Inching Ahead on Subway Plans

Toronto’s Executive Committee will consider a report from the City Manager at its meeting of May 15, 2017 regarding the preferred alignment for the southern end of the “Relief Line” subway, as well as the current status of the Yonge Subway Extension to Richmond Hill.

This report has taken on a more political context with Mayor Tory’s recent statements that unless Queen’s Park coughs up financial support for the RL, he will block any further work on the YSE. Needless to say, this stance did not play well in York Region or at Queen’s Park.

The two lines, as they currently are proposed, look like this:

One might cast a though back only a few years to Tory’s election campaign in which he claimed that SmartTrack would eliminate the need for a Relief Line, that it would have frequent service with many new stops, that it would operate with TTC fares, and that it would be self-financing. Most of these claims were demonstrably false or impossible at the time, and the project scope has changed dramatically. Even the question of a “TTC fare” is tangled up in the Metrolinx Fare Integration study which could well bring higher rapid transit fares to the TTC as a way of “integrating” them with regional systems.

Tory’s convoluted evolution into a Relief Line supporter undermines his credibility on many issues not the least of which is an understanding of when money he demands might actually be spent. There is no point in getting a “commitment” from Queen’s Park when the government will be unrecognizable by the time the bills come due. Toronto has far more pressing demands in the short and medium term, and meanwhile there is $150 million of provincial money going into design work for the RL.

As for the YSE, it has been on York Region’s wish list for years, and is more advanced than the Scarborough Subway which is mired in debates about the alignment and number of stations. The problem for Toronto is that there is no capacity for additional riders from an extension on the Yonge line, and indeed it is already over capacity according to a CBC interview with TTC Deputy CEO Chris Upfold on May 10.

Capacity problems on Line 1 have been discussed before, including in a Metrolinx report on subway capacity and the effect of various planned improvements. The first chart below shows the effect of various planned changes to the regional network:

This chart begins with the assumption that the subway already has a demand of 31,200 passengers/hour but a capacity of only about 28,000. In fact the service currently operated provides less than this because the TTC rarely achieves the scheduled number of trains/hour through the peak point at Bloor-Yonge.

With the introduction of Automatic Train Control (ATC), the TTC hopes to get the scheduled time between trains (headway) down from 2’21” to 1’50”, a 28% increase, taking the line’s peak capacity up to about 36,000. Whether the TTC could actually achieve this remains to be seen.

The City Manager’s report lists various capacity improvements for Line 1. This table looks good, but three of the four changes have already been implemented and do not represent future potential improvements.

A related problem is planning for the fleet and carhouse. Although the TTC plans to add some trains to the YUS once ATC is available, they do not have enough spare equipment to add 28% to the number of trains in service. The actual bump required will probably be a bit less because of ATC efficiencies, but there simply are not enough trains in the Line 1 fleet to operate a 1’50” headway. There is no provision in the future budget for acquiring either the vehicles or the carhouse space to handle the increase, and this would likely have to be bundled with any YSE project (which would need additional trains of its own). There is already provision in the YSE design for an underground storage yard at Richmond Hill.

Population growth will push up demand on the YUS even if nothing else happens, and by 2031 it would exceed even the target ATC capacity. A small diversion of ridership (1,300 per hour) is projected when the TYSSE opens in December 2017, but this benefit to the Yonge line would be instantly backfilled with demand that cannot be handled today. A further offloading (4,200 per hour) is projected when the GO RER services begin in the 2024 timeframe, notably from the Barrie line. This assumes that the fare structure and subway congestion combine to encourage a shift to GO.

Adding in the YSE is projected to increase demand by 2,400 per hour. Yes, we are planning to build a subway that will carry even fewer riders than the SSE. Indeed, if it carried many more, the situation on Yonge north of Bloor would be grim.

Meanwhile, the benefits of a Relief Line, especially the northern extension to Sheppard, are shown dramatically in the following chart from the Metrolinx study.

Ridership on the RL would be considerable, and the effect on demand within the existing network would be quite dramatic. Far too often the high cost of the RL is cited as a reason not to build it, and yet the investment would bear benefits that none of the other options for shifting demand can provide. Notably, elimination of the bottleneck at Bloor-Yonge could avoid a very expensive and complex project to expand platform and circulation space there.

The RL North is taking on a new importance as City planners and politicians recognize how the demand patterns will evolve in coming decades:

The Relief Line South will reduce demand on Line 1 to a point below capacity, south of Bloor -Yonge station, during the critical morning peak hour in 2031. The Relief Line South diverts a significant number of westbound to southbound transfers between Line 2 and Line 1, which reduces the number of riders at the critical peak point south of Bloor-Yonge station. However, the Relief Line South will not mitigate any forecast increase in demand on Line 1 in the peak southbound direction of travel north of Bloor-Yonge station. Consequently, the section of Line 1 immediately north of Bloor-Yonge station becomes the most congested section of Line 1 after the Relief Line South is added to the subway network, with ridership approaching capacity in 2031 (between 34,500 and 36,000).

