4405 Arrives On Spadina

Car 4405 made its revenue service debut today, March 2, 2015, on route 510 Spadina joining 4400, 4403 and 4404 already on that line. (4401 and 4402 are prototypes that have yet to be retrofitted for public service.)

I together with all the riders who yearn for improved capacity on the streetcar system look forward to the day that each new car’s delivery is not cause for its own article.

Car 4405 loads northbound at Baldwin Street.


Northbound at College Street. The slow order signs for the intersection are due to its delicate condition. The special work will be replaced in April 2015.


Cars 4403 (northbound) and 4404 (southbound) at Willcocks Street.


28 thoughts on “4405 Arrives On Spadina

  1. Steve I really hope to see an article sometime in May (hopefully early) announcing the completion of the Spadina conversion.

    Is the TTC making a point of making sure they run a couple of CLRVs then a new car, not running the new cars back to back?

    Steve: There will not be enough cars to convert Spadina by early May, and in any event the line will be closed for reconstruction at College and at Spadina Station Loop from the start of April to mid-May.

    As for new cars being spaced apart, it’s pot luck. I have seen to of them running back-to-back, and even when all four of them were on the line earlier today (Mar 2), they were not evenly spaced. Don’t forget that it is the operator’s schedule that drives dispatching and short turns, not a desire for uniform accessibility.


  2. Hey Steve I’m just curious with the higher capacity these cars have, I’m wondering what you would do differently to make the streetcar routes more efficient? Maybe spliiting routes and maybe even creating different routes? I know the streetcar system needs work so now with the slow rollout of new cars maybe it’s time to make the changes needed.

    Steve: There are only two changes I would make. First would be to split Queen off from Long Branch as discussed many times here before. The “507” would have peak trippers to downtown (or possibly simply supplementary service on “508”), but the main service would be to Dundas West Station.

    Second would be to consolidate the downtown destinations of the Kingston Road cars so that they either all went to McCaul or all to York and Wellington. When these routes both had very frequent service decades ago, two branches made sense, but now, especially with missing runs and short turns, a single route is what should be operate.

    These changes are completely independent of the fleet changes, although finally getting more cars will eliminate the TTC’s objection on Long Branch that they don’t have enough equipment, among other excuses.


  3. Steve, do you think they’ll change the rollout schedule as more track work is completed ahead of track delivery? I.e. in an extreme case if we didn’t get a single new car until all of the overheads, curb work, track work, etc was done in a few years…would they still appear on, say, Dundas before King? Or switch to a more uniform scheme i.e. 4406 goes to King, 4407 to Queen, 4408 to Dundas, etc? I doubt it will make much difference but at this point it seems that King would see the most use from the new cars and may be ready for them before Dundas, Lakeshore, and Queen all have new cars.

    Spacing equality can (and probably is) set at the beginning of the day, but then falls apart as short turns happen. If a route never short-turned and there were no station bypasses, order would be perfectly maintained, but I can’t think of a route for which this is the case – even the 509 has a pull by track at Exhibition. It’s particularly bad on Spadina where short turns are explicitly scheduled, and they have to interline with the 509 – the order falls apart very quickly.

    Great pic in B&W 😉

    I’d be curious to hear the rationale behind the 507/501 split. I know it would increase reliability but I suspect many would dislike a forced transfer to commute to downtown from west of Roncesvalles, and there would be a heck of a lot of traffic coming in and out of Dundas West with the 504, 505, 501, and 507 all serving it!

    Steve: The intent is to convert routes one by one, not one vehicle at a time. This is related to the infrastructure changes that still have a few years to go before completion, and to the PoP fare collection rollout.

    In my scheme, the 501 does not go to Dundas West, but to Humber. The overlap with the 507 is deliberate so that even short turned cars preserve the connection. There would be a forced transfer only outside of the peak for 507 riders. This service design is based on observed riding patterns on Lake Shore where local trips west of Humber make up the majority of the off-peak travel.


  4. Steve comments on a reimagined 507:

    This service design is based on observed riding patterns on Lake Shore where local trips west of Humber make up the majority of the off-peak travel.

    Why not reinstate the 507 in its original incarnation then? I expect there might also be some desire to extend 301 service to cover late evening and early morning.

