When is “LRT” not LRT?

In all the debates about transit options, be they in Scarborough or elsewhere, one of the most abused and frequently misunderstood terms is “LRT”.

The term appears in various contexts over the years under both the guise “Light Rail Transit” and “Light Rapid Transit”.  The difference can be more in local preference including marketing aims.

One can even find “LRRT” where a proposal tries to be all things to be all people.  The Buffalo line, which incongruously runs on the surface downtown, but in a tunnel elsewhere, originally used this term, but was rebranded “Metro Rail”.  The “LRRT” term, however, is still in current use as a Google search will demonstrate.

The term “Light” contrasts “LRT” with systems that require more substantial (or “heavy”) infrastructure such as:

  • mainline railways including commuter rail operations such as GO,
  • “subways” as the term is used in Toronto (with other words such as “Metro” and “Tube” found in other cities),
  • any technology requiring a dedicated, segregated guideway and stations either because of automated control systems or because the right-of-way cannot be crossed for various reasons.

Life gets very confusing because there are overlaps between technologies and their implementation.  One of the oldest streetcar systems in North America, Boston’s, exhibits every conceivable type of operation with the same vehicles running in mixed traffic (little of this remains on the network), on reserved lanes in street medians, on private rights-of-way that run “cross country” relative to the road network, on elevated structures, and in tunnels just like a subway.  (The “Blue Line” running under the Boston harbour was originally a streetcar tunnel, but was converted to “subway” operation in the 1920s.)

The Boston Green Line is the oldest subway on the continent, and it runs with “streetcars” that morph into “light rail vehicles” not because of magic performed where they leave the street pavement, but because of the way the vehicles are used.  This is central to the concept of “LRT” – the ability to operate in many environments as appropriate to demand and local circumstance.

Unlike what Toronto calls a “subway”, an LRT network can adapt to its surroundings and this is a fundamental characteristic of the mode.  The original Scarborough LRT would have run at grade with some road crossings enroute, and a Malvern extension was on the books, but never built.

Many decades ago, the Ontario Government thought it knew better than the rest of the transit industry what was needed for the future of cities.  Toronto got the “Intermediate Capacity Transit System” (ICTS) better known here as the Scarborough RT, and in Vancouver as “Skytrain”.  The arm twisting that went into Toronto’s “acceptance” of this technology is legendary to the point that Queen’s Park threatened to cut off subsidies, and a bill allowing Ontario to write financial guarantees for the Vancouver project was treated as a vote of confidence by a then-minority government.

To make this technology more palatable (and appropriate to the era of the debate – 1984), the ICTS was dubbed “Advanced LRT” even though it was nothing of the kind.  It was an automated system using side-running power rails and a reaction rail (for the linear induction motor) in the guideway.  Both of these dictated complete segregation of the system from pedestrians and traffic thereby making the technology more a “mini metro” or scaled down subway, not an LRT.

Ever since, the citizens of Scarborough have been confounded by a system that calls itself “ALRT” and confuses the question of what real “LRT” actually is.  The problem is compounded by streetcar lines downtown upgraded to reserved lanes that are the very low end of “LRT” only in that they have partial segregation but none of the other attributes.

Now, of course, with the rattletrap RT on its deathbed, it is a widely derided technology and this attitude extends to the proposed “LRT” replacement that hardly anyone really understands.

Regardless of what one might think of the proposed “Transit City” LRT network, it demonstrated the concept of using “heavy” infrastructure (notably the Eglinton tunnel) where and only where it was needed, and surface running, mainly on streets, for the rest of the network.  That is a hallmark of LRT even if some of the TTC’s proposed implementations were a bit heavy-handed.

The Scarborough RT-to-LRT conversion was added once Transit City became established as a brand to simplify and standardize the network on one technology.  It would most definitely not have been a “streetcar” because none of the Scarborough line runs on a street.  For the extended version, street running would have been confined to the carhouse access at Sheppard.

Now we come to the 2014 election campaign and the position taken by some candidates that Toronto Council should reverse its Scarborough Subway decision and proceed with the original LRT proposal in the SRT corridor.  Queen’s Park, true to their meddlesome tradition, wants a subway, but on the SRT alignment, not on the Eglinton/McCowan route favoured by Council.

My point is not to debate the LRT vs subway issue here, but to ensure that terms are used for what they mean, not for anyone’s invention.  (Comments attempting to relaunch the subway debate which has been discussed here extensively already will be deleted, or if I am in a very good mood, edited to retain whatever content is separate from that issue.)

We have one mayoral candidate, David Soknacki, who is clear that he favours the LRT plan while another, Olivia Chow, gives out confusing messages.  (Tory, Stintz and Ford are clearly in the subway camp.)

In a recent NOW article by Jonathan Goldsbie, Chow extols Vancouver’s Skytrain as “LRT” when in fact that is (a) not what the LRT plan would use and (b) Skytrain is not “LRT” as the term is commonly used in the industry.  Her main transit page features a photo of the Seattle LRT line, not Skytrain, but Chow contributes her own confusion to the debate with yet another piece of transit terminology, “Overground”.

“Overground”, a term used in London UK, refers to a collection of services more akin to GO Transit than to anything the TTC operates.  There is also a map of world “overground” systems including Vancouver and other cities with Skytrain-like systems as well as conventional LRT and a variety of other technologies and implementations.

If the criterion for the term is that a transit line not be underground, well, all modes we operate in Toronto, including “subways” are “overground” at some point (just as our “streetcars” run underground in a few locations).

Does Chow even understand which technology she is endorsing?  The debate is difficult enough without using incorrect comparisons to other systems and introducing a term that nobody in Toronto (or much of the rest of the world) applies in the manner implied by Chow’s material.

I understand the reluctance to talk about “LRT” in Scarborough, but that’s what the technology for Transit City really is.  All of the planning and past debates have turned on that term, not one invented to dress up the scheme in new clothes.  We went through that crap with “Advanced LRT” three decades ago, and Scarborough has been worse off for the experience.

For a more extensive review of transit terminology, see Wikipedia.

To conclude:

The term “LRT” was coined many decades ago to distinguish transit implementations that were “lighter” than subways, the most common form of rapid transit seen in the first half of the 20th century.  By definition, this does not include any technology requiring a completely segregated right-of-way which is necessarily “heavier” than would be required for true LRT in at least part of a corridor.

The term may be used in some locations to refer to technologies outside of that definition (notably on the Docklands Light Railway in London, UK), but these are exceptions with local history, certainly not “LRT” as it was proposed and used here in Toronto and in most other cities of North America.

82 thoughts on “When is “LRT” not LRT?

