Service Changes in July 2011

In a previous post, I described the diversions that will begin on July 11 around the reconstruction of the King/Bathurst grand union.

Beginning July 18 and continuing until early September, the 506 Carlton diversion around the Gerrard Street bridge, originally announced for June 19, will actually get underway.  Trackwork on the bridge has been in rough shape with slow orders for some time.  The planned date for return of streetcars to Gerrard Street is September 11.

Westbound service will run via Broadview, Dundas and Parliament.  Eastbound service will run via Parliament, Queen and Broadview.  Cars have been added to the schedule to compensate for the added mileage.

Effective July 31:

192 Airport Rocket: On the northbound trip, buses will serve the upper level bus stop at Jetliner first, then the arrival level at Terminal 1 and the arrival level at Terminal 3.  On the southbound trip, buses will exit the Airport via the ramp to southbound Hwy 427.  These changes are intended to free up running time to improve service reliability.

504 King: Streetcar service will return to Roncesvalles Avenue, although King cars will continue their diversion around the track and overhead work in Parkdale via Shaw and Queen.  There are only minor changes to some off-peak headways so that the running times work out.  However, I suspect with the traffic congestion on Queen and the inevitable streetcar short turns, service on Roncesvalles will not be as good as what is now provided by a dedicated bus shuttle.

Runnymede Station: The construction at Runnymede Station is supposed to be officially completed now, and 71 Runnymede, 77 Swansea and 79 Scarlett Road will return to their normal routings.

512 St. Clair: Overhead between St. Clair and St. Clair West stations will be retrofitted for pantograph compatibility.  Buses will replace streetcars on this section of the route after 10:00 pm weekdays, and all day on weekends.  The TTC claims that there will be timed transfers at St. Clair West.  Regular service resumes on September 4.

15 thoughts on “Service Changes in July 2011

  1. Pantographs on the 512? Really? Any news on whether they’re being phased in on other lines? I feel like it’s about time the TTC embraced pantographs.

    Steve: Conversions have been underway on various parts of the system. Parts of Spadina were built that way, but it’s not 100%. Some of Bathurst has been converted, and Roncesvalles is done north from the carhouse. The new LRV prototypes will have both poles and pantographs, but I think that the TTC is hoping to stage the conversion work so that lines that will roll out the new fleet will also have new overhead. The current version of the capital plan is a bit confused in that the sequence of routes for new car rollout does not match the sequence of routes for overhead mods.


  2. I just want to know when the TTC is going to stop short turning W/B 504 cars at Bathurst? Steve have you have observed line management on the TTC borders on the absurd!

    Sending empty streetcars back downtown during rush hour and leaving the line from Bathurst west short of cars makes very little sense. The short turns frequently leave 20-30 passengers waiting at King and Bathurst to head east and sometimes that many heading west. And who knows how many are left waiting at the stops further west.

    Steve: This is a direct result of the decision to close the line west from Shaw, not from Dufferin, for the trackwork in Parkdale. They want to replace the overhead, but seem to be taking their time about it. Bathurst is the last place they can short turn a westbound car right now.


  3. Any hope that the TTC (or you!) will provide a schedule of the TTC’s current overhead work? They have been putting up replacement poles like there is no tomorrow but, in typical TTC fashion, seem to do a few here and a few there and then eventually backtrack to fill in the gaps. I noticed today that they have marked several old poles on Parliament for replacement. They replaced 90% of the poles on Parliament in 2009 and the sidewalks were all repaired as part of the rebuild. Now there will be more repairs!) They have also marked much of Richmond for pole replacement recently. I assume they need (or want) to install the new poles before they attach the new overhead wires and ‘stringers”. Of course, TTC poles are shared by street lights, traffic lights etc so when the TTC installs a new pole (and eventually moves its wires etc over) the other utilities must move their wires and equipment before the old poles can be removed. This is clearly not a priority for them so the old and new poles co-exist for years and the streets look worse and worse. I understand that coordination takes time and effort but it really would save us all money and make our City look better too!

    Steve: There is a schedule in the Capital budget books, but what they actually planned and what they are doing is already quite different. Also, as I mentioned, the overhead plan does not line up with the rollout plan for routes that would get the new cars. Left hand, right hand.


  4. I find it amusing that once August 1st arrives only 4 out of 11 streetcar routes (501, 503, 509 & 510) will not have any route diversions.


  5. “Beginning July 18 and continuing until early September, the 506 Carlton diversion around the Gerrard Street bridge, originally announced for June 19, will actually get underway. . . .”

    Steve, are you still working on your analysis of the 506 ‘service’?

    Steve: I have asked for the vehicle monitoring data for this route for June to show the effect of the extra running time added on June 19 to the operation over the standard route.


  6. I recently got a construction notice claiming they were going to finally replace the concrete ramps at St Clair West Stn, hopefully coordinated with pre-existing closures for the overhead work and/or festivals, but requiring temporary route modifications to “late Fall” rather than September, and including the bus routes using that station.

    Steve: Interesting. The overhead work is only to the east of the station. I don’t know yet how reconstruction of the west ramp will be handled. It should have been done when the line was completely closed, but …


  7. “I don’t know yet how reconstruction of the west ramp will be handled. It should have been done when the line was completely closed, but …”

    You’re talking about the thunder track that still exists in the portal, right?

    Could eastbound 512 cars turn south at Vaughan and head south to Bathurst Station? Then westbound 512 cars can begin at Bathurst station and turn west at St Clair Avenue?

    Steve: Yes, they could, although I suspect the TTC would only send them to Hillcrest.


