Reconstruction of Dundas & Spadina (Updated August 8, 2014)

August 8, 2014

Regular streetcar service on McCaul Street is rare both because of how this trackage fits into the network and because the narrow street invites autos and trucks to park foul of the tracks. Below, a few shots of McCaul Street while the 505 Dundas route is still there.

Regular service through Dundas & Spadina resumes on Tuesday, August 12.

Southbound on McCaul at Orde Street. Yes, someone had the bright idea of doing paving work on McCaul at the same time as the streetcar diversion.

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Northbound on McCaul north of Elm. The motorist attempting to park made a special effort to cut off the streetcar to get that space, and then made what seemed like a 14-point move to actually get into position so that the streetcar could pass.

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Northbound on McCaul at Elm with St. Patrick’s Church (the parish after which, indirectly, the subway station is named) in the background.

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Southbound on McCaul south of Orde.

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August 6, 2014

All track is in place at Spadina and Dundas and concrete work is well underway around the special work. Work to link the approaches to the intersection with the new track has begun.

Looking southwest across the intersection

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Looking west along Dundas across Spadina

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Looking northeast across the intersection. The building on the corner was originally the Standard Theatre, later the Victory, the last of Toronto’s burlesque houses.

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Looking east on Dundas across Spadina

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Looking north on Spadina across Dundas. In the distance, the Knox College building is covered in scaffolding for restoration as a new home of the UofT’s Faculty of Architecture. In the foreground, the southbound carstop has been excavated down one level so that the rails can be replaced.

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On the eastern approach to the intersection, the existing tracks are welded into the new installation. In the photo below, the joint in the foreground (inside the jig holding a sand mold) has been preheated for welding, and the worker is moving the preheat torch over to the joint on the other rail.

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A crucible containing a thermite charge is placed onto the jig, and the mixture inside is ignited.

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The thermite reaction creates a molten charge ready for pouring.

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The charge pours into the mold with the overflow running off into a small bucket to the side.

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After the pour is completed, the crucible is removed.

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The weld is left to cool. Later, the jig will be removed and the sand mold broken away leaving the roughly-formed weld behind. This will be ground down to a smooth finish leaving only a slight flare around the web of the rails.

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August 1, 2014

The north and east quadrants, plus the diamond, of the intersection are now in place or substantially complete, and the foundation for the west quadrant is in place.

Looking northwest across the intersection

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Looking northeast across the intersection

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Looking east on Dundas across Spadina

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July 29, 2014

Excavation of the old track from Dundas & Spadina is now underway. All of the track panels for the new intersection have been spotted ready for installation on trailers nearby.

Looking northwest across the intersection

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Looking southwest across the intersection

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Looking south on Spadina across Dundas

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Updated July 28: The Broadview shuttle bus route has changed to more closely match the King route and serve its stops for connections on Broadview. The south end loop is now west on Queen, north on Parliament, east on Dundas, south on River and east on Queen to Broadview.

July 9, 2014

In the continuing reconstruction of intersections on Spadina, the TTC will turn to Dundas Street for its next project. (The intersection at College will likely be done in 2016.)

The TTC has posted an explainer video on YouTube as well as details of the temporary services that will operate while the intersection is partly or totally closed.

The 505 Dundas car will divert both ways via McCaul, College and Bathurst Streets from July 14 until the new track is ready for use in mid-August.

The 510 Spadina car will be converted to a bus service from July 14 to August 30.

From July 14 to 28, Toronto Water will make repairs under the intersection. Spadina will remain open, in part, for traffic, and the replacement bus service will operate through from Bloor to Queens Quay as a continuous route.

From July 28 to August 11, the TTC will rebuild the track and this will close the intersection completely. The bus service will be split into two routes: the north half will loop via College, Huron and Baldwin, and the south half will simply U-turn at Sullivan Street.

While 510 Spadina operates with buses, the TTC will make changes to the loop at Spadina Station to accommodate the new streetcars. Replacement of the special work in the loop is also planned.

Streetcars will return to 510 Spadina on August 31 with the debut of new vehicles, although not initially as 100% of the service, and only to Queens Quay. Service to Union Station is not planned until the October schedules come into effect at Thanksgiving weekend.

