Updated April 28, 2015 at 8:20 am:
The decision to push construction of the Sheppard LRT out to the 2020s was taken quite recently as shown by two separate reports.
In today’s Globe & Mail, Oliver Moore reports:
According to Mr. Del Duca, the delay on Sheppard was because of the difficulty of trying to do too many big projects at once. “The plan right now is to have the procurement begin for the Sheppard East LRT after we complete the Finch West LRT,” he said.
There was no firm timeline available for the Sheppard line. If it starts on its new schedule and takes about as long as Finch to build, it should be ready some time after 2025.
This timeline is sharply at odds with the information given to a reporter in the provincial budget lock-up on Thursday. The government’s position then – given on background and not for attribution, under the rules of the lock-up – was that the Sheppard line would open about a year after Finch. Mr. Del Duca’s spokesman did not return a message Monday seeking clarification of what had changed.
On April 27, over an hour after the LRT announcement, one of my readers, seeking clarification from Metrolinx received the following email:
From: Metrolinx Customer Relations <email@example.com>
Date: April 27, 2015 at 10:43:26 AM EDT
Thank you for contacting us about the status of the Sheppard East LRT.
The Sheppard East LRT is fully funded and approved. The Sheppard East LRT underpass construction at Agincourt GO Station has been completed.
Preliminary design and engineering work will be happening over the next few years. Construction is expected to begin in 2017 and be completed by 2021.
I appreciate you taking the time to contact us.
[x] Customer Service Representative
GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx
One wonders just what triggered a change so last-minute that it was not communicated to Metrolinx’ own “communications” team. The Minister claims that the delay is because there is only so much construction work that can be undertaken concurrently, but this seems to have more to do with avoiding a politically difficult decision.
A much more honest position would be to say simply that “we’re waiting for the results of various studies now underway on transit for Scarborough”, but leadership, or even a bit of common sense on anything transit-related in that part of town seems to escape the Liberals at Queen’s Park.
Original article from April 27 at 12:11 pm:
The Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, gathered with other politicians including Mayor Tory to announce that construction of the Finch West LRT would proceed starting in 2016 with an in-service date of 2021. The line, for which an approved EA has been in place since 2010, will run from Finch West Station at Keele to Humber College, a distance of 11km. An EA for the proposed carhouse will begin soon. The connection at Finch West will be in a short tunnel section, but otherwise the line will run at grade.
The project will be paid for 100% by the Province of Ontario.
The Sheppard East LRT’s status is less clear. According to Del Duca, that project won’t get underway until after Finch West opens, and this puts an actual go/nogo decision out beyond the next municipal and provincial elections. Actual service on Sheppard is at least a decade away.
The Sheppard line’s status is intimately linked to the proposed Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE), the GO/RER and SmartTrack plans, and any possible resurrection of the Scarborough LRT. That political morass cannot begin to be sorted out until there is better supporting information on project costs, alignments and potential ridership for various network configurations.
Toronto Council is, today, in favour of the SSE, but this support could falter if there is a significant change in the scope of the subway proposal including options to shift the line further east away from SmartTrack, or to link up an SSE with the Sheppard Subway. The City’s financial position and ability to undertake very large capital projects is quite different now than when the SSE and its 1.6% property tax hike were approved. There are very large costs associated with both the Gardiner Expressway project and with the maintenance backlog at Toronto Community Housing (TCHC).
For the rest of 2015, we are likely to see much huffing and puffing by LRT opponents, and a big debate once the studies now underway are published. The SmartTrack plan itself requires major revision, notably for the Eglinton West branch, but this could provide an opportunity to “save” money by ditching the impractical underground ST route from Mount Dennis to the Airport. The cost of SmartTrack would be a lot lower if it stayed in the existing rail corridors, and this could give political headroom for the Eglinton Crosstown’s westward extension.
Meanwhile there are smaller but no less deserving projects such as waterfront transit and acceleration of the bus fleet’s expansion to provide more service on that vital part of the transit network.
@Matthew and Walter
Political Suicide to who? Certainly not the former City of Toronto. The OPC panders to the suburbs, 99 percent of the time. Build Sheppard, Richmond Hill and extending the Bloor Danforth to Scaborough and Mississauga (Square One) was part of the PC platform. Hudak was against second class transit. Which brings me to this.