  1. There have been many excellent points made in Steve’s article and by the various commenters. However, this arguement over what LRT stands for is a little unnecessary and I am surprised that Steve and the other commenters do not use words, mostly adjectives, that are commonly used in the transportation world.

    Steve: The article specifically is addressed to the abuse of the term “LRT” by Toronto politicians and some transit professionals, and a confusion about just what they might be referring to. The situation is not helped when “marketing” gets in the way and invents or co-opts names to suit their goals.

    LRT always stands for Light Rail Transit – virtually everywhere in the world and in most transportation literature, that is the way it is. In all the literature and internal reports of the Ontario government (which I work for and I am/was involved in approvals for the Toronto projects and the Ottawa LRT), LRT stands for rail. Only if the name specificially says “Rapid” such as the currently operating “Scarborough Rapid Transit Line” (SRT, but never SLRT)) is Rapid used in place of Rail. LRT covers all transit where train-like vehicles run on tracks except for heavy rail, which is a much heavier rain (“heavy rail” has nothing to do with capacity). Ottawa uses the term LRT for its O-train because that train is not underground (therefore not a subway), but calling it “heavy rail” would be strange and very uncommon to most people.

    However, most people also assume a Light Rail Line runs in a dedicated right of way (a railway of some form). If the railway is not dedicated to train usage, then it really isn’t a railway line, but a mixed used transit surface/lane, and is therefore, the lane is not really a “railway”. That is why light rail vehicles, such as streetcars or “trams” that run right in a lane also used by cars, are not usually called LRT but are called streetcars instead.

    As well, to clarify what type of LRT it is, adjectives should be used in front of “LRT”; adjectives such as grade-separated, at-grade, elevated (which is what Chow meant by “overground”) and underground are used. Obviously, grade-separated means a mix of elevated and underground whereas at-grade means the train will have intersections with car traffic. If the bulk of an LRT line is underground, it is therefore, “sub” (under) the ground, and it is appropriate to call it a “subway” as many people and cities do (i.e. Boston).

    The bulk of the lines proposed in the Transit City project should be called “at-grade” LRT because that is what they are (aside from over half the Eglinton line).

    Steve: And on Metro Morning today, I noticed that Olivia Chow is now using “above ground” and “under ground” as contrasting terms. Even this can be confusing if someone equates “above” with “elevated” as opposed to “not under”.

    The Metrolinx technology backgrounder to The Big Move makes the distinction between various forms of transit and nomenclature more or less along the terms I discussed.

    Like

  2. Steve:

    Um, er, regenerative braking has been used on vehicles since at least the invention of the PCC car. As for windmills on transit shelters, the problem is that when there is no service, there is no wind, but that’s when people want heat.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but regenerative braking systems of the past weren’t designed to feed power back into the system or store power on board (an option now that smaller battery storage and flywheel technology are available).

    Steve: Not from PCCs or early versions of the “H” series subway cars, but we have had regeneration into the line since the H-5 subway and CLRV streetcars. It’s not exactly new technology.

    The PCCs used the braking energy to heat the cars which could lead to cold cars on night runs that didn’t stop very often. And so, rather than drawing from the line, the cars used onboard power for heating at least during cold weather. One way or another, it’s an energy saving.

    As for windmills … I didn’t mean that they be located at stations. The idea would be to place them along a route where there is a more or less consistent flow of wind (or air displaced by cars/trains) from which the energy can be captured. That energy could then be used to directly power streetlights (for example) or shelters.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: Please stand in a subway station and tell me how often the wind blows from passing trains. Not very. Also, I don’t want to think of the infrastructure necessary to capture whatever “wind” is available, presuming you can force the air to take a less desirable path (the windmill necessarily “pushes back” and so that air flow path will be less favoured than other escape routes like the tunnel).

    If you want to heat the shelters, heat the shelters. Don’t turn this into a complex project that requires a lot of infrastructure just to get the first joule of energy to a heater.

    Like

  3. The term LRT is so broad that in our case in Toronto it is useless. When I look at what Calgary or Vancouver have done with their LRT there is no comparison to what Toronto is proposing in the Transit City plan. Calgary in particular has their LRT operating in mixed traffic for a portion of all routes and primarily in core. Once the route heads to the more lightly populated areas outside the core, the C-train runs alongside busy roadways under bridges and through tunnels. Outside of the core the C-train has limited or minimal interaction with traffic. Of course the net effect is that the C-train is reliable and faster than cars.

    As you state in your article, the buried section of the Eglinton LRT is more like a subway. The proposed Scarborough route that runs on a dedicated right of way and will have limited interaction with traffic if extended to Malvern, is similar to the LRT in Calgary.

    The remaining proposed LRT routes in Toronto are light rail vehicles placed in the middle of very busy streets that will receive traffic light priority. Unless proposals are updated to include tunneling of LRT’s under major intersections (like Eglinton and Don Mills) I don’t understand how the proposed LRT’s on Eglinton east of Don Mills, Sheppard, Finch, and elsewhere are going to dramatically improve the transit experience (that is, travel-time) for users. In these cases, LRT is offering the user little more than semantics when compared with grade separated streetcars on Spadina or St. Clair.

    Steve: FYI the Don Mills Station on the Eglinton line is a short underground section that will begin west of the intersection (the line will enter a portal while the road around it continues to rise out of the valley), and end east of Don Mills (the line will come to the surface before the stop at Ferrand Drive). Re comparisons with St. Clair: Depending on the route and section involved, there are fewer cross streets on some of the Transit City lines than on much of St. Clair and so there should be less interference from closely spaced stops and provisions for turns. The issue about travel time is relative to future conditions on these streets where traffic (and hence bus service) would be more congested. That’s a fundamental premise in the Transit City proposals.

    Like

  4. I agree. I think the difference is in its use. It’s not about the technology. It is about the scale and speed and reliability of the line.

    I would suggest that LRT implies:

    Has it’s own lane out of traffic (reliable/speed)
    Carries more people than a bus (scale)
    Gets you where you need to be quicker (speed)
    Further Stop Spacing (speed)

    There’s a nice little chart from Metrolinx that tries to compare say streetcar versus LRT (basically, more cars, longer stop spacing, own lane).

    Anything less than that will rightfully find people viewing more like street cars because that is how it will be used.

    Marketing can definitely fool people, but eventually people get skeptical or they learn to pay attention to what is actually being sold. A lot of the time what is being sold in Toronto as LRT should rightfully be called street car.