With the addition of YSE, current demand forecasts indicate that Line 1 may exceed capacity in 2031. Additional study is required before such a conclusion can be confirmed, including determining a service plan for the YSE, an assessment of more current travel behaviour data from the 2016 Transportation Tomorrow Survey, and other initiatives affecting Line 1 demand described below. The Relief Line North will provide benefits and eventually be required over the longer term, however, the timing for the Relief Line North is subject to further analysis. [p. 21]

The Relief Line (South)

The City Manager’s report recommends that Council approve an alignment for the Relief Line that dodges west from Pape to Carlaw where the rail corridor crosses Gerrard Street. This would be the location of a future SmartTrack and RL station at a location ripe for redevelopment (the Gerrard Square Mall). Whether there actually will be a SmartTrack station at Gerrard remains to be seen as the new stations are coming in rather more expensive than the low cost SmartTrack line was supposed to be.

A far more likely joint station is at Broadview in the Unilever/Great Gulf development site now known as East Harbour.

Design work is already underway not just for the south end of the line, but for the full Relief Line from Sheppard south to downtown. However, the western piece of the line (to Dundas West) appears to have fallen off of the map, and it would be very hard to justify given competing service in the GO/SmartTrack Weston corridor.

City staff propose that a Class 3 estimate (a level sufficient to be reasonably certain that costs are not wildly out of line) would come back to Council for the RL South in late 2019. A separate report in early 2018 would address the business case for the RL north, a preliminary alignment and stations.

The Yonge Subway Extension

As an extension of the existing subway, the TTC wishes to retain complete control and ownership even though much of the line would be in York Region, and the City Manager proposes that the entire cost of the extension would be paid by York Region and other senior governments. It is entirely possible that there will be some pushback here given that a small portion of the line is actually inside of Toronto which will benefit from the creation of new stations at Cummer and especially at Steeles.

Further review of Line 1 Capacity is recommended by the City Manager:

[That] City Council direct the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Transit Commission, to undertake further analysis of forecasted Line 1 demand in 2031 and 2041, including the following:

a) in consultation with Metrolinx, consider the potential impacts on Line 1 demand of different fare structure scenarios including but not limited to the concepts currently included in Metrolinx’s ongoing GTHA Fare Integration Study;
b) in consultation with York Region and Metrolinx,identify and evaluate other possible measures to address Line 1 demand; and
c) report back to the TTC Board and City Council at the next decision gate of the Yonge Subway Extension once a Class 3 cost estimate has been developed for the project, which is anticipated to be in the fourth quarter of 2019.

In other words, updated info on both the RL South and the YSE will come back to Council in Fall 2019. By that time we should have a better sense of how the TYSSE’s opening has shifted ridership between the two arms of Line 1, and the TTC should be on the verge of full conversion to ATC with improved service.

Design and Construction Costs

The projected cost of designing both routes is summarized in the table below. Note that for the Relief Line North, this is only for preliminary work and so the cost is much lower.

As for the cost of construction, the estimates below make interesting reading, especially the long list of caveats in footnotes about costs that are not included.

Footnote 4 assumes a common target date for opening both lines, 2031.

Relief Line Governance

The City Manager’s report contains a rather odd statement about the RL:

The role of asset owner and operator is still to be confirmed. For the purposes of planning, it is assumed that provincial funding for the capital construction of the Relief Line is predicated on Metrolinx ownership of the asset. It is also assumed the TTC will be the operator of the Relief Line.

As the local planning authority, work to plan and implement major infrastructure projects in the City requires City Council approval to ensure project planning is integrated with existing land uses, aligned with the City’s Official Plan policies and meets city-building objectives. As the potential operator of the Relief Line, TTC service, design, and operating
standards are a key consideration in the next phase of work to ensure the seamless integration of the infrastructure with TTC’s existing system. TTC Board approval will be required on decisions relating to operations and service planning. The project delivery model will be subject to Provincial and Metrolinx requirements, assuming provincial funding for the construction of the project. [p. 16]

This implies a delivery model more like that used for the Crosstown LRT project rather than an expansion of the TTC subway network. Indeed, this arrangement leaves open the question of technology for the RL, even though the TTC has been planning on the basis of an integrated operation (shared maintenance) with the existing subway.