So what is your plan for the people who live in East Scarborough, at places like Markham Rd, Nielson, Dean Park, Kingston and Lawrence. What is your plan? The subway will never go there so I guess those people can sit on buses right? You need to do better then “it’s not fair” for the Sheppard Subway to be built.
If you have a chance I’d love to see an analysis on the Province’s transit funding plan. If I understand correct much of this next wave is being payed through asset sales on top of the existing gas tax.
I remember they hired an expert panel not too long ago to review taxes or future funding & they seemed to have gone silent with the findings. I know there are no other Political parties stepping up to fund transit but is this the best we can do? Mortgage our remaining assets.
How do we proceed from here?. It bothers me that we don’t have an adequate funding model yet we fight over “limited” funds to build a patchwork network.
Steve: Queen’s Park seems to prefer selling the furniture to actually raising taxes to pay for infrastructure and service that will benefit the region and the economy. Even the planned Hydro sale will not come close to paying for all of the planned expansion, and some of the proceeds are to be directed to debt reduction. Proposals from the expert panel have vanished without a trace.
Mention of Boston reminds me that when I was last there, 40 years ago, they had 4 incompatible sets of transit equipment.
The main line [Orange] had narrow, short cars. The Cambridge line [Red] had longer, wider cars. The East Boston line [Blue] had extra-short cars because they had to go around an ex-streetcar loop and they were the ones with pantograph and third rail. And there was the street car subway [Green line].
I think at one point they used the narrower cars on the other line by adding little filler strips outside the doors.
I think we need to cut to the chase and ask the obvious question. I’ve heard many people say that the LRT would be destructive to the “character” of Sheppard. So why would turning it into Allen road with traffic lights be considered an improvement?
Steve: An interesting example of how the desire for a transfer-free “subway” ride trumps all of the other arguments that allegedly bear on the LRT proposal including lane space and the relatively fewer opportunities to turn across the right-of-way.
Pandering to the suburbs is fine. I was meaning more along the lines of credibility as a fiscal conservative. Finding new money for transit, cutting/freezing taxes, and balancing the budget don’t mix well. Any increases on the OPC promise on the transit front can be matched by the OLP. From a OLP perspective, they can spend more without a political backlash. From a OPC perspective, they may want to mull over recycling any of the Hudak stances.
I do not think any suggested an overhead bridge. The mid-street high floor platform involves the exact same risk to passengers whether it is low floor or high floor. The only difference is that perhaps the high mid-street platform provides some perceived protection from passing cars.
Steve: However, the access ramp to this platform takes up space and causes stations to be longer than they would be for low-floor cars. The higher the platform, the longer the ramp.
The original announcement referenced stated construction start in 2016 and service start in 2021.
The website was then updated a couple of days later, mentioning 2017 as the construction date:
The Fact Sheet, which I think is also new, gives the dates 2017-2022.
Why the discrepancy? Or are these dates meaningless anyways?
Steve: I will inquire.
Re: “dual mode trains”
Half of the Frankfurt U-Bahn system is on the surface with many level crossings. One section of the system runs between the north- and southbound lanes of a wide street. The trains use a high platform but perhaps slightly lower than those on the TTC subway. They appear to use only pantograph electrical pickup. There are U-Bahn junctions in some streets and even some street-running; thus, they support some sharpness in the track curves. Arguably, the Frankfurt U-Bahn is really a Stadtbahn (light rail system) with a heavy rail appearance.
Here are some photos.
I believe that this system is identical to Calgary’s C Train. The cars are articulated Siemens U series cars and are considered Light rail not heavy rail.
As I said before this is not HRT but LRT and the cars are much narrower with a shorter distance between trucks. The LRT system for Eglinton crosstown is the same thing as this but with low floor cars instead of high floor; approximately same size, same capacity, 4 U2s = 3 Flexities, and same type of operation.
There is a big difference between Frankfurt’s or Calgary’s system and running TR trains down Sheppard: been there, done that.
The bus plan will probably be completely messed up in a few years anyways once we find out how late Eglinton will be.
Yes, if we could find an easy way of converting the existing underground portion to LRT it would be great. However, I can see huge issues with how a high platform set up would be seen by residents along Sheppard, and how, some may not appreciate the idea of overhead walkways etc.
While I do believe that the Calgary system is a good model for much of the area, we need to be careful to be aware that it will not simply drop in place. If you could have raised platforms on Sheppard, and have a car that fit nicely in the tunnel, it would be great. I personally can see reworking the Sheppard subway to make it LRT. However, I think it would require different cars, and some very difficult rework in terms of platform height. I would like however, to see a costing, as it would make it possible to extend it both directions in a more seamless way. I really wish this had been done using LRT tech to begin with.
