Updated March 15, 2015 at 8:40 pm: An example of a vintage tram adapted for pantograph operation in Munich has been added to the end of this article. Thanks to John F. Bromley for the photo.
The TTC’s Capital Budget includes ongoing programs to replace worn streetcar rail as well as to upgrade the overhead power distribution system for compatibility with the new Flexity LRVs.
Replacement of streetcar track with infrastructure built to new, robust standards is almost complete on the main lines used by all routes. What remains are sections used for diversions and short turns.
Tangent track on Spadina south from College that was installed for the resumption of streetcar service in 1997 is scheduled for replacement in 2018. The table and the map differ on whether this work will end at Queen or at King. In any event, this will be the first major track replacement over a section constructed to new standards, and only the surface layer (track down to the tie attachments) should have to be removed.
Replacement of overhead contact wire with thicker 4/0 gauge is also well underway, as is the replacement of feeder cables, some of which are very old and are shedding their insulating covering. Intersection and yard upgrades will, together with the new tangent wire, make the system 100% pantograph compatible. When the last of the cars using trolley poles has been retired, the overhead can be further adjusted to remove pole-specific hardware and simplify future maintenance.
This article contains lists and maps of the work planned for 2015-2019.
The map below shows the plan in graphic format although there are inconsistencies between the tabular version and the maps. Of particular note is the status of Adelaide Street between Charlotte and Victoria which has not been operational for years. Both the track and overhead plans show this section being rebuilt in 2019 and that is hard to believe. If this were only a removal program (such as recent work from Simcoe to York), this would not be part of the TTC’s program.
Also, the intersection of Church & Queen shown as part of the 2019 plan is an odd choice considering that it was rebuilt to new standards in 2009 and appears in the capital budget books as an illustration of new track.
The budgets for the tangent and special trackwork programs are shown in the documents linked below.
Overhead and Power Distribution Reconstruction Program
Overhead reconstruction includes three components: new contact wire and hangers, new special work, and new feeders. These overlapping projects are linked to the planned roll out of the new streetcar fleet.
Another project, now almost completed, is the replacement of TTC overhead poles many of which are over 50 years old. Of the original 5,100 poles, only 832 remained to be replaced at the end of 2014. This work will be completed by the end of 2017.
The budgets for the reconstruction of overhead systems and power distribution are shown in the documents below.
Additional Structures and Facilities
The streetcar system includes facilities such as shops and carhouses, bridges and substations, but budgets for their maintenance are consolidated with other elements of the transit system. I will discuss these in a separate article.
Updated March 15, 2015: In the comment thread, there was a question about adapting vintage cars from poles to pantographs. John F. Bromley supplied the following photo of a Munich car.