    Like

  5. Kevin said:

    “As well, to clarify what type of LRT it is, adjectives should be used in front of “LRT”; adjectives such as grade-separated, at-grade, elevated (which is what Chow meant by “overground”) and underground are used. Obviously, grade-separated means a mix of elevated and underground whereas at-grade means the train will have intersections with car traffic. If the bulk of an LRT line is underground, it is therefore, “sub” (under) the ground, and it is appropriate to call it a “subway” as many people and cities do (i.e. Boston).”

    Yes, however, there are additional variances, that make for fairly long verbiage to repeat in a discussion. You are right something in the median will be at grade, however it will have more limited space and rail crossing gates will be difficult, whereas something in the Gatineau Power corridor, would still be at grade, but the few intersections could be at grade separated, or crossing arms could be used. A single LRV, is still an LRT as is a 4 LRV train, however, the distinction is important.

    To repeat limited crossings, guarded multi vehicle LRT several times in discussing a line, or several lines becomes both cumbersome and painful for the reader. The lack of hard distinction permits naysayers to cloud the issue, by implying that an LRT will never be able to carry the load (because they are refering to an LRT of the St Clair or Spadina variety), when it is actually well within the capacity of a 2 or 3 LRV trains system, and what it proposed in a limited crossing system with 400 foot long platforms.

    Like

  6. Moaz says:

    And while we’re on the subject … regenerative braking is an important innovation … and I’ve heard some interesting stories about small vertical windmills being used to capture wind energy beside highways and railways.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve replies:

    Um, er, regenerative braking has been used on vehicles since at least the invention of the PCC car. As for windmills on transit shelters, the problem is that when there is no service, there is no wind, but that’s when people want heat.

    It has actually been used for over a century.

    From Wikipedia:

    Early examples of this system were the front-wheel drive conversions of horse-drawn cabs by Louis Antoine Krieger (1868–1951). The Krieger electric landaulet had a drive motor in each front wheel with a second set of parallel windings (bifilar coil) for regenerative braking.[3] In England, the Raworth system of “regenerative control” was introduced by tramway operators in the early 1900s, since it offered them economic and operational benefits as explained by A. Raworth of Leeds in some detail.[4][5][6] These included tramway systems at Devonport (1903), Rawtenstall, Birmingham, Crystal Palace-Croydon (1906), and many others. Slowing down the speed of the cars or keeping it in hand on descending gradients, the motors worked as generators and braked the vehicles. The tram cars also had wheel brakes and track slipper brakes which could stop the tram should the electric braking systems fail. In several cases the tram car motors were shunt wound instead of series wound, and the systems on the Crystal Palace line utilized series-parallel controllers.[clarification needed][7] Following a serious accident at Rawtenstall, an embargo was placed on this form of traction in 1911. Twenty years later, the regenerative braking system was reintroduced.[6]

    Like

  7. Steve,

    What ever happened to the plan on slides 6 & 7 in this document for the Sheppard subway extensions and the connection between the SLRT and the Crosstown?

    Steve: That was then, an era when Rob Ford’s vision of transit ruled. Then Council, lead by Karen Stintz, embraced LRT for a time, until it was necessary to sacrifice that plan to win votes in Scarborough. By the way, Council never approved that Sheppard Subway plan. It was a Ford fantasy.

    Like

  8. Rather than focusing on technical aspects of route design and trying to identify cut off points between “trams/streetcars” “LRTs” and “subways/metros,” it may be more useful to speak in terms of what the intent of the route is.

    For instance, we can probably say that a route like the Finch West or Shep East LRT is local transit or, to be more specific, non-transferring passengers.

    On the other hand, many US “LRT” systems depend heavily on park-n-ride facilities and exist to shuttle suburban residents downtown and back. These have wide (wider than our subway) stop spacing and are intended to serve a ‘regional’ demand.

    It could also help understanding the variance within other modes. You really can’t make a technical distinction, for instance, between the Paris Metro and BART, yet both fulfill very different roles.

    Likewise, in a well functioning transit system, the technical distinctions between “commuter rail” and “metro” are surprisingly hard to identify. Japanese commuter trains regularly run through metro lines, while the S-Bahn in Berlin is, in pretty much every way, a metro line. The chief difference would revolve around things like branching.

    I think this would help with clarity. Transit agencies and some enthusiasts can have a degree of technical fetishism. If you’re replacing a local stop bus route with a local stop “BRT” or “LRT,” or even a metro, for instance, we should be honest that the fundamental service pattern is more or less the same. Maybe reliability will improve or speeds will go up a bit but on balance we’re talking about the same service.

    Steve: The biggest problem is that to sell a “new” system, people want to give it a name and promote it as somehow much better than what it will replace. Differences in implementations that can all be “LRT” or “BRT” confuse those who don’t know what’s gone, and it’s worse when a completely new term gets dragged into the mix.

    Like

  9. I know it’s too late to change vehicle orders from Bombardier for LRT but I think Metrolinx and TTC should of ordered the vehicles that are used in Edmonton and Calgary. They both have higher capacity.

    Siemens-Duewag_U2
    Siemens_SD-160

    Steve: Siemens bid for Toronto cars was 50% higher than Bombardier’s. That’s why they didn’t get the contract. Also, they bid their “Combino Plus” car, not the vehicles used in Calgary and Edmonton.

    Like

  10. RE: LRT Conversion from Subway

    Steve, the topic of Sheppard conversion from Subway to LRT comes up from time-to-time, but there is one question that I haven’t seen answered.

    We know that the tunnels are a fixed size. We know that the power systems will need to be changed, the platform heights adjusted etc. And I believe another argument against is that the LRT cars themselves “won’t fit” and there are considerations about servicing. With all that in mind — I guess I don’t understand that part of the rational.

    If we were buying standard off-the-shelf cars, then new one would be available in weeks, not the years of lead time and testing that is happening today with LFLRV’s via Bombardier for the streetcar network. So there is a degree of custom engineering anyway.

    If let’s say, the subway platform today is 3-4 feet off the track height. If an LRT based system was using the Low-floor design (or something similar), couldn’t we make the cars slightly thinner/shorter on the same gauge track and address the tunnel size issue? This to me sounds like the biggest stumbling block. The rest can be addressed.

    As an engineer, this is a conundrum I can’t resolve. To me it is just insane to have a 3-piece rapid transit service along Sheppard in the future. LRT-West + Stubway + LRT-East.

    Thoughts?

    Steve: This argument has actually been discussed here before in various comment threads.

    First off, even the Metrolinx LRVs are “off the shelf” designs, but they don’t appear in months. Even if they came from a European plant, your order would have to get in the queue with others worldwide. So far, Bombardier has not ramped up to high volume deliveries for North America.