Steve: When people say “do it like Calgary or Edmonton”, an important point to remember is that at the time these systems began, low floor cars were unknown and high floors (the Siemens U-2) became the de facto standard. If they were starting from scratch today, the equipment choice might be very different.
No one will accept degrading of a subway to a LRT to be mocked in the whole universe. Here we are talking about upgrading LRT plan to a subway. No one can touch the existing Sheppard subway. We are talking about dual mode subway trains not LRT trains.
I can’t think of anyone outside of a few Scarberians who gives a crap about the Sheppard subway. Pray tell who in the immediate neighbourhood, let alone the “whole Universe” is going to care let alone mock anyone. I can’t picture the Klingons sitting around saying; “Look at those fools in Scarborough; they converted a subway to an LRT. Mock – Mock – Mock.”
No one is talking about “dual mode subway trains”, whatever they may be, except for a few people on this blog. Toronto’s subway cars are about 3.14 m (10 ft 4 in) wide while the U2s are 2.650 m (8 ft 8.3 in). This would leave a gap of about 25 cm (9.5″) between the platform and the car edge. “Mind the gap” takes on a whole new meaning though I suppose one could have preformed platform extension made to drop in place over a long weekend.
The platform height for the subway is 1.1 m (43.3 in) while the U2s uses a height of 81 – 83 cm (32 – 33″.) Changing the height of the platform is a non starter because all of the existing platforms, stairs, escalators and elevators would need to be replaced.
Running non articulated full length full width subway cars in the street will never happen because of the problems with stations and turns. I suppose you could build a U2 type car with 1.1 m high platforms and use platform extensions if you wanted to but access to platforms in the median would require long ramps.
What are you talking about?! I bet you have never been in an engineering school. Well I have a news for you. I have a PhD in engineering. The only thing that we need here is just lifting the 96m platform only 1m up with a short ramp at the end.
Steve: I was going to be silent here, but, no, you deserve this. Robert Wightman is an Engineer by training, and a teacher by profession (now retired). I hate to think what cereal box you got your PhD in for such a ridiculously simplistic assessment. Possibly you are a consultant who never has to build anything.
It’s not a question of lifting a platform up, but of lowering the existing subway platforms, not to mention the landings for stairs, escalators and elevators. And that’s just for starters.
What escalator?! I am talking about street part of the project not underground part of it. If you read my comments I said that we can’t touch underground subway platforms for the complications mentioned.
Steve: You are talking about moving a high platform even higher with a ramp. That’s certainly not what would be there with low platform LRT. Sorry I got the wrong end of your comment. In any event, the higher the platform, the longer the ramp. Also, you have not addressed the other issues about car width and turn radius.
O.K. I’ll bite, is 96m, the height, the length or the width of the platform? The difference in height between the TRs and the U2s is about 18 to 20 cm so what would you lift up 1 m? Since the Sheppard Subway runs 4 car trains which are 300′, 96 m, long I will assume that your are talking about length.
Why would you want to lift them up 1 m when they are higher than the U2s or the Flexities? Perhaps you want to lower the entire platform to either the height of the U2s or Flexities and put a ramp from them to get to the existing stair, escalator and elevator levels but you would not need a 1 m ramp or are you talking about putting the platforms in the street and having a 1 m ramp from ground level to the platform height? But then you would not be lifting the 96 m platform but more likely building it at the correct height for TRs.
Because of the AODA your ramp would need a slope of 12:1 maximum with a preferred slope of 18:1 so your short ramp would be between 12 and 18 m long. You would also need a flat area at the end for people to exit on to the road to be able to cross the street. The platform would be 15 to 25 m from the cross street.
Yes I have been in an Engineering School, University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science earning a Bachelor of Applied Science, Electrical Engineering, 1970. One thing I was taught by every professor that I ever had was not to make ambiguous statements and to analyze all the possible outcomes of any decision to avoid unintended consequences.
After analyzing your incoherent statement I believe that you are talking about ramps up to platforms in a median right of way for 4 car TR trains, but you never state that anywhere. When people start to use the degrees to back up their claim as being the best one I always question the validity of their claim. Please offer a coherent explanation of your plan and then maybe we can have a civilized discussion of the pros and cons without hurling insults. I have told you, with reasons, why I don’t think that running full sized subway cars in the median of Sheppard is feasible.
