New Carhouses for New Cars (Updated)

The TTC Supplementary Agenda for May 21 includes a report on the Master Plan for new carhouses.  These will be needed both to house the replacement fleet for the existing downtown network and for the far-flung Transit City system.

In brief, the proposed scheme involves the building of five new carhouses:

  • One in either the Portlands or in New Toronto to house the downtown network’s fleet.  The New Toronto option is mentioned only once in the text  (with “new” in lower case), and the map shows only the Portlands location.  This would be the primary carhouse for the core area routes, but Roncesvalles and Russell would continue to have a role as regional yards for new cars once the CLRV fleet starts to retire.
  • A Sheppard East carhouse would initially operate the Sheppard line, but later take on the Scarborough/Malvern and part of Eglinton once the Malvern link was in place.
  • A Finch West carhouse would serve that line and, eventually, part of the Jane line as well.
  • An Eglinton West carhouse would serve the Eglinton line initially, and later the Jane and, possibly, the St. Clair line.
  • A Don Mills carhouse would serve the Don Mills line and possibly part of Sheppard.  By the time we get this far into the plan, there will no doubt be more Transit City proposals on the table and it’s anyone’s guess what the real carhouse needs will be.

The four Transit City carhouses are estimated at about $770-million (reference year not stated), while the new downtown carhouse is estimated at $330-million due to the larger fleet it must house.    It’s clear that the long-term status of the existing Russell and Roncesvalles buildings is dubious both because they are not suited to house and maintain the new cars, and because of building code issues if they were to undergo major changes.  However, these properties provide a few advantages over a consolidated operation in the Portlands.

  • If they are used as yards with basic servicing facilities, the dead-head time for cars entering and leaving service will be shorter than if everything funnels back to a Portlands carhouse.
  • As riding grows on the existing system, the TTC needs somewhere to store more than the initial 204 low flow cars they plan to order this year.  The existing yards will provide an overflow.  Whether both of them are needed once all of the existing CLRVs and ALRVs are retired is another question, but that’s almost a decade away.

Note that the map used in this report is the original Transit City map and does not reflect any of the optional changes that have cropped up in discussions about some routes.  It also doesn’t show the new Waterfront East lines, nor the Kingston Road project.  With luck, one of these days, the TTC will start using a new base map for all of its surface rail project reports.

Updated May 21:

The dates for new carhouse availability are driven both by the expected arrival of the new fleet for the downtown system and for the opening dates of the Transit City lines.

The demonstration prototype cars are to arrive at the end of 2010, and it is likely they will be temporary stored and serviced at Hillcrest.  The first 20 production cars will arrive by the end of 2012, and they will need a carhouse and shops.  This sets the date for the Portlands carhouse to be available.  The complete replacement fleet arrives by the end of 2017.

There are seven Transit City lines (not to mention other plans such as Waterfront East and Kingston Road).  The startup dates and estimated fleets for each of these lines are:

  • Sheppard East:  2012 / 35
  • Finch West:  2013 /37
  • Eglinton:  2015 /129
  • Waterfront West:  2015 / 23
  • Don Mills:  2016 / 46
  • Jane:  2017: /41
  • Scarborough Malvern:  2018 / 53

At least 90% of this fleet, possibly with the addition of cars for the St. Clair line, will be housed in the four new carhouses all of which should have room to accommodate growth in requirements.

Sheppard East LRT / Scarborough RT EA Meetings in June

The next round of meetings for the Sheppard East LRT and Scarborough RT Extension Environmental Assessments have been announced.

The Sheppard East LRT meetings are on June 3 (Agincourt Collegiate) and June 4 (Malvern Community Centre).  They will include presentation of:

the recommended design for the Sheppard Avenue East LRT, including stop locations, the proposed grade separation of Sheppard Avenue at the Agincourt Go Line and the preferred option for making the LRT/subway connection.

The Scarborough RT Extension meetings are on June 4 (Malvern Community Centre, jointly with the Sheppard EA) and June 5 (Scarborough RT Station).  They will include:

The rationale for selecting the preferred network: an SRT extension to Malvern Town Centre, and SRT alignments to be considered for detailed evaluation.