Back in December, the advisory panel reviewing the Metrolinx Investment Strategy released its report recommending a number of revenue generation tools and showing how these could support an accelerated construction plan for many transit improvements. As background to this proposal, I asked for details on how the panel had worked out the spending pattern and the project timing. Recently, this information was forwarded to me.
What is most interesting about this paper is the chart showing project timing and spending on page 4. The projects include:
- Upgrades to GO Transit for all day service on the Milton, Barrie, Richmond Hill, Stouffville and Georgetown-Kitchener corridors;
- Electrification of the UPX to Pearson Airport;
- LRT lines on Hurontario-Main and in Hamilton;
- BRT for Dundas Street and Durham-Scarborough;
- An unspecified rapid transit line for Brampton Queen Street;
- The Relief Subway line plus partial extension of the Yonge line.
The work is spread over 2015-25 with peak spending in the years 2017-21. The annual expenditures are not constrained by the size of the income stream because bridge financing would be used. This would carry the program through to the later years when revenue would be used to pay down debt rather than to fund current construction.
What is so striking about this plan is that the goal is to build transit as quickly as reasonably possible, not to hamstring construction work with hand wringing about the amount of each year’s spending allocation from Queen’s Park. Much of the hope vested in The Big Move was lost thanks to the extended delivery times for projects which, in turn, were dictated by the abject fear of financing the work with new revenues. A bold plan was neutered by the McGuinty Liberals’ terror of criticism by the “no new taxes” brigade.
It’s all well to point to a list of “funded projects”, but if the delivery dates for construction and completion drift off into the future, the funding announcements are just so much toilet paper.
Overall construction time for each project is sourced from the Metrolinx Investment Strategy. However, the capacity to deliver these projects as outlined has not been factored into schedule development – the Panel’s proof of concept deliberately advances Next Wave projects to begin construction faster than currently anticipated and after the design period is complete. [Page 1]
That phrase “capacity to deliver” brings me to one of Metrolinx’ favourite excuses for an extended rollout schedule – a claim that the construction industry cannot possibly do so much work in so short a time. That fails on several counts notably that the original Big Move, unconstrained by a spending slowdown ordered by Queen’s Park, planned a $2-billion annual outlay (plus inflation) over 25 years, a period we would be well into by now but for Queen’s Park’s reticence.
A great deal of the work outlined here would be underway and completed before the end of the “first wave” of Big Move projects. This shows the effect of more aggressive planning where providing service is the primary goal rather than dragging out spending. If a similar approach had been taken sooner, we could be riding new transit services in the next few years, not hearing over and over about a handful of projects such as the Spadina extension that have been in the pipeline for quite a long time.
Metrolinx staff are supposed to be reviewing the timing of at least the Sheppard LRT project with a view to beginning this earlier. In the current political situation, with the Scarborough subway/LRT debate heating up again, it is hard to know whether Metrolinx will even have the backbone to discuss a speedup of the Sheppard line publicly.
This shows everything that is wrong with that supposedly independent agency – policy debates, “what if” discussions never take place in public, presuming that they take place at all. This might embarrass politicians and show voters what options would actually cost, and how soon they new services could be available, if only we had the collective will to proceed for the benefit of the GTHA as a whole, not for individual by-elections that skew political focus.
Whether any of this comes to pass will depend on how much of the Transit Panel’s recommendations are incorporated into the government’s budget for 2014-15, and whether the opposition parties force an election. The key point is that voters need to believe that any new taxes will actually benefit them, and will do so soon, not a decade or more in the future.
We have had enough of spineless government on the transit file. Dalton McGuinty was a huge disappointment substituting delay for action, and Kathleen Wynne has only one chance to prove that she really believes in attacking the deficit in transit construction head on.
No excuses. Build now.
I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Metrolinx will continue with a focus on GO Transit expansion as this is a ‘tried and true’ plan that has worked for them.
I wonder if some sort of ‘high – frequency’ (30 minutes or better) GO service on the Stouffville line will somehow show up as part of the municipal and/or provincial election campaigns as an alternative to building the more contentious projects (Sheppard East and the Scarborough LRT vs subway debate) while still placating Scarborough and waiting until the uncertainty (will Ford win, will the Liberals retain government? ) fades.
Not that it wouldn’t be a good idea. As long as it isn’t floated as an alternative to necessary local transit projects like the Don Mills & City Line (a.k.a. DRL) or the LRT lines.
Speaking as a resident of Mississauga I would be very happy to see the Hurontario Main LRT Line go forward, although it won’t make much difference to my typical transit trip.