While the idea of provincial ownership has been used as an accounting scheme by Queen’s Park (owning the asset offsets the debt to build it on their books), it is unclear what would happen for a line with joint funding from all governments. This wording suggests that there is some wishful thinking going on here that Queen’s Park would pay 100% toward the RL’s cost, a rather optimistic premise.

Conclusion

If Mayor Tory can stop stamping his feet like a spoiled brat and let the City Manager’s proposal go forward, there will be a great deal more information obtained about both the YSE and RL projects including how the two of them will interact with the wider transit network. Even the Deputy Mayor, Denzil Minnan-Wong, who is not exactly a fan of transit spending downtown, was enthusiastic about the prospect of a “Don Mills Subway”, a name by which the RL really should be known. This is an important shift – looking not just at where a line goes, but who it will serve.

With elections coming in 2018 both at Queen’s Park and City Hall, it is important to get this work underway so that whoever is in power will receive the detailed information needed for any decision in 2019.

38 thoughts on “Inching Ahead on Subway Plans

  1. From the City Report: The role of asset owner and operator is still to be confirmed. For the purposes of planning, it is assumed that provincial funding for the capital construction of the Relief Line is predicated on Metrolinx ownership of the asset…

    Steve’s following comment: …This implies a delivery model more like that used for the Crosstown LRT project rather than an expansion of the TTC subway network. Indeed, this arrangement leaves open the question of technology for the RL, even though the TTC has been planning on the basis of an integrated operation (shared maintenance) with the existing subway.

    While the idea of provincial ownership has been used as an accounting scheme by Queen’s Park (owning the asset offsets the debt to build it on their books), it is unclear what would happen for a line with joint funding from all governments. This wording suggests that there is some wishful thinking going on here that Queen’s Park would pay 100% toward the RL’s cost, a rather optimistic premise.

    I was banned for a week in a popular Toronto forum for suggesting exactly that point, albeit in all fairness, further embellished with the possibility of Metrolinx also running it as part of RER in tunnel. It’s too soon to promote that discussion in this venue, but with the signalling and train control systems now allowing subway headways for RER (UK Crossrail is the latest to project this, Paris RER lines and others prior) and being mentioned in a number of Metrolinx reports on RER implementation….one has to wonder if this is going to be considered in the $150M planning stage?

    The present ‘orthodox’ religion is that the Relief Line is going to be subway, and it’s heresy to allude to anything else. Which truly stymies options, especially when other Cdn cities (Edmonton and Calgary for instance), let alone Crosstown in Toronto, are taking a much different approach, and delivering it much more efficiently.

    Steve is the first commentator to point out that even by TO Planner’s words, the subway vehicle presumption may not be the case. And political events are moving fast to have Tory et al lose complete control of this.

    Quick comment on this:

    With the introduction of Automatic Train Control (ATC), the TTC hopes to get the scheduled time between trains (headway) down from 2’21” to 1’50”, a 28% increase, taking the line’s peak capacity up to about 36,000. Whether the TTC could actually achieve this remains to be seen.

    Steve continues on to itemize specifics as to why. Again, very few if any commentators are making this point, and it’s profound, as many forums are full of persons accepting it as gospel that this has already been achieved.

    This how innovative and leading edge Calgary and Edmonton are seen to be in the foreign rail specialty press:

    Railway Age
    Wednesday, April 05, 2017
    Calgary, Edmonton adopt low-floor approach

    The two pioneering Canadian LRT cities, Calgary and Edmonton, located in the western province of Alberta, are both planning a major shift in their design and operating philosophies.

    Edmonton, Alberta’s capital, opened its first line in 1978; Calgary followed three years later.

    Both systems, from the outset, adopted high-platform boarding. Edmonton’s stations have been somewhat simple and utilitarian, for the most part, apart from those in the subway section, while Calgary’s have tended to be elaborate and expensive.
    […]
    Both cities have recently decided, since low-floor operations can be implemented at significantly lower cost, to pursue this approach on two completely new lines. These will be completely separate operations from the existing high-floor lines, although transfer will be possible. That said, both Calgary Transit and Edmonton Transit have extensions to the existing high-platform routes on the drawing boards, for future construction.

    Another advantage of low-floor LRT is that it can be situated on local streets, on reserved track, with less obtrusive stations more acceptable to local residents.][…]

    I highly recommend accessing the entire article, no subscription. Alternative models have to be examined, something that Toronto seems to have a problem doing unless imposed by Metrolinx.

    Theoretically it can…and so can RER…but the basis of argument that subways can handle and deliver the capacity where RER can’t without examining the *entire* physical and cost structure is fast losing ground.

    The studies that Metrolinx presented for RER in the case made initially for the Relief Line are already dated. Since this is a high stake game, present RER potential should be re-examined.

