The Scarborough LRT That Wasn’t (Updated)

Updated January 16:  The Metrolinx board has agreed to publish the Benefits Case Analysis for the SRT replacement project.  As I write this, they don’t have a working website, but once the report is available, I will review it here.

Updated January 11:  John F. Bromley has kindly supplied photos of CLRVs 4000 and 4001 showing the cars with pantographs.

My archives yield up interesting goodies from time to time.  In anticipation of the Benefits Case Analysis report at Metrolinx for the SRT replacement and extension project, I thought it worthwhile to revisit the original Scarborough LRT.

Here’s Progress Report No. 1.


Yes, it’s a streetcar!  That was the original plan, and the line was built for CLRVs.  That’s why there is a streetcar-radius curve at Kennedy, and if you look closely, the remnants of clearance markers on the original low platform at track level.  When the station opened, even though it was RT by then, the graphic over the up escalator was a streetcar.

Note the design for the station at STC where the streetcars are at the same level as the buses.  It didn’t take long for someone to hoodwink Scarborough Council into thinking that this simply would not do, and the streetcars needed their own level lest they isolate the land south of the station from development.  Anyone who knows the site knows that the bus roadway does quite a good job of that.


By Progress Report No. 2, which is otherwise quite similar to No. 1, the design has changed to an elevated structure.  Moves were already afoot to substitute RT technology, but the streetcar line took the political hit for imposing an elevated on Scarborough’s new Town Centre.

In time, the RT technology replaced the LRT scheme.

A few things worth noting here are that the estimated cost has gone from $108.7-million in the LRT plan to $181-million in the RT plan.  The final cost would actually be in excess of $220-million thanks to add-ons including extra cars.  The CLRV fleet was planned to be 22, and the RT fleet we wound up with is 28.

The RT promo also claims that because the wheels are not used for traction or braking, there will be lower vibration compared with conventional vehicles.  In those days, the CLRVs were still running with the original Bochum wheels, and streetcar track construction guaranteed lots of corrugations and noise.  The RT developed its own problems in time because those wheels do bounce, and they are also used for the final braking effort when they can (and do) slide producing flat spots.

Now, almost 30 years later, we are finally looking at extending the RT further north.  If this is done as LRT, it will be able to share a new carhouse and trackage with the Sheppard East LRT, and will also form the northern portion of the eventual Scarborough-Malvern line.

When the Metrolinx analysis comes out next week, we will see whether the lure of expensive, unnecessary high technology still rules the decision, or whether we can start to undo the damage of building that orphan RT line so many years ago.

Update:  Here is John F. Bromley’s photo of CLRV 4000 fitted with a pantograph at the SIG factory in Neuhausen, Switzerland on June 29, 1977.


Here is a photo of 4001 leaving Orbe, Switzerland on the Orbe Charvonay Railway on October 6, 1977.  This photo was taken by Ray Corley, and is provided by John F. Bromley.


44 thoughts on “The Scarborough LRT That Wasn’t (Updated)

  1. Thanks Steve. I recall you saying the Metrolinx study was completed several weeks ago. Do you know what is causing the delay in releasing it? Thanks.

    Steve: The usual protocol seems to be for a BCA to be discussed in private session rather than going directly to the public agenda. It should be public sometime next week.


  2. You mentioned that they will use new kind of trains (I can’t remember the model/type name you told me) … will they rip the tracks out? If they do they should hold an auction, how much per metre are you willing to pay to rip out. They could gain a lot of “funding”, I am sure there are one million people who would pay to rip/burn or even blow up the SRT to put new technology. I would pay serious dollars to remove the track of the SRT with an axe. I spent a lot of my time in 10+ years stuck in those trains. I am quite serious about this.

    One thing I am curious…. Kennedy SRT is facing EAST-WEST, the train when leaving then turns NORTH then heads north for a few kilometres then heads EAST to McCowan.

