Church Street Track Construction Begins (Updated)

Updated July 13 at 10:45 am:

The TTC has updated its track construction schedule to co-ordinate with City watermain work.

  • Church Street is done in two pieces as described in the original article.
  • Parliament Street is deferred to 2010.
  • Wellington and Victoria Streets are deferred to 2013.

Thanks to David S. Crawford of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association for this information.

Original post:

Through the 2009 and 2010 construction seasons, TTC and the City will be rebuilding streetcar track and watermains on Church from Carlton to King.  The work notice has been posted on the TTC’s site.

There will be three phases to this work.

Phase 1:  Track from south of Queen to south of Dundas will be rebuilt including the intersection at Queen, as well as tangent track on Queen from Berti (one block west) to just west of Jarvis.  This bit of track was not included in previous reconstructions in the area.  Starting July 20 until the end of September (or, likely, whenever the Queen Street trackage is open for business), Queen services will divert around the work area.  Specific diversion routes have not yet been advertised, but I suspect Parliament-King-Church-Victoria would be the route they will use given the trackage currently available for diversions.

Phase 2:  Watermains will be replaced on Church from Dundas to Carlton between October 2009 and yearend.

Phase 3:  Track on Church from south of Carlton to north of Dundas, and from north of King to north of Adelaide (including the intersection and some track on Adelaide west of Church) will be rebuilt in 2010.

I have no word yet of any work to be done on Wellinton from Church to York, or York Street itself.  A related change starting in August will be the replacement of 502 and 503 cars by buses for trackwork at Bingham Loop.  The diversion around the Church Street trackwork for the 502 bus could possibly be different although given the 502’s infrequency, the buses would not be much good as part of replacement service on Queen, if any.

13 thoughts on “Church Street Track Construction Begins (Updated)

  1. Once they finish all this track work downtown (and the trump tower) – will Adelaide see full use from Spadina east … be it for short turns or what have you?

    It seems to me there’s an awful lot of un-used track downtown.

    Steve: The track on Adelaide is scheduled for reconstruction from Charlotte east so that there will be continuity once more from Spadina through to Church. However, the projects to rebuild the odds and ends of track seem to get shuffled around among other jobs a lot.


  2. Steve; You posted a lengthy list of TTC track replacement for the 2009 season (from the 2009-13 Capital Budget) in December last and it is interesting that only a tiny fraction of them seem to be happening. Apart from loops (which, of course, are important) they seem to have given up on:

    Queen from Connaught to Coxwell
    King from Queen to Close
    Bathurst from the bridge to Fleet
    Wellington from King to York
    and a large % of Church from King to Carleton
    We won’t talk of the completion of St Clair to Gunn’s Loop!

    Since they have an already huge batch of tracks listed for 2010, if these 2009 holdovers get bumped to 2010 (including Adelaide, McCaul, Victoria, York and Richmond downtown) then I bet that lots of these will be postponed to 2011 or 2102.

    Though I can understand that projects need to be coordinated with things like watermains it does not give one great confidence in TTC budgeting if they can’t be a bit more accurate about projects which are only approximately 6 months ahead.

    Steve: The problem does not lie with the TTC but with the City’s works department, and specifically with the schedule for watermain work for several of these. King Street is delayed to be done next year as part of the Roncesvalles project which is only now starting its watermain phase. The Bathurst project is held up pending resolution of the bridge design and the alignment of the Waterfront West LRT through this area. Wellington I don’t know about, as mentioned in the post. Church was screwed up by watermain scheduling. St. Clair is, well, it’s St. Clair with a host of conflicting agencies.

    The 2010 projects you mention are all “non-revenue” track, not main lines, and they can be bumped pretty much to whenever the TTC feels like doing them. The next big track project is the reconstruction of the Harbourfront line from Bay to Spadina as part of the Queen’s Quay reconfiguration.


  3. Is there any chance that curves may be added at intersections, for example at Carlton and Church?

    A problem for streetcar service is that unplanned diversions are often lengthy because suitable nearby connections don’t exist. Coupled with lack of any announcements or indications, it leaves patrons standing at a stop wondering where on earth their streetcar is (answer: diverting somewhere a few blocks away).

    Steve: If this were going to happen, it would likely have been mentioned in the capital budget and I didn’t see anything. In fact the track work on Church will not include the intersection itself which is comparatively new. Come back in 20 years or so.