Another project affecting 505 Dundas (and 504 King) is that streetcar service will be replaced on Broadview Avenue north of Gerrard from July 20 to August 31. This was intended to provide for Toronto Water work from Danforth northward, but that project was deferred after the July-August schedules had been drawn up and crews selected. The TTC will take advantage of the shutdown to work on pantograph-friendly overhead conversion which, as I write this, has only happened at Broadview Station.

  • 504 King cars will loop via Parliament, Dundas and Broadview returning south to Queen.
  • 505 Dundas cars will loop via Parliament, Gerrard and Broadview returning south to Dundas.
  • The 504/505 Broadview shuttle will operate south to Queen & Broadview looping west to River, north to Dundas and returning back east to Broadview.

Details of the service to be operated will appear in my overview of the July-August schedule changes to be published later this month. This article will be updated with construction photos when there is something beyond a big hole in the ground to show.

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40 Responses to Reconstruction of Dundas & Spadina (Updated August 8, 2014)

  1. Andrew says:

    The track on Spadina was (re)built in the 1990s, and it already needs to be closed for months? How long will it be before the east end of Eglinton gets shut down for months of reconstruction? Metrolinx should be using ballasted track, like Calgary does on the non-downtown parts of its system.

    Steve: The intersections date from the mid 1990s, and when they were built, they were not to the current standard using fully welded track panels and a resilient base. That they have lasted this long under such heavy service is surprising. The tangent track (straight rails) between intersections lasts longer, and the replacements have been mainly at carstops where track always wears out faster anyhow. Most of these have required only removal of the top layer of concrete so that new rails can be fastened to the original steel ties — the track structure was deliberately designed for easy maintenance.

    Ballasted track is not going to happen for street running on the TTC system because the emergency services want to be able to drive on it. Metrolinx does have plans to set some of the track on Eglinton East in grass.

    The length of the shutdown is a compound effect of various factors, notably the length of a TTC schedule period (typically 6 weeks) and the fact that a diversion around the site isn’t really practical for the Spadina car. Also, the first two weeks are consumed for Toronto Water work. If Calgary had century-old plumbing under its tracks, they would have to shut down their lines too. “Closed for months” is an exaggeration considering that the Dundas car will divert for only about 4 weeks, two of which are consumed by watermain repairs. By comparison, Queen & Broadview is planned to re-open about 2.5 weeks after the work started at least for east-west travel by streetcars on Queen.

    I cannot help mentioning that regular readers, and you are one of them, should know all this because I have explained the evolution of TTC track construction in detail on several occasions. If your agenda is simply to slag the streetcars, you won’t get much sympathy or credibility from me.

  2. nfitz says:

    So I’m going to have to walk from Gerrard to Dundas to get to 504 from 506 every day because of construction that isn’t actually happening? And presumably the same next year or 2016 when it does happen?

    Absurd …

    … and why not loop 504 on Gerrard with 505 to allow changes from 506 – a very popular change judging by the number of people I see on both every day.

  3. nfitz says:

    Andrew the troll wrote

    “Metrolinx should be using ballasted track, like Calgary does on the non-downtown parts of its system.”

    In what way is Spadina and Dundas non-downtown? Why let a tin-foil hat wearing troll divert the discussion? Shouldn’t this be in the Miller-is-the-anti-Christ thread?

    Feel free not to post these … though I don’t know why you continue to take the clear troll seriously. He’s clearly got some kind of agenda.

    Steve: Comic relief.

  4. David O'Rourke says:

    It really is disppointing that Queen’s Quay will still have such poor service until AFTER the summer is over, I thought holding off until Aug. 31 was bad. The trackwork seems do be progressing well including at the foot of Spadina except for the connection to track west of Spadina. I’m surprised there have been no complaints from residents and businesses along the route. Summer is their big season.

    Is the TTC actually taking delivery of the production line streetcars (as opposed to the test vehicles etc)? I saw 4402 an d 4401 both running up Bathurst today and I have seen 4403 frequently but there seem to be no others yet.