    Why wasn’t Kennedy SRT station built to face North-South? why do it EAST-WEST then that sharp turn? I know Kennedy Subway Station was built 5 years before Kennedy SRT Station but I am sure they could of built the connections. Hey, maybe it could of been better than the current hellhole it is now. What do you think? North-South facing station.

    Steve: Regardless of which technology is used for the “new” RT, there will be a new north-south station with a much better connection to the subway. If the line is rebuilt with ICTS technology, it will be the same “Mark II” cars that run in Vancouver.

    As someone who has worked at STC for the past nine years and commutes from Broadview Station, I know all about the RT and its shortcomings. One of the joys of my retirement in a few months will be that I won’t have to depend on the damned thing every day.


  3. If the TTC interlines a converted RT with the Sheppard LRT, let’s say …

    – a Don Mills to Kennedy service
    – a Kennedy to Morningside service
    – a Don Mills to Morningside service

    … then I’m all for it. But, if they’re going to run it as a completely separate route, then it’s not worth it. The conversion costs will outweigh the savings from the extension.

    My bet is that this line will be extended as RT.

    Steve: A Don Mills to Kennedy service is unlikely because the lines will meet up at Markham Road, well east of STC. The likely configuration would be a Sheppard service from Don Mills, and an “RT” service from Kennedy to Malvern. The lines would overlap between Markham Road and Neilson, or wherever the “RT” turns north from Sheppard. For capacity reasons, some “RT” service would short turn south of Sheppard.


  4. You forgot to mention at the western end of the bus platform at kennedy station, there still is a sign remaining today informing people that the one stairwell is for access to the UNLOADING platform only, for use by streetcars so they could unload passengers before entering the loop and boarding. For those who do not know, the unloading platform was one of two platforms at Kennedy for the RT. When it was found that the RT could not handle the streetcar loop without encountering difficulties, the loop was disconnected on one end and the tracks in the station intended for boarding trains were removed. Both platforms still remain but only the track for the unloading platform remains, leaving only one track in the station. The boarding and unloading platforms were shortened and the boarding platforms width doubled. As welll, the place were the boarding tracks used to be is now covered over by the the widened boarding platform. Today the loop is used to store trains, albeit very rarely. I have from time to time seen a train sitting in the loop.


  5. oh and you can also see where the tracks used to be for the boarding platform at kennedy station. The mounts are still there for them and there is still signage indicating where to board on the former boarding platform. The sign on the RT platform states that people should board trains between signs.


  6. One thing I have not been able to determine is the alignment of Kennedy Station itself. I was told that the placement of the station itself (parallel to Eglinton, far east of Kennedy) made it virtually impossible for any possible subway extension north next to the CNR line. In hindsight, the RT scheme was and always will be a half baked scheme, given the crowds on the line and the jokes about the “Sardine Rapid Transit”. I agree with residents of Scarborough that it should have been a subway. This is possibly an instance of where a new extension actually hindered the growth of the transit system.

    There is also another rumour (and maybe the pro-BRT dudes from Ottawa can confirm): that before the ICTS scheme was rammed down Toronto’s throats, it was proposed to Ottawa instead. But Ottawa insisted on its woefully inadequate BRT. Perhaps if Ottawa embraced the ICTS proposal, maybe we wouldn’t have been stuck with it instead.

    Steve: The station faces east-west in anticipation of connection to a future Eglinton subway that was never built. Turning north would require the creation of a new station on a different alignment.

    Toronto was forced into buying the ICTS as a show of good faith to B.C. where the UTDC was trying to flog the technology as an LRT alternative. If we didn’t believe in our own technology, why should we expect Vancouver to?

    At one point, there was a very brief bill in the Ontario Legislature allowing the province to guarantee UTDC contracts. This was a B.C. requirement for chosing the technology. When the opposition learned of this and investigated voting it down (in a minority government), they were told it would be considered a motion of confidence. That’s how desperate Queen’s Park was to push this project.