As I have explained in previous posts, I think that if transit taxes are increased, both Eglinton and Sheppard need to be replaced with subways, and if there isn’t enough money for the latter, Sheppard should be left alone.
Given the large amount of money that is needed for transit projects in the GTA, and the additional cost that replacing Eglinton and/or Sheppard with subways would require, it is possible that more funding is required. Several billion dollars is probably needed to refurbish the existing subway system, and some more is needed to improve various suburban bus systems. The province could probably increase the time that the gas tax is theoretically in place to 40 or 50 years and significantly increase the amount of money raised. (It is pretty certain that these taxes will be permanent if only because of high maintenance costs of Eglinton and the DRL 30 years from now).
Also it would seem like some low priority projects might need to be delayed or cancelled. For instance, the Bowmanville and eastern Hamilton GO expansion projects are low priority. The latter is probably especially pointless because the railway takes the long away around the end of Lake Ontario rather than the Skyway Bridge, and is not very useful for trips within Hamilton either. Buses are adequate for these two routes. The Hamilton LRT likely will have the opposite problem of Eglinton and not be very busy, so I suspect it can be replaced with BRT. The Richmond Hill line is pointless because of the weird route it takes through the Don Valley and the fact that the Yonge extension and downtown relief line duplicate it with a much better route.
A lot of the GO expansion projects can be done incrementally, unlike subway/LRT so it might make sense to do them in phases.
I realize that there is a political problem with transit funding in that parts of the GTA with high population density and high employment like Toronto and Mississauga need more expensive forms of transit than lower density municipalities with less employment like northern York Region, Durham Region, Brampton, Halton Region and probably Hamilton. Many of the lower density areas need little more than 15 minute bus service on major routes, which is a large improvement over what they have currently. However it doesn’t make sense to have a $30 billion transit plan with very few new subways in high density Toronto and underused LRT, BRT or GO lines in the outermost parts of the city for political purposes; there might need to be tax rates that vary by area to fix this problem.
Yep, Ferrari or nothing. I’ll walk, thank you!
This is exactly what should be happening. 🙂 I don’t think we should be spending 20 years of income in 2-3 years (because nothing gets built in years 4-20), but there’s considerable benefit in spending some of next year’s income this year, and some the year after next. The aim should be that income and expenditure are roughly equal over any period of a few years or more.
(NB: How do you have “partial extension” of the Yonge line? Surely a partial extension is like half a hole… it’s still an extension/hole.)
Steve: You stop at, say, Steeles. There are advantages to doing this because the TTC has proposed additional train storage north of Finch which would be needed as part of the headway reduction plan for the YUS.
Obviously the best option is for the Scarborough subway to be cancelled and for all the current LRT projects to be built.
Let’s be realistic though: it’s highly likely that a subway is going to be built in Scarborough somewhere, despite all the protesting I see here. Even the Liberals ended up caving in eventually.
So I have a question: If you had to pick and choose, which subway plan would you prefer? Extending Sheppard to the STC? Extending Bloor to the STC? Or making Eglinton entirely grade separated and connecting with a rebuilt RT?
It goes without saying most here would choose “none of the above,” I’m just asking which of the plans do you think would be the lesser of the evils.
Steve: Bloor to STC. Note that this is not what the city is proposing because their version goes all the way to Sheppard. Of the three options you propose it is the least wasteful.
New taxes takes time to legislate, collect and build up a sizable sum. Take the HST as an example, in one year, it might produce tens of billions. However, in the month of January, it might not yield all that much due to seasonality. The only time taxation works quickly would be to increase an existing tax. This way, the legislating time and to setup the collection methods have already been done.
The quickest way to put shovels in the ground would to charge a toll every time a new piece of infrastructure is used. For example, if every Sheppard tram rider would pay a $2 toll to use it, the government can approach a private company to make a 3P agreement. They can promise x years of toll revenues for the construction of the line. Look at the Champlain Bridge replacement in Montreal, 3P is able to shave a little bit of the time in building the replacement.
Steve: It’s called borrowing against future revenue. If you read the Transit Panel’s report, their intent is that there would be three phases to the projects and their financing. In the first years, taxes would be collected at a rate faster than they could be spent. This would build up a reserve. In the middle section, spending exceeds revenue, and this would both draw down the reserve and build up some capital debt. In the third section, outlay falls below the revenue and the debt is paid off. The intent is most definitely to have debt that goes on for decades after the projects are completed, but to pay for everything within a reasonable window.