I apologize for mocking your statement about being mocked in the entire universe but it was a bit over the top. If you are so proud of your PhD why do you not give your full name or an explanation as to why you do not?
If you really want HRT with street running look at Michigan City Indiana. This is what we need on Sheppard. This train is only 8 cars long of full 85′ commuter stock but I have ridden an 11 car train. The strangest part is when the conductor says “Mind the traffic” when you get off the train.
Or watch this for an engineer’s view.
Why should we just talk about U2 cars or existing TTC trains? We can order the new designed trains to satisfy the requirements. We are talking about six years from now. The point was being open to the idea.
Also my apology to Robert for my comment about engineering school.
Steve: Why U2 cars or TTC subway cars? For the simple reason that people use Calgary as an example of high floor operation, and “extend the subway” means you must have a car that will fit the existing infrastructure. The fact that subway cars have higher floor than even high-floor streetcars is a fact of life, as is the width of a subway car required to mate with the platforms in the tunnels. You cannot “design around” these basics.
I guess you are too young to remember when the city seriously considered mothballing the line due to its high operating costs and low ridership.
First, I’m personally interested in this line because I’d make use of this connect at least twice weekly, if not daily. The cost of converting the subway to LRT is a known quantity. The question is the value of the additional transfer time and the change in demand due to a transfer. For the alternative of custom-build dual-mode subway cars, it’s a question of incremental purchasing costs, the impact on service reliability, and the increase in maintenance costs. For these, I don’t have any solid basis, but it’s my feeling that the cost to run the service would be higher than the benefit of not having the transfer.
I was going to post something similar, so just wanted to add that you’d need/want a mid-ramp landing due to the length of the ramp exceeding 10m.
We talk about existing equipment because it is a known entity with known operational parameters and known capital and maintenance costs. Why doesn’t every city order a custom designed train for every order to satisfy the particular requirements for a particular route? Because it costs more to have something beyond bog standard, because the future costs are unknown, and because you might get stuck in a situation like the SRT, where there isn’t a market for spare parts.
Gee and people complain about streetcars in downtown. I think we need to get some of this on King – just to really piss Rob off.
PS. The above was referring to Rob Ford, not the Rob in the comments.
I would love to know what this cost was. To cut through the political morass, and to provide for future potential extension the other way, this may be a worthwhile project, although not for a multi-billion dollar price tag. Also there would need to be an evaluation of the relative cost of operations, and service, given that you are not going to be changing the cost of station operations.
Rob – Also why would someone be mocked for being able to concede that something was an error in the first place. I would personally rather see a 3 car LRT running every 3 minutes than a 4 car subway every 5. Right now I would argue that when someone looks at a subway that was never forecast to see more than 7800 riders peak assuming it was extended all the way to STC, it must make for a pretty good opportunity to mock. Fixing your mistakes, is far less laughable than insisting on staying with them regardless.
I never suggested to run Go trains on the median of Sheppard. We know that Sheppard trains are very similar to Eglinton Cross town in the terms of capacity and length but there are some concerns:
1- Radius of turning: I am not yet convinced that Sheppard subway trains can’t follow the road but if that’s the case, we may think of vehicles consisting of several connected modules with the length of 5 to 8 m each (Similar to Bombardier flexity structure) which can follow a sharp turn. The median part dedicated for LRT is supposed to be 7.5 m wide. I guess two subway vehicles (each 3.14 m wide) can fit in and if not, may be we increase the median part’s width a bit.
2- Length of the platforms: I totally agree that we need a reasonable ramp. We may think of shorter trains and shorter platforms on surface. Let’s say we use something like Toronto Rocket but only with three cars with the total length of 69m. This way the total length of the ramp and platform together would be shorter than 95m on street level.
3- Red lights: Aren’t we going to use priority signalling for our LRT systems?
4- The maintenance cost of the custom made vehicles: I thought Toronto Rocket vehicles are also custom made for Toronto. Am I wrong?
Steve: 1. The issue of curve radius applies not to the main part of the line where Sheppard is fairly straight, but for curves at locations where the line might turn such as the proposed branch south to UTSC. You are now proposing a high floor train with multiple articulations to get a shorter turning radius. I do not believe such a vehicle exists as an off-the-shelf design.