  7. For some reason I’ve always thought of the SRT is a giant toy. It rides like it’s made 100% out of plastic and looks like something that you would pull out of gigantic plastic box with cardboard on the back. It is really a shame we did not opt for running regular LRV’s on the SRT line – if we had we might already have Transit City, and may not be facing this embarrassing LRV shortage on the other lines.


  8. I am all for turning the Scarborough RT into LRT but I wish TTC can dream bigger by extending the route all the way south to Union Station and North to Markham City Centre via the GO Stouffville Line.

    Advantages of this extension are:
    -Markham, Scarborough will have a direct link to downtown without switching to Yonge Subway at Sheppard or Bloor Station.
    -Relieve Yonge Subway line
    -Encourage developments in Scarborough and Markham City Centres
    -Encourage high quality developments along the route
    -Provide Beach residents with direct access to downtown.

    Steve: This is trying to do far too much with one line. The line is, however, likely to go well north of Sheppard and all the maps show dotted lines into York Region.

    The Stouffville line is a separate issue, and GO/Metrolinx should address service levels in that corridor separately. As for residents of the Beach, the real issue is getting better service on Queen and on Kingston Road, not up on the rail corridor.


  9. Hmm, I wonder what would have happened if the Scarborough LRT was built as a streetcar line… what effects that would’ve had on streetcar purchases.

    Either a ‘piggyback’ order of CLRVs or an additional supply of ALRVs (maybe bump it up from 52 to 75 or 100?) would’ve needed to be ordered to replace the downtown fleet AND have enough for the SLRT fleet.

    Knowing the TTC, we would’ve had the same fleet and downtown service would have suffered.


  10. M Briganti feels that to change over to LRT would be too expensive without the connections he mentions. It is interesting to note that a year or so after the RT was up and running the TTC actually did a study of how expensive it would be to convert to LRT and the study showed that the TTC would actually save money by making the conversion. Poor Gus Harris, the mayor of Scarborough was more than a little daunted at the idea of going through all the construction again and the idea never went any further.

    A former TTC planner once told me that if LRT was used, three extensions branching out from Scarborough Town Centre to different destinations could be built for the price of the one extension to Malvern using ICTS.

    Having the RT rammed down our throats was a great tragedy and likely set LRT in Toronto back by a generation.


  11. I’m a little confused. Metrolinx is releasing a report on the future of the SRT. Is the TTC doing their own report?

    Since the public meetings of summer 2008, I thought the TTC was supposed to release their own report on a preferred route extension to Malvern? Also, weren’t they supposed to do their own analysis of the merits of switching from ICTS vehicles to LRT. Did I miss something?

    Steve: Yes, there are two reports.

    Originally, the TTC did a report that recommended keeping the ICTS technology. However, that only considered the existing line between Kennedy and McCowan. Over that distance, the TTC argued that the lesser disruption of the changes needed to handle the Mark II vehicles (i.e. the line would be closed for a shorter period) was a worthwhile tradeoff.

    However, now that the line is going to Malvern, other considerations come into play. The route will be able to share trackage with the Sheppard and Malvern LRT lines as well as the new LRT carhouse. Also, I have heard rumblings that assumptions about the ability of Mark II cars to fit through existing infrastructure, notably the tunnel at Ellesmere, may have been optimistic. If so, the cost comparison for even the existing route done by the TTC is no longer valid.

    The TTC study had a strange history. It started out with Richard Soberman, the study’s author, stating quite clearly at public meetings that conversion to LRT was probably the way to do, and being quite sardonic about how, in a previous lifetime at UTDC, he had talked Toronto into buying the ICTS technology. By the time the report surfaced at the TTC, Soberman’s name was no longer on it, and the recommendation was to keep ICTS.


  12. You mean say the wrong decision is going to be made again. Why not do it right and extend the Bloor Danforth subway into Scarborough. It should have been done in the first place.

    The SRT turned out to be a money pit. With all of the money that has been sunk into it a subway might have not cost any more.