3P shaving time? I will believe that when I see it. The Eglinton project is about a year longer than originally planned because of the overhead of setting up and managing the 3P agreement.
I would love to see a GO train on the Skyway Bridge. It would have to be a cog rail system for those grades. Are you talking about the bridge St. Catherine’s Garden City Skyway or Burlington Bay’s James N Allan Skyway? If the train goes through Burlington Beach it misses most of Hamilton. As strange as this may seem there are actually people who want to get to downtown Hamilton.
Why do “both Sheppard and Eglinton need to be replaced with subways”? Do you know something about future demand that no one else does or do you just want subways cost be damned.
Mississauga is High Density? Aside from the condo complexes around Square One where is it high density? Aside from the downtown most of Toronto, 416, is low or medium density. Especially the outer parts of the city. I believe Isaac Morland summed up your attitude best.
Brampton runs a number of routes on a 7 – 8 minute headway in rush hour and many run every 10. I guess we should get rid of this extravagant service and save money.
Before you make wild claims try checking out the facts first. For all those who want to lengthen the subway train remember that capacity depends on 2 things:
1) the capacity of each train
2) the maximum number of trains that you can run in 1 hour.
Lengthening the train increases the capacity per train but decreases the maximum number of trains that can be run in one hour because they take longer to clear crossovers at terminals and require greater distance between trains. If you remember your high school math this is similar to a minimum maximum problem and it only requires the ability to solve second order equations to solve, not differential calculus.
The Hurontario LRT should have received funding before and it would have started construction in 2014. The Sheppard and Finch LRTs start past 2015. Way to go McGuinty and Wynne … thanks for all the delays.
Eglinton is well under construction. Tunnelling is happening rapidly and the Brentcliffe launch shaft will start construction in a few weeks. Eglinton West is covered in construction activity. The time to make significant changes has been over for a while, it’s time to build a new transit line!
Steve, from what I understand, they are looking at starting Sheppard early, right?
Any idea why they choose Sheppard to start early over Finch?
Steve: This ties in with all of the Scarborough debate. Sheppard shares a carhouse with the Scarborough LRT if we wind up going back to that version of the plan. Also, the projected demand on Sheppard is higher than on Finch making it a better place to start.
Regarding GO, do you have any information from Metrolinx as to how they plan on reorienting their bus services once the Spadina extension opens? For example, will some of the buses that serve the current Yorkdale GO Bus terminal (say, the Newmarket-North York Express) go to the 407 or Steeles W. station instead? I also heard that another GO station on the Barrie line is planned for Hwy 7 (to connect with Viva).
Steve: No I have heard nothing about network changes once the Spadina line opens to Vaughan. This is part of a much larger issue related to GO’s implementation of all-day service on various branches. Which of the bus routes, especially those that pour into downtown, will simply disappear when there is all-day train service?
Unless a project ( of any kind ) has a secure financing package ( acceptable to all share holders ) nothing will be built.
Rob Ford said at one time, ” Just start digging and the money will appear.”
A Total goof ball.
P3 or 3P .
To make these very large projects work you need a financing program .
So. If you do not like 3P or P3 then ….
Propose something different and line up people or groups of people that will invest in your scheme.
You will have a long wait.
Steve, I am not a proponent of anything. Like you, I want to see concrete poured as soon as possible. The Champlain Bridge replacement will be accelerated by three years as per Transport Minister Denis Lebel. Instead of a 2021 completion date, it will be accelerated to 2018 through the use of 3P. If 3Ps are needed to get transit building quickly, maybe it is a necessary evil that Canadians need to accept?
Steve: I find it very hard to believe that the acceleration of the bridge project has anything to do with construction constraints. 3P is a financing mechanism to avoid the government’s having to actually pay for it, and thus to include the cost on their books, in the short term. Creative accounting. With the Crosstown project, “AFP” has added a year to the project.
To another post, longer trains do require longer spacing assuming acceleration and deceleration remain the same. However, if acceleration and deceleration rates can be increased then a close headway can be maintained. The E233 series EMU used on the Tokyo Chuo Line can accelerate at a rate of 2.5km/h to 3.0 km/h per second. They are 65ft in length and used in a 10 car configuration. During the rush hours, they are operated with a 120 second headway in the section between Takao and Tokyo. For Toronto to run 12 [car] train configurations in a sub 90 second headway, we will need something that accelerates and decelerates a lot more than what is presently offered in the T35A08.
And lots of people ignored all those reasonable reasons and said that the “real reason” was to prevent the Sheppard from being extended.
