Four Generations of Streetcars for Easter (Updated)

The TTC has announced that one of the new streetcars will be in the Beaches Easter Parade along with the Peter Witt, a PCC and a CLRV.

The parade sets off at 2:00 pm westward from Munro Park [no, not mine] westward to Woodbine.

Updated with photos on April 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

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LFLRV 4402, CLRV 4186, PCC 4549 and Peter Witt 2766 at Russell Yard before the parade.

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At Russell Yard.  After the last service car ran through to Neville Loop, the four streetcars set off behind it to the staging area for the parade.

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4402 comes down the hill toward Neville Park Boulevard.

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The rare assembly of four generations sits in the loop (well, mostly in the loop) waiting for the signal to move into position.

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Leaving the loop and out onto Queen Street.

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The start of the parade marshalling area.  4549 heads up the line westbound at Scarborough Road (which is not in Scarborough, but in the old City of Toronto).

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The TTC had pride of place at the front of the parade right behind the Lions Club banner. Westbound approaching Balsam Avenue.

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And, yes, I know there will be folks who want this shot without the banner.

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The fire hall east of Woodbine Avenue is a Beach landmark.

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38 thoughts on “Four Generations of Streetcars for Easter (Updated)

  1. “Munro Park [no, not mine]”

    Could it be named after one of your ancestors? Are you related to Canadian Nobel Laureate Alice Munro? Are we going to be allowed to ride the new streetcar during the parade?

    Steve: “Munro” is a common name in Ontario because of all the Scots here. As for Alice Munro, she has that name by marriage, and no she is not related. (I am, however, distantly related by marriage to the Ashbridge family, but have no claim on the bay, the house or the sewage treatment plant.) I believe that the answer to your last question is “no” — it’s a parade, not a shuttle service like the PCC on Kingston Road.

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  2. Get it it TTC. Promote yourselves. Operate the PCC and the new streeetcar all day along the route using a day pass for rides.

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  3. Will never forgive the TTC for selling the PCC fleet to Kenosha, Wisconsin (among other places). But this is nice.

    Just don’t tell the deficient child running the city to attend. Ignorance not wanted.

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  4. Steve: “Munro” is a common name in Ontario because of all the Scots here.

    As someone from Scotland, I hope that you can understand the plight of us Scarborrowers. They have been building first class subways in England for the last 300 years (England boasts the the world’s oldest subway system and until recently the largest) while Scotland gets dumped with third class LRT. If Scotland had been given the subways they deserved and England had not been given more than their fair share of subways, then it would not have come to a referendum. Now, unless Scarborough gets the subways we deserve and Downtown STOPs getting anymore subways (no Downtown Relief Lines please); then we want a referendum in Scarborough too. It’s unfortunate that Downtowners have resorted to name calling like Scarberians (which is offensive to us Scarborrowers) – it’s like calling a Scottisch person a Scott or a Pakistanian person (a Paki) [Geroge W. Bush said the latter and was forced to apologise] – similarly, we demand an apology from Downtowners for calling us demeaning names like Scarberia and Scarlem (named after the crime-ridden, drug-infested New York neighbourhood of Harlem (a neighbourhood so foul that it is offensive to be even compared to)).

    Steve: Please note that this downtowner always uses the full name for Scarborough except when in response to a derogatory comment from someone claiming to speak for all of the lands to the east of Victoria Park. Indeed, some Scarborough residents (at least they claim to be residents) use these terms themselves. I await the invasion by massed pipers sweeping west across Victoria Park, through the uber-trendy Beach, across the Don and into the heart of the City. Can you take Rob Ford with you when you leave?

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  5. True Patriotic Scarborrower:

    They have been building first class subways in England for the last 300 years (England boasts the the world’s oldest subway system and until recently the largest) while Scotland gets dumped with third class LRT.

    This is satire, right? What about the “Clockwork Orange” in Glasgow?

    Steve: Yes, in case anyone missed the point, that was satire.

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  6. Steve said:

    “Can you take Rob Ford with you when you leave?”

    Steve I thought he was a deportee from Etobicoke. Besides, would that not still leave him within the confines of Toronto? Would you not prefer the subway (GO?) riders of Markham to take him?