  8. “I have asked for the vehicle monitoring data for this route for June to show the effect of the extra running time added on June 19 to the operation over the standard route.”

    Ah … is that why there seems to be a good supply of cars in Main station much of the time recently, resulting in much more reliable frequency during the later part of rush-hour? Presumably less short-turns too because of this (less gaps to fill).

    I’d just assumed that they were controlling it better …


  9. Christine says, “I find it amusing that once August 1st arrives only 4 out of 11 streetcar routes (501, 503, 509 & 510) will not have any route diversions.”

    Without finding the notice, I would assume that 503 would be on detour same as the 502. Certainly it’s using buses right now, as I saw yesterday evening and this morning.

    That would make three routes not on diversion. Until an accident or disabled streetcar happens….


  10. “Ah … is that why there seems to be a good supply of cars in Main station much of the time recently”

    So that’s where they are!!! 😉

    Steve: Now that the maps at NextBus are visible again, you can see where the whole route’s service is hiding.


  11. The westbound ramp from St Clair West station is being closed off for reconstruction right now, and what a chaos it was today!

    The 90, 126, and 512 shuttle buses were being diverted from St Clair Avenue West, north on Bathurst Street, east on Tichester Street/Heath Street West, south on Spadina Road, then back east again on to St Clair Avenue West, into the ramp to go into the station.

    The demand for the replacement buses was grossly underestimated, likely due to the Salsa on St Clair festival. I was at the subway station in the afternoon today, and there were around three bus loads of passengers waiting to go west, while around 10 passengers including yours truly were waiting to go east. And guess what, the next bus that came along was going east! There were also many crush-loaded buses going from the station to the festival, and back (one actually said “Sorry, bus full”!).

    However, in the evening, I noticed that they started adding more runs west of St Clair West Station. In fact, I saw a bus that started its route at Christie Street (where the festival began) and terminated at St Clair West Station, before turning back west again.


  12. Hello Steve, without sounding too annoyed, why on earth is the 506 streetcar NOT servicing the stops between Broadview and Parliament along Gerrard during the construction period? I have used this route for over 20 years and let me tell you, this is going to be a MAJOR pain in the rear for a lot of people heading both East and West.

    Steve: Because the track on the bridge is being replaced. Unless we outfit the streetcars with pontoons, they’re not getting across. You may have noticed the slow order and the very poor condition of the track over the bridge for roughly a year.

    Also, why are they sending the streetcars along Queen street to further add congestion? If you send the 506 on a detour why not make it go along Dundas instead? That why you don’t over-congest the 505 route?

    Steve: For the westbound diversion, curves exist at Broadview/Gerrard (west to south) and Parliament/Dundas to send cars via that route. There is no south to east curve at Dundas and Parliament, and streetcars must go down to Queen before they can turn east.

    What was the decision behind NOT servicing those stops for the next two months?

    Steve: Just like other track/road construction diversions, this chunk of the Carlton route won’t have service until the road is passable by streetcars again. People on King in Parkdale have not had service thanks to track work (they have to walk to Queen), and for the week of July 11-17, there is no King service west of Spadina because of track work at Bathurst.


  13. The TTC used to put temporary tracks up to maintain service during bridge rebuilds. The Dundas west railway bridges come to mind, and didn’t they do that with the Gerrard bridge when it was rebuilt back in the….umm, 1990s?

    Queen is going to be packed, and Queen/Broadview will be very busy with the Carlton diversion.

    Steve: That sort of diversion track is very rare and has only been used a few times in my memory. It ‘s rather difficult to maintain two centre lanes of track if you fill up the curb lanes with a bypass track.

    As for Queen and Broadview, the Carlton car does not run very often (15 cars/hour). The intersection will be busier, but nothing like what’s happening already on Spadina with the King/Bathurst diversions.


  14. I’ve been using the 506 streetcar quite a bit lately and notice that there is often a TTC employee at Broadview/Gerrard whose job it is to operate the track switch. On the overhead wires is a sign “Switch electrically out of service”. You would think that, considering the reconstruction was planned well in advance, the TTC would plan to have the electric track switch operating during the diversion instead of paying someone to operate it manually. When there is no employee on duty the 506 operator has to exit the car, manually operate the switch, drive past the switch and exit the car again to switch it back for the King and Dundas cars.

    Steve: I have been amazed for several years that the TTC has not addressed the problems with electric track switches and prefers to spend a small fortune on pointmen operating the switches manually. When there is no pointman, the operator has to do the work, sometimes under less than safe conditions.


  15. I have always wondered why streetcars are used instead of buses – one goes down (which is constantly), they all go down – they can’t go past obstructions – I am so sick of the short turns that suddenly happen whereby I am dumped out on the street with no explanation (505 is the route I usually take but it happens on all of them) – I’ve seen 30 people including a disabled man with a walker forced off the streetcar as it short turned at the last minute although the sign said it was going to Broadview subway station – the one in front of it was going to Parliament so 2 in a row – its just an example of many – I detest streetcars – they are not good for TTC patrons, cars, bikes, etc and yet they are on all the major routes downtown and cause such congestion – they’re old and broken down – and the tracks always need repair – I just don’t get the concept at all. For the past 2 months I have been unable to take the 506 as I work at Gerrard and River and I need to go east – I have to walk blocks down to Dundas because once again the tracks are being repaired. I just wonder why they continue to be used. They make no sense in a major city like Toronto – unless they are like the Spadina streetcar which has its own lane. I rarely have trouble on that one.


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