    Steve: The 507 had two problems. First, Humber Loop was becoming a problem as a transfer point as it had a hangout for unsavoury individuals. Second, if the 501/507 “touch” only at a point, that link was often broken by the short turning of Queen cars at Roncesvalles.

    The night service would run through as one route just as it did before the daytime routes were broken apart.


  5. Steve, any chance that the new cars might appear on other routes while the special track work is replaced? Bathurst or Harbourfront perhaps? Thinking this would be a great opportunity for the TTC to build excitement for what’s to come for non-Spadina users.


    Steve: The new cars will shift to Harbourfront while Spadina is run by buses from Bloor to Queens Quay.


  6. Steve writes:

    Second, if the 501/507 “touch” only at a point, that link was often broken by the short turning of Queen cars at Roncesvalles

    Good point

    As for the Kingston road cars I’d propose a similar scheme to what you propose for Long Branch. Convert the 22A to streetcar, ditch the 502 and keep the 503 for peak service.

    Steve: A small problem with the 22A: there is no track to Coxwell Station.


  7. Steve said:

    “There will not be enough cars to convert Spadina by early May, and in any event the line will be closed for reconstruction at College and at Spadina Station Loop from the start of April to mid-May.”

    I would agree based on what we have seen to date. I just keep hoping against hope that somehow Bombardier will somehow have a backlog and work out how to get them through so that we would still see 5 more in March and 5 in April. However, based on required testing I guess that would still make June so ahhhh!


  8. wklis said:

    Looks different in black & white.

    Yes somehow the colour images make the car look longer??

    Steve: Er, did you follow the link to the B&W photo of PCC 4405?


  9. Steve said:

    As for new cars being spaced apart, it’s pot luck. I have seen to of them running back-to-back, and even when all four of them were on the line earlier today (Mar 2), they were not evenly spaced. Don’t forget that it is the operator’s schedule that drives dispatching and short turns, not a desire for uniform accessibility.”

    What are you saying Steve the TTC is a cost not service drive operation?


  10. Great photos!

    Transit.toronto also covered the rollout of 4405, here, getting a key detail wrong. The author, Robert McKenzie, assumed that 4405 is the fourth vehicle because 4404 didn’t pass its acceptance test.

    I understand that 4401 and 4402 had the earlier design for their door ramps, and had to have the newer style door ramps retrofitted. I don’t understand why this has taken longer than six months. Do you know the cause of the delay?

    Steve: The last time I talked to the TTC about these prototype cars, their attitude was that they wanted Bombardier to concentrate on shipping more “production” vehicles rather than messing around with retrofits. Don’t forget, by the way, that the new ramps also involve a change to the floor at the affected doorway to lower it slightly from the original design. It’s not just a case of slapping a new ramp machine under the car. There are no doubt other retrofits to be done as well. Meanwhile, the prototypes can be used for training while the production cars run in revenue service.


  11. I think that TTC changed the last zero in 4400 to 5 to prevent the heavily delayed and over budget streetcar order from being scrapped in favour of buses thereby making it look like more new streetcars have been delivered than actually have been. Is there any truth to this rumour?

    Steve: That’s a neat trick considering that both 4400 and 4405 have been in service simultaneously yesterday and today, although 4400 is not in service at the moment I write this (5:12pm).

    I think you are being overly optimistic about ways to kill the streetcar order. 4406 is expected to leave Thunder Bay soon.


  12. Steve,

    I’ve been lurking on your site for a long time and I want to thank you for bringing all of this transit information together in one place. Your site is far more informative than the TTC’s website!

    Re this article. Have you heard anything about 4401 and 4402 being retrofitted for public service or are they to remain prototypes? Having them retrofitted would speed up the conversion of Spadina just a little bit.

    Steve: Please see my response to a comment earlier in this thread about the status of the two prototype cars.


  13. Steve, can I comment on streetcar service to Liberty Village, and to the new developments being built in the West Don Lands? I was puzzled at first by the new 800 metre, 3 stop spur down Cherry Street. It seemed to me that, for many of the residents of the new development, it would be faster for them to walk up to King Street, where the service would be more frequent.