    Steve: One problem I have with your thesis is that it presumes a level of sophistication at Metrolinx that I have not seen to date. Remember that this is an organization that resisted electrification wondering whether it worked in snow or not.

    As for an alternative technology, I would be far more suspicious of Bombardier whispering in someone’s ear about using their son-of-ICTS trains. They tried to sneak them in on Eglinton years ago as an “extension” of the SRT (all the way to Pearson), but that was squelched.

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  2. As a new build subway, it is highly likely that the technology used on the Relief Line would be the current world standard.
    Driverless rapid transit trains are used on the majority of *new build* rapid transit lines across the world – Sydney Metro, Grand Paris Express or the Singapore Downtown Line as a few examples.

    The lower labour costs from running driverless trains (Unattended Train Operation – UTO) with platform edge doors is substantial – Paris estimated that the upgrade of their Line 1 will allow them to recoup the €600 million cost of the upgrade in around 10 years, such is the savings of labour.

    Computer driven trains with regenerative brakes also allow trains to be driven more efficiently, allowing 10% to 15% saving on the total electricity bills.

    (as an aside, Paris Métro Line 1 was the first retrofit of UTO onto an existing line in the world – delivering a 85 second headway onto a line 117 years old…)

    Take a look at the CBTC Wikipedia page to see how many rapid transit systems now use Computer Based Train Control systems.

    My question then – if the Relief Line is to be a Infrastructure Ontario/Metrolink/TTC P3 project – using the current standard of rapid transit technology – where is the train depot going to be placed…?

    Steve: Note that regenerative braking has been standard on rapid transit equipment for decades. It is important when looking at claims of power savings to verify what else might have changed at the same time. As for an 85 second headway, that is not physically possible on the existing subway system because of train length and the geometry of terminals. I suspect that where this sort of operation does exist, services branch at some point so that the very frequent trains are only on a common section with no turnbacks. Very close headways were possible in Toronto until the TTC changed its standards for red block signals to “stop and stay” from “stop and proceed”. It was common to see a train leaving Bloor station while the next train was pulling onto the platform.

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  3. “Notably, elimination of the bottleneck at Bloor-Yonge could avoid a very expensive and complex project to expand platform and circulation space there.”

    I would say that it wouldn’t avoid that project at Bloor-Yonge but rather make it possible for it to go ahead. Eventually, after the DRL gets built, the number of riders transferring there will rise again to the point where it will be needed. As a result, it’s best to tackle the project shortly after the DRL is finished so that you can redirect riders away from there more easily.

    Of course, if you are looking for an easy way of escalating the cost of the YSE project to discourage it from getting done… 😉

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  4. Steve: “an 85 second headway, that is not physically possible on the existing subway system because of train length and the geometry of terminals.”

    This is why building a new line from zero is such an attractive proposition to do things properly!

    As an aside – Paris Métro Line 1 runs at 85 second headway end to end, using Siemens Trainguard MT CBTC – more info here.

    Steve: This is all very well, but we don’t need 85 second headway capability on the RL. The problem is on YUS (and to a lesser extent on BD).

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  5. Steve writes: (As per my suggesting the now being achieved headway with pantograph type LRT and RER EMU)

    One problem I have with your thesis is that it presumes a level of sophistication at Metrolinx that I have not seen to date. Remember that this is an organization that resisted electrification wondering whether it worked in snow or not.

    This is an excellent point. What Metrolinx middle management planners publish in reports, and what Metrolinx executives then state as policy are two very different interpretations. Of course, politics alone is a huge factor in that.

    I was pleasantly shocked to see the City Planner quote you analyzed. Are we witnessing the dawn of the age where once again neutral planners are affecting policy? It’s too good to fully believe, but one can only hope.

    Steve writes: As for an alternative technology, I would be far more suspicious of Bombardier whispering in someone’s ear about using their son-of-ICTS trains. They tried to sneak them in on Eglinton years ago as an “extension” of the SRT (all the way to Pearson), but that was squelched.

    Yes, as I talk to more persons knowledgeable behind the scenes, this keep coming up. It’s writ large in the present Montreal REM proposal.

    But this ties into Steve’s answer to James: (the gist of which was very good, even if some details are nebulous)

    As for an 85 second headway, that is not physically possible on the existing subway system because of train length and the geometry of terminals. I suspect that where this sort of operation does exist, services branch at some point so that the very frequent trains are only on a common section with no turnbacks.

    For the heavy rail RER London Crossrail and Paris lines where two minute headways are possible, branches merging to a central through-running trunk are the case. And Bombardier’s signalling system is not in use in either. Siemens and Thales are.