    Steve: If the Scarborough takes to invading Toronto, there will probably be a high wall, a moat and a few dragons at Victoria Park, and the “T” word will not be spoken in those lands to the east.

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  7. Wonder when will the first streetcar wrap advertisement envelop any of the new streetcars, after they arrive? Link for current examples.

    Maybe they could wrap all four generations of streetcars? Wonder if Deco Labels makes them?

    Groan, what we have to do because of the insufficient funding the TTC gets.

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  8. W. K. Lis says:
    April 12, 2014 at 8:17 am

    “Wonder when will the first streetcar wrap advertisement envelop any of the new streetcars, after they arrive? Link for current examples.

    “Maybe they could wrap all four generations of streetcars? Wonder if Deco Labels makes them?”

    If they did it would be a large bull’s eye, a target for more attacks by the Ford Freres.

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  9. It just crossed my mind that the numbers assigned to the new fleet will meet with the numbers of the two remaining PCCs. Will the TTC simply skip over those two?

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  10. It was the PCC first, Peter Witt second, a CLRV next and Car 4402 finishing the set. They were pretty much at the front of the parade.

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  11. I found it ironic that the new streetcars were featured in the parade, yet we won’t see them in regular service on Queen Street for god knows when.

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  12. These parades are hugely disruptive to normal TTC users. There seem to be far too many road closures for some special event or another in this city, and it really adds to Toronto’s already terrible traffic problems.

    Steve: No chocolate Easter eggs for you!

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, some of the problems for transit users arise from poor event management. For example, today with all of the Queen Street traffic diverted up Kingston Road, there was congestion at the intersection and the track leading to Woodbine Loop. Was anyone directing traffic to ensure transit vehicles got through this quickly, including pushing through the heavier than normal pedestrian traffic? No. Nobody from TTC or the Police seemed to even think this might be a worthwhile effort.

    A fundamental problem with these shutdowns is that there is no decision to say “transit first” and organize things accordingly. As a result, transit is even worse than usual and this reinforces the idea that people should drive.

    Even though the Queen line was shorter than usual with the Woodbine turnback, cars were running in packs of three and four with wide gaps in between. The TTC’s claim about a focus on “customer service” wears rather thin at times like this.

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  13. I thought the LFLRV red was supposed to be darker than the CLRV red, but they seem to be about the same brightness from the photos (pinkish-orangish red).

    Steve: Yes, that certainly seems to be the case. They look darker because of the red rather than white roof, but it’s the same colour. Yet another disappointment of ignored suggestions from the design review panel I sat on — we were not even given the decency of being told we were ignored. I put this down to the Giambrone/Stintz handover and Ford’s attempt to sandbag the streetcar order. Paint was the least of their worries.

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  14. I can just imagine the response from a certain mayoralty candidate, at the sight of people photographing the new streetcar: “Lots of people taking selfies of themselves.”

    As a transit user, I find the streetcars better than buses anytime. However, it when a non-transit user is in charge of the TTC or public transit decisions, that I worry.

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  15. With regards to the headway issue, has there been any further discussion of something that would ensure that the drivers are fully aware of where they are on the route with regards to the car(s) ahead and behind them.

    Transit priority and line management seem like issues, that should be addressed quickly, as the new bus and streetcars come into place. They would low visibility issues (except to the riders), but hopefully could have a substantial impact. Steve is there an existing system that the TTC could buy for streetcar and bus headway management. I know courier and trucking firms actively track their fleets using GPS based software, is there anything close for transit (off the shelf).

    Steve: There had been talk in the past of a display showing operators how their route and vehicle were operating, although in today’s climate of limited driver distractions, it will be argued that this should not be relied on for moment-to-moment information. Whether something like this will be incorporated in the new CIS, I don’t know.

    I am not sure whether existing systems (and the TTC claims that it will look at off the shelf solutions, not just an in-house concoction) will do everything, especially they will not “fix” the question of “TTC culture”. That is a problem onto itself. Line management that is overwhelmingly concerned with keeping operators on time. Short turns that work against the benefit of travelling passengers. The lack of real-time management of merging services. The lack of effort to prevent and break up parades of two or three buses or streetcars.