A week or two ago I was thinking of how useful it would be to have a full system map of GO TRANSIT with each and every train-bus corridor and bus route (with branches) in front of me.
Excluding the train and train-bus corridors, GO has a huge system running up to places that you wouldn’t think are in GO’s territory but they serve because private companies won’t.
If all-day service appears on the train lines I would like to see GO operate limited stop & express services on highways and regional roads connecting communities. For example, instead of waiting for a Dundas BRT, GO could start running a bus … just as they used to run a bus on Yonge before VIVA took over. There are also other examples like connecting Guelph to Hamilton (or Waterloo, Guelph U and McMaster) via Highway 6 or even offering a bus from McCarthy to Aldershot via the town of Dundas (so residents don’t have to drive to Aldershot).
Finally it looks like the Ministry of Transport is investigating Bus Rapid Transit along highways. The 403 transitway is well under construction, 407 is being planned and 427 is being talked about … so there is a lot of opportunity to shift buses to these current and future routes.
This system map is great but it doesn’t identify each and every bus route. If it did that would show very clearly how much service GO offers.
Adding to M. Briganti’s comment, I wonder how busy the downtown GO bus terminal will be in once all day GO is implemented? The terminal is about as close to capacity as you can get currently, but will it even be needed in a few years? The vast majority of bus services running out of it are off peak replacements for trains. The only bus that uses that I can think of off hand that isn’t a train replacement is the East Gwillimbury bus.
Steve: I have been waiting for some time for Metrolinx to announce details of their new terminal to see whether they are planning an overbuilt facility to serve existing bus operations, or are taking into account the gradual disappearance of much of their bus service into central Toronto.
The time required to clear the crossovers at the terminals increases and the length of the train block increases. It is not the distance between the rear of one train and the front of the next but the distance between the front of each train that is important and when the train is longer it takes longer to pass a point. This increases headway. Also the length of time to clear a slow order because the entire train must be clear.
Also the size of stations must increase along with the number of passengers and length of train. At interchange stations this increases the length of time to move passengers from one line to the next. If a platform cannot be cleared before the next train arrives then there is a problem.
Go to the TCRP reports page and download “Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, 3rd Edition”. It will give the relationship between the factors that affect minimum headways and capacity.
The inter-relation between ‘private companies’ and public agencies such as GO or municipal/regional providers is something that I have been thinking about for a while, particularly on my regular trips between Niagara and Toronto. Prior to 2009 almost all transit crossing municipal boundaries of St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, and Welland was provided by the ‘private companies’ of Greyhound and Coach Canada/Megabus.
In the last few years we have seen the introduction of GO service that has provided links between the communities using mostly different routes and stops than the private bus operators, and the creation of Niagara Region Transit. Note: these are areas that were already serviced by private companies, but the addition of public options should have improved the transit options for moving around the region and beyond from a status quo of pathetic to a newly attained decent.
Unfortunately, the actual improvements are marginal at best, with the private companies offering the same services, but slightly less of them in response to the competition (judged by my memory, not clear ‘before and after’ service level comparisons) and most of the components not working together as a network with each other or municipal systems. Although GO and Niagara Region Transit provide more stops and destinations, travel using these modes is invariably much slower than the ridership focused express routes used by Greyhound and Coach Canada/Megabus to Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo.
Despite the fragmentation, the Megabuses that I rode in 2013 were busier than I can ever remember in the last 15 years, with almost every bus full for the St. Catharines-Toronto stretches. It is beyond my logic as to why Coach Canada/Megabus continues to begin nearly all of their trips in Welland and Niagara Falls, overlapping Niagara Region Transit service with 1/4 full buses, instead of devoting their services to the St. Catharines-Toronto trip with increased frequency and schedules synchronized to the regional provider so that it can serve as a collector/distributor.
Relating this to Moaz’ comment, I see the relation of GO Transit (and other public agencies) to private companies as being haphazard and uncoordinated, even in areas where there is significant ridership and new services have been created.
Speaking of maps, I want to see one that not only shows the entire GO network with a clear marking of the routes, but the offerings of private operators too, since for better or worse these options are part of the “network” that we use to get around.
Thinking of what seems the best tool we have to date, GoogleTransit, Greyhound and Coach Canada/Megabus do not submit their schedules to the application. With those pieces of what should be a network missing the travel options around Niagara and beyond appear even worse than they are for someone trying to plan a trip. I’ve written Megabus twice on the issue and have yet to receive a response, which seems non-sensical to me since it is effectively (free?) marketing for them. Any idea why this happens?