    But now that I understand how the many potential riders who want to get on at Liberty Village represents a huge problem, I think I understand better the logic behind a spur at Cherry Street. All the eastbound vehicles on King that turn down the Cherry Street spur will be empty, and able to give seats to westbound riders who get on on Cherry Street.

    So, the Dufferin Loop is not that far from Liberty Village. I wonder why the TTC hasn’t been short-turning westbound vehicles at the Dufferin Loop. Even if relatively few Liberty Village riders got on on the Dufferin Spur, these mainly empty vehicles would be able to let on a lot of eastbound Liberty Village riders. Wouldn’t this solve the Liberty Village bottleneck?

    I think the lesson of Liberty Village is that the developers should have been made to make a quarter acre, or a half acre, available to the TTC, to enable the construction of a new dedicated Liberty Village loop. This would have enabled the empty short-turned vehicles to board passengers in a more leisurely manner, off street. This would have had less impact on the rest of King Street’s traffic.

    Steve: I think it would make sense for the TTC to operate a Dufferin to Cherry service overlaid on the King car once the Cherry spur is available. The only potential problem is that many of the trips would short turn at Church or at Bathurst (am I being cynical?). The biggest problem is that the TTC needs more cars so that they can operate more frequent service on the busy central section of the route.


  14. Are we really convinced that these cars will provide increased capacity over the ALRV’s? While it appears they are able to carry more passengers, in actual operation because of the relatively narrow aisle and the crowding that occurs, don’t you think passengers will be reluctant to get too far from the doors and thus congregate in the areas adjacent to the doors for fear of missing their stops? This situation could adversely affect the actual number of passengers carried.


  15. Yes Steve I looked at the B&W image of the vintage 4405. I was kidding. However it would be great to have a car like it running to tourist attractions as a regular special. It is interesting how large the new cars appear when compared to a couple of generation old ones.


  16. Hopefully, when they get enough of the new streetcars (and keep a few refurbished old streetcars around) that they return the 503 Kingston Road to its former western Roncesvalles terminal point.


  17. If the TTC continues the tradition, there will be PCCs on 509 on Sundays in the summer. During the Spadina construction there could be a mixture of PCCs and Flexities on 509 on Sundays.

    Steve: The PCCs usually start operation with the May-June schedules, and Spadina will be open again. You will still see three generations of cars with the PCCs on Harbourfront along with the Flexities coming into the line from Spadina.

    Extending the 503 just to Bathurst would help a lot, since Bay to Bathurst seems to be the busiest section of the 501.

    Steve: Er, the 503 runs on King. Once upon a time, the 502 did run to Bathurst, but many trips were short turned at McCaul because of congestion further west, especially at Bathurst itself.

    In terms of route reorganization, I think it would make more sense to send all of the Kingston Road service to McCaul Loop, and to establish a new Cherry-to-Dufferin service via King Street once the Cherry line opens in 2016.


  18. With regard to more vehicles, Tess Kalinowski, reporting in the Toronto Star, recently quoted TTC chair Colle about paying for sixty addition streetcars. He said that the contract allowed the TTC to lock the price of the sixty additional streetcars at the price of the first 204 vehicles, so long as the order for the sixty additional vehicles was placed prior to the delivery of the 60th vehicle of the current order. Colle said that holding off on the order provided an incentive to Bombardier to work harder to catch up to the original delivery schedule.

    I wondered, if the TTC changed its mind, and wanted 100 additional vehicles, could they wait until the 99th vehicle to place that order?

    Steve: No. It’s a question of committing to an extended order early enough that supply chain planning can be done in time for the 205th car to be a seamless extension of production. I suspect that doing this is “60” is a bit early strictly from a production management point of view (especially given that there would still be four- five years of new cars still in the pipeline), but it’s probably a saw off negotiated in the contract when the whole business seemed much more certain, including Transit City.

    Steve, do you think the delay in delivering the TTC’s Flexity Outlook streetcars will lead to a delay in delivering the MetroLinx Flexity Freedom vehicles for the Eglinton Crosstown?

    Steve: I’m not sure on this count. The first of the Eglinton cars should be delivered in 2019 if they area going to have enough time for preliminary testing and acceptance of prototypes. Mind you, Thunder Bay will run out of subway car orders for Toronto by about 2016, and this should free up capacity.