3. Priority signalling does not mean that the trains never stop. In theory, they have a higher priority call on green time, but that does not mean the signal clears whenever a train appears. This is a common issue for any train of multiple cars. It might be argued that fewer longer trains are “good” because they require priority less often, but the larger trains trigger platform space issues and pedestrian movement problems at stations.
4. The TR trains are adapted from a standard Bombardier design just as the Flexity streetcars are. The issue for maintenance in either case is to (a) avoid specialized parts that will be expensive or difficult to obtain later in the vehicles’ lives and (b) the need for special shops and shop equipment to maintain a small fleet within the larger system.
Further to Robert Wightman’s post with regards to a train running down a street – here is a freight train running a street in Tampa.
Makes for an odd sight, but well.
PS Rob – again the King Street train comment was actually – as noted, directed at Rob Ford’s constant bitching about the street cars. I am sure he would nightmares about the CSX train on a similar street in Toronto.
It was $600M in 2008. (See Sheppard-Finch BCA)
As a minor note, the 1986 Network 2011 Plan forecast the Sheppard subway north of 15K for 2011, but more recent studies have the 2031 estimates of a full line under 10K.
Steve: The 1986 plan greatly overestimated employment and subway-related riding in the STC area, and also was done with no provision for future (relative to 1986) improvements in GO. As with the gerrymandered demand projections for the SSE, the “model” put regional travel on the only available line — the subway — thereby inflating the “demand” for that route.
I remember TTC planning studies that did not even show the GO Transit network on their maps as if it didn’t exist which, of course to a TTC wanting to justify more subways, it didn’t.
I know and didn’t mean to make it sound like you did but I wanted to show what a full width train looks like going down a road.
If you want a subway width vehicle with many sections then you are getting into special order vehicle which would cost a lot and would not have an easily available spare parts pool. The Sheppard study has the median at 7.32 m width between stations and 13 m at stations. The TRs are 0.49 m wider than the Flexity so your median would need to be 1 m wider. I do not consider 1 m to be “a bit.” Also you would probably need to widen the platform “a bit” to accommodate the extra passengers that might get off a wider vehicle.
Steve: Just a note for any who would say “but it’s the same demand”. Well, yes, maybe, but if you have fewer larger trains, then the platform capacity must scale up to handle the higher peak loads.
So are you going to run shorter trains in the subway because you can’t cut a car off when they hit the surface? A three car TR train would be interesting because the A or cab cars do not have an air compressor which is only in the B cars and only have one truck powered IIRC. I do not think that the TTC likes to run a train with only one compressor because if it fails then the train is dead. Do you make a special order cab car that has an air compressor or do you put two in the B car which makes it special order?
Priority does not always guarantee a green signal and since the cars are operating with cross traffic they would probably need track brakes in order to stop faster when some idiot makes a left turn in front of them. How would you like that coupler to come through your side door?
The TRs are from the Bombardier Movia Family. They are also available in a 25 kv version as in New Delhi. However, when you make a lot of changes required for street running then you start to get a special order vehicle for which standard parts would not be usable.
Face it you are trying to adapt a vehicle to a use for which it was not intended to meet a need which does not exist to satisfy the desires of a small, but vocal, group of people.
This makes it almost seem worthwhile, however, I would not reading through BCA, it did not make the top of the list. From a purely transit perspective, it is likely not worth the costs, however, from a political one, it may well be. I am also of the opinion that the approved projects that are making some headway do not do enough to support the basic notion of creating a less core centric transit system. Congestion issues east west will not be helped to the degree they should be by a Finch West LRT that connects only as far as the Spadina line, and does not reach the airport. Cutting the EC-LRT short of the Renforth Gateway also undermines the notion of creating access across the city, without driving or taking a long diversion towards the core. While a higher order service might not be forecast to get the ridership I wonder about the impact on development, and the opportunities to improve connectivity that would make the use of transit much more attractive.
I am of the mind that one of the reasons that secondary centres around the 416 and 905 have failed to really gain significant size, is the lack of broad higher order transit to support them. The distortion of bus routes for the STC did not give the sense of permanence or reliability to encourage massive growth there, and there is only a relatively small catchment for the NYCC in terms of areas that have easy access, when compared to the core and near core areas.
The issue in my mind is that we need to create service to these smaller areas in a way that supports the current origin/destination patterns in such a manner that transit is preferred to auto. To do this, I think the Finch LRT needs to extends at least from the airport to Yonge, or a viable a link from Sheppard through to Spadina. I would really like to see a organized move towards a system that better supported a grid, where there were rapid transit options in areas that had high demand, and/or were seriously slowed by local traffic.