    The experience of London’s Underground BBD signal fiasco must be kept in mind:

    On the other hand:

    …For Crossrail is reliability a measure of running on time, or meeting headway targets?

    Both, that’s the big challenge. We need to measure performance against a timetable when we run on Network Rail lines and on headways when we are underground and are effectively a Tube. In the Tube section the trains could all be 10 minutes late but as long as the headways are maintained people would be happy. But we have to operate on a timetable for Network Rail who have given us train paths and we have to stick to those. Crossrail needs to meet all those expectations.

    Has anyone else pulled this off?

    Crossrail’s nearest cousins are the RER, particularly, Line A in Paris and the S Bahns in places like Munich but there are lessons to learn and differences in operation. RER shows its vital to maintain station dwell times or you have to cut back on frequency to maintain headways. The S Bahn in Munich has holding platforms before the tunnelled section where trains wait before they go into the central tunnel. We are using a Siemens communications based train control signalling system which will be capable of delivering what Crossrail needs – which is 24 trains an hour through the centre. Technically the system should be able to do 30….

    From Infrastucture-Intelligence.com

    *IF* the Relief Line planning does entertain GO RER EMU in tunnel to an Osgoode terminus (at least initially with planned run-through later in tunnel to the Weston Corridor) it could collect incoming traffic from both the north and east via the Don Valley and the planned ramps to the Lakeshore Line east to Greenwood, which will be very expensive items. Why waste them to just shuttle trains in and out for service/storage? They could be used for RER to Osgoode as an alternative destination to Union, for both lines, and relieve Union as well as the YUS subway.

    Is the size of this projection ‘over the top’? That remains to be seen, there are no cheap answers to Toronto’s starved infrastructure, but if tunnelling is to be done, let’s do it with forward compatibility built-in to maximize the investment. The first phase could initially be run with dual voltage LRVs capable of both 25kV AC and 750V DC catenary operation. (The City’s initial study called for 4-car subway trains for start-up).

    Further to James’ post:

    CBTC extends its reach

    ..CBTC is already the train control system of choice for new metro projects and is gaining favour for metro resignalling schemes as well as high-capacity commuter rail projects.
    The reasons why and some of the issues surrounding CBTC were debated at last November’s Global Transport Forum conference on CBTC, as David Briginshaw reports from Amsterdam.

    INCREASING demand for urban rail is spurring the construction of new lines and putting many existing metros and commuter rail operations under growing strain. But building new underground lines is very costly. Similarly upgrading existing underground lines by extending station platforms to allow the operation of longer trains is prohibitively expensive and disruptive and in most cases out of the question.

    For new projects, the goal should be to develop solutions that optimise the capacity of costly infrastructure, while for existing lines the objective should be to get more out of what has already been built. These twin objectives help to explain why more and more operators are turning to Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) with its ability to provide headways of less than 90 seconds while maximising the flexibility in the way the line is operated….

    From Railroadjournal.com

    Steve: Regarding minimum headways on the TTC subway, I have written about this elsewhere on this site, and didn’t want to get off on a tangent that has been thrashed out before. By the way, there is still a non-trivial number of politicians and planners who do not understand that capacity is a function of headway, not of speed. People may get from A to B faster, but the number of people carried remains the same if the headway does not change. This gets scrambled up with demand modelling that rewards faster routes with more simulated ridership leading to the disappearance of stations. At times, I think that for some planners an ideal network has no stations at all.

    Regarding the Montreal REM proposal, there is an additional factor through the Caisse’s part ownership of Bombardier and their interest in seeing some return on their investment. The situation in Ontario is different, especially if any new fleet/technology would not necessarily originate here.

    As a final observation, many comments here (and discussions elsewhere) verge on debates about track layout and the capabilities of ATC without examining the passenger flows at stations. If we keep stuffing more people onto existing lines, the trains may operate, but the passengers could run into problems getting in and out at congested locations.

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  6. Is it not going to hit a point that if the YUS line continues to gain [length?] north for all the extensions opening / proposed that Line 1 will eventually need to be split?

    If Richmond Hill ever gets approved – I would imagine that either truncating the line at Union – or reactivating Lower Bay to go Richmond Hill looped to LB would help?

    I get it wouldn’t do much for Bloor-Yonge but that’s an entirely way too long line, no? (I know NYC has much longer route – but more options to hop on.)

    Steve: Lower Bay is not an option. Merging services at the wye simply won’t work because the headway needed to Vaughan consumes more than 50% of the route’s capacity. Simmilarly the headway to Richmond Hill (or at least to the Yonge side of the line) needs every train available. Splitting the service at Union brings its own problems because there is no facility for turning back trains at the headway required, nor the platform space to handle this.Years ago there was a proposal to do this, but the space needed was consumed by the new platform.