    Steve: 4404 was supposed to have shipped from Thunder Bay, but I don’t know its current status as I have been out of town.

  5. J. MacMillan says:

    Steve, I’m curious what changes are needed at Spadina for the new streetcars.

    Steve: The existing platform is not quite long enough for two cars to be on the platform at the same time.

  6. Yeesh … that is one hell of a walking connection! Baldwin to Sullivan is not exactly across the street. It may have made more sense to do something like they did on Queen where they had the bus shuttle plus a diverted streetcar.

    I mean service via College, Bathurst and Queen would make more sense even if its 4 cars an hour just to provide a one seat ride.. though I do see the obvious issues.. namely when Spadina is being worked on..

    Its going to be interesting watching this play out… they should do some multicultural signage otherwise the locals may have a hard time figuring out the diversion.. I can see some obvious complaints here.

    I wonder why given the full bus operation they did not run buses through Kensington Market in order to provide seamless transit.

    Steve: A bus through Kensington Market would be a disaster. Note that the streets are not contiguous north and south of Dundas. Also, a great deal of the demand is north of Dundas.

  7. Kingstreetcar says:

    The new LFLRVs make their debut – 4403 is the only one on property right now that they’re buying. And each one has to hit 601 kms before the TTC can buy them. It’s going to be a small debut.

    It’ll be interesting to see where they deploy the 510 streetcar operators before the start of the new board.

  8. Bob Patrick says:

    Steve, why do you delete my comments of often?

    Steve: Because they are often inappropriate and posted on a thread where they don’t belong.

  9. nfitz says:

    Steve:

    4404 was supposed to have shipped from Thunder Bay, but I don’t know its current status as I have been out of town.

    There seemed to be a rumour that one was shipping, and I think people assumed it was 4404, but it turned out that was 4400 that turned up.

    Kingstreetcar:

    4403 is the only one on property right now that they’re buying.

    I thought that recent return of 4400 after it’s trip to Ottawa and then Thunder Bay for modifications had switched it into the production category.

    Still, it will be a very small debut at this rate; even if they manage to get another 2 deliveries before the end of August. There is currently 18 CLRVs in service in PM peak, rising to 21 in the fall if Queens Quay re-opens, and only 3 or 4 will be new vehicles!

    Once fully deployed, there will only be 12 new streetcars rather than 21 CLRVs. Still, a the current delivery rate of 1 a month Spadina be fully converted until summer 2015 (with 2-3 spares); Bathurst until sometime in 2016; and all routes until 2030. Hopefully Bombardier can achieve the 3 a month they’ve promised (though even if they started producing 3 a month right now, they still won’t have completed deliveries of the 204 cars until early 2020).

    On the bright side, no one will be worrying on where to put them all until the Leslie carhouse opens.

  10. Bob Patrick says:

    Steve, why did you say the feds won’t chip on for Ontario transit?

    Remember when you said Ontario needed revenue tools before asking money from the feds? I expected better from you.

    Steve: Your bias is showing. I have acknowledged the gas tax that we get from both Ottawa and Queen’s Park several times. The money “announced” by Oliver is not “new”, but merely a continuation of a program that was started under Paul Martin with the urging of Jack Layton in the 2005 budget. It had already been extended to 2014, and this announcement tacks on 10 more years. This is a national program that funds infrastructure generally, not just transit.

    In order to make Ottawa feel at home, the TTC is pooling the gas tax revenue with other capital funding so that the Feds have “a share” in many projects rather than just one (the specific allocations are reported annually). But to put it in context, the TTC needs about $900m/year for capital maintenance (not including projects such as the Spadina or Scarborough subways), and the gas tax will give us about 1/6 of that.

    At the beginning of 2014, Ontario’s population was 13.6-million, while Toronto’s was 2.8m. On a per capita basis (the allocation scheme for the funding) this will bring Toronto just under $800m over the next five years, only $10m more per year that we have received in recent years.

    Further information is available on the federal government’s announcement page.

    I am happy to give credit where it is due, but this is not new money, and certainly not a bump in the level of funding that can underwrite major rapid transit projects.

  11. David Cavlovic says:

    What was 4400 doing in Ottawa?

