My apologies to readers for not posting this information sooner. There has been an inconsistency between schedule information for a major project on the west end of the Queen line between the TTC’s five-year plan taken from their capital budget, and the City of Toronto’s Transportation Services plans. The TTC still has not provided updated information to resolve this although it was requested some weeks ago.
The five-year plan for streetcar track renewal was part of the 2016-2020 Capital Budget. Whether all of this work will actually occur as planned remains in doubt because the relevant budget lines are subject to limitations on capital spending imposed by Council.
(Source: Adapted TTC 2016-2020 Capital Program, Streetcar Track Plan pp 5-7)
The notes in the plan above show the changes in 2016 from the version in the 2015 budget.
With this plan, the TTC has reached a “steady state” replacement plan for track thanks to construction of more robust infrastructure including new track foundations, the use of steel ties, and a return to continuously welded rail strings with thermite welds where needed. Special work is now laid in panels and, like the tangent rail, is better welded so that intersections do not fall apart only a few years after they are installed.
Planned dates for some of the 2016 work have already been announced:
- Work at CNE Loop, integrated with a GO Transit project, is already underway
- Roncesvalles Carhouse work will begin in late March
- Charlotte Street Loop will be rebuilt from March 29 to April 22
- College & Bathurst will be rebuilt from June 20 to July 22
- College & Lansdowne will be rebuilt from July 18 to August 15
Although work on The Queensway and Lake Shore Boulevard is shown above over 2016, 2017 and 2020, this schedule has already been revised according to a City presentation about the co-ordination of work around the King-Queen-Roncesvalles intersection. The reconstruction of that intersection and of the carhouse access trackage would be advanced from 2020 to 2017 so that all of the work in this area could be done in one large project. If work on Lake Shore from Humber Loop to Dwight (the long curving east half of the “Long Branch” section of 501 Queen) remains in the 2017 schedule, this would achieve a large-scale reconstruction over the course of one long season accompanied by a shutdown of streetcar service west of Roncesvalles.
The projected dates for this work (quoted from the City presentation) are:
- Phase 1 – Roncesvalles from Harvard to Queen including north TTC yard entrance: 1 week for overhead removals with lane closure and 4 weeks of full intersection closure; April 3 – May 8, 2017
- Phase 2 – The intersection of KQRQ including South TTC yard entrance and the Loop: 10 weeks of construction including 6 weeks of full intersection closure with the exception of maintaining an Eastbound lane for 4 weeks within this 6 weeks along Queensway and King and 4 weeks of lane closures; May 8 – July 17, 2017
- Phase 3 – Queensway from Sunnyside to Parkside: One lane of traffic in each direction shall be maintained at all times during this phase. July 17 – Oct 27, 2017
This would disrupt streetcar service on the following dates:
- 501 Queensway – April 1 to Nov 18
- 501 Queen – May 7 to July 17
- 504/508 King – May 7 to July 17
- 504 Roncesvalles – April 1 to July 17
Details of the three phases appear below.
During this phase, there would be no streetcar service on Roncesvalles Avenue, nor would the north gate entrance to the carhouse be available.
The reference to sidewalk loading areas on Queen relates to a proposed change in the intersection design that would see the triangular island now on the southwest corner replaced by an extension of the sidewalk over the channel for road traffic from The Queensway to King. The eastbound carstop would move farside in a layout similar to the sidewalk “bump outs” for stops on Roncesvalles, and the space now occupied by the eastbound safety island would become a left turn lane. The Envronmental Assessment for this reconfiguration has not yet started.
As part of this project, the streetcar right-of-way on The Queensway would be extended east from Parkside Drive to Roncesvalles.
During this phase, access to Roncesvalles Carhouse would be limited to the north gate.
During this phase, Roncesvalles Carhouse would be fully accessible, but no streetcars could operate west of Sunnyside Loop.
When I get more information about this plan, I will update this article. The full deck containing the images above is linked below.
Do you have a link to the information in PDF form?
Steve: To which information do you refer?
A link to the images.
Steve: They are snapshots out of a PDF which I insert in JPG format so that they are visible inline (click to expand). Where there are resolution problems, they are in the original. I will add the full PDF to the article.
I have my fingers crossed that the TTC sees the wisdom of adding the missing N-W curve at Gerrard & Broadview and the two missing curves at Dundas & Parliament to avoid seeing some of the more absurd diversions we’ve seen in recent years.
Steve: I believe that the curves at Gerrard and Broadview are in the design, but not those at Dundas and Parliament.