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  7. I imagine that theoretically, a different vehicle with the same gauge could work on RLS. The question is whether a west Toronto yard on Line 2 would take all storage away from Greenwood. If it did, you could handover Greenwood to the DBFM (O retained by TTC) for their upgrade and use on the vehicles of their choice. I imagine you could pop a spur up from under the Lakeshore East line at Gerard station to run a surface connection to the south end of Greenwood, if you wanted to avoid trying to tie into Line 2 at Pape.

    To get really creative? Build RLL with an underground yard under a redeveloped Woodbine/George Vanier school/Oriole area just north of Don Mills Station.

    Lastly its heartening to see the project management maturity recommendations on stage gates and clear definition of estimate classes gaining traction.

    Steve: The intent is that Kipling Yard would take over the majority of functions from Greenwood because new trains will be single units like the TRs and these don’t fit with the layout at Greenwood Shops. Some BD storage would remain in the east end to balance out service loading. The intent is (was?) that Greenwood could be used for the DRL assuming four-car consists on that line.

    Some of the details should come out when the Line 2 renovation plans come out in July (if they come out and are not squelched).

    As for stage gating, yes, I think that many of the senior management at the City are getting tired of open ended projects that are approved long before there is enough design work for a proper budget, not to mention the lack of control on scope creep which is at least as much a political problem as a managerial one. This approach partly fixes a problem with the existing Transit Project Assessment (TPA) process where there is a catch-22 in the process — How much will this option cost? We won’t know until later in the design. Yes, but how can we compare options? You can’t because we only have very rough cost estimates.

    That’s how we’re getting a $3.5 billion and counting subway line in Scarborough.

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  8. James Scantlebury says:

    “As an aside – Paris Métro Line 1 runs at 85 second headway end to end, using Siemens Trainguard MT CBTC – more info here.”

    From RailEngineer Uk

    “The first line of the extensive Paris Metro network, now owned and operated by RATP, was opened on 19 July 1900. Running from Porte de Vincennes to Porte Maillot, the line was equipped with 3-car trains which had a driving cab at one end only. Semi-circular loops at the terminal stations enabled the trains to be turned. Subsequently, the line has been extended to La Defense in the west and Chateau de Vincennes in the east, making a total of 25 stations with platforms lengthened to take 6 cars. Passenger loadings were initially quite low but nowadays the line carries 750,000 passengers per day making it the most crowded line on the network.”

    From Wikipedia

    Train length	       90,280 mm (296 ft 2 3⁄8 in)
    Width	                2,440 mm (8 ft 1⁄8 in)
    Height	                3,480 mm (11 ft 5 in)
    Maximum speed	           80 km/h (50 mph)
    Traction system	6 three-phase induction motors per set
    Power output	        2,400 kW (3,200 hp)
    Acceleration	         1.35 m/s2 (4.4 ft/s2)
    

    Since the trains are 2/3 the length of Toronto’s and only 8′ wide they have a lower capacity than Toronto’s per train. Per train capacity will be just higher than a 3 car train on the crosstown because of the open gangways.

    With smaller trains you need to run shorter headways to achieve the same capacity as with longer wider trains. You say they are running every 85s while TTC claims to be able to get to 110s s headway. TTC is operating at 75% of the Frequency as line 1 Paris but its trains are 1.5 times the length and 1.25 times the width so their theoretical capacity per trains is about 180% of the metro cars. Multiplying 75% times 180% the TTC’s capacity per hour is 135% of Paris line 1. I rounded all the TTC figures down and they still give higher theoretical capacity.

    However actual capacity is dependent on other factors as well. What is the point in reducing the interval between trains if the resulting capacity loss is higher. There is also that the TTC has fewer vehicles to maintain with less complex trucks and lower friction losses that Paris does.

    Shorter headways requires smaller trains. Shorter headways means more train per hour but also shorter trains which means fewer passengers per train. This is an optimization problem that is dependent on many circumstances. Paris RATP inherited a lot of older infrastructure that they could not change so they chose smaller more frequent trains while the TTC chose less frequent larger trains. Before unmanned operations the TTC’s method was a lot cheaper. It probably still is when you factor in energy and maintenance costs.

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  9. You write about Tory’s Smart Tracks proposal: “Most of these claims were demonstrably false or impossible at the time, and the project scope has changed dramatically.”

    My question is — was the reason Tory’s claims were false a lack of competence (not knowing what you saw as obvious problems) or an intentional failure to come clean with the population of Toronto?

    Thanks for another great post.