    Steve: The LRT line is going to wind up at least at Finch Avenue. There is neither the ridership nor the money available to justify a subway that far.


  13. The Scraborough LRT when extended as normal cost effective LRT, must be branched off to two branches of the SRT. Branch one must go right up to Markham rd. and Steeles in a complete grade seperated alignment to connect to YRT services, and provide rapid transit to the further devlopments in the northeast region. The second branch must go to the Port Union-Kingston road area for connections to the future Durham hwy. two BRT line, via Malvern Town Centre. This is the most economical solution with two car train sets running every six minutes with a core service in the exsisting area at every three minutes. You can also make a case for a third branch that only goes to McCowan station, but that can be something we can look into when core services starts to get packed. This would provide service every two minutes in the original SRT line and provide a baby network of LRT in an area that needs rapid transit.
    The SRT is overhyped at the moment, even though the SRT should be called the “Shotty Rickshaw Transit” line, at least it was something. Corridores in the northwest part of the city must be looked at with high speed limited stop LRT services as well. One line will not even out the model split, and provide the most people per hour per lane space.


  14. In addition to the photo of CLRV 4000 having a pantograph, Transit Toronto has some photos of ALRV 4900 being tested at Milhaven with a pantograph (and ORANGE paint) – see

    As for routes, time will tell what fits origin-destination patterns best, but with the SRT replaced with LRT all the way to Malvern, and flexible connecting tracks where they meet near Sheppard/Markham, the public can be well served as needed.

    I suspect that neither every Sheppard East LRT will need to go all the way to Meadowvale nor will every SRT-replacement LRT need go go all the way to Malvern, so some short turn runs will exist. Also, I suspect that there will be some “through branch” services during rush hours on both routes (Meadowvale to Kennedy and Malvern to Don Mills). When the tracks are in place for the Scarborough Malvern LRT, if ridership patterns dictate, there could be a Malvern to Kennedy via STC run.

    I’m not saying that any one of these is a must-have. What I am saying is that with the coherent infrastructure in place, service operations can easily be altered to accommodate the needs of the public.


  15. Hello Steve. I think a subway expansion to McCowan/Lawrence with a stop at Brimley/Eglinton, The LRT can branch off two to three ways from McCowan/Lawrence. A branch going North along McCowan to Scarborough Town center then continuing all the way to Steeles or Hwy 7, a second branch would go the same way, then it would turn east on sheppard to connect with Pt Union/Kingston road or the zoo. This could connect with the future Durham BRT, but LRT, would be better suited for Durham…… A connection to Toronto’s LRT would be so beneficial to both regions, Then you both can construct a shared Car house on Pt/union north of Kingston road or the meadowvale area, by Bear road land fill or the zoo. Durham region should be convinced of this. it would be good for both of our regions, believe me. The ridership projections with the SRT north to lawrence is 10000 PPHr, which a small subway expansion warrants with these numbers. Lets face it, Kennedy is a poor connection for the area and the configuration of the subway station itself which the crossover and platform, is limiting our headway increase ability. A third Branch could then run east on Lawrence to pt/union rouge hill Go station with non revenue tracks on Pt/union to Kingston road. These three branches would give Scarborough quality service. We must scrap the RT, it’s time to set politics aside. A Subway expansion would cost $650 Million and these LRT expansions would cost (ball park) $900 million, The Second branch would serve Malvern, STC, the zoo, Sheppard LRT and the border with Durham. The first branch would reach York, Sheppard LRT and STC and the third would serve West Hill, Galloway, highland creek area and beyond to the Rouge Hill GO. I believe this is the way to go. I’m no expert here but just imagine the possibilities, It would improve transit for over 1 million people to those parts of Toronto for about the same cost as converting the SRT to MKII’s, with expansion to Malvern, Then in the future, we would route Bloor Danforth to the Durham border, Maybe that sounds crazy but it will happen, 50 years from now, if not sooner.