I’m not that optimistic. I see tons of cars coming down from Barrie on the 400 every day, yet the 2WAD service will only go as far as E. Gwillimbury. That’s surprising, since Bradford practically exploded in the last few years, and is implementing a public transit system of their own. Build a Walmart, and they will come!
We also have another rail corridor that parallels the 407 which could be used for suburb-to-suburb moves, yet there’s no talk of putting any GO service there. And, what happened to the Bolton line? — that dropped off the map completely.
Finally, as I understand it, the Pioneer Village and 407 stations will both have GO bus terminals. Why both? Wouldn’t the 407 station suffice?
That’s the role of the 407 busway that is still kicking around as an MTO led project. IMO it’s the right system for the corridor, and that’s without contemplating what would be needed to get passenger service on the rail line up there; we’re looking at the primary CN freight line, the one that keeps freight service largely out of the city, and has allowed GO to buy so many lines. Realistically passenger service of any frequency or reliability here means building a parallel line of some sort, be it something passenger dedicated or moving freight even farther north.
Ultimately though, the destinations transit in that corridor are serving aren’t on the corridor itself, nor is the ridership all that high in absolute numbers. The 407 corridor is a place where the interlining and off corridor capabilities of BRT really come into their own, and probably provide a better service, certainly at lower cost, than rail ever could.
I haven’t heard anything recently either, but I got the impression a couple of years back that CP was very hostile to the plan. That combined with the opposition to Weston expansion had proposals for a service going up the Barrie line, cutting across on the CN line mentioned above and then turning north to Bolton kicking around internally, but none of it identified how to pay for it, or what infrastructure was required. My best guess is that the Bolton line is bogged down by some really significant investment in new track being needed for a corridor that is a fairly low priority compared to bigger projects with much higher demand.
IMO it will happen, but not for some time yet, and only when CP’s attitude improves and we see significant funds for more track. Certainly not until we see all day service on most of the rest of the rail system, and Weston is largely electrified.
I was going to say that that is probably as far as they can go in 1 hour with time for a turn around but the scheduled time 63 is minutes to E Gwillimbury while Bradford is 71 minutes. Perhaps they are going to through route this with a Stouffville service to save a train otherwise it is going to take 3 trains to either destination.
The time for Union to Stouffville is 59 min and Lincolnville is 70 minutes. So running time E Gwillimbury to Stouffville is 122 minutes with 10 for turn around and 6 at Union for 138 minutes total one way. Double that and you get 276 minutes which means that 5 trains could provide all day 2 way service on the 2 lines. Going to Bradford would take it to 292 minutes which leaves only 8 minutes for make up instead of 24.
Perhaps they could move the private bus companies from Bay Street to it then they, GO, and VIA would be located in the same area. This would make a lot of sense for people making connections. They could also get to Porter Air on the Island or take the UPX to Pearson.
I’m glad there’s a sense amongst some that the entire region is more than a bit fouled up from under-investment and wrong investments, while the private mobile furnaces (cars) get the free-ways. While the cars are costly to run and operate, they do enjoy a batch of avoided costs, and that would be the real source of revenue if that were sent back to a reserve fund that could be used well.
And if money shortfalls really are a problem, the Brazilian city of Curitiba did well on scant money – but it took political will to clear the cars off of roads for cheaper busways that provided subway capacity for c. 1% of the cost.
Steve: And they did it on VERY wide roadways, not the equivalent of Queen Street. This point is almost always missed when people talk about the Curitiba “success story”.
In the core, which is what I know best, we’re remaining blind to what many other larger cities have done – increasing bike facilities for transit relief, though we’d need to learn how to plow snow, and sometimes, it’s not easy. Bloor St. and Danforth are really easy though, complete with a 1992 study indicating best for east-west bike lanes and no streetcar tracks to impair simpler lane repaintings. So we don’t need to have multiple millions: at $25,000 a km to repaint a road for bike lanes we could expand the Bloor/Danforth subway for c. half a million on its entire length, and do it quick!
We also could use with a similar bikeway somewhere in the Queen/King vicinity. No, the bikes don’t work for everyone, much of the time, but is it possible to haul for a long distance year-round? Ask Glenn deBaeremaeker…
Steve: Considering that Glenn thinks an extra billion in taxes is a good investment in Scarborough, I am not sure he’s the ideal person to ask about anything.
