This morning, I took a ramble around the city to have a look at various projects affecting the streetcar system. For those who don’t see all of the sights, here’s a roundup.
Updated 5:20 pm: A link to a more recent design layout for St. Clair Phase 4 (west from Caledonia) has been added.
Updated 6:20 pm: John F. Bromley provided a route history for the Roncesvalles Shuttle which I have added to this article.
The now-and-forever St. Clair project is beginning to look as if it might complete in our lifetime. Eastward from Dufferin, new track is under construction, and the excavation is completed all the way to Oakwood. Once this section is connected at both ends, there will be continuous track once more from Yonge to just west of Caledonia. It’s a start.
Meanwhile, road and sidewalk construction is underway on the south side of St. Clair east of Winona, and Oakwood is less of a disaster area albeit not yet completely opened. West of Caledonia, utility and sidewalk work progressed west from the Newmarket Subdivision bridge, and is further along on the north than the south side.
Some comments on other threads here suggest that the design will change the underpass between Old Weston Road and Keele. Any proposal to widen the road here would certainly not be a quick project. The plans shown in the EA involve no widening (see detailed layout part 1, page 2), nor is any shown in the February 2009 version (see pages 5 through 7). If someone has other, definitive information, please let me know.
Work has just begun on watermain construction west of Bathurst Street. This is supposed to end for September, but I will be astounded, given recent experiences with construction delays, if this happens.
All Carlton cars run to Dundas West Station, while the Dundas car goes to Bathurst Station, and a Dundas bus runs from Keele Station to Wolseley Loop. Dundas streetcar service eastbound from Bathurst depends on how many cars actually reach Bathurst Station because short turns would miss the connection completely.
Overhead has been removed on Roncesvalles from Dundas to north of the carhouse except at the Howard Park crossing which now only has the east-west tangent wire for the eventual return of the Carlton car.
The streetcar track will be removed over the next two months to simplify watermain work, and will be replaced in 2010 on its new alignment as the street itself is rebuilt to the new design. Considering that there has been streetcar service on Roncesvalles since 1908 (first a shuttle, then the Queen car, finally the King car), the absence of track and overhead will be a strange sight indeed.
Proposed changes at Queen and Roncesvalles are on hold, I believe, pending resolution of design issues including the eventual route of the Waterfront West LRT in this area.
Due to watermain and track construction, service on the Queen and Downtowner cars began diverting today as previously reported. (For those who carp, with justification, about TTC signs, the diversion notice calls the route “Downtown” with a map showing the eastbound diversion running on Lombard, not Adelaide.) This is expected to be in place for eight weeks.
Meanwhile, utility work west of Gladstone has reduced Queen to a single lane westbound through the underpass, and west from Noble (one west of Dufferin), construction occupies both curb lanes.
It will be interesting to see whether cars still take extended layovers at the ends of their trips, or simply short turn a lot.
Meanwhile, although the work is not visible from Queen, riders on the rail line above can see the considerable progress on the excavation of the new Dufferin Street approach from the north that will eliminate the jog at Queen for all traffic. Just getting rid of the left turn queues in both directions should improve the streetcar and bus operations here.
History of the Roncesvalles Shuttle from John F. Bromley
Operational periods: 1908; 1909-1911; <1914-1921
TRC operation began. Daily from Harvard via Roncesvalles to Dundas and return to Harvard.
Note: One car was allocated to each track, in typical TRC fashion. The two cars may have operated in rush hours, but only one was in use in normal service.
Last day of operation. Service was suspended for the winter.
Note: Service was originally suspended for the winter on 081104, as the tracks were not connected to the main system and snow clearance was not possible. Incensed riders obviously made their feelings known, as service was reinstated at an unknown date, as was made clear by an 081211 report in the Telegram that ‘two dog kennels’ (a derisive local term for small double end cars used on stub services) were shuttling back and forth, one on each track. It is likely that there was an early snow in November (as is common in Toronto) and the service was suspended because of that, probably restarting as soon as the snow melted and the line was clear. On removal for the winter, the cars assigned were ‘derailed’ from the unconnected tracks and then re-railed for general use elsewhere on the system.
Operation reinstated. Daily from Harvard via Roncesvalles to Dundas and return to Harvard.
Note: A typical TRC stub service, with one or more cars shuttling back and forth on each track, as required.
Daily from Queen via Roncesvalles to wye at Dundas and return to wye at Queen.
Note: Reconstruction of the intersection of King-Queen-Roncesvalles-North Queen finally allowed the operation of cars that connected directly with KING and QUEEN cars bound for downtown Toronto. The old, rather simple, track arrangement did not preclude wye movements but they were made difficult by the intensity of service by KING and QUEEN cars using the intersection. See KING for a sparse service of through cars on Roncesvalles in the PM rush hour from this date.
Last day of operation. See QUEEN for replacement service.
Route name resumed. Monday-Saturday from (the north end of) Roncesvalles Carhouse via Roncesvalles to Boustead Wye and return to wye at (the north end of) Roncesvalles Carhouse.
Note: No record has been found indicating the actual reinstatement date of RONCESVALLES cars, but they were operating at the time of the Barnes report on TRC service. Generally, as far as can be determined, the route operated as a rush hour gap-filler, when delays affected QUEEN, to carry passengers transferring from KING cars.
Last day of operation. No direct replacement service other than QUEEN cars already operating on Roncesvalles. Indirectly replaced by some KING cars extended via Roncesvalles from 210912, following the end of the 1921 CNE.
Note: No record has been found indicating the actual withdrawal date. The latter was certainly before 210901 but probably not by too many days. It might have been withdrawn at the inception of the CNE, which would have seen the last car operated on 210826, but this is speculation.
There was never a rollsign for RONCESVALLES. Assigned cars would likely have been single truck cars, many of which had only the original roof-mounted wooden or iron signs in any event.