  16. The BD line will never, ever, reach Durham. Scarborough Centre is a maybe, but even that is a ways off. Frankly, we made a mistake back when we built the original SRT, and back then, we should have extended the subway. It’s too late for that now, however, and we must live with the consequences.

    I frankly don’t see why we cannot turn the SRT into a shuttle. Lawrence East Express bus stops at Lawrence East Station. Why not bring this into Kennedy? Midland, Ellesemere, McCowan, all have such low ridership that closing them won’t cause many tears. Why not turn the SRT into a Kennedy-STC shuttle with no stops in between. This would make our existing trains able to operate on a shorter headway for one. I’m not sure if there are other problems with this idea but seeing as NYC operates such a shuttle (to the airport) using SRT-like technology, and Chicago also has a 2-station shuttle service (these are the two cities we modeled our subway after) I do not see why we cannot do the same. Let’s face the reality that this is all the SRT is, and design around reality and not an SRT as we wish it was.

    Steve: There are two issues regardless of how many stops the line has, or doesn’t have. First, it needs new equipment to replace the antique RT fleet. Second, the line is to be extended north possibly beyond Steeles Avenue. There is no justification for full-blown RT that far out.

    As to the demise of local stops, I suggest that you have a chat with the proponents of various subway extensions whose stops have rather light demand. If our attitude to rapid transit is that it is an express service only, then we are fighting against the whole purpose of the city’s Official Plan. If people in Agincourt want to get downtown quickly, there are two rail lines, one of which already has service on it, that can take them there.


  17. In case SRT is converted to light rail, which route will it take past STC to reach Sheppard? Will it be McCowan, Markham Rd, or Progress?

    If another future branch goes into Markham, then McCowan is probably a better route than Markham Rd (more density around McCowan further north).

    On the other hand, Centennial College (unless it gets its own branch) would be better served by a line up Markham Rd., or better yet, Progress.

    Obviously, the street width issues might contribute to the choice. I am not familiar with the area, and not sure which streets can host a median ROW.

    Steve: If you look at the SRT project site, you will see that the TTC has been examining various alternative alignments. The original one went diagonally northeast from McCowan Yard to Markham and Sheppard.


  18. Re: interlining of LRT routes in Scarborough.

    Running multiple LRT branches through the converted SRT guideway should be straightforward. It probably can handle 2-min headways without any ATO equipment, which gives 2 branches with 4-min headways, or 3 branches with 6-min headways.

    In contrast, interlining may be difficult to set on the Sheppard East LRT line. If the Roads department objects to headways shorter than 5 minutes on the common section, then two branches will mean 10-min headways on each. This is actually worse than the present headways of the Sheppard E bus at Morningside or Meadowvale (every 5 – 6 min most of the day).


  19. Steve said: If you look at the SRT project site, you will see that the TTC has been examining various alternative alignments. The original one went diagonally northeast from McCowan Yard to Markham and Sheppard.

    This is the latest presentation I could find there:

    It does not have any option for a continuous LRT line from Kennedy Stn to Malvern. However, comparable options would be (3) and (4), that involve an LRT line from STC to Malvern. Option (3) is McCowan – Sheppard – Neilson, whereas (4) is Progress – Sheppard – Neilson.

    Steve: The reason it doesn’t have a continuous route is that the study assumes RT technology. Once it’s LRT, the line can share trackage and be extended cheaply.


  20. I notice in the photo of CLRV 4000 that it didn’t have a fold-away coupler installed at the time. Does anyone know why the ‘black mask’ paint scheme didn’t survive as the prefered choice? (I like the revised version better anyway.) I’m also wondering when and why the closed-side ventilation grille was changed to what we have now. If there are any more photos from the ‘teething years’ of the CLRVs I would very much like to see them.

    Steve: One thing I do know about the CLRVs is that there was a cock-up with the design of the air system. The blowdown valve for the air tank was located such that it would raise a cloud of dust and debris that would be sucked directly into the intake for cooling the electronics package. This quickly clogged the filters, the electronics overheated, and the cars shut down.


