I have received a drawing of Union Station Loop that shows its end-state configuration including provision for all services. This drawing is different from the version in the Queen’s Quay Revitalization document in (a) showing the full length of the west platform and (b) clarifying the staging of implementation for different routes.
The orange section is the first phase to expand capacity onto two platforms. The pink section would be added to serve the Port Lands development, and the blue section for Bremner. In its final configuration, according to the TTC:
The currently-proposed layout would ultimately have all of the service to and from the east on the platform under the east teamway allowing us to run two routes/branches from the east, one of which could be a 60m train. Service to and from the west would load under the west teamway with a Queens Quay route (509 or 510, not both) loading on the northern-most platform and the Bremner service loading on the southern-most platform. All of the platforms would operate independently from each other allowing flexibility for service management.
Original Post from March 29:
In my enthusiasm for the new Queen’s Quay designs, I neglected to look carefully at the current scheme for Union Station Loop, especially in the context of plans to build the expanded loop in stages.
Back in the days when the existing loop was designed, Philip Webb and I had a rather testy meeting with TTC Engineering about the capacity of this loop. Outrageous claims were made for its ability to handle riders even though the TTC (a) completely missed the loss of platform space to carbody swingout and (b) assumed the full capacity of the corridor would be available for passenger flow rather than being used for stacking space as it is today. The loop is and has been for some time grossly inadequate, and it is a monument to the TTC’s pig-headedness.
Now we are faced with a new loop proposal as shown on page 138 of the Queen’s Quay Revitalization materials (see previous post for link, and note that it is 18MB). The new loop has four tracks of which the inner two are the existing Bay Street tunnel and the outer two plus platforms are expansions into unexcavated space. For comparison, it’s worth looking at an earlier design which I posted here two years ago, and which appeared in public handouts in March 2007.
In that design, space for up to four CLRVs was provided on each of two platforms. These could be used either for unloading (northbound) and loading (southbound) or dedicated to separate routes with suitable bypass tracks (not shown).
In the new design, the TTC plans to build only the northern expansion of the west platform as a first stage. This would give two loading bays, one for each route, that could hold one new 30m streetcar each. As and when the expanded west platform is built, it would serve only the Bremer line and we would have the odd arrangement that far more capacity was available for Bremner cars than for all of the remaining Harbourfront east and west services which would be forever limited to the one-car long inner platform. This is nonsensical.
The east platform, inbound to Union Station, is similarly limited in capacity but can, at least, be used by cars from any route.
Another detail present in the 2007 plan but missing in 2009 are the fire exits at the south end of the lengthened platforms.
Finally, the 2009 plan shows considerably more conflict with the columns holding up Bay Street and the rail viaduct thanks to the crossovers. The TTC has not verified whether this design is structurally feasible.
I cannot help thinking that, as they did twenty years ago, the TTC is making up the Union Station Loop as they go along and may doom us to a substandard transfer station by comparison with their own projected demands. Moreover, the proposed staging of the construction suggests that the original scheme pushed them over budget and they are scaling things back to compensate.
The TTC owes us a clear explanation of what is planned for Union Loop, the staging of its construction, the operational plan for handling service and crowds, and finally the projected cost for each phase of the work.
[Thanks to Philip Webb for pointing out the shortcomings in the current loop design.]