    When an organization thinks that by making headways wider, service will magically improve, and uses this as an excuse to sit on its hands in anticipation of larger buses and streetcars, something is desperately wrong.

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  16. Forget about new technology going to fix problems. Get a human. Put a “starter” at every subway station and don’t allow any vehicle to leave until that person says “Go!” Also, put another Starter at a key transfer point long the route to adjust things.

    Simple. These could be entry level supervisory non-union positions paid at an appropriate rate of pay (well below $30+). Reassign people from office positions that are supposed to be handling service issues to fill these Starter jobs. Jobs might also be available as “light duty” for Operators and other staff. Find efficiencies elsewhere if funding is not available. Worse comes to worse reduce the number of Operator’s positions on each route.

    I’ll bet with better management of the vehicles service will still improve with one less bus/car on the street. Often the operators are the cause of service problems such as “soaking” by running “sharp” (ahead of time) and other nonsense including travelling in packs (afraid to be lonely?). Two or more buses going through an intersection at transfer points is beyond annoying. This practice needs to be eliminated.

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  17. Steve said:

    “When an organization thinks that by making headways wider, service will magically improve, and uses this as an excuse to sit on its hands in anticipation of larger buses and streetcars, something is desperately wrong.”

    I would think that this would make the issue of headway management more important. Headway being uneven with larger chunks of capacity running through at wider spacing would make the gaps larger where it spaces, and waste a larger availability where it gets too close to the vehicle in front. My basic understanding of statistics and normal behaviour would make me think that a larger fleet of smaller vehicles would be better in terms of creating closer to normal service, as doubling or halving headway would be less important at 120 second standard intervals than 240 second standard intervals.

    Steve: Two cars every 20 minutes is not the same as one car every 10 minutes. For a few decades we have seen on 501 Queen what happens when you run larger cars: the gaps are simply bigger than before because the underlying problem is that the line is not managed to space out service. Your statistical reference presumes random behaviour, but that’s not what we have here.

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  18. I’ve noticed over the last three weeks that operators have been crawling through special track sections throughout the city. Do you have any idea why this order has been implemented? It’s absolutely ridiculous to watch the 510 and 501 cars crawl through at Spadina and Queen and Spadina and College; it’s led to a few bunched up cars since they can’t clear the intersections.

    Steve: The TTC has recently instituted slow orders everywhere even on brand new special work, and is actively monitoring operators who speed through these areas. The story is as usual “safety” which for the TTC has become a buzzword for “we can’t be bothered to fix it, so we’ll just cock up the system in the name of making it safer”. I am really getting tired of this because it shows an organization that would rather blindly invoke a mantra that deal with issues of bad track (or whatever) where they exist. Remember that the full stop at a facing switch was a response three decades ago to problems with the “new” electronics introduced with the ALRVs. Very, very disappointing.

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  19. Thanks, Steve for your great pictures of the four generations of streetcars.

    Was the Peter Witt car moving under its own power? (I’d somehow formed the impression that it needed to be towed.) And yes, I can remember riding Witt cars when they were in regular service.

    Steve: Yes, definitely under its own power.

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  20. Steve said:

    “Your statistical reference presumes random behaviour, but that’s not what we have here.”

    Even if it was random behaviour, larger vehicles at a wider spacing would be worse. However, what you seem to be saying is that there is a systematic variance in the spacing that implies some cumulating cause, or even action being taken that creates it. I can see a “natural” cumulating cause from the car facing a wide spacing slowing more while the following car would run faster. This would result normally in convoys over time if nothing was done at ends to eliminate it? Is this what is happening? and Is nothing being done to hold the spacing even at the terminus? I fully agree that convoys are both bad for the service, and bad for effective capacity utilisation.

    To me the fewer the vehicles, the more likely this would be to creep in over a single run (assuming good management at the terminus points), let alone over several. How can the TTC argue that larger more widely spaced vehicles will be less subject to this effect? One would naturally expect they would be more of an issue with larger cars even assuming random behaviour!.