    Thinner cars are not the issue — subway trains are wider than LRVs, and there is no clearance problem in the bored tunnels. The problems lie in the box tunnels which do not have the headroom for pantographs. Yes, we could have cars with mixed third rail and overhead power pickup, but now you are talking about something that is not “off the shelf”.

    The stations are a real challenge in that the platform height (which also affects stairways, escalators and elevators) is not appropriate for low floor cars. Either we have to tear the stations apart, or we would move to an operation with different cars with high platform capability.

    This is one of those idea that sounds nice, but I have to ask whether the cost and upheaval can be justified to eliminate an across the platform transfer at Don Mills Station. We really do have other things to spend money on.

    Like

  11. Underground LRT vs. Subway costs

    My question for this is an apples-to-apples comparison of LRT vs Subway technology, and specifically in relation to the Relief Line. In theory, let’s say the route under both technologies is 100% underground and takes the same route from Don Mills & Eglinton to downtown (the specific route doesn’t matter as in both cases it’s the same). And for the sake of argument let’s assume the radius of the tunnel is constant in both cases — i.e. a tunnel for both is sized large enough for either technology to work.

    Again as an engineer, with a sales background, with a decade of experience in industrial electronics products/automation plus engineering consulting, these types of trade-off comparisons are common. I guess we always skirt the raw/direct comparison based on use cases, but it’s not clear to me the price breakdown and differences of individual components… AND with the amount of custom design that occurs, I don’t think many of us are clear on the low-level specifics. I.e. if Subway is “faster”, isn’t that a matter of a better LRT propulsion system to make them the “same”.

    I want to know what the cost/performance differences are under similar scenarios.

    Are train control systems the same cost under both? capital vs. operating?
    Is one type of track/material more or less expensive? capital vs. operating?
    What is the difference in costs for the power systems? capital vs. operating?
    Lifetime maintenance differences?
    Capital cost of a 3-car subway train vs. 3-car LRT train? I believe LRT is designed for side-impact and overhead power so more $?
    Performance – is acceleration the same under both types?

    Really my intention is to understand the differences in cost for the exact same requirements specification.

    I guess what I’m getting at, is why wouldn’t the Relief Line be designed using LRT technology (assuming overall it’s cheaper) from DM&E to downtown? Couldn’t we design it for larger LRT cars, or longer LRT cars to make it effectively equivalent to subway capacity, but with the added benefit of being able to go “above ground” when needed?

    Steve: LRT can go the same speed as a subway today. Stop spacing, curves and hills are the controlling factors.

    If the line is built completely as subway, it really does not matter what vehicle you run in the tunnel as the “cost of ownership” will be roughly the same. You will have tunnel maintenance, signals, drainage, ventillation, power, stations, lighting, and so on.

    Subway cars are larger than LRVs and because they are designed to run in trains, not as individual units, the cars do not require a full set of onboard equipment duplicated on every car in the train (there are three different types of car in the TR trains, and two in the T1 trains). Because of this, they are cheaper on a unit capacity basis than LRVs. The tradeoff is that you need to have enough demand to justify this type of vehicle and operation.

    Running above ground is only practical if the capacity you will operate (a combination of train length and frequency) are at a level that will fit into an on-street environment. The projected DRL demand is at quite a respectable level for an LRT on private right-of-way, never mind for operation in a central reservation.

    I do not believe that making provision for future expansion of the DRL northward as a Don Mills LRT is a reasonable criterion for engineering what would otherwise be a subway.

    Like

  12. As this is the most active LRT-related thread, I’ll ask my question here:

    On the Crosstown’s track-the-tunneling-machine map, clicking on the route itself shows the following note:

    “This is how far the TBMs have tunnelled. Note that the TBMs actually don’t follow the Eglinton roadway but travels straight on the land north of Eglinton Avenue.”

    Leaving aside the spelling error, poor grammar and apparent location of the tunnel “ON the land”, it was my understanding that the tunnels would, in fact, be directly under Eglinton. Is this north-side alignment just for portions of the route? I’m thinking of the many buildings closer to Yonge St with deep parking garages that might be affected by an alignment described in that note.

    Steve: The section in question is at Caledonia Station where Eglinton veers to the south. The tunnel continues straight east and will meet up with Eglinton Avenue at the east end of the curve.

    Like

  13. Bob Patrick says:

    March 24, 2014 at 11:43 pm
    I know it’s too late to change vehicle orders from Bombardier for LRT but I think Metrolinx and TTC should of ordered the vehicles that are used in Edmonton and Calgary. They both have higher capacity.

    Steve:

    Siemens bid for Toronto cars was 50% higher than Bombardier’s. That’s why they didn’t get the contract. Also, they bid their “Combino Plus” car, not the vehicles used in Calgary and Edmonton.

    They also would not fit around Toronto’s curves., but don’t let annoying facts like the need for high platforms, there goes the curb lane and inability to run on our legacy tracks get in the road of reality. I would doubt the Wikipedia capacity numbers as the SD 160s are 4 metres shorter than Toronto’s cars while essentially the same width. Their system capacity is higher because they operate on an exclusive r.o.w. in long trains.

    Check all the facts before expressing wild ideas.

    Steve: Another point worth noting for all vehicle manufacturers is that they have a bad habit of quoting peak capacities at very high passenger packing densities. Bombardier’s numbers for new Toronto cars are substantially above the TTC’s service planning numbers because Bombardier is talking about crush loads, not day-to-day service.

    Like

  14. Steve said:

    “I do not believe that making provision for future expansion of the DRL northward as a Don Mills LRT is a reasonable criterion for engineering what would otherwise be a subway.”

    Unfortunately Steve the criterion that may be pertinent in this situation is political. Given that Scarborough, and I dare say some of the rest of the city and region will feel that at the end of the day “downtown” forced LRT on them, this may need to be LRT design as well, only to satisfy the screaming in the other ridings. If this should be the case we may have to hold our noses, make a choice that is shortsighted and build LRT now in order to break a log jam.

    I cannot see this being a through LRT regardless, just given that the load south of Eglinton (especially south of Danforth) will be so much higher than up the balance of Don Mills. I would expect DRL load south of Danforth with the Don Mills LRT built to be somewhere in excess of 18-20k. That is a 4 car LRT operating in the 90-120 second headway range. North of Eglinton, depending on line design it would likely be in the 3-10k range, even an express would likely not be over 10k (my swag number). As and when this extends north, depending on design on Don Mills (stop spacing, nature of night priority, guarded crossings etc) this number will grow, but likely not beyond a 3 car every 2 minute service, my swag number might be as high as say 13.5k assuming it was fairly express. {please Steve what is your likely much more informed expectation} You would be turning half the trains at Eglinton anyway if it is built as a through LRT, and running 4 car LRT trains up Don Mills, but you would perhaps end run opposition from Scarborough and area (amongst others) with regards to downtown not needing another subway if they do not have one. The upside of course would be that if Don Mills was built as a express 4 car LRT, with through service downtown, it would attract some reasonable load off Yonge bound buses at Don Mills.