    Steve: A big chunk was a question of competence among those who were advising him. The scheme had been proposed before (originally as a Milton to Markham service) and was looking for a home. Tory’s campaign provided a convenient one. Difficulties with service levels, station locations, and right-of-way availability were obvious right off the top, but the people behind the plan were very short on “on the ground” experience in the Toronto context. The transportation consultant based his proposal on the London (UK) “Overground” service which is a lot different from what is possible on the GO corridors without a lot more work than GO would entertain. As for the impossibility of the Eglinton West branch, what can I say about someone who doesn’t bother to check basic things like gradients and existing neighbourhoods. The financial part (self-financing Toronto’s share through Tax Increment Financing) was typical right-wing hocus-pocus that depended in part on tax revenue from new development from a level of service that the line could not provide, and in locations outside of the City of Toronto. It also assumed that Queen’s Park and Ottawa would kick in 2/3 of the $8.4 billion cost.

    When any of this was questioned, Tory and his camp went into “you’re just a naysayer” mode without actually addressing the issues.

    There are bullshit artists still around pushing various schemes (the original HSR scheme floated by Glen Murray for one). For my money, they should be sent packing.

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  10. Will the City/ TTC/ Metrolinx include plans for the western extension of the relief line (west of Osgoode) in its planning and design work as well? Or has the western leg been hived off as a separate project, to be discussed in some distant decade, when St. George Station has long since become as crushed for capacity as Bloor-Yonge is now?

    Steve: At this point the concentration is on the eastern leg. Don’t forget that if service improves substantially in the Weston rail corridor, and there is some sort of fare integration with GO, the need for a DRL West may evaporate. In any event, I think a line that ends at Dundas West would be a poor choice just as ending at Pape to the east would miss a good chunk of potential demand, and a Roncesvalles subway is just plain dumb given population densities.

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  11. Thanks for all of this, including comments. It’s complex, and yet it’s also somewhat infuriating – and I kinda hope that it all blows up to stall and delay as I really have minimal confidence that we’re doing the more-correct things, including some degree of cost-effectiveness. And I am NOT saying that we don’t need more transit – we totally do, and are overdue in provision, and at times it has to cost huge sums.

    Yet so much of what is done, and is being done I feel is inadequate, wrongly placed, compounds errors, or is far more of the scheming not planning, and very limited in what might be a ‘fix’ – and a comparable is thinking that the only electric power option is nuclear.

    Our problems are pretty deep-rooted, and while it’s complex and costly, it’s also been overly political, including how the federal level didn’t help fund that Queen St. subway approved by the voters in a 1949 referendum. Similar fails are not having the DRL be done in the mid-1980s as I think was a close vote, and then the Harris Conservatives killed off the already-underway Eglinton subway in c. 1996 in favour of a Sheppard stubway, that still costs us, maybe $10 a ride.

    I’m lucky to be still in the core, tho that may be changing, so I don’t have direct experiences with the transit. But my strong sense is we are in desperate need of new corridors, and with that extra redundancies and options for travel, and we also have to get towards providing a faster A to J trip, ie. sub-regional or near-express vs. milk runs everywhere, and only slow. And given the crises of energy, climate, congestion, integrity/planning, and imagination, we also must be quite willing to look at everthing, and try to be logical about it, and the City staff and the Metrolinx people are not doing that, or being open about it, or willing to make it opened, just taking their monies.

    A key example of what we should be thinking about is the Don Valley Parkway – currently a free way for drivers, who take up a lot of space in their travels and parking, and no, despite some real costs, are not paying their way, nor paying for their facilities like transit users do. So why don’t we think of using the Don Valley Parkway for good transit, and go beyond GO buses to look at total widths, and hmm, can we take a model from Jarvis St. and set up a reversible transitway up the centre lane? How far up could we go – Thorncliffe?? And we could make a new connection from the DVP up to Thorncliffe area from a bend in the DVP that has extra land in between directions, and that’s part of the construction project aspect that transit has become. If there are bridge supports that need adjusting, how many and how much? And yes, any vehicles used, do have to thread their way back up, but that’s a lesser detail.

    And if the DVP isn’t an option, not just why not, but why not think of converting that Jarvis lane to a busway only lane? Oh, some motorists won’t like that? But if we had political will, and some real express buses at regular fare (don’t know how these are structured now), we could think of having many buses from Eglinton south to the core, and back, right?

    And if we really really were alarmed by the Bloor/Yonge overcrowding, what about repainting the lane lines of Yonge St. itself, with attendant signal costs yes, for a reversible busway but mostly express so thus it would be in centre lane.This might be more appropriate for the Danforth, with its greater widths, yes, but why not?? And yes, bike lanes for many of us in the near-core are another cheaper way to enhance mobilities without using transit, and what we have now is studiously AVOIDING having length and continuity parallel to massive transit use, in part I think because the transit makes money in the core, and bikes are competition, so it’s fine to keep it dangerous, as health care costs are the province’s.