    Steve: It was at the National Research Council’s climate test lab being frozen, baked, snowed and rained upon to check that it would work in the worst imaginable climate.

  12. Steve you said

    “It was at the National Research Council’s climate test lab being frozen, baked, snowed and rained upon to check that it would work in the worst imaginable climate.”

    Does this mean they hit Golf Balls at it to mimic a hailstorm … we get a few of those in Toronto :P What about electrifying it to mimic hydro wires coming down on it?

  13. Norman Wilson says:

    Does this mean they hit Golf Balls at it to mimic a hailstorm … we get a few of those in Toronto :P

    I thought they used frozen chickens for that.
    Or was that only in the UK?

    On a more serious note, there are news reports that workers at Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant are in a strike position, talks have broken down, and there may be a walkout tomorrow afternoon.

    Possible further delay to streetcar deliveries?

  14. CommutingAgainstTraffic says:

    Steve,

    If the TTC will only be done re-doing the Spadina loop platform in time for the pushed-back in service date of the LFLRVs, how were they planning to cope with the original roll-out? Or am I getting the timelines wrong somewhere here?

    Steve: The work would have been done sooner if it were required. Every year, the TTC looks for projects it can push back to relieve the capital budget crunch, and Spadina Station was one of them, until now.

    Norman Wilson said:

    I thought they used frozen chickens for that.
    Or was that only in the UK?

    I remember an anecdote Bob MacDonald used to relate, about some aerospace company that had designed a bird-proof airplane jet engine. They rolled it out to test it for the first time, and wanted a dead bird to throw at it, so they sent their intern out to the grocery store to buy a chicken. With a great deal of excitement they fire up the engine and when it’s ready they launch the bird into it, but instead of succeeding the jet turbine just crumples into pieces on contact. The engineers were completely baffled by how their prize design had failed so badly, until they realized that the guy they’d sent out to buy a test chicken had bought a frozen chicken!

    Steve: This shows the importance of maintaining live poultry markets!

  15. CommutingAgainstTraffic wrote:

    I remember an anecdote Bob MacDonald used to relate, about some aerospace company that had designed a bird-proof airplane jet engine.

    I had heard the same story, but it was about testing windshields, not the jet engine.

    The industry does use a “chicken cannon” to fire poultry at windshields, but the occurance of someone using a frozen one is just an urban myth.

  16. Malcolm N says:

    nfitz said:

    “Once fully deployed, there will only be 12 new streetcars rather than 21 CLRVs. Still, a the current delivery rate of 1 a month Spadina be fully converted until summer 2015 (with 2-3 spares); Bathurst until sometime in 2016; and all routes until 2030. Hopefully Bombardier can achieve the 3 a month they’ve promised (though even if they started producing 3 a month right now, they still won’t have completed deliveries of the 204 cars until early 2020).”

    Given the heavy loading on Spadina, will 12 cars be enough? I realize that represents essentially a 1 for 1 capacity but was capacity not already pretty tight here. I understand that we would want to have cars for other routes, but should there not be a few more (15 say).

    Given the issues on King, are they considering bumping King up in priority?

    Steve: The AM peak CLRV requirement for Spadina is only 15, although it builds up to 21 later in the day with vehicles that come from 504 King. It will be interesting to see how the TTC schedules this given that the other early Flexity routes have similar lower AM than PM vehicle requirements.

    As for King itself, I have written several times about changing the priority of the rollout, and asked the TTC repeatedly about an updated fleet plan, but they dauntingly stay with the one that they have. This might have made some sense when other projects like track and overhead needed to be out of the way for each line’s rollout, but with the delivery delays, the infrastructure work will be done well before most of the cars are here. There is also the matter of keeping some of the old fleet running long enough to provide some capacity growth during the changeover rather than retiring old cars faster than new cars replace them as under the current plan.

  17. Thomas says:

    Steve:

    As for King itself, I have written several times about changing the priority of the rollout, and asked the TTC repeatedly about an updated fleet plan, but they dauntingly stay with the one that they have.