    Given the fact that current projects do not appear to be being approved based on reasonable projections of ridership, and technical merits, but rather political merits, it may require swallowing an LRT where demand projection indicate subway in order to get something built. Also might, if the city supports this, allow other projects that are more appropriate as LRT to go that way.

    There might just be the notion that if it is good enough for downtown maybe it is good enough here too. Yes I believe that the false idea of quality of transit is winning the political argument (not debate) over load based technical appropriateness. The region as a whole, does not appreciate that downtown already has LRT at the low end of the scale. Fixing light priority on Spadina, and making sure St Clair has full light priority its entire length should be TTC and city traffic priorities. The better these work, the easier LRT will be to sell elsewhere.

    Steve: That is a convoluted way of reinforcing the current warped thinking. You in effect say that we should build the DRL as “LRT” just to make Scarborough feel that downtown isn’t getting something special. That makes the future administrations of Toronto (not to mention Queen’s Park) hostage to the blinkered, divisive “planning” foisted on us by the likes of Rob Ford, Karen Stintz and Glenn De Baeremaeker.

    The job of a new administration is to get beyond the Ford era. If we cannot do this by the time that the DRL is actually being built, that’s hardly a “change”. Sorry, but that’s not a path we should follow.

    Like

  15. Steve said:

    I do not believe that making provision for future expansion of the DRL northward as a Don Mills LRT is a reasonable criterion for engineering what would otherwise be a subway.

    In addition, a better use for a through service idea involving the Don Mills LRT would be to turn the Don Mills LRT into a branch of the Crosstown if the DRL is built to Eglinton.

    Like

  16. Yamin Bismilla attached a link to a Metrolinx slide document in which Metrolinx outlines what that agency asserts are the differences between streetcars and light rail transit. In that document, Metrolinx basically says the St. Clair and Spadina-Harbourfront lines are streetcar lines, even though in the same chart they say that streetcars run in the same lanes as cars and LRT runs in its own lane, which St. Clair and Spadina-Harbourfront both do. Seems contradictory.

    Just taking a making a train-set longer and increasing the distance between stops does not seem to justify changing the name of something from “streetcar” to “LRT”. If a rail vehicles runs in a street lane shared with other street vehicles, it is a streetcar. If it rides in a right-of-way/lane that is only for rail vehicles, then it is a light rail transit. If the distances between stops is increased or you pay for fares before getting on, then it should be called “enhanced LRT” or “rapid LRT”. If it has no intersections with streets because it is raised or lowered at streets, then it is “grade-separate LRT” and it is assumed it is enhanced/rapid with fewer stops. I’m not sure why Metrolinx or some Toronto planners feel they are able to define what LRT is. I guess someone should call Portland, Rotterdam, Cologne, Gotheburg (Sweden), Seville, Boston (green-line outside of downtonw), Dallas, and even Calgary, where the downtown portion of their LRT is more or less just like the St. Clair and Spadina lines, and tell them to stop calling their LRT lines LRT and insist they call them streetcars.

    Like

  17. Steve said:

    “That is a convoluted way of reinforcing the current warped thinking. You in effect say that we should build the DRL as “LRT” just to make Scarborough feel that downtown isn’t getting something special. That makes the future administrations of Toronto (not to mention Queen’s Park) hostage to the blinkered, divisive “planning” foisted on us by the likes of Rob Ford, Karen Stintz and Glenn De Baeremaeker.

    The job of a new administration is to get beyond the Ford era. If we cannot do this by the time that the DRL is actually being built, that’s hardly a “change”. Sorry, but that’s not a path we should follow.”

    As a generally rational person who would like to see the right system built, based on load requirements, time, comfort, construction and operating cost: I fully agree with your position. I would only debate one point Steve, and that is: it is rather being a path that “we should not follow”, I am concerned that the political reality may prove it to be a path “we should not have to follow”. The point I am trying to make is that the transit debate – has become an argument, and not even one as valid as the Monty Python skit. Rather it has become a screaming contest, driven by highly empowered 3 year olds, where “not fair” and “I want” and “gimme” (please apply tone of overly tired 3 year old) seem to be taken as valid arguments. There appears to be no empowered adult that is not too exhausted in the room to settle this properly. At this rate we may have nothing for 2 more decades (unless the voter manages to elect government at multiple levels that have something more than an ability to read polls). This while we expend massive resources where they will do little good. If politics can approach rational you are absolutely correct, and I hope that you will prove right.

    When I look at this portfolio for the last couple of decades it is depressing in Toronto. Exhibit 1: Sheppard subway 2: Vaughan Subway, 3: Yonge Extension and 4: Scarborough subway extension. I do not believe that valid engineering, or planning criteria are what drove any of these to subway, but in each case some version of politics ruled the day. Let us not count the billions wasted, or how the excess either spent or promised on these projects would pay for a proper DRL required to support the latter 2.

    I hope your version, that of rationality wins the day this year (both pertinent levels) and we put an end to transit planning for political expediency. Representative democracy should not be about taking polls, but making good decisions, and in that you are right Steve.

    Like

  18. Another example of how the marketing has changed:

    When Kuala Lumpur built their first rail line in the early 1990s it went by the name STAR which stood for “Sistem Transit Aliran Ringan” (literally “System Transit Rail/Route Light” or “Light Rail Transit System”). The line was built by Taylor Woodrow with vehicles from Adtranz.

    Since the government takeover in 2003 it has only been called “LRT” where the “R” refers to “Rapid.”

    Cheers, Moaz

    Like

  19. Malcolm N said:

    I hope your version, that of rationality wins the day this year (both pertinent levels) and we put an end to transit planning for political expediency.

    To that end, let’s hope that tonight’s debate wasn’t a sign of things to come.

    Steve: Even Frances Nunziata would have done a better job of keeping order than Gord Martineau did. Inviting a three minute free-for-all? Hulk Hogan will roll into town next.

    Like

  20. Steve said:

    “Even Frances Nunziata would have done a better job of keeping order than Gord Martineau did. Inviting a three minute free-for-all? Hulk Hogan will roll into town next.”