I see King Street has been added to the 2020 plans. If I remember correctly, a large portion of this was done in the early 2000s shortly after large portions of Queen were redone. King before Queen being a result of increased wear from higher service levels?
Steve: Hard to say. In the out years of the plan, a street may be listed simply because its anniversary has come up, but closer to the date, this might change depending on actual condition of the track (not bad right now) and/or concurrent work the City wants to undertake.
I am excited to see Richmond and Adelaide slated to have operational track restored. Perhaps some day both Richmond and Adelaide could have streetcar track running from Bathurst to Parliament. Even having that track running further east beyond Parliament to Eastern Ave. would be something, it would link up well with the eventual east end commuter rail shoulder station.
Steve: No not Adelaide. Notice that this has been deferred from the 2019 program with no new scheduled date.
King from Berkeley to Charlotte in 2020. I wonder if this will include modifications for the King Transit Priority Corridor.
Steve: I think this is purely coincidental. This plan changes every year and is often adjusted to fit into city paving and utility project schedules. The King Street idea was not even being discussed when the track schedule was put together last summer.
Good idea because the tracks are becoming tired.
I’m assuming that they will use poured concrete between the streetcar tracks, and not cobblestones. Which means automobiles will continue to drive onto the tracks, even if they are “right-of-way” in name only.
I am surprised to not see a rebuild of College track between Spadina and Bathurst, a small section that is in dire need (think on par with Victoria).
Assuming if Bathurst and College are this summer wouldn’t that little patch being done at the same time be even the slightest bit cost effective?
One thing I’ve wondered about is why the TTC hasn’t considered using precast concrete blocks. It would certainly speed replacements up especially the stop rail replacements. The quality would probably be higher as well.
If the tracks along Adelaide have been dropped indefinitely, would there be any chance that the old ones simply get ripped up? The pavement condition of Adelaide is absolutely atrocious, and the abandoned streetcar tracks make it about 10x worse.
Steve: I expect that the city will get around to paving Adelaide after the condo construction which seems to go on forever is done. They have already done a short stretch from Simcoe to York.
I noticed the Harvey Shop transfer table in the track plan. Do you know what the plan is for Harvey shop after the full conversion to new streetcars? Would it still play any role in streetcar maintenance?
Steve: I can’t see them doing much at Harvey Shop that requires an entire car to be there because there are only two bays where they will fit, and they can’t use the transfer table. I don’t know to what degree the facilities available at Harvey are duplicated at Leslie Barns.
With the track work being done in the Roncesvalles yard, would the Leslie yard handle any overflow streetcars, including the CLRV’s and ALRV’s? Or would Russell handle any overflow?
Steve: If the Leslie Barns project had been finished by now, I am sure that is how the TTC would have handled both the construction at Russell and at Roncesvalles — shift cars to Leslie so that parts of the old yards could be taken out of service. However, they have not yet taken full possession of the site at Leslie and are occupying it for the Flexitys under an arrangement with the builder who is likely allowing this to avoid late penalties.
I assume at this point we can now consider the Adelaide tracks from Charlotte to Victoria effectively abandoned and due to be paved over or pulled up? Seems a shame to me.
Steve: Yes. They have been out of service for so long, and Adelaide is a never-ending construction site somewhere or other, that any benefit they might have had has been lost in the mists of time.
The TTC was in favour of adding N to E and W to S curves at the Carlton & Church intersection to improve diversion routing. Has that proposal evaporated?
Steve: I don’t know. Broadview & Gerrard was one of the sample intersections included in a multi-year tender, and so the new layout for it was published. Carlton & Church was not.
I’d be interested in an additional column showing the year that section of track or intersection was last rebuilt.
Steve: I will dig in my records to see if I have all of the dates.
I wonder if all of this investment is worthwhile given that a DRL would leave a significant portion of streetcar infrastructure obsolete (except for Spadina, Bathurst, and St Clair routes; the DRL should reduce demands on other streetcar routes low enough to be sufficiently met by buses). Streetcars are only needed on the most congested routes and College, Dundas, Queen, and King will no longer be congested enough once the DRL is up and running.
Steve: The RL will not open until 2031 at best, and that’s only the eastern leg. I don’t expect to see the western leg until much longer after that, if ever. Meanwhile, there is a large backlog of demand thanks to two decades in which the size of the streetcar fleet did not grow and the population along streetcar routes is growing.