    I have to say, looking at the rollout plan, it looks like they’re sticking with it for political purposes — look at the routes, they’re prioritizing tourist-centric routes and pushing back commuter-centric ones: 510 (Chinatown+Harbourfront), 511 (CNE), 509 (Harbourfront) … and on the very end of the list 502, 503, 506.

    There’s certainly some benefit to doing that, making the city look nice to visitors and all is certainly a noble cause, but it’s not nearly as logical as actually putting them where they’re needed. The ALRVs on 501, 508, often enough 504 are going to fail first … why not, instead of replacing them with CLRVs on a 1:1 vehicle basis, replace them with LFLRVs to maintain capacity, at least, if not headways, then do the CLRV routes afterwards, where possible?

    Sigh… sadly I don’t think the TTC really knows what they’re doing here. It’s like you say, Steve, they lack an understanding of the realities of their service at the street level and the needs of their customers. One can dream that with the next council, with a new chair/some new commissioners, with more funding, things from headway management and loading standards to vehicle assignments might improve but even if that is to be the case it’ll be a long time before we actually see any change.

    Steve: The first few routes are understandable because they don’t need many vehicles. But once they get past Spadina, Harbourfront and Bathurst, it should be time to tackle the biggies, especially where there are severe capacity problems and where they use what they claim are their least reliable vehicles, the ALRVs.

  18. Fred S says:

    Thomas said:

    I have to say, looking at the rollout plan, it looks like they’re sticking with it for political purposes — look at the routes, they’re prioritizing tourist-centric routes and pushing back commuter-centric ones: 510 (Chinatown+Harbourfront), 511 (CNE), 509 (Harbourfront) … and on the very end of the list 502, 503, 506.

    From chatting with TTC staff, much of the roll-out schedule has to do with technical reasons, and politics only plays in so much as not having construction on lines that have already had construction recently, as routes need to be upgraded physically to properly operate the new vehicles (platform mods for the wheelchair ramp, curb cuts, and pantograph-friendly overhead). This is my impression of why the schedule is the way it is, but I welcome any corrections.

    510 desperately needs more capacity, but without adding more vehicles, is a shorter line, and was up for repairs/reconstruction. 511 is next, also being a shorter line, and easier to upgrade the platforms and curbs. 509 was a logical next step, as it was also being upgraded and shares trackage with 510 and 511.

    505, 501, and 508 are later as they are longer routes, and needed more time to upgrade stops and acquire a large amount of vehicles, although it looks like upgrades will be done long before the delayed streetcars arrive. Most of the platforms have been rebuilt already. I’m not sure what they plan on doing with the Parkside stop, as it’s not accessible, and would probably be a challenge and too costly to upgrade.

    504 and 512 are later because they recently were reconstructed (Roncesvalles for 504) but not to spec for the new streetcars. The TTC, businesses, and/or councillors didn’t want major work crews on the road again so soon again, so these upgrades will be in 2016/2017. The Queen/King/Roncy intersection will be a major undertaking in 2016, coupled with platform upgrades on Roncy, and rebuilding the island at Bloor and Dundas. 504 also requires modifications at Dundas West station due to clearance issues between the pantograph and station overhang.

    502 and 503 are lesser-used routes, so they’re almost at the end. There is also an issue with the island at Queen and Kingston which is too narrow, but constrained by the 501 tracks, and I believe, with modifying Bingham loop.

    506 is at the end because it runs mostly on it’s own trackage, and so doesn’t benefit from upgrades in other parts of the system. It also has an issue with most of its island platforms being too short and narrow, and with challenges on how to make them larger in the existing road space.

  19. David O'Rourke says:

    What is the status of the Bombardier strike? Obviously that will play a big role in how many of the new cars make their debut on Aug. 31.

    Steve: The strike is still on. Even if work resumes, there is not enough time for more cars to be shipped to Toronto and accepted for service before the end of August, and so it looks as if we will only one or two cars for the “launch” with an unknown gap thereafter.

  20. David O'Rourke says:

    How has the “bump” arrangement with the platforms worked out on Roncesvalles?I like it myself and would like to see it extended to King and Queen. Of course it places restrictions on the cars but that’s a bullet we have to bite sooner or later. Any chance of that?