A longer train does take longer to clear a switch or a crossover then a shorter train assuming the speed limit remains the same. I do not know the speed limit on a TTC crossover. On JR, the crossover speed limit is usually between 35 to 45 km/h depending on the location. The reason why a speed limit exists on a crossover is to prevent the train from tipping over as centripetal forces pushes the left turning train from the right. Aircrafts do not have this problem since they can bank on a curve.
Steve: You are wrong. A train that is 10 cars long takes twice the time to pass a point as a train 5 cars long. At a terminal, the crossover cannot be used simultaneously by trains entering and leaving the station. The longer the train, the longer the opposing move through the crossover is blocked. This sets a physical limitation on the headway at the terminal which, for the TTC is in the range 120-130 seconds. This constraint can be avoided by changing the track layout using either far end turnarounds or short-turns so that only half of the service terminates at one point, plus automatic train control to minimize delay due to operator reaction time when a route does clear, but existing terminals pose a problem.
Any place where there is a speed restriction, longer trains must travel at the lower speed for a longer time because the entire train must clear the point of restriction, not just the lead car.
Technology exists today to counteract this, they are called tilting trains. By countering the centripetal forces, it allows a train to take a curve faster while making it safer for passengers. If a longer train can accelerate faster and take the crossover curves at a higher speed than a shorter train, the time to clear the crossover would be quite competitive. Tilting trains would also allow the TTC to increase the speed limit on many curves within the system. Every second counts when running trains below 120 seconds headway.
Steve: This is another bogus claim. The TTC already superelevates major curves such as the one east of Victoria Park to counteract the centripetal force. Also, tilting technology is not designed for tight curves such as those near Union Station (leaving aside the need to engineer the tunnel to allow for this dynamic behaviour in the trains).
The technology you describe is not applicable to a crossover which has two very short curves in opposite directions quite close to each other. High speed crossovers exist and are used on railways, but they require more space to reduce the curve radii at the switches. Trains at terminals are always starting from a stationary position and so support for high speed movements is not an issue. However, most crossovers built after the original subway lines opened have had gentler curves (and hence take up more space) both to reduce the transition effects on passengers, allow slightly faster operation through the switches and to reduce wear on the switch points. Compare the crossovers at Eglinton, Keele and Woodbine with those at Finch, Kipling and Kennedy.
Regarding superelevation and banking.
Aeroplanes can bank more than subways since when planes do these manoeuvres, all passengers are seated and the speed can be matched to the banking angle. For a train, the amount of super-elevation is constant, while the train could be going at full speed (i.e. the speed of the cross-over) or could be stopped or anywhere in between. The super-elevation can not be too steep otherwise passengers may have difficulty standing when stopped. All roads are also designed this way because they are assumed to be carrying standing bus passengers.
As for the time to get through a cross-over is not directly varying with the train length. If the cross-over is longer than the train, then there is a constant amount of time that applies to both trains (think of whether it takes a truck going 100kmh 4 times longer to cross the Burlington Skyway than a car going 100 – no, it takes the same time). Also, there is the fact that the design must assume the worst case, which would be a train passing through from a standing start and not a constant speed. If constant speed, the time would double if the train was twice as long (assuming a short cross-over). However, depending on the acceleration rate, a double length train would actually only take about 40% longer to pass (square root of the ratio of lengths).
Steve: The crossovers on the subway are much shorter than the trains. Also, the crossover is “occupied” from the point where a route through the interchange is set and locked for a train. The train then starts and “occupancy” counts until the end of the train has passed the trailing point of the crossover and the signal system “decides” that the protected route can be released. The controlling factor is the time when the end of the train leaves the crossover, not when the front enters, and this is proportional to the train length, everything else being the same. The train cannot accelerate beyond the safe speed for the turnouts until the last truck is clear of the trailing switch, although in some locations on the TTC, the signal system does not enforce this. The design problem is that the speed for a train leaving straight out of a terminal (not across the crossover) can be higher than one that exits through the crossover, but the signals beyond the crossover are designed for only one condition (the straight through move).
The crossover is shorter than the train. The question is not how long it takes to cross the bridge but more closely related to how long it takes to pass a point. If you measure the time that any part of the truck is on the bridge compared to the time that any part of the car is on the bridge then they are very close but the truck is still on longer. However your example is a ridiculous one to use because the bridge length is much greater than either the car or truck length. With a cross over the train length is much longer than the cross over. Don’t compare apples to orangutans.
A 20 m long truck takes 4 times as long to pass a point as a 5 m long car. That is the problem. Now it is true that cross overs have a finite length and are not a point so it would not take twice as long for a 12 car train to clear the cross over as a 6 car train because there are factors other than train length involved like the time required to detect a clear block and the time for the switch points to unlock, move and lock; these are usually independent of train length.