    Well hopefully, the voter will still find some way of not permitting the issue to be settled as it seems to have been the last couple of decades. We need this to be responsibly adult responsible decision making. Somewhere we seem to have lost the logic of representative democracy- so that someone has the time to reasonably access all available information, and make the best possible decision. Not to figure out what the most people’s knee jerk reaction is.

    Like

  21. LRT’s are great and would be fine in Scarborough around Sheppard and Eglinton in the future. But when the rest of the City of Toronto (Etobicoke, North York, and Metro) have Subways to their “City Centers” its clear we have a problem in this City.

    The issue is not LRT vs. Subways. Its about creating a fair system for all Toronto citizens.

    Steve: I hate to tell you this, but Etobicoke “City Centre” is at Burnhamthorpe and the West Mall, and it is served by two bus routes. The York Civic Centre is on Eglinton west of Keele where it will, eventually, be served by the Eglinton LRT (albeit underground and a bit of a hike away). East York’s City Centre is at Coxwell and Mortimer. Both Toronto and North York happen to be built around the principal street of the city, Yonge, and it’s no surprise that they have rapid transit service nearby.

    “Fair” has nothing to do with it, and I am getting quite tired of this artificial argument for a subway where one is not needed.

    Like

  22. Does the Chicago L qualify as HRT or LRT?

    From Wikipedia

    “All cars are 12 ft (3.66 m) tall (from top of rail) and 48 ft 3 in (14.71 m) long (over coupler pulling faces). They are 9 ft 4 in (2.84 m) wide at the window sills but only 8 ft 8 in (2.64 m) wide at the door sills. Currently, most rail cars operating on the Chicago ‘L’ are DC power only; the 5000-series features AC motors, but the traction power supply continues to use DC.”

    This puts the car size between PCC and CLRV. Actually Chicago’s PCCs were bigger. While all the cars are high platform and run off third rail they do make level crossings with roads on some lines. Some lines also used to use overhead, Skokie Swift being the last one. So why is Chicago HRT but Calgary and Edmonton LRT? It is not car size; is it overhead versus third rail, having a more protected right of way?

    This is an area were there is a large grey area. It is what you want it to be.

    Just think if the TTC had gone with its original plans to run PCC sized cars we would not be having all these problems trying to fit our imaginary lines around tight curves.

    Like

  23. Steve said:

    “I hate to tell you this, but Etobicoke “City Centre” is at Burnhamthorpe and the West Mall, and it is served by two bus routes. The York Civic Centre is on Eglinton west of Keele where it will, eventually, be served by the Eglinton LRT (albeit underground and a bit of a hike away). East York’s City Centre is at Coxwell and Mortimer. Both Toronto and North York happen to be built around the principal street of the city, Yonge, and it’s no surprise that they have rapid transit service nearby.

    “Fair” has nothing to do with it, and I am getting quite tired of this artificial argument for a subway where one is not needed.”

    Also even if we are talking fair, we need to look at the choices made by the previous Scarborough council, those were choices that Scarborough made, and in that they have had kick at the cat, albeit a failed one. Etobicoke and East York, have not had the same kick at the cat.

    North York is the only area that has seen a substantial amount of really high capital expense transit added. Also if you use fair it needs to include something based on transit dollar per rider or some other metric. An LRT for 8k/h riders costs as much as a subway for 25k/h riders on a per rider basis. Why is it fair or make sense to spend 3 times as much per rider in Scarborough or North York as elsewhere? Your fair subway benefit needs to include a portion of the line all the way to where you want to go, {just like when you pay tolls on a toll road}, not only that which goes past your house. Fair is a foolish way of looking at it, however it is worse when people start twisting it to be only narrowly self serving. Is it fair that “downtown” (by itself, old city) built the subway portion that everybody else wants to be connected to and use. (Yonge and Bloor lines to the edges of the old city). How come nobody has built additional subway here in what seems to many like forever (I do not remember any since before 1980), and even that construction was mostly to serve areas to the north. Scarborough RT was built well after this, and now Scarborough gets another shot at it?! Getting as much as downtown has seen since the 1960s in one shot (3 stations)!!

    Like

  24. Steve said:

    Both Toronto and North York happen to be built around the principal street of the city, Yonge, and it’s no surprise that they have rapid transit service nearby.

    Moaz: One might even say that North York did not get a subway to their city centre as much as they got a city centre on their subway.

    Metro Toronto built a subway up to Finch and North York put a city centre there afterwards.

    Anyways … planned “City Centre” neighbourhoods often suffer because people are not interested in giving them the appropriate density that they deserve. Speaking as a resident of Mississauga I don’t think I will ever see the “City Centre” as “downtown” despite the name … “Downtown 21” … and planning efforts.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Like

  25. I see the topic of converting the Sheppard line to accept Flexitys rears its head again. Out of curiosity, what would it take to try it the other way around? What about running T1s as LRT stock, at grade with road crossings?

    The most important issue I can think of is the third rail, but the Sheppard trainset is 92m long, and the Victoria intersection (for instance) is only 40m across; is it possible for the back cars to transmit power to the front cars when crossing intersections?

    For the 1.1m high doors, you could dig troughs, but it would be cheaper just to raise the platforms and put in a ramp.

    The T1s are 50cm wider than Flexitys, so if platforms on the Eglinton Crosstown are 3m wide (based on a rough measurement I made from one of the diagrams), then platforms with T1s could only be 2m wide with split platforms (and I assume they need to be split for turning lanes). Cozy, but just as wide as the portions of the Union platform next to the stairwells.

    You would also need to fit Presto readers in somewhere. The T1s could potentially be retrofitted just as the bus fleet is scheduled to be, but I imagine it would be cheaper and easier just to put Presto readers on the platforms.

    Steve: Third rail operation is not the way to go for this type of operation. It would make more sense to fit out the cars with pantographs, except for clearance problems within the tunnels (the same problem faced by LRVs). The LRT right-of-way is not intended to be secured to the level needed for third rail operation, and this, plus the more complex stations, would substantially add to the cost, the very thing LRT seeks to avoid.

    This idea is a non-starter.

    Like

  26. John Tory was having a “talk” with Metro where there was this comment:

    We’ll have to rebuild the LRT in 35 years, Tory says. Not so with a subway.

    Your response please …

    Steve: John Tory is full of crap, or at least those who advise him are. The subway will need new cars in 30 years, new track in 25-30, replacement of escalators and elevators in 25-30, new ventillation, lighting, etc, in 30-40, tunnel repairs on an ongoing basis to deal with leaks. Many of these have no equivalent for LRT unless we put it underground like the subway.