    Steve: There are some problems on Roncesvalles, notably with people who park in such a way that they block the streetcars. However, the main issue is that this arrangement only works in locations where parking would be permitted throughout the peak periods. This does not apply to any of the major east-west streets across the city, notably Queen and King. Indeed, Council just extended the length of the rush hour prohibitions from Bathurst to Roncesvalles so that they now apply from 7-10AM and 3-7PM. Roncesvalles was a special situation.

  21. Malcolm N says:

    Fred S. said:

    “I have to say, looking at the rollout plan, it looks like they’re sticking with it for political purposes — look at the routes, they’re prioritizing tourist-centric routes and pushing back commuter-centric ones: 510 (Chinatown+Harbourfront), 511 (CNE), 509 (Harbourfront) … and on the very end of the list 502, 503, 506.”

    For tourist centric routes, would it not make a sense to have a mix of cars sustained for some time. Take the very best looking CLRVs along with a mix of the new cars, to give the area some flavour.

    In terms of capacity, how much difference would it make on say King to run the new LFRV as part of a 1 in 4 mix, where it was used on the same headway to help pick-up at the stops that had passengers stranded. Would it not make sense to deploy at least of few of these larger cars on King during the morning rush, and then move them to the tourist areas when the tourists are really out in force, say after 10:00am.

  22. Gido says:

    Hey Steve,

    Noticed today that they are laying track down anchored to timber railroad ties. And the ones on the flatbed are also anchored to wooden ties/some are a mix of wood and steel.
    I thought that this was supposed to be a better way of building track to last longer?

    Steve: The timber they are using is treated so that it won’t rot (it should be black, not light brown). This is used where the track is not a standard piece (typically frogs and switches) that can be attached to steel ties.

  23. Sam says:

    Only 2 cars for the “launch” . ? Oh my are you telling me they will have only 2 cars on this 510 route and expect it to be acceptable? This is a joke! They couldn’t get 6 cars operational?

    AND the route won’t be fully operational? Wow just to Queens Quay? I’m sorry but the beauty of this route used to be being able to head to union then take the car to Kesington market then back to union.

    This roll out will be extremely painful and it also proves how far away we are with presto, efficient fare system, and reliable service.

    Steve: There are only four cars in total so far. 4400 and 4403 are “production” cars and will be available for service. 4401 and 4402 are prototypes that need retrofits. More cars after that must await the end of the strike at Bombardier.

    As for Presto, delays there are at least as much at Metrolinx’ doorstep because, despite all the fine words, they only got the system working reasonably well in Ottawa earlier in 2014 after a year of bumbling around. A full-scale rollout on the TTC involves major changes to how fares are collected, something that has not been helped by the complete absence of any desire to discuss fare policies by the Stintz-led Transit Commission. There is still no decision on an alternative to attempting duplication of the TTC’s byzantine transfer rules in Presto.

    I believe the word we might be looking for is “leadership”, but what we got was ass-kissing for votes on issues that don’t affect how the transit system performs today and for the foreseeable future.

  24. L. Wall says:

    Only 2 cars for the “launch” . ? Oh my are you telling me they will have only 2 cars on this 510 route and expect it to be acceptable? This is a joke! They couldn’t get 6 cars operational?

    Don’t knock it!

    Sure the TTC has had to dial the promises back a bit (the promised big bangs, first on April 1st, 2014, and then on August 31st, 2014) but 2 cars is a 100% improvement on the prior commitment to have at least 1 car available on August 31.

    There was an article in the Star business section today about the Bombardier strike and it makes it known there are no penalties for strike delays.

  25. OgtheDim says:

    Nice sun shade … are they planning to sell Pizza for the United Way from under it?

    Steve: It is keeping stacks of water bottles shaded. That little tent wanders from project to project around town.

  26. A.J. says:

    Hi Steve, just wondering with all the time and effort it takes to rebuild these intersections if there was any thought to putting in the remaining turns as even if they are not used that often just having them might be useful.