  4. Did anyone notice on that work notice, that construction will happen on Roncesvalles to ‘Harvard Park Ave’, and service on the ‘540’ route will be interrupted, and ‘water main’ is two words.


  5. Speaking of non-revenue track, I was on one of my now rare visits to Toronto, I noticed the Dufferin crossover north of King has finally been removed (so sad). When did that happen, and what, if anything, is happening to Dufferin traffic. Are they going to wait until the new subway at Queen is finished?

    Steve: The Dufferin crossover was removed in October 1973 for temporary use elsewhere (the single track arrangement through construction of a new underpass at Humber Loop). It was reinstalled on Dufferin Street (!!!) in May 1974. The crossover was removed permanently in 1980 as partf the reconstruction of track from Queen to King on Dufferin. The overhead remained in place for many years after there was no track under it, rather like the east to north curve at Howard Park and Dundas where the track is gone, but not the wire.

    I am not sure quite what you meant about traffic on Dufferin. It will remain in its present configuration until Dufferin is realigned, and I believe that project is slated to start this fall.


  6. I wonder how destructive it would be to the students of Ryerson University when construction beings on that segment of Church St. The road does divide some of the buildings. The surface on those tracks are in pretty rough condition.

    Steve: They will have to make do with temporary construction bridges just like the good folks on St. Clair. Look on the bright side — this track will probably last at least 50 years given how little service operates there.


  7. About Ryerson and Church, my guess is it will mostly just get more people using the overpass (Kerr Hall to Rogers Centre).


  8. Sorry, what I meant was (before I had coffee!! even at 5 in the afternoon!), what was happening to Dufferin TRACKAGE. Was it planned to include a switch from north to west, and east to south, and was that going to wait until Dufferin is realigned.

    Steve: The grade at the intersection makes curves in the southwest quadrant unworkable.

    I could have sworn that the crossover trackage lasted much longer than 1980! (and I’ve only been away from the city since 2004).

    That being said, how long can they delay track repair on non-revenue track before the track becomes totally unusable! Given previous history of track replacement, it’ll be time to replace major portions again because the track didn’t last as long they predicted. Shades of how McCaul trackage remained in place since the 1920’s.

    Steve: There was a bad pavement heave south of King that was repaired earlier this year. As for non-revenue track generally, most of it is much older than the era of bad track construction. For example, I cannot remember ever seeing major track replacement on Parliament.


  9. Steve writes: “As for non-revenue track generally, most of it is much older than the era of bad track construction. For example, I cannot remember ever seeing major track replacement on Parliament.”

    Back when Parliament was used for diversions due to Carlton, Gerrard, and/or Dundas trackwork, there were some truly awful sections of track. I believe the southbound track just north of Dundas needed emergency work to keep streetcars from tumbling over onto their side. Parliament has been long overdue for a rebuild.


  10. When I operated my allnight retirement charter with PCC4500 in May of 2000, we partially used the crossover on Dufferin, backing up from the SB track to the seized run-off switch on the NB rail – we didn’t want to go any further in case we derailed…then we would have had some ‘splaining to do. The crossover was removed when the intersection was rebuilt a few years later.

    Steve: There was an infamous Peter Witt night charter in the 60s that ran east on the westbound King Street trackage a few blocks until it encountered a rather confused service car coming west out of the Dufferin underpass.


  11. “in May of 2000, we partially used the crossover on Dufferin”

    …so I WASN’T imagining things. It was still there by at least 2003. I wonder where it is now. Maybe at HCRR? Which reminds me: when they used it for the Lakeshore gauntlett, where did they get the switch for the other end?

    I could have also sworn that they tried gauntletts again for a brief period in the late 80’s, a far cry from from the days when they used to lay tracks on either side of the tracks to be replaced and moved switches as needs be to divert the cars. Couldn’t pull THAT one off today!


  12. I got on a streetcar on Queen signed Long Branch and it turned out to be a 508, which is supposed to go along King to Long Branch. It seems with Church closed, they couldn’t find a way to get to the streetcar to King, so it went along Queen to Spadina, then took Spadina down to King.

    It wasn’t a problem for me because I was getting off on The Queensway.

    Hopefully they’ll do better today.


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