If the Bloor-Danforth line couldn’t divert enough traffic from College, how could a DRL with just a handful of stops manage the same? If the YUS line couldn’t divert enough traffic from King, how could a DRL? The streetcars and subways serve different purposes and different demands. Outside of providing additional transfer points, the DRL should have minimal impact on streetcar demand.
LikeLiked by 2 people
What are you drinking? That’s like saying: If the Scarborough subway can’t provide relief to the Yonge-Bloor station, then how will the Downtown Relief Line? Seriously, what are you drinking? I can’t believe, Steve lets such non-sense through. To be fair, Colin does post some great points often but this one is ridiculous.
On what basis can you make that claim? The Bloor-Danforth did eliminate many streetcar routes and the DRL will do the same whether you accept it or not. If only the eastern portion of the DRL is built, then it will only eliminate eastern streetcar routes.
Steve: I let a lot of “nonsense” through. It’s a legitimate part of debate. Only when the same argument is made over and over after it’s rebutted, then, well the “Trash” button is not that far from “Edit”.
Colin’s point was that one cannot assume that all traffic will migrate to a new route. Specifically the presence of an RL will not cause traffic on all of the streetcar lines to plummet. They have different catchment areas and access paths. In 1966, the TTC thought that over half of the King car’s ridership would shift to the brand new subway. What they missed was that most of the route was nowhere near the BD line, and the streetcar was still “the better way” to get downtown.
The streetcar routes that were eliminated were those that paralleled the BD corridor: Bloor, Danforth and Harbord. Some north south services such as Coxwell, Parliament and Bathurst (to downtown via Adelaide) disappeared because riders would stay in the BD corridor rather than taking a streetcar south and east/west to downtown.
The RL East does very little to the catchment area of the King car. It gets some transfer traffic from the subway, but accumulates a lot along the route into the core, very little of which will be served by RL stations.
As Steve suggested, streetcars are more complicated than just a route into the downtown core. A DRL with stops at Bay, Sherbourne, Sumach, and Broadview would have no more impact on streetcar network demand than a YUS line with stops at Queen/Yonge, King/Yonge, Front/Bay, King/University. and Queen/University (note, I’m not saying it would have no impact at all, just not enough to make the routes unnecessary). If you’re not coming from or going to somewhere within walking distance of those stations, you’ll be looking for another way.
For people who just want an express route into the core, and are willing to walk a kilometer or more to and from a station, that option already exists in the form of the existing subway and GO network. For people who want to go places other than Bay and King, the streetcar network will continue to be essential. It serves local demand (as opposed to those who are just coming into and leaving downtown) and the many, many destinations that are not walkable from Nathan Phillips Square.
If the full DRL is built from Pape to Dundas West along Queen, then maybe, *maybe* we would no longer need a streetcar along Queen, depending on station spacing. But we’d probably still need ones on King, Dundas, and College. And we’d absolutely still need one on the harbourfront. And we’d definitely need one east of Pape and west of Roncesvalles.
And that’s not even on the table right now. The only DRL we might see in the lifetime of this new track would end at Bay, and barely overlaps our existing streetcar routes, which means the rest is a non-factor in deciding whether or not to undertake this work.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Let’s see. The Scarborough extension would put more people onto Bloor Danforth who would have to transfer at Yonge thereby helping to overload Yonge. The DRL will intercept people who would go to the Yonge subway and take them downtown on either King, Queen or some other parallel street. If it went to Eglinton it would provide an alternate route for a lot more people. I may be mis-interpreting your analogy but it is not entirely clear.
Colin’s comment is about the DRL and the King Street Car. The street car service is fine grained and serves a very large number of local riders. The DRL line would have a lot fewer stops and would require that many people walk a lot farther. The downtown car lines go through very dense residential and commercial areas. A lot of their riding does not need a subway.
I think his point was that the DRL more closely shadows the King car’s route than the YUS. But he missed my original point, which was that like the DRL, the YUS has exactly two stops that are actually on the King car’s route (I’m counting Broadview and Sumach). If your destination is Spadina and King, you’re not going to walk from a DRL station at Bay any more than you would from St. Andrew. And I feel it’s worth noting here that (while neither of the former have the density of the latter) Pape is roughly the same distance from Broadview as University is from Spadina – yet people still ride the Spadina streetcar rather than walking from University.
Why is the St. Clair trackage already being replaced? Isn’t it less than ten years old?
Steve: The track through the underpass (Bathurst to Tweedsmuir) was not rebuilt when the line was overhauled.
Is it possible the 512 car will run to Bathurst Station during the St.Clair track work?
Steve: Hard to say. Bathurst Station really is not set up for a service entering from the north.