  21. Some earlier planning of the SRT also had a stop between Kennedy and Lawrence East called Mooregate. The station also would have enhanced the pedestrian connection between Mooregate and Tara Avenues. Another version also called Lawrence East Station “Dorset Park”.

    Steve: This the at the pedestrian bridge over the RT right-of-way.


  22. Rainforest said, “In contrast, interlining may be difficult to set on the Sheppard East LRT line. If the Roads department objects to headways shorter than 5 minutes on the common section, then two branches will mean 10-min headways on each.”

    Yes and no. Those branches would have 10-minute headways of LRTs coming from or going to Don Mills, but could be interlined with other LRTs with a 10-minute headway coming from or going to Kennedy, for a combined 5-minute headway on these branches. I suspect, though, that such interlining might only be beneficial during rush hours, but service needs will tell.

    For someone who’s destination is on that branch, it makes no difference which route they take. For someone heading to a location beyond the meeting place, they would have to transfer, but their wait would likely be shorter at the transfer point than at their boarding point as another LRV on another branch heading to their destination would come first. This sort of interlining is done in Denver (see for more info) where four of their routes form an “X” with three interlined stations in the middle.


  23. AActually, the coupler is present on 4000, but it appears to be in the “open” position, rather than stowed away. I believe that only 4001 and 4002 had the original “black mask” paint scheme, while the others were delivered with the revised striping. Remember that this was at the same as the H-5 subway cars were delivered with “black mask” ends on the cars as well. It must have been the “in” thing for a while, like all the “swoop” paint schemes and corporate logos today.


  24. If the SRT is converted to LRT does this necessarily mean that stations are going to be rebuilt to low platform operation or is there a possibility of high floor, high platform cars taking over? I’ve been thinking that Siemans/Duewag-type cars modified for third rail current collection might be a worthwhile alternative.

    Steve: They would be rebuilt for low floor cars. Otherwise, it would be impossible to through route with the rest of the new Transit City network. The last thing we need is another orphaned set of cars.


  25. There is a coupler present, but it can’t be the fold-away type because the pivot point isn’t out near the anticlimber. The coupler shown swings radially along the anticlimber which would put it out of alignment with the fold-away coupler’s swing. The final couplers extended far beyond the anticlimber when in the open position. This coupler was probably only for early testing and towing on trackage radii nowhere near as sharp as in Toronto.
    As for unfortunate leanings towards ‘in’ things, I dread what we’re going to end up with when the new fleet arrives.


  26. Re: Calvin Henry-Cotnam on interlining

    To illustrate one potential pitfall, I’ll discuss the following mathematical problem. Given: 4 LRT termini (Kennedy, Fairview, Malvern, and Meadowvale). We want to run four interlined services on 10-min headways: Kennedy to Malvern, Kennedy to Meadowvale, Fairview to Malvern, Fairview to Meadowvale. How do we schedule the services so that each of four branches gets even 5-min combined headways?

    This problem looks trivial at the first glance, but in fact it … has no solution. Average 5-min headways can be achieved, but the vehicles won’t be evenly spaced. (Who does not believe me, should try to create the schedules.)


  27. I believe Rainforest is focusing too much on the details of an interlined service. My original point was the benefit of having the infrastructure in place to be able to make service changes to accommodate the public’s need. Yes, creating schedules is not trivial work, but it is a whole lot easier to do when the infrastructure is in place!


  28. ERic Chow: No, Ottawa was never “offered” the ICTS proposal, and therefore we didn’t turn it down for what you would call an “inferior” rapid transit solution. The Transitway was built during the 70s and therefore was either in place or being constructed when ICTS came about. It is foolhardy to expect OcTranspo to switch gears to abandon one transportation project for another.