    Steve: There are two problems. First is the one you mention that any unevenness in the headways will trigger bunching because the car in a gap will run slower than one closely following it. This is compounded by vehicles leaving terminals on uneven headways, in the worst cases in convoys or at least pairs. Another problem is that when cars are short turned, little effort is made to ensure that the car comes out to “split” the headway between two through cars. It is not unusual for a short turn to come out right behind a through car and do little work to relieve crowding.

    These are not random events, but a direct result of operator behaviour for which no management action is taken.

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  21. Hi Steve,

    Thanks so much for the prompt response about the newly implemented slow orders for special track work.

    It is kind of funny how back on March 28th you mentioned Chris Upfold had confirmed that “a big overhaul” is planned to start this summer. One has to question whether the top ranks such as Chris Upfold or Andy Byford have any grasp on what is going on on the street level when it comes to streetcar operations. It’s starting to look like the infrastructure will once again be ignored once the “brand new shiny LRVs” begin service.

    It is just infuriating at times to think about the TTC getting new vehicles and modernizing/upgrading the overhead wires yet they are so reluctant (squandering the opportunity) to actually fix with the problem of switches. I do hope you continue your effort in prodding the TTC about their dismal effort on upgrading streetcar infrastructure and trying to turn the tide on their ever growing slow orders. One can only dream of a day when streetcars can return to coasting through special track work.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

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  22. Raymond Kennedy said:

    “I’ll bet with better management of the vehicles service will still improve with one less bus/car on the street. Often the operators are the cause of service problems such as “soaking” by running “sharp” (ahead of time) and other nonsense including travelling in packs (afraid to be lonely?). Two or more buses going through an intersection at transfer points is beyond annoying. This practice needs to be eliminated.”

    Steve said:

    “The TTC has recently instituted slow orders everywhere even on brand new special work, and is actively monitoring operators who speed through these areas. The story is as usual “safety” which for the TTC has become a buzzword for “we can’t be bothered to fix it, so we’ll just cock up the system in the name of making it safer”. I am really getting tired of this because it shows an organization that would rather blindly invoke a mantra that deal with issues of bad track (or whatever) where they exist.”

    Moaz had a comment on a previous thread to the effect of – to the most important improvements to transit are the ones we do not really see.

    I suspect these would be some prime examples of his point. The absence of good management practices is certainly noticeable. Bringing in good management culture would lead to a notable improvements that were not really visible without actually riding the system.

    I think Steve’s point in previous threads is telling, they operate (measure) to schedule not headway, the allowance they give makes achieving “average” on time is close enough. The culture and measurements used need to change in order to serve the interests of the rider, so actively pursued management targets align better with rider interest.

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  23. Streetcars are great. A Downtown Relief Line (DRL) will also help streetcar shortage since if it is built through King for example, then the King streetcars can be moved to other routes to address the streetcar shortage on other routes. A surface service would still be required on the DRL route but a much reduced demand will no longer justify streetcars (and certainly not the new high capacity ones) and a low frequency bus service will suffice.

    Steve: Don’t hold your breath. The King car serves a variety of areas, not just a few where a DRL might bleed off traffic. Moreover, we are at least a decade from seeing anything actually built, and that will do nothing for the shortage of streetcars today.

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  24. The photos are great, Steve!

    Some questions:

    Was the PCC car given the place of honour in the parade to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the transit museum?
    Is CLRV the most recently painted CLRV?
    Is there any way of getting as delivered route and destination roll signs for the PCC cars?

    Steve: I suspect the PCC was first in case the Witt ran away and needed to hit something. The CLRV certainly looked fairly recently painted, but there were others of comparable “brilliance” nearby in the yard. The TTC is getting proper roll signs for the PCCs from the museum.

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  25. I made a 3-minute mp4 video of it if you want it (or if your site can handle it).

    Steve: I prefer that people place videos on YouTube rather than eating bandwidth on my system.

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  26. I recall hearing from a reliable source that the Witt car is not allowed on the street without a lead and tail car to contain it in case of brake failure. This is because it has no redundant emergency brakes. It’s supposed to be an insurance issue. Better safe than sorry because it would be a terrible loss to end up with the Witt in a wreck.