  19. Bob E pointed out that the new vehicles have narrow sections. I think he was suggesting that the narrow sections would serve as bottlenecks that would prevent riders from moving back. This is a problem on the routes that don’t use the proof of payment honour system, and thus don’t allow all door boarding.

    I am guessing that planners figured congestion during crowded periods, that prevents riders moving between sections wouldn’t be a problem since the vehicles had four doors, and all door boarding — as there would be no real reason to move between segments.

    But I have wondered about the width of the two doors. The CLRV has a pair of doors at the rear, while the the ALRV has two pairs of doors. I think the Flexity’s doors are just wide enough for the widest wheelchair. I don’t think they were designed to let two riders through, at a time.

    I’ve seen European vehicles which have middle segments that don’t have one door in the middle of the middle segment, but rather have a door adjacent to each joint. I wondered whether the TTC’s legacy tight turning circle precluded middle segments long enough to have two doors each. Do you know whether the TTC considered train sets with even more doors, or with wider doors where two passengers could enter or exit abreast of one another?

    If every rider is supposed to tap their metro card, when they enter, maybe designs that only allowed in one passenger at a time were chosen so no other rider could block your access to the Presto card reader?

    Steve: I believe that the door sizes are constrained by the physical layout of the car including truck and articulation points. As for Presto, don’t get me started. The folks who blithely talk about all of this tap-on and tap-off activity seem poised to undo the benefits of all-door loading. They can’t get their heads out of their butts and understand that anything producing congestion at doorways is very bad for transit. Imagine if GO trains had Presto readers at their doorways.

    What is particularly galling is that someone who has a “monthly pass” on their Presto card should not have to tap at all except for fare barriers, presuming that we even continue to have them in subway stations. Proof of Payment means that if I get on, it’s my job to have a valid fare. I should not have to tap in and out just to keep some planner happy with mountains of stats, nor should those stats be used to justify a very timewasting overhead on the fare collection system.


  20. I find the Spadina line so tedious to take now that the POP, prof of payment, system is in place. The ride went from enjoyable to irritating. Using the machine on the streetcar is a pain, the trains now wait in the tunnel for 5 to 10 minutes, before moving up and unboarding, going through the security gauntlet forms a grating bottle neck.

    Steve: The implementation of PoP is atrocious because the full complement of on-platform machines isn’t there yet and, even where they are present, many riders don’t know they can pay before they board. As for fare inspection at Spadina Station, yes, that’s a classic way to “break” an idea. The queue of waiting streetcars, however, happens even when there are no fare inspectors present because cars lay over far too long on the platform. None of the supervisory staff there seem to care.


  21. Steve said:

    “In terms of route reorganization, I think it would make more sense to send all of the Kingston Road service to McCaul Loop, and to establish a new Cherry-to-Dufferin service via King Street once the Cherry line opens in 2016.”

    Both are good proposal.

    However in the second case, I would consider an alternative option: splitting 504 King into 2 independent routes. One would run from the Cherry loop, via downtown, to Dundas West Stn. The other would run from Broadview Stn, via downtown, to the Dufferin loop.

    The reason is that some riders may want to go from the Cherry St line to somewhere west of Dufferin, or from the Dufferin loop to somewhere east of Cherry. The two new routes would support such trips.


  22. WRT Presto — I won’t claim to be that knowledgeable about RFID technology, or similar technology. I see lots of RFID token and readers where the user has to bring the token to within a couple of centimeters of the reader.

    A technology that could recognize you were carrying a token, when you got within a meter of the reader would make some things simpler. But if the range was too great, it could recognize the tokens of people who weren’t passengers. About ten or fifteen years ago Germany introduced a system for truck drivers, where they were issued new devices for paying tolls for using the autobahn. The advantage of the new system is that their road-toll device would free them from having to go through toll booths, as the road-toll device would know when the drove on or drove off an autobahn by constantly monitoring their latitude and longitude through GPS.

    However, after it was introduced, the truck drivers who were made to mount these devices in their trucks reported an unacceptably high level of false positives. Wily truck drivers who chose not to drive on the autobahn, and stayed on parallel lower-speed arterial roads would find they had been billed for using the autobahn anyhow when those parallel arterial roads were located too close to the autobahn.