    Steve: This issue comes up from time to time, but there is a very long lead time on planning for changes (a) because intersections are not redone very often and (b) there is a lead time of a few years on procuring the castings. In some cases, a curve may be desirable, operationally, but it would conflict with an existing utility (typically a hydro manhole). There is also the problem of the prevailing budgetary targets: An east-to-north would have been a good addition to King & York, but when that project came up, the TTC was pinching pennies and left it out of the plans. There was talk of a north-to-west at Broadview & Gerrard, but until I actually see the intersection under construction, I won’t believe it. Something that is happening fairly regularly is that boxes for electric switch machines are being included everywhere whether they are activated or not. It’s a lot simpler to put the box (and conduit for cabling) in the street when it is torn apart than to retrofit this to an existing intersection.

  27. Bruce K says:

    I noticed the pink CBM cement truck promoting breast cancer awareness is in some of these photos. It’s good to see it on a high profile public project like this.

  28. In the last week that the shuttle buses south of Dundas have been using the streetcar right-of-way. They only use it southbound to avoid collisions and most of the congestion on Spidina is southbound where cars try to get on to the Gardiner.

    It seems to be a rare case of the TTC doing something spontaneous and clever.

    Steve: Yes, I have been on the buses running south on the streetcar lanes, generally switching over at Richmond Street and moving back to the curb at Lake Shore. One ongoing problem is the interminable cycle time at Lake Shore that is, I suspect, longer than the headway of streetcars the TTC will attempt to operate through the intersection when service resumes.

  29. Ed says:

    It’s interesting seeing full-size buses making their way down Huron and across Baldwin. The pavement on these streets seems shot in a few places, with major heaves and sinkholes. Hopefully nothing collapses while the shuttle is going on.

    The north end shuttle was totally hybrids when I observed it a while from Lillian Smith library the other day. That’s different from the random mix of “here, take these buses, we don’t want them” on other shuttles. (Albeit I have yet to see an RTS on a streetcar shuttle.)

    Steve: The trip along Baldwin is quite amusing as the buses dodge around the potholes.

  30. Darwin O’Connor said:

    In the last week that the shuttle buses south of Dundas have been using the streetcar right-of-way. They only use it southbound to avoid collisions and most of the congestion on Spidina is southbound where cars try to get on to the Gardiner.

    It seems to be a rare case of the TTC doing something spontaneous and clever.

    Moaz: Funny … Brad Ross said that buses would never use the Spadina ROW but there they are. Also said no TR subway trains have ever been on the Bloor-Danforth line but one was spotted (and photographed) in the tail tracks at Kipling.

    Cheers, Moaz

  31. Robert Wightman says:

    Last weekend the Spadina buses were using the ROW from Front to Lakeshore to get around all the traffic for Caribbean Festival.

    A concrete truck truck held up service on McCaul while it parked on the tracks to pour a sidewalk. Eventually the second street car driver got fed up and said something to them and got them to move while the street cars cleared the area. The second car threw all it passengers off and onto our car. When it got to College it turned right.

    Most of the Queen service was CLRVs as there were a lot of ALRVs on Bathurst for the Parade. I took the Bloor subway westbound to Bathurst on the Saturday. The first 4 cars were almost at crush loading but the last 2 were only moderately standing load. All the standees got of at Bathurst and I though that this is going to be a long wait to get on a car but one was loading and one was waiting to load. I got on the second one. The ability of street cars to carry large loads is amazing.

    Davisville yard was full of TR trains and a couple of T1 cars. There were at least 11 TRs including one on the build up track, gap train? Some of the trains were sticking out the doors of the car house. Why don’t they extend the car house to 6 car length where possible?

    Steve: The TTC’s plans for Davisville appear to be shifting. Originally, this site was going to consolidate much (all?) of the works equipment to free up space at Greenwood, but now with concerns about how long it takes to operate most of the service into and out of Wilson Yard, Davisville’s role for revenue service seems to be revitalized. It is incredibly frustrating to have watched how an attitude that Wilson expansion could go on forever ran into the brick wall of the reality of how long service build up/down takes from one site. Just imagine the problems when they try to move from a 140 second headway down to 110 with far more trains.