    Years ago, at the end of a TTS charter, a Witt-qualified operator was available at Russell and took it for a quick jaunt to Woodbine Loop and back so we could take more photos. I don’t know if this was before the restrictive policy came into effect but I’m told certain staff got in hot water over the brief outing. (At least I got a great photo out of it.)

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  27. Steve: “The King car serves a variety of areas, not just a few where a DRL might bleed off traffic. Moreover, we are at least a decade from seeing anything actually built, and that will do nothing for the shortage of streetcars today.” Those other areas off of king can be served by buses as well as there is no question that there will be a dramatic reduction in demand due to the Downtown Relief Line / DRL (if built through King). You can’t have everything everywhere you want – a subway as well as high capacity streetcars on the same routes. The streetcar shortage will still exist if the DRL is ever built as that will suck up almost all the new transit construction money in Toronto for at least a decade and possibly for 30 or 40 years in debt and interest. Frequent GO Transit relief services can be implemented in less than 5 years and FOR ONLY A VERY SMALL FRACTION OF THE COST OF A SUBWAY leaving aside enough money to save the streetcar fleet which is actually extremely useful on high demand routes like Queen, King, College, Bathurst, Spadina, and St Clair (except that King will no longer be a high demand surface route if a subway were built underneath it). A Downtown Relief Line will be used by drivers to get rid of at least some streetcar line/s to be replaced by an infrequent bus service and it makes sense too demand-wise even though I love streetcars myself. Of course, no streetcar lines should be removed until a DRL is actually operational although some streetcars line/s might die early as construction of the subway will not let them operate without at least twenty different detours on a single route (twenty may be an exaggeration). If a DRL is built on King, then the King streetcar service will have to be replaced by buses during construction and I think that that will be the end of that line. As to the name of the DRL line, it might as well be called King Streecar Memorial Line (KSML) and that will boost support for the DRL not just from drivers but also from suburbanites as the word Downtown will be left off of the name.

    Steve: I am not even going to bother editing this comment. As I said before, the DRL is at least a decade away, and the current shortage of streetcars won’t be addressed by it. Who says that “I” want both a subway and streetcar on King? As I have often written, I believe the line should go further south along Front and Wellington, jogging down to the rail corridor at Spadina. The western DRL “competing” for riders in Liberty Village and Parkdale is even further off than the eastern leg which does not really serve the same area as the King car anyhow.

    You are completely off base, and I don’t intend to continue this conversation.

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  28. It looks like the parade was nice. Unfortunately I’ve never been to one since I somehow always end up working the Easter weekend. I didn’t realize the red on the LFLRV was supposed to be darker than the one used on the current streetcars. Frankly, the paint colour is probably one of the only things that could be changed easily without any re-engineering at any time during car production up in Thunder Bay, so they should go ahead with the colour that was recommended since there is no reason at all not to. Also, the fleet numbers used on the red areas should be changed from black to white. Again, no reason not to. When the new streetcars and subway trains cost millions of dollars apiece, it’s sad how clear the TTC and Bombardier’s “don’t care” attitude is about making sure they’re done right.

    Does anybody remember the TTC’s 80th Anniversary parade? I shot slides of it but they’re filed away and my scanner still isn’t set up again after moving so I can’t post pictures easily, but 327 from Halton County Radial Railway led the parade, followed by 2766, followed by one of the PCC cars. This was before the TTC gave 2766 it’s heavy restoration too. Using a single truck wooden open car with handbrakes that belongs to someone else as the crash buffer car in front of the (at the time) unrestored Peter Witt was an interesting choice. It’s strange how over the years as more restoration work got done on that Peter Witt, the more the TTC claims it’s a rolling disaster waiting to happen vs. before it got restored and were perfectly willing to let it operate behind a tiny wooden handbrake car.

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  29. Thomas said:

    “Those other areas off of king can be served by buses as well as there is no question that there will be a dramatic reduction in demand due to the Downtown Relief Line / DRL (if built through King).”