I get the feeling that members of the SSCA don’t have any noses.
According to TTC forecasts (recently reported in the Star), the annual ridership would be 17 million for Sheppard East LRT but 27 million a Sheppard subway extended to Scarborough Town Centre.
I am skeptical of the 10 million difference in ridership. Is it possible that the 17 million excludes riders boarding between Sheppard-Yonge and Don Mills while the 27 million includes them?
Steve: Yes. The LRT ridership is only for the section that is actually LRT.
The question of course, would be, once it is in a ROW, out of traffic, why would a streetcar be bad. If there was space downtown, and the relatively long blocks of Sheppard in the downtown area, streetcars in dedicated rights of way would be amazing. If only we could actually just close King Street (yes I know Steve – can’t be done). Well given the Sheppard Street road allowance is twice the width of King, hey. Why did they not plan for this in the 1800s!!
The funny thing of course is that one – the idea of just a bus lane would be seriously stretched for this area, but well, subway, not even close!! So if you want wide stops to speed service, you don’t want a bus lane, if you want frequent stops you don’t want subway. If you want speed, an LRT, with signal priority and similar stop spacing is very nearly as quick as subway, but of course can’t have that. What is wrong with say stops every 1 km or more if you want speed, or every 500-750 metres if you want access.
The real point is quoting the Star:
Yes, common sense and politics do not mix well.
I would quibble slightly (only very slightly) with the last comment, in that there is one potential spot that makes sense for subway – and that is a the east side DRL, although I suppose one might argue that is not really a corridor, but a link between services. However, even here if it there was room at surface for most of the route, I would be prepared to argue for LRT with loads above suggested levels.
The only subway, that makes sense as subway, is one that links the existing subways, and the new LRT line, and a new station for RER. I suppose that means it is not really a single transportation corridor like Sheppard, but well.
PS. I find it interesting, that the top 5 performing projects are Relief Line, Don Mills LRT, Scarborough Malvern LRT extension and the 2 Waterfront LRTs. I would quibble slightly in that the 2nd half of said relief line would make sense, earlier in their list, only in that it makes the Cross Town and Don Mills LRT, and hence Sheppard LRT all make more sense. However, this is a minor quibble, in that I also believe that the next 5 are all essential regionally except the Jane LRT.
I am referring to the city document linked to in the Star article.
The following TTC numbers were from the recent Toronto Star article:
The 6000 number seems suspicious since one would not be able to take the Sheppard East LRT from Yonge St.
However, assuming the 6000 number is valid, the TTC numbers suggest that Sheppard East should have a BRT instead of an LRT. Josh Colle once made a comment to that affect. So, is there anything wrong with the numbers reported or in their literal interpretation?
Steve: That number eastbound from Yonge is quite suspect because it is the wrong mode. The service actually operated today on the Sheppard Subway is one four-car train every 5’30”, or 10.9 trains/hour. The crowding standard for such a train is 670 passengers, and so the scheduled capacity is 7,300/hour.
For the record, no existing streetcar line operates at 8,000 per hour — that was last seen on Bloor Street before the subway opened in 1966 — and I think that 8k is a rather high cutoff point for right-of-way implementation. That’s equivalent to 108 standard sized streetcars/hour, or a two-car train almost once a minute. It would be fun to see what that would look like on King Street.
I don’t know who Tess Kalinowski got her info from at the TTC, but I think either the info was garbled, or whoever gave it out didn’t know their stuff.
I think we would want to look at the cut off to using LRT as closer to 3,000, or about a bus a minute. This would mean you could support a single car LRT running at a 3 minute headway, or with every light cycle, pushing the signal priority ability to coordinate – so you would get good effect in only one direction.
While in theory you could run more, the nature of the stations/stops and service starts to require a lot more space. I can see starting this way, but it would need to be an express service, with mega stations, and a parallel local bus service. 8,000 might work if you could build structures etc, in a place like a power corridor, where you were given lots of width, passing lanes in both directions and room for 5-6 buses stopped each way at the transfer stations. Oddly I can see this in say the Gatineau corridor (or even Finch), but it would be a stretch for Sheppard.