    Regardless, ICTS was a bad idea overall. Simply put, this is HRT technology with LRT capacity. With a smaller population at the time, ICTS would have been a political disaster to anyone who greenlighted such a project. I do agree with the point that Toronto should not have been stuck with such a white elephant and had a subway instead (evidence the use of the 131E as an alternate to the Scarborough RT).


  29. Calvin Henry-Cotnam said: I believe Rainforest is focusing too much on the details of an interlined service. My original point was the benefit of having the infrastructure in place to be able to make service changes to accommodate the public’s need. Yes, creating schedules is not trivial work, but it is a whole lot easier to do when the infrastructure is in place!

    Well, changes to the schedules / routing are easy within the operational limits of a given infrastructure, but we should understand those limits before the infrastructure is built.

    I believe that interlining two branches on the Sheppard East LRT will be possible, but with some operational restrictions. Interlining three branches will be next to impossible (that is, unless the Roads department agrees to 4-min or 3-min headways on the section adjacent to Don Mills).

    So, if STC gets one branch (Don Mills subway to STC), then only one branch will remain available east of McCowan. Running branches from Don Mills subway to both Meadowvale and Malvern Centre won’t be feasible.


  30. Steve: The usual protocol seems to be for a BCA to be discussed in private session rather than going directly to the public agenda. It should be public sometime next week.

    I spoke with Fran Agnew of Metrolinx monday who said the SRT decision will not be taken until the Eglinton BCA is made given possible interlining of two lines for one-seat-ride.

    Excerpt from Friday agenda
    “The anticipated delivery dates for the January Board date could not be met as Metrolinx, City of Toronto and TTC staff all agreed that additional time to verify both the costing and benefits results of the Eglinton and Finch-Sheppard projects. The revised near-term BCA reportback schedule includes: Eglinton and Finch-Sheppard Rapid Transit scheduled for the February 2009 In-Camera Board meeting;”

    Agnew said public would not have access to reports until after vote final due to confidential proprietary information.
    Agenda doesn’t mention SRT BCA. Any chance report will still be made public soon?

    Steve: Wait and see. I have a big problem with the BCAs being held down for “proprietary information”. This means that basic evaluations such as detailed demand projections, how lines should be built (alignment, technology), and comparative information about options considered simply don’t show up in public until far too late in the process.

    If they want to discuss them at the Board first, that’s their right, but the documents should be structured so that they can be released immediately thereafter. Any proprietary and/or commercial information suggests that someone has already made a deal with someone, but wants it kept under wraps. That’s not supposed to be the way we plan our transit system.


  31. Roger Brook mentions the Sheppard-Finch corridor. Sorry to drift OT but could you give us an update on the discussion re: alternatives for coordinating service in these two corridors?

    Steve: Yes, this isn’t the thread, but I have stayed out of the discussion because much depends on

    the alignment of the extended RT (how much and where it overlaps with the Sheppard line),
    RT service design (almost certainly a turnback before the service reaches the street running section),
    the route of a Don Mills to STC service. (The further east the extension goes before meeting Sheppard, the less sense it makes to go all the way out then double back.)


  32. Warning: Flame content. See my reply at the end.

    Stephen, you are from Ottawa, are you? Or are you really from Ottawa? The Transitway was built in 1986, as evidenced by this article: The Scarborough RT was finished building sometime in 1985. This means that at some point, Ottawa could have had some form of proper rapid transit, but instead opted for a far inferior form of transit that the article calls nothing but a mirage.

    I think you are nothing more than a vehicle for the righties and BRT junkies to use to destroy our transit network here in the GTA. If you cannot get your facts straight, you and your pro-BRT anti-LRT kind should not be here.

    Steve: There are lots of people who might fit the “should not be here” category from time to time, but it’s useful to hear all points of view even if we may think them misinformed. Developing credible counterarguments is essential to properly understanding your own position.

    Please .. stick to the issues, not personal slurs.


  33. The Scarborough RT keeps shutting down due to snow. Even if they go with the second generation of RT on it, I would not be comfortable with it.