    Steve said:

    “As I have often written, I believe the line should go further south along Front and Wellington, jogging down to the rail corridor at Spadina.”

    Actually an untended side effect of a subway on Pape and Wellington / Front will be the reduction in demand on Broadview and King. If the demand falls to a level that can be easily met by buses, then the streetcars on those routes may have to be moved somewhere else. A solution to this problem is to move the DRL further east to Victoria Park. That would save the Broadview streetcar although a King one will still be in doubt if the subway were built under or anywhere near King. Moving the DRL to Queens Quay will save the King streetcar line but will kill the Queens Quay line. The bottom line is that something will have to be given to get something else; making small sacrifices to achieve something greater.

    Steve: I beg to differ. The demand on Broadview originates from buses feeding into Broadview Station from the north and from local traffic at all of the stops south on Broadview. The DRL will not go anywhere near Queens Quay because it must stay north of the rail corridor. You are concocting a false scenario to support the Victoria Park DRL alignment. Nice try, but no brass ring for you.

    Thomas:

    “Frequent GO Transit relief services can be implemented in less than 5 years and FOR ONLY A VERY SMALL FRACTION OF THE COST OF A SUBWAY leaving aside enough money to save the streetcar fleet”

    GO Transit based DRL might indeed be built much sooner and for a fraction of the cost and might safeguard the future of the streetcars but you have got to build what the people want and people want subways, subways, subways whether in Scarborough, Richmond Hill, or in Downtown. That subways will provide a better return on investment is doubtful but that is what the people want.

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  30. If they’re worrying about the Witt losing its brakes and needing another vehicle to stop it, wouldn’t it be less risky to put the CLRV in front? Losing the Witt due to brake failure would be bad enough, but it would be worse if it had to take a PCC with it.

    Steve: Yes, but a CLRV isn’t very impressive at the head of a parade.

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  31. Chris biden said:

    “Actually an untended side effect of a subway on Pape and Wellington / Front will be the reduction in demand on Broadview and King. If the demand falls to a level that can be easily met by buses, then the streetcars on those routes may have to be moved somewhere else. A solution to this problem is to move the DRL further east to Victoria Park.”

    I would be willing to bet that one of the things that will (and possibly is) slowing growth/redevelopment in the shoulder areas is the fact that much of the transit service is irregular and overcrowded. Moderate continued intensification east of the core (east shoulder area) is desirable but requires transit capacity to support it. Here is hoping that a DRL would relieve the King car to some degree, so that it will permit improved service. Otherwise, the fleet of new cars will not be enough to support ridership growth soon enough. With reasonable growth in the area east of the core, King could lose a large number of riders without threatening the streetcar service.

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  32. Steve: was riding the break cars in the Beach today, very senior operator was talking PCC/Witt as he is one of the three guys trained on them, he was mentioning that the BS doubling or tripling of Charter rates was due to “a select number of old guys, with 1970’s attitudes” at the TTC who raised the rates because they want both the PCC’s and Witt gone forever. These particular TTC guys figure if they keep raising the charter rates until nobody can afford it, then the argument will be no one is using them so let’s get rid of them. Any truth to this? Seems like it could be true as you yourself have mentioned before that there are still some ‘old-time’ attitudes at the TTC. Why would they care though? It’s only three cars, surely they do not take up that much space?

    Steve: What is quite annoying about the way the charter rates are calculated is that the TTC says “it costs us $X to run the old cars per year, and divided by the number of hours we expect to operate, the cost per hour is $Y”. Never mind that the TTC gets all sorts of good will out of those cars and should be paying the cost of maintaining them as part of its own PR campaigns with charters only being billed for the marginal cost of actually operating the vehicles.

    Those charter rates were a product of the Ford/Stintz board who were looking for any way to cut out the “gravy”, and management were only too happy to find ways. Of course the higher rates drove away business, and so almost all of the cost of running the old cars falls to the TTC anyhow. Sadly, this sort of analysis finds its way into some arguments about service cutbacks too.

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  33. Also, the fleet numbers used on the red areas should be changed from black to white. Again, no reason not to.

    Good news. The numbers above the front sign of the freshly commissioned 4403 are white.

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