    The TTC wouldn’t want readers that could sense the Presto card in the wallet of the guy who was merely waiting on the platform for the arrival of their friend. We wouldn’t want readers that read the Presto cards of people riding in cars that passed the streetcar, or vice versa.

    I’ve read that in Japan, and maybe other places, there are vending machines that will issue consumers a can of pop or other item when the consumer has an app that will transmit an authorization payment via bluetooth, or some similar technology. While there is a certain coolness factor in this, I foresee certain problems. If my Presto was an app I ran on my smart phone, and I had enough battery power left on my phone to tell a GO train I had boarded it, but my battery ran out of power before I got off, the system would assume I traveled to the end of the line, and would bill me for riding to the end of the line. RFID tokens may not have a great range, but they have the advantage that they are passive, and do not require their own internal battery that can run out of charge.

    WRT how Presto interprets taps. A friend of mine acquired a Presto card — wanted to be an early adopter. If I understand how they work, the meaning of a double tap has multiple meanings, depending on the context. On the new streetcars a double tap signals a request for a transfer — I think. But, on GO trains my friend was told a double tap can be a cancellation of the previous command.

    Steve: There are many ways RFID systems can be designed depending on the application, but obviously consistency and appropriateness to real world behaviour are essential. Some of the worst technology implementations arise from trying to force behaviour to fit the limitations of the machinery (or of the programmers), rather than making the technology a natural extension of or improvement on what people do. For transit, people want to ride from “A” to “B” — that is its principal function.

    The limitations of forced tap on, tap off have been clear to GO for years, and hence their adoption of a “standard trip” for which someone can be billed. This model works in a limited commuter environment, but not in one where journeys are more complex.


  23. arcticredriver said:

    Do you know whether the TTC considered train sets with even more doors, or with wider doors where two passengers could enter or exit abreast of one another?

    It’s all a question of balancing floor space, seating space, and doors. For this model (I’m not sure if plans have changes since the November 2011 plans I’ve seen), the TTC has dedicated more to seats and doors. The result is that 2 of the four doors are 600mm wide (the others are 1305mm), the same as the width between seats in the end and middle units. In the areas of articulation, it’s 1348mm between handles, but 1900mm otherwise.

    As for PRESTO, if we are accepting that people would tap at the door without supervision, why not move some or all of the machines into the interior? That way you can load/unload normally, except for the few that forget (just like someone fumbling for cash or a token by the driver). It would make interesting internal passenger flow patterns.

    Steve said:

    None of the supervisory staff there seem to care.

    Is it a matter of not caring, or caring, being ignored, and being resigned to the situation?


  24. arcticredriver said:

    “Do you know whether the TTC considered train sets with even more doors, or with wider doors where two passengers could enter or exit abreast of one another?”

    The “Flexity” is a family of cars. The Toronto ones are restricted by the requirement to be able to handle an 11 m curve. This has resulted in short end and suspended sections which limit the end units to one single door and “hung” sections to one double door. There are many systems that run “Flexities” with longer end and suspended sections. These have one double door in the end units and two double doors in the suspended units.

    Budapest operates 54m long Combino units from Siemens that have 6 sections, 2 pantographs and 8 double doors. There are 5 section “Flexities” that have a single double door in the end section and 2 double doors in the suspended section. These tend to operate on lines with wider road clearance. The Metrolinx LRTs are designed to fit modern track geometry but the Toronto ones seem to be limited to the style developed for the legacy cars. This probably allows for a greater commonality of parts.


  25. 2 per month is an improvement, but it is not enough to meet the promise of 40 vehicles in service by the end of 2015.

    Possibly off-topic Steve, but do you know whether the MetroLinx/TTC plan to operate multiple vehicle trainsets on Eglinton when the Crosstown is complete?

    Steve: Yes, they do. Some of their illustrations show trains, not just single cars.


  26. Steve, I have been told (twice) by a supervisor at Spadina Station who seems credible, that 4406 is on the property and will likely go into service when the Board period changes at the end of March.

    Steve: Yes, the Twitter account for the new streetcars @StreetcarTO announced the car’s arrival at the end of February, and based on 4405, it should be three weeks or so before a new car enters service.


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