There are a number of factors that control minimum head ways allowed. They basically are:
1. The time to clear the crossover at a terminal station.
2. The time to clear the platform at the busiest station.
3. The minimum distance, or block length, that must be kept clear between trains.
4. The length of time that it takes a train to pass a point.
All of these are increased by train length; however, the most restrictive will be the main controlling factor.
Instead, I would propose extending the subway eastwards on Eglinton as far east as the $600 million Federal contribution would go and preserve the 3 Scarborough Transit City lines. I found the trip between Kennedy Station and Kingston Road to be very slow even in the off-hours and a subway along part of the distance (perhaps Eglinton GO) would be an improvement. Perhaps, some property tax money would be necessary. Also, people at Eglinton & Danforth Road could get a subway station instead of merely listening to the train roar non-stop under them with the current Scarborough subway plan.
More rationally, using the federal funds to build a BRT east of Kennedy instead of a subway might be a better though less prestigious option. With $600 million, could we reach Kingston Road?
Steve: I answered the question that was asked – pick one of three options. This is always a mug’s game because it presumes that all of the options are valid and are the only ones that, long term, will actually survive detailed study. If the option is “what do I want”, then no subway extension, I don’t care where, is a basic starting point. Everybody wants a subway for their little corner of the network, but we can’t build that way.
Considering that you could reach Guildwood station with an LRT for 1.2 billion, I think you would easily make it to Kingston Road with a BRT with only 600 million.
2023 before Brampton sees all day 2 way GO Trains … really? This is “transit as quickly as reasonably possible”? Forgetting for a minute the other high population areas the KW line passes through (Liberty Village, Dundas/Bloor, Weston, Etobicoke North) and forgetting the inter-connectivity by intersecting with just about every other RT in the area and the possibility of serving the airport … forget all that (as if it doesn’t matter) by 2023 Brampton will have a population of over 700k … is that our benchmark for providing decent transit? By the timetable presented, work will start on ALL of the other lines 2 years before a tiny amount is spent on this line. That doesn’t sound quick or reasonable.
Steve: First off, the plan presented in that report was an example of what could be done if the will to spend existed, not a definitive timetable. Believe it or not, Brampton is not the centre of the universe. There are some major challenges on both the Kitchener and Milton corridors and that’s why these take a long time to build. Also it’s the Kitchener line. Better service to inner parts of the line should be possible sooner. The three northern lines – Barrie, Richmond Hill and Stouffville – are shown in the first group because they offer relief for north-south travel generally. This relates to the timing of the Relief Line and the eventual Yonge extension to Richmond Hill.
Your response is an example of the problem any agency (or advocate, for that matter) has when drawing a “sample” map – it becomes the definitive plan, not an example, and people attack specific components rather than looking at what it does overall. We cannot build everything at once, but we should try to build as much as possible as soon as possible. That’s the message.
I suppose that the question of the future of a proposed new Toronto Coach Terminal down by the Lakeshore may be answered here … If GO Transit all-day rail service comes sooner than later the Union Station bus terminal can be re purposed for intercity coaches. Otherwise (or perhaps either way) there will be a strong push for the Toronto Coach Terminal to be replaced by condos as soon as is reasonably possible.
Essentially what I wanted to say. This another area where we need more from Metrolinx and GO Transit … at least until municipal/regional transit agencies are able to offer the service themselves (like VIVA on Yonge St.)
Unfortunately there was 2 way service as far as Bramalea during the day time but this was canned to speed up construction of Georgetown South corridor. It was intimated around 2008 IIRC that there would be all day 2 way service to Mt. Pleasant around 2014 or 2015. This has died so that the UPExpress line could have its 2 tracks while everything else gets only one. A lot of money has been spent with very little to show for it so the people along the corridor are justifiably pissed.
Brampton may not be the centre of the universe but it has over half a million people and is growing by 50,000 per year. Metrolinx has spent a small fortune on this line only to have the majority of the benefit go to the airport service. In order to run 2 way all day service they only need to install one passing track but they are too cheap to do that. While they are building the new tunnels and bridges to accommodate 4 tracks they are only installing 3 and 2 will be mainly for the UPExpress. Pardon us if we Bramptonians are a little pissed at Metrolinx.
From what I have heard 2 way all day service past Mt. Pleasant is very far into the future so I believe that the time lines given are for the inner service only.