    This is a favourite comparison that has been used by the likes of Ford and Stintz to downplay LRT while ignoring the fact that if we build on the surface, we avoid huge capital costs for precisely those parts of a subway that must be built to last because they are so hard to replace. Remember all the parts of the existing subway system that are being rebuilt, or which don’t work very well today because they are too old.

    Like

  27. The LRT right-of-way is not intended to be secured to the level needed for third rail operation

    Is that all? Here’s a view of Francisco station in Chicago. You can walk right up to the third rail.

    As far as the cost of “more complex stations”, I can’t imagine a huge difference. You’re already pouring concrete and building a shelter for the other street-level LRT platforms. The only addition would be a rail for the ramp.

    Steve: I never cease to be amazed at how people want to take extreme, out-of-date “solutions”. You would never get open third rail operation approved in today’s safety environment, and there is absolutely no need to run trains of TRs down the middle of Sheppard Avenue.

    Note that this right-of-way is essentially in a back lane, not the middle of a city street. People talk about LRT running down the middle of streets and creating a barrier to traffic and pedestrians. Just imagine what this would do.

    Like

  28. Steve says:

    Thinner cars are not the issue — subway trains are wider than LRVs, and there is no clearance problem in the bored tunnels. The problems lie in the box tunnels which do not have the headroom for pantographs. Yes, we could have cars with mixed third rail and overhead power pickup, but now you are talking about something that is not “off the shelf”.

    There are now different systems to run LRV without overhead wires; one has an underground induction coil and a second has a centre third rail, Lionel Trains, that only turns on when the train is overhead. If the pan can be lowered enough then there would not be the overhead clearance problem in the tunnel. The real problem would be in building it to standard as opposed to TTC gauge. This would require tearing up the base of the tunnel. The alternative would be to build this line to TTC gauge for its entire length. This would mean that there could be no interlining of equipment but Sheppard’s would be unique in any regard. It is too bad that Metrolinx forced a gauge change.

    While the idea of having to take 3 different vehicle to travel on Sheppard is not good, the cost to either convert the line to LRT or to extend the subway are not cost effective.

    Like

  29. Robert Wightman said

    “The real problem would be in building it to standard as opposed to TTC gauge. This would require tearing up the base of the tunnel. The alternative would be to build this line to TTC gauge for its entire length. This would mean that there could be no interlining of equipment but Sheppard’s would be unique in any regard. It is too bad that Metrolinx forced a gauge change.

    While the idea of having to take 3 different vehicle to travel on Sheppard is not good, the cost to either convert the line to LRT or to extend the subway are not cost effective.”

    To add to any cost would also be the issue of having to rework all the platforms etc. I love the idea of a clear shot, however, this would be hard to do now on Sheppard. Also I wonder how much traffic would actually cross Yonge (hopefully a cross-platform transfer), and therefore would be subject to the multiple changes.

    The East LRT will also feed an office area east of the DVP/404, and eventually a Don Mills LRT, as well as to the NYCC and the Yonge subway.

    Like

  30. As a counterpoint/other interpretation of the John Tory METRO interview described by WK Lis above & Steve, I wonder if his 35 year comment was moreso that the Scarb LRT will need to be replaced (maybe Read as: UPGRADED) in 35 years as it will “exceed capacity”.

    I just find it so hard to believe that he could be that stupid on something so simple. He’s a politician but has had a successful business career overall and must have learned something as chair of Civic Action ?!?!

    NOT an endorsement, but different interpretation.

    Steve: No, I don’t buy that generous way of looking at Tory’s comment. He is simply parroting the line about “short lived” LRT without any context. The fact he said it at all tells me that his days at Civic Action were for show, not substance.

    Like

  31. Steve said:

    “No, I don’t buy that generous way of looking at Tory’s comment. He is simply parroting the line about “short lived” LRT without any context. The fact he said it at all tells me that his days at Civic Action were for show, not substance.”

    I suspect the lesson he learned was more from his experience running for premier. Made proposal to have funding follow kids based on parent choice, and found himself defending funding religious schools. I think this is a case of a politician keeping what he thinks to himself, and going along with the bosses (voter) knee jerk reactions. The wind in the media and local politics is blowing rather strongly one way. There are not a lot of single issue anti subway voters, however, I suspect there are a fair number of single issue pro subway voters. Therefore he is following the votes (we don’t really choose leaders, as we won’t vote for people who tell us things we do not want to hear).

    Steve: It is possible to defend the subway option without resorting to outright lies. You can tell the voters “what they want to hear” without implying that the contrary view’s proponents are trying to sell an inferior product. My opinion of Tory dropped several notches thanks to this remark.

    Like

  32. I apologize for the dumb question….. BUT

    With our discussion about about putting LRT platforms at same level as subway at Kennedy, one of our concerns was a turnaround needed for the LRT. In reading other comments, it sounds like YUS subway short turns (at St Clair & other stations) by using a pocket track & crossover, which to me implies that subways can operate in both directions without actually turning around?

    Whereas the argument we discussed above about XT-LRT implies that the X-T will only be able to run in one direction and there fore you need a loop (like we have for streetcars) to turn them around?

    Am i correct or do I have it wrong about the subway and/or LRT?

    Thanks Steve

    Steve: I apologize for the reply in advance, but asking a question like this tells readers that you don’t know very much about how the existing system works. This undermines proposals you might make.

    Of course subways can operate in both directions and have always done this. There is a handful of lines in the world that have loops and these are local oddities. Bowdoin Loop on Boston’s Blue Line is a remnant of the day when this was a streetcar subway.

    LRT cars are just subway cars dressed up in a different carbody, and they two can operate bidirectionally provided that they have cabs at both ends of the car. The Metrolinx cars will be double-ended, while the TTC cars will not because they don’t need this ability (and the extra cost and lost space this brings).

    The Scarborough LRT was proposed to loop at Kennedy (a) because the land is available for a big loop north of the station underground, and (b) this would simplify the platform layout. At the north end of the line, the trains would reverse through a crossover.

    Like

  33. One of the main arguments against fully grade separated LRT to replace and extend the SRT is that the stations are often very cold. The installation of suicide/accident/mischief/etc barriers can remedy that problem.

    From Toronto Star (early 2010):

    “The TTC wants to install suicide barriers on its subway platforms, possibly within three or four years at some stations.”

    “The first phase, from Eglinton to Union, won’t be complete until 2013, and it will be 2015 before it is installed all the way to Downsview.”

    “As well as suicide and accident prevention, the barriers would permit trains to move faster, stop people from jamming the doors and keep garbage from falling to the tracks, where it sometimes catches fire and causes delays.”

    Does anyone know what happened to the plans for these barriers and when they will be installed? They can help people keep safe and reduce delays and also help people keep warm.