How about one of these every 2 minutes. They operate on lines 4 and 6 in Budapest on a combined 3 minute headway for all but the last two stops at one end. The road makes University Avenue look narrow but you should see them getting from the car house to the line on streets about as wide as McCaul but full of curves. They are 53.99 m long, wouldn’t want to exaggerate and say 54 m would we. More images can be found here.
Note that they have 2 pans for power pickup. The overhead had to be restrung to accommodate the large current draw.
Dresden apparently has longer trams but they are for hauling freight, see CarGoTram. They are used for hauling parts to the Volkswagen plant. I could see these running around during the night. They could be used to remove garbage make deliveries etc. Would they be in TTC red, Metrolinx green or interurban box motor orange?
I find the cars being ordered for Ottawa quite interesting for similar reasons – not quite as long – only 49 meters, but even a single car every 2 or 3 minutes has a huge impact. However, the downside of course becomes you lose a little flexibility. There is something to be said for running a train of 2, 3 or 4 at 30 meters each instead 1 or 2 at 49-54 meters each. It is hard enough to get it right when you are dispatching the equivalent of 3 buses at a time and jumping to 6 by adding a car to the trains, let alone dispatching nearly 5 and jumping to 10. If we say we need to match a demand of 6000 – that is only 24-26 cars of the bigger, so a single car train every 3 minutes (say the signal cycle) doesn’t quite make it, but a set of 2 car trains – would leave them very nearly half full at peak. Of course this would also clarify the debate in terms of LRT not being able to meet the demand, when you had to make the argument, that you were struggling to justify the 2nd car, let alone the 3rd on a train.
Steve: I must remind readers of a vital difference between some “LRT” implementations that are completely on their own rights-of-way and those in the middle of a street, no matter how wide it is. Passengers must be able to get to and from the platforms, and there must be enough space there, plus pedestrian “green time” for access, to support operations at higher capacities regardless of the vehicle used. Wider roads which are in some ways “ideal” for an LRT right-of-way also increase pedestrian crossing times over the traffic lanes. Narrow streets will tend to be dominated by the “LRT” (streetcar). Neither Finch nor Sheppard would have the station access characteristics of some of the stations in Ottawa or Calgary.
However, in some cases this is a choice that could be addressed, in what may turn into the busier stations. I am not a huge fan of pedestrian bridges, or tunnels, however, these are issues that really only arise at very busy stations. If you have a situation where a 100 meter + train were to stop and unload half of its passengers, this would make a very interesting next light cycle for the pedestrian portions. However, in the event and high service frequency, trains of fairly reasonable size with stop frequency under say 1 km, these sort of single highly concentrated stops should be very rare. Where they are expected, station design would need to make sure it allowed for both platform space, escalators, and pedestrian bridges.
Part of the Calgary design is relatively infrequent stops away from the core, with a feeder bus network, and therefore much higher loading at those stops – and the associated complex stations complete with bridges – concept drawing for Tuscany showing the basic notion. Also a fly-through view.
If a development were to be built that would have many thousands of people per day coming and going at a single stop, such a station could be allowed for with direct ties into the adjoining buildings.
Steve: My problem is with the chicken-and-egg situation. There are locations where considerable transfer traffic might be expected, but development, if any, could be years in the future.
If you have a large transfer potential, then you should really at least make sure you get the land allocated, to permit some future vision of a transfer station – although this could look goofy in some spots until it was actually needed.
Steve: This is easier said than done at locations that already are maturely developed.
Yes, and to be honest this is one of the reasons it looks goofy. Expropriation of your house/business, in order to make way for future considerations, would be infuriating – to say the least . Now you have an empty lot, that you do not develop for years – to allow for a station at some later date. The legal and political aspects of this would be might I say – awkward. Also why it becomes a – “you really should”, which has a high likely hood of becoming – “you really should have”.
According to this week’s news, construction will start on Hamilton’s LRT line in 2019, 2 years prior to the Sheppard LRT. The province deferred Sheppard because it said it could not handle so many projects concurrently. Yet it could handle Hamilton’s line.
Perhaps the province is diverting resources because Hamilton seems to like LRT a lot more than Scarborough thus providing a greater political payback for the Liberals in Hamilton. Just a guess.
Steve: Hamilton doesn’t have a fifth column within the government for who nothing but a subway will do. If I were running things at Queen’s Park [pause here for wild laughter], I would sit back and let the SSE self-destruct on its ever rising cost thereby forcing a re-evaluation of LRT options of which Sheppard could be a part.