Intersection Replacements on Dundas

With the reconstruction of the Dundas route, we will get several chances to see the TTC’s new method of installing intersections this summer.

The special work is pre-coated with rubber and assembled into panels before it arrives at the worksite.  The rubber provides mechanical isolation of the track from the roadbed just as the sleeves now used for tangent rails do, reducing vibration and increasing the lifespan of the entire installation.  Pre-assembly of track panels simplifies work at the site because each individual piece of track does not have to be fitted into position and welded one at a time.

Tentative dates for intersections (as shown on the TTC’s construction site) are:

  • Victoria Day weekend:  Bay & Dundas
  • Canada Day weekend:  Ossington & Dundas
  • Simcoe Day weekend:  Church & Dundas
  • McCaul & Dundas is not explicitly scheduled, but trackwork in the surrounding area is planned for late May

The TTC is quite proud of advancements they’ve made in track construction quality and speed, and Dundas Street is certainly a chance to show their progress.

Jane’s Walk 2: My Home Streetcar Lines — Mt. Pleasant & St. Clair

Back in the days when goodly chunks of “the suburbs” were still farms, I grew up in North Toronto near Mt. Pleasant and Eglinton.  This neighbourhood dates from the building boom of the 1920s, although our house was older, 1906, the third one built in our block.  The old farmhouse up the road was replaced by two monster homes a few years ago, and now ours is number 2 in seniority.

When I was young, I spent a lot of time down at Mt. Pleasant Loop watching the streetcars.  This was a typical old style TTC loop with trees and benches, a house to the north and a BA gas station to the south right on the corner.  All of that’s gone now, and the loop is simply a hole in the front of seniors’ building where, infrequently, one can find a Mt. Pleasant bus.

The other corners held Ted’s Restaurant (gone — replaced like other stores around it with an ugly midrise office block), Eglinton Public School (replaced by a new building that turns its back on the intersection with a dead wall where once there was a playground), and the Bank of Commerce (now a Second Cup, but at least the original building).

Tracks ran west on Eglinton to Yonge, but these were never used for revenue service.  These had been installed in 1930 to allow operation of the St. Clair line from Eglinton Carhouse, but this never happened.  The junction at Mt. Pleasant came out in 1959, but the track to Yonge, buried under pavement, remained years longer until Eglinton was repaved. Continue reading

Travels in The Beach

The following is a combination of two comments sent in recently by Renee Knight, and I’m putting them in their own thread.

The 501 Queen Car in the Beach is doing a terribly pathetic job of serving this neighbourhood. Even in the midst of summer and with tourists flocking to the neighbourhood, there seems to be no consideration to the people that live here and need to get out of the beach for work, doctors, medical appointments…

In the last 5 years the state of service on the streetcar has become so abysmal that people buy houses in the Beach thinking they can take the Streetcar to their offices downtown, and to often end up either driving to work or selling their homes and moving downtown where they can walk to work.

Today alone, I waited 20 minutes for a streetcar that’s supposed to go every 6 minutes, and then got turfed off at Connaught, and then again at McCaul, just to go to Trinity and Strachan from Queen and Wineva, and this at 10:00 a.m. on a Thursday. We’re not talking rush hour, no traffic problems, it’s a great sunny day.

The problem is that the people who decide on the short turns the drivers make aren’t anywhere near the route, and could care less if the schedule is being met, as in picking up passengers along the route. The focus is on the downtown core. TTC doesn’t get it that we also need to get downtown from the beach and back home again. Three streetcars and an hour an a half for a 40 minute trip is really pathetic, and it does not have to be this way.

I don’t believe that traffic congestion is the problem. I believe the problem is a negligent management so out of touch with its ridership that they just don’t care. And as far as that goes, this creates staff that doesn’t care either, if they can’t meet schedules, and are constantly being yelled at; after a while you give up and stop listening. That’s what we are finding on our route. Drivers have given up, their supervisors are not listening to them or us. What are we to do? It’s only going to get worse if no-one is looking at solutions!

For many years, the streetcar was very enjoyable to take, not so anymore!

I have called in to customer service, written letters that go unanswered… What can we do in the Beach to improve the service? Petition?

Any suggestions, Steve?

[2nd part]

Yes, this used to be the TTC’s motto before, The Better Way. What happened to the better way? It’s not better anymore.

I’ve taken the transit in this city for over 20 years, and the surface routes are painfully deteriorting in service. Particularly the Queen Car (501 – Neville Park – serving the Beach) I have never been more disappointed at the level of service on this route. My 64 Main bus does not disappoint, but anytime I have to take the Queen car, I am concerned, as 9/10 times, I will not get a streetcar for at least 20 minutes, often 30 or more minutes.

We always give ourselves around 15 minutes leeway to get to our desinations, assuming we should not have to wait to long for a streetcar that is scheduled to come to the stop (Queen & Wineva) every 6 minutes, so it isn’t a matter of people leaving late and blaming transit. It’s a matter of transit short turning 1/2 of the streetcars that are scheduled to come into the Beach, and that’s before any problems start on the line.

It’s just not an acceptable level of service.

I long for the days when I could see a car that wasn’t headed to Neville in a 20-30 minute wait, and trusting I’d see a car come my way before the one that just went down to Neville.

It used to take 30 minutes to get to Yonge & Queen from Wineva, now it takes an hour, trip time is still the same, what’s changed is the wait time. Very rarely are the traffic issues so bad that the neglect of not serving the Beach at least reasonably close to the schedule is actually neccesary.

What happens now, is that car returning from Neville Park will have one or two cars within minutes behind it, leaving terrible gaps in service that no-one seems to care about. The “we’re sorry for your inconvencience” from a Customer Service staffer just does nothing to remove the problem! In fact it’s like a slap in the face for bothering to call in!

The schedule, as we say in the Beach is “Published Fiction”. It’s a joke, and should be an embarrasment to the TTC, and those who supervise the line. I do not blame the drivers, they simply follow directions of their superiors, no matter how daft.

Steve:  I really am getting tired of the TTC’s lame excuses that all their problems would go away if there were no traffic congestion.  First off, the congestion is not anywhere near as bad all of the time on all of the routes as the TTC claims.  Second, there are ongoing problems with mismanagement of the service as described in Renee’s comments above.

For decades, the TTC has forgotten that many of the people who actually use the routes downtown live on the outer part of the line.  Screw up the service there and you drive away ridership.