint, he was just as good if not better than the others in the past 25 years. On the Operating Budget side, it is easier to blame Harris, although even now, 8 years later; this government has not restored funding to previous levels.

    Announcements are a dime a dozen. The one who should get credit for a subway project is the one who pays. The Sheppard and Vaughan Extension were both announced near the end of a governments term, when both governments were not expecting to win (although the Liberals did win unexpectedly in 2007), thus leaving most of the costs to the next government. After the Liberals did win the election they deferred funding to again put it on to the next term. If a government was serious about transit they would initiate construction near the beginning of their term and have a good portion of the costs in their first term, or a completed line with one further election victory. And this hasn’t happened since the 1970’s.

    Steve: It’s not quite that simple. Subway projects take a long time, and announcements tend not to occur under unfriendly governments. Moreover, an incoming government can inherit a previous regime’s projects as happened with Harris and the Sheppard line. In some cases, governments prepay for projects into holding accounts that may outlive them. For example, the provincial share of the Spadina extension is already in the bank from good times a few years ago, paid by the Liberals, even though it won’t be entirely spent until Hudak may be in office.

  42. Nick L says:

    Frankly, I find the whole switching to ICTS from LRT on the Eglinton line debate to be a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. Simply put, has anyone bothered to even start a study on what impact an extended Sheppard subway would have on ridership patterns between STC and the Yonge line with a completed Eglinton line? While it still looks like a pipe dream, Ford has been starting to give the appearance of gathering the political favours needed to overcome the lack of private sector funding for an extension of the Sheppard line. Whether those favours translate into actual funds remains to be seen. However, it might be enough of a possibility now to factor in the impact a Sheppard subway to STC on the long term ridership outlook on the Eglinton line before we start talking about switching technologies. Otherwise, we may end up with a very expensive Cadillac solution for something that actually requires something a lot more modest.

  43. Robert Wightman says:

    I am spending a week in Washington DC and have just come back from a trip to Union Station for National Train Day. I went through 5 Metro entrances and all but one of them had at least one escalator out of service for repairs. There were at least 5 stations on the Yellow and Green lines with out of service elevators.

    Headways seem to be at least 8 minutes or more on the lines I rode though there were 6 and 8 car trains. The cars are 75 ft long with 3 double doors per side and mainly double double seating. Their maximum speed is 75 mph with very good acceleration. This is counter acted by the fact they have one person operation and when the left hand doors open it takes about 10 to 15 seconds to change from the right side to the left side and turn on the door switches. There has to be a better way because I have experienced this problem on other lines. I hope it doesn’t happen to Toronto cars if we ever go to one person crews.

    The two interchange stations that I used showed all the hallmarks of great TTC design. A side platform station crosses a centre platform station with the interchange at one end of the side platform station. Did the TTC do consulting work for Washington? The lighting levels in the stations are very poor. I kept taking of my regular glasses and putting on my sunglasses because I thought that I had forgotten to change them.

    Steve: Yes and no. A former General Manager of Subway Construction was a consultant to Washington, but how much influence he had is hard to say.

    The fare system is fare by distance so you need a ticket to get on and get off. They sell magnetic strip one way, return trip and day passes. They also have an RFID card that you load up with money. If you run out of money on the card you can refill it in the fare control area so you can get out. There bill readers are about the best I have seen anywhere but they still have problems.

    They may save money by using one person crews but they have one cop for every car in the fleet though they do not have them riding in every car. DC is cop happy. They have transit police, parks police, city police, AMTRAK police plus all of the many other alphabet combinations found in the US. They also seem to have 2 or 3 station attendants who do not sell tickets but will help you work the machines and show you were to go.

    Washington Union Station is huge, has at least 28 tracks and serves just under 30 000 passengers today. They complain that they do not have enough waiting area for passengers. They should try our Union Station. I have not had a chance to see their surface system at rush hour but they seem to have decent headways and a set of circulator routes that go through the main downtown areas including Georgetown.

  44. M. Briganti says:

    Robert … Norman Wilson designed our subway interchanges and he died shortly after Bloor opened, so Washington is just a co-incidence. I’d say he messed up on Yonge Stn., and he never really designed St. George as an interchange. If he had, the platforms there would have been much wider, as they should have been at Yonge. He always saw it as a normal station for passengers starting and ending their trips there, and put too much emphasis on the wye. In consultation with NYC, there was an alternate design for a single very large cross-platform interchange station to replace St. George and Bay in the early 60s, but this was dropped in favor of the wye.

    I never said that Eglinton would need 48k per hour, but it could go as high as 20k per hour, and 6-car ICTS MK2 trains can handle that, whereas LRT would choke. Why not buy that as extra insurance if cost is the same? The original Eglinton LRT is based on some street-running. Now that that’s changed, the technology choice needs to be re-examined.

  45. Tom B. wrote, “There is nothing along Eglinton from Laird to the DVP – it could be put on concrete pylons for much less if Ford can’t live with losing a lane of car traffic.”

    I have always felt that this section of the Eglinton line should be built on the south side of Eglinton to maintain a separation from traffic to enable a truly “rapid” system all the way to Don Mills.

    Ford is so hell-bent on separation from traffic that he will have the money spent to make it as extremely separated from traffic as possible, when a much lower cost could achieve the separation. Why on earth is it good to lower office budgets because the lower amount can “get the job done,” but not so with transit development?

    The man’s “respect for taxpayers” is nothing but BS. He will continue to make a big thing about efforts to save pennies while C-notes fly out his back pocket like water over Niagara Falls.

  46. Michael Forest says:

    M. Briganti said: “I never said that Eglinton would need 48k per hour, but it could go as high as 20k per hour, and 6-car ICTS MK2 trains can handle that, whereas LRT would choke. Why not buy that as extra insurance if cost is the same?”

    At this point, I’d be concerned that any re-design that delays the construction of the central tunnel, might push the whole project closer to the chopping block.

    Regarding the capacity: please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t see how ICTS / ALRT can support significantly higher capacity than LRT, if the train widths and station lengths are similar. Automated train operation can work with LRT, too. If the demand reaches 20k pphpd, it will require 40 trains per hour (90 s headways) with 500 passengers per train (167 per car), or 30 trains per hour (120 s headways) with 670 passengers per train (223 per car). 120 s headways are certainly feasible, and 90 s headways might be feasible.

    According to all forecasts, the demand will be well below 20k on the opening day, or even in 2031. Longer term, it should be possible to order customized semi-permanent trainsets for this line with only 2 cabs per train (instead of the currenly ordered with 2 cabs per car, 6 per train). Thus, the floor space will be used efficiently. The only remaining disadvantage of low-floor LRT will be wheel wells that take up some floor space, but how much capaity is lost due to those? 5%?

    Capacity of the platforms and stairs at the major interchange stations might become a problem, if they are designed for the 7 or 8k demand but have to handle 20k instead. However, that applies to ICTS as well as LRT; we don’t need to change the rail technology to build larger stations.

  47. Jacob Louy says:

    Why would anyone on Metrolinx want to convert to ICTS, when a fully grade-separated LRT line could provide the same frequency and capacity? On top of that, switching to ICTS would effectively cancel the existing LRT contract (a penalty). I can’t see any advantages for switching to ICTS.

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