    I think the least expensive improvement would be to convert it Low-Floor Light Rail Transit, similar to the proposed Transit City LRV’s, but as full-length trains using enclosed stations. With that conversion, it could become a continuation of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and extended to the Sheppard East LRT, or kept as a separate line but extended to Sheppard East.


  34. I think the takeaway from this thread is something I’ve learned in 30 years of systems design, use proven, known technology. The other lesson is anticipate change but don’t try to predict it, you’ll be wrong and pay for it dearly. These two factors will allow for evolution and not revolution.

    I think it’s quite clear that had the SRT been built for “streetcar” style vehicles that it would have fewer reliability issues, not to mention at lower capital and operating cost. Thusly built the SRT could have been easily extended and become the precursor to Transit City.

    Had the TTC continued the PCC rebuilding program we might have had more than sufficient numbers of cars for both the existing and SRT routes. (Off topic the dismissal of a CLRV rebuild program looks more and more like a bad idea given the delays in ordering replacements.)

    Sadly we’ll never see the end of politics affecting transit unless it’s turned over entirely to “free enterprise”, which is a misnomer. Someone will be paying (and dearly) because it isn’t really free!


  35. Hi Steve:-

    I really do believe that CLRVs with pantographs would not have had the troubles that this ICTS (Innapropriate, Crummy Technology System) constantly gives us; and for the same projected level of service. If one factors in the times when the ICTS technology has been the cause of the line being unavailable to long suffering riders, then there is no comparison. The trolley cars would have been an exponential leap in capacity, just because it would actually be there.

    Lucky for you and the other commuters who try to rely on this route for access to jobs and play that the snow fluffies happened on a Sunday early a.m.

    And those in the know would even consider giving lip service to keeping and even expanding this wretched excuse for a transit technology blows me away.


    Steve: On my work trip I now make a point of checking for the presence of a Kennedy via Progress, a Brimley, or ideally a Nugget Express bus. They are warm. They don’t sit on platforms for ages with the doors open. It does not snow inside the buses. And this from an advocate of rail transit! As always, service quality is at the top of the list.


  36. I think the best thing to do with the SRT would be to convert it into a busway, allowing buses from north Scarborough to quickly connect to the subway. This would make for one less transfer for the people in this area, in theory more frequent and reliable service, and possibly seeing some high density growth around stations (it might not technically be rail, but it can’t do a worse job than the current SRT has done).

    What will probably happen is that we will end up buying new trains from Bombardier, especially if plans go through to extend it into north Scarborough.


  37. A well-known report of Dr. Soberman concluded that a busway would not have enough capacity for the SRT corridor.

    Steve: Yes, and during the public meetings the good Doctor was quite clear in his leaning toward an RT to LRT conversion. However, by the time the TTC was finished with the report, it was RT all the way.


  38. “The Metrolinx board has agreed to publish the Benefits Case Analysis for the SRT replacement project.”

    No sign of this yet – and the website has been back up for a while now.


  39. Is it just me or is everyone furious with the SRT having to constantly shut down due to switch problems or a build-up of snow at track level? Replacing the SRT with an LRT should definitely be ahead of the Sheppard East LRT!

    Steve: For a variety of political reasons, making the decision to replace the RT with LRT is taking a very long time, and it is now bound up in technology discussions about the Eglinton line. Some would like to see a reinforcement of RT technology in Toronto, certainly Bombardier, and they have the ear of some of the players. Others want to integrate the SRT route into the Transit City network.

    When the question only dealt with the existing route, the TTC study claimed that it would be cheaper to retain RT technology. However, we have all known that the RT would be extended at least to Sheppard, and now likely to Finch. The further north the line goes, the more favourable LRT looks.

    By the way, Vancouver has new Mark II cars, but their Skytrain system seized up in the unusual (for them) snowfall this winter. The locals were no more amused than we are about our RT.


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