  32. Richard White says:

    Moaz,

    I have witnessed a couple of rather frightening occasions wherein buses had such little clearance on the Spadina ROW at Fort York boulevard that their mirrors brushed the poles and the tires brushed the curb.

    Brad is right in stating buses shouldn’t use the right of way and wrong in that they will.

    I have noted a couple operators who were afraid of getting a 3 day vacation for taking damage using the ROW.

    Steve: But every bus I have seen there recently uses the right-of-way. Maybe now is not the time to make snotty comments about the TTC and centre poles for overhead suspension?

  33. Richard White said:

    Moaz,

    I have witnessed a couple of rather frightening occasions wherein buses had such little clearance on the Spadina ROW at Fort York boulevard that their mirrors brushed the poles and the tires brushed the curb.

    Brad is right in stating buses shouldn’t use the right of way and wrong in that they will.

    I have noted a couple operators who were afraid of getting a 3 day vacation for taking damage using the ROW.

    Steve replied:

    But every bus I have seen there recently uses the right-of-way. Maybe now is not the time to make snotty comments about the TTC and centre poles for overhead suspension?

    I know the ROW has some issues for bus use south of Front St. … which is too bad, because with all the traffic entering and exiting downtown via Spadina that is a place where a transit ROW has huge benefits.

    If I recall correctly the diamond signs on the ROW include buses north of Front but not south of Front.

    Cheers, Moaz

  34. JTL says:

    I noticed something on the McCaul streetcar diversion the other day, and wonder if anyone can answer this question. Just north of Dundas at Elm Street, the streetcar comes to a four-way stop. Are there any other stop signs that streetcars have to encounter (as opposed to stoplights) on either regular routes or routine diversions? I can’t think of any, but then again I’m not the most familiar with all the intricacies of TTC routes.

    Steve: Howard Park & Indian Road, for starters. Southbound on Connaught at Eastern.

  35. EricK says:

    I love the Thermite welding process. Thanks for the images.

    For Breaking Bad fans, Thermite is the same substance synthesized by Walt and Jesse from Etch A Sketches and used to melt the lock on the warehouse from which their Methylamine was “sourced”.

  36. Malcolm N says:

    Great pictures Steve, love to see the progress on upgrading the lines in the core. Hopefully, the streetcar network will eventually see some extension. Hopefully there will soon be the capacity to carry the load, and cars to improve service.

  37. So Dundas Street returned to the route this morning….and I presume we’ll see a 510 or 2 running tests between now and August 30th. 2 weeks & 4 days to go.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: Not until the overhead work now in progress at various locations is completed, not to mention the platform reconstruction at Spadina Station.

  38. It looks as though the shelter at Spadina and King is finally getting replaced. Since the dawn of time it has been the green shelters there and at Queens Quay.

    They are finally working on it today which is good to see. I am surprised it did not happen sooner since the stop at Fort York Boulevard was done months ago.

    On another note… Union seems to be progressing well. I got a peek into the second platform area and its virtually complete. Any idea how much of it will open at the end of the month?

    Steve: As you know now (I did not moderate this comment until August 14), the new platform opens for business on Monday, August 18, although I am sure it will do a gradual strip tease into view over the weekend while the south track at Union is out of service.

  39. Good to hear you are alright Steve … given all the site issues recently I was starting to wonder if something happened to you or the server.

    Steve: The server was under attack; I was in Stratford.

    It’s a shame the TTC did not take the opportunity to open the train doors on both sides ala unfinished platform at Sheppard-Yonge. I tweeted Sue but never got a reply. If nothing else it would give people an option. I can forsee another Lower Bay scenario playing out at Union for people heading to Bloor.

    Coming from work I head through Union and transfer at Bloor. Right now I have an option regarding which train to take be it University or Yonge depending on which one comes first. Once the second platform opens its a matter of waiting in a stairwell for the next train.. see any similarities? This time however its not about going Downtown.. its about leaving Downtown.

    Steve: You do know that there will be a glass wall along the south side of the existing platform, yes?

  40. Ed says:

    Streetcars exiting numerous loops come to a stop sign at some point: Edna at Dundas, Erindale at Broadview, Nursewood at Queen….

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