    Steve: Actually, the suicide barriers, as and when they are installed, will probably not close off the platforms completely. They may block wind to some extent depending on their design, but the platforms still won’t be heated.

    The project to install barriers has been removed from the TTC’s Capital Budget and no longer contributes almost $1-billion to the “repair backlog” that is so often cited. Even if this proceeds, it will likely be only at the busiest stations for which most of the Scarborough LRT does not qualify.

    Like

  34. @Rick Yorgason:

    Is that all? Here’s a view of Francisco station in Chicago. You can walk right up to the third rail.

    As far as the cost of “more complex stations”, I can’t imagine a huge difference. You’re already pouring concrete and building a shelter for the other street-level LRT platforms. The only addition would be a rail for the ramp.

    Love the Google visual (and can’t believe that something like that was ever built), but have to say, you’re wrong about this, and need to read about about light rail.

    Like

  35. Love the Google visual (and can’t believe that something like that was ever built), but have to say, you’re wrong about this, and need to read about about light rail.

    Wrong about what, exactly? Are you just trying to convince me that LRVs are a good idea? If so, you’re wasting your breath; I already think they’re a great technology, and I think the Sheppard line should have been built around LRVs from the start. (Well, not exactly “from the start”; there were definitely other projects that should have been built instead at the time.)

    The question I’m asking is whether there’s a way to better integrate with the existing Sheppard line. The obvious benefit to this is getting rid of that pesky Don Mills transfer, but it would mean no lengthy construction at Don Mills station, and we could avoid buying new vehicles, because so long as Lines 1 and 2 need higher-capacity trains, there’s going to be lots of hand-me-down trains we can dedicate to the Sheppard line for a long, long time.

    Steve raised the point that open third rail would never be permitted under today’s safety environment, which is a valid concern, although certainly not set in stone, since the Skokie line, another line in Chicago with grade crossings, actually installed new third rails and discontinued operation of the overhead catenary only ten years ago. Here’s one grade crossing on the Skokkie line, which is certainly no “back alley”.

    Another option to address the safety concerns is using a system similar to APS, where the trains send out a radio signal to only turn on the rail segments near them.

    As far as I see it, using T1s and grade crossings on the Sheppard line has the following pros and cons:

    Pros:
    * No redevelopment necessary to raise one of the track beds and the ceiling at Don Mills station in order to accept a low-floor vehicle.
    * No transfer necessary at Don Mills station.
    * Uses existing fleet.
    * Higher capacity/roomier vehicles.

    Cons:
    * Narrower outdoor shelters.
    * Elevated shelters slightly more expensive to build than Eglinton shelters; still an order of magnitude cheaper than underground stations.
    * Requires some sort of protection for jay walkers. Probably either a raised median, or an APS-like system to depower the third rail.

    Like

  36. I find last comments quite interesting. My wife has bought for me about 20 years ago a cassette (those were the times) of Swiss vehicles – one shot caught my eye and it goes on as follows. Rail vehicle powered by third rail arrives at a bottom of a hill , slows down and suddenly you can hear a “click” as the vehicle attaches itself to a rack. Then it proceeds slowly thru a short tunnel and after having exited that tunnel it raises its pantograph, bends third-rail collector arms and continues happily uphill. My argument: Transpo-world is beautiful, diverse and at times absurd and bizarre – all of that makes the subject always interesting,suprising and forever evolving. Therefore we could have “new subway” vehicles powered by third rail during their rides in the tunnel,whereas they would be powered by their pantographs during their journey at a street level.

    Steve: Yes, that is possible with the proviso that the overhead power collection system must fit within the tunnel even when it is in the retracted position, and with the proviso that station and vehicle design be compatible between the two sections of the line. When one sets out to do this before building anything, these conditions can easily be incorporated. When one is attempting to fit subway cars onto a surface street right-of-way, or LRVs into a subway whose stations and tunnels were not built for them, it is a completely different matter. Examples various writers here have cited were purpose built for the structures and cars, not an attempt to justify through routing a technology in an environment where it was not intended to run.

    Like

  37. Steve said:

    “It is possible to defend the subway option without resorting to outright lies. You can tell the voters “what they want to hear” without implying that the contrary view’s proponents are trying to sell an inferior product. My opinion of Tory dropped several notches thanks to this remark.”

    I would agree, however, in the world of current politics it seems to be a more effective tactic. It appears that he is either badly misinformed or he is pursuing election victory with little regard to the implementation reality of the issues, as opposed to political reality.

    Having said that, you are still right drop him several notches. If a politician really wants to serve the city, it needs to start with *leading*, putting forth the best ideas, and helping people to see why they work. If required improve on what is on the table, say what portions you do not think will work.

    Otherwise we get consensus on a plain bad idea, where the city paints itself into a corner on pure misinformation, and the real issues that need to be addressed are not.

    I would hope that this electoral cycle, people will look for and find a politician that will tell them what they do not want to hear, realize they are saying it despite the fact that it is not what they want to hear, and make a choice for leadership, not expediency. This is ultimately a choice the voters has to make, truth and leadership, which means some bad news, or divisision and the politics of “what ___ deserves”, and what people by knee jerk want to hear.

    Like

  38. Rick Yorgason said: Steve raised the point that open third rail would never be permitted under today’s safety environment, which is a valid concern, although certainly not set in stone, since the Skokie line, another line in Chicago with grade crossings, actually installed new third rails and discontinued operation of the overhead catenary only ten years ago. Here’s one grade crossing on the Skokkie line, which is certainly no “back alley”.”

    Couple of basic questions,

    1. Has this been implemented at an intersection like Sheppard and Vic Park (next one down the way). While the intersection you showed was no back alley it is not 7 lanes including turn lanes either.

    2. Is not the 3rd rail much more expensive to implement?

    What are the projections of through traffic to justify this type of construction?

    In your mind is this a question of giving a little to bad design, in order to avoid losing the war with regards to stupid construction of entire subway?

    Why is a cross platform transfer such an issue? I have to get up and walk across a platform and wait 2-3 minutes? I think it would be better to say Don Mills, and hope that the DMRL and Don Mills LRT are built soon. People who are core bound will then make a transfer regardless, those going to NYCC will transfer one way, core bound hopefully will go the other (same number of transfer to core).

    Like

  39. All this arguing over high floor, low floor and other technical things isn’t very useful and ultimately confusing.

    I think it would be more useful to have something akin to a Pournelle chart where you could place different implementations according to speed and capacity. It would make it easier to visualize in my opinion.

    Steve: Although I am not sure things could be reduced to two dimensions.

    Like

Comments are closed.