I agree that we need to expect more from Metrolinx, but I also think that there must be expectations on the other parties as well.
I cannot figure out why Coach Canada/Megabus (to pick the most prominent inter-city private operator for my travels) does not strive for better integration: as a profit-driven enterprise it seems to me that it is in their best interest to maximize ridership, which making their services more useful – by allowing more people to conveniently access them – would inevitably do.
To echo the comments about the Kitchener Line, I am annoyed to see it pushed so far back in favour of every other corridor. GO has had a long history of neglecting the Brampton/Georgetown corridor; it was the last one (Richmond Hill excepted) to get decent Union Station bus service; the fares to Union Station are slightly higher to Brampton (34.23 km to Union direct by rail, single cash fare $8.15) than they are to stations on other corridors that are slightly farther, like Oakville (34.36 km to Union by rail, single cash fare $7.75).
1. The service that Robert Wightman mentions was not really two-way service. I lived in Brampton and I hated it. It was inconvenient, infrequent and slow. What used to be a 30-45 minute single-seat ride to or from the Shoppers World stop near my house became a 60-85 minute train+bus ride with a long padding at Bramalea GO, with a two-hour gap between outbound trains at 10:15 and 12:15 with no alternative bus service. Once GO Transit introduced proper 30 minute express Brampton via 410 service to Union Station, it was much superior. Bramalea, which isn’t much more than a gigantic parking lot surrounded by warehouses, is convenient for GO operations as it has a pocket track that allows trains not to conflict with CN mainline freights, but GO since paid to double and triple track the Halton Sub to just short of Georgetown, and a third track/platform now exists at Mount Pleasant to turn trains around at, out of the way of through freights and the occasional VIA.
2. It is somewhat surprising to see Kitchener so far back on GO’s plans. The amount of work done on the south part of the corridor ought to allow many more train movements, even with the pesky Pearson trains given the priority. Richmond Hill really has little to no potential given its alignment; GO doesn’t even bother running much of a train-bus service on that corridor. I won’t begrudge Stouffville though; it has the advantages of being wholly owned by Metrolinx, having a decent alignment through Markham and north Scarborough to be quite useful.
Moaz: which also raises the question of whether there is a role for Metrolinx in encouraging that integration of services so that private operators become an efficient part of the public transport* system which builds upon the public transit network.
*I use public transport to distinguish from public transit (municipal/local/regional mass – transit run by or on behalf of the government.)
Which reinforces the importance of GO Transit’s bus services and the need for more effort (service expansion, bus lanes) from Metrolinx, GO Transit and the Ontario government (MTO & Infrastructure Ontario) to facilitate these improvements.
Aside from the obvious capacity differences (and related comfort) the key factor that has people preferring GO Trains over GO Buses is the inherent feeling of reliability and speed.
The truth is that while I’ve been in many situations where my GO Train was late, or stuck in ‘traffic’ for 10-20 minutes approaching Union station (waiting for a platform to clear) … I will still choose to travel to Port Credit for an all-day train option, over the nearby Cooksville and Erindale stations which only offer buses.
The irony here is that before GO Transit started offering 30 minute service on LSW the Milton buses were more frequent … but I still took the GO Train if I were heading downtown.
It was not convenient if you were going from Bramalea to Union but if you were going to work in Weston with a mid day shift it was great if you could get dropped off at Bramalea. Try getting to Weston in the off peak on a GO bus. When all the slow orders are eliminated it should be possible to do Mt. Pleasant to Union in 50 minutes which means that 2 trains could run 2 way hourly service if they would only build a decent passing siding at the mid way point.
Let’s use one system irony to bring up some potential answers to that: Niagara Falls/St. Catharines->Toronto travel is slow/limited in the morning peak, the precise time that one would think that potential ridership would support the most abundant options.
Private operators seem to offer less service at that time, removing the possibility of express travel. I’ve never asked, but I presume the rationale is related to the problems that inbound highway congestion, starting around Burlington, poses to their operations.
Meanwhile, it is possible to do the trip using GO, slowed by lesser-used deviations in Grimsby and Stoney Creek, to feed into the inbound LSW train at Burlington.
It seems obvious that *someone* should offer express bus service from the larger cities at the far end of the Niagara Peninsula to connect with an inbound LSW express train from either Burlington or Hamilton GO.
So why doesn’t this happen? Having identified that, whose responsibility/opportunity is it to change the dynamic?
Steve: A related issue here too is GO’s plans to shift Hamilton trains over to the James Street Station with peak service through to St. Catharines.