    There is a real lack of worry about urgency too it seems, so that it’s only the big/costly things that might get the approvals, maybe. The silver bullet is sought; silver buckshot is needed. And that would include adjusting Main and Danforth as I think is possible to have incoming buses to the Main Station go south on Main, under the bridge (in a new construct/dig/tunnel), and have a drop-off pick up right at the GO platform, and then go back up north to the Main Station, tho this northbound segment is far less clearly obvious, and thus is costly/dramatic.

    Having a reset of the subway plans and transit schemings coming out of this meeting would be good I think – another missing in action option being far more use of the GO/Richmond Hill line, which is quite parallel to the Yonge demand, and it exists already. Sure, there may be some worries abour flooding, but as over 70% of the Don surge in storm events is related to the storm drains including roads and parking lots, let’s really focus on having drainage fees and larger amounts/acreages of disconnection and absorption up river to cut floodings. And if we started to charge for drainage services, heck, might even make it cost neutral.

    There are plenty of other options/lines to think about, but I think we’re really making another major foul-up/goof or set of them with the current alignment of the DRL as the ‘fix’ without doing a major raft of surface things first – quickly – for relief, and then have a reset of any/all of the plans for subways as we need to be putting them in the more correct places. We could try to think of busways, and or LRTways too – they tend to be better for dispersed populations right?

    Pardon length; just it’s such a Mess, we can’t merely go ahead with major things, as it’s mostly all on the suspect side, and yes, I am including the DRL as proposed in that, as it is far too near to the core and should be going to the NE, some year.

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  12. A developing story just up at the Globe and Mail “Metrolinx strikes light-rail deal with Alstom, bypassing Bombardier”.

    Steve: See my article on this for the link to the Globe plus any further developments in this story. Thanks to Steve Saines for the link to the Youtube video which I have moved to my article.

    The Ottawa car is ostensibly the same model and options, save that readers should be aware that this is available and is sold in some cities as *dual-voltage*! It can run on tracks and in tunnels built for RER, specifics to be discussed later if opportune.

    I agree with Hamish, the Don Valley is an elephant in the river, and that RoW can be twinned up to Steeles, and with a ‘tram-train’ perhaps extended further north. If volume overwhelms the line for tram-trains, then full RER can take over the route, including into tunnel from the Don Valley and south along the present projected Relief Line to Osgoode. It can certainly match the “four car subway” plan for headway and capacity, and at a much more affordable price with low platforms and offer vastly more flexibility for extending west to the Georgetown Corridor as RER run-through of Osgoode when and if the western tunnel is extended to Queen and Dufferin.

    Steve: I am not as sure as you of the viability of the Don Mills/Richmond Hill corridor. It can intercept traffic originating further north, but a connection to the Danforth subway is extremely difficult, putting it mildly if the route follows the Bala Sub all the way into the city, and only slightly simpler if it shifts to the Don Branch on the east side of the valley south of Leaside. Also, the connection would be far enough west that it would not offload the Danforth line which is packed well east of Broadview.

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  13. At 110 seconds headway, we can run 32 trains per hour. With a crush load capacity of 1458 passengers, Line 1 can move 46656 passengers per hour. This is very ambitious as turnback operations on the TTC is not military precise. Basically the TTC is trying to run a no turnback service on a line with turnbacks. On the Yamanote Loop Line where there is no turnback and using the latest digital ATO system, 11 car EMUs run 29 times per hour using a headway of about 124 seconds. The crush load of the E235 series are 1725 passengers with the 11 car EMUs. This gives it a capacity to move 50025 passengers per hour per direction. The easiest way for the TTC to increase capacity on Line 1 is to close the loop. It will be a few billion dollars to tunnel from Richmond Hill Center Station to VMC Station. This is strictly engineering discussion and not politics.

    Steve, we should not worry about every stations overflowing. No matter how many trains run per hour, Rosedale Station will not be overflowing with people. Yes, at Bloor-Yonge, it will be a disaster. The same will happen at Queen, King and perhaps Union. With ATC, trains will stop at a precise location. The TTC can draw lines on the platform to get people to line up a certain way. This will speed up embarking and disembarking. They can also hire security guards to do crowd control so that people to do not bottleneck themselves at the escalators. Of course, the best solution is to expand the platforms like Union Station. But it will not be achievable.

    We still do not know what Smart Track can and cannot do. If Toronto can get a waiver from Transport Canada to operate European style EMUs on an European signal system like Caltrain, Smart Track can be a lot more. As long as the Smart Track trains are turning back not at Union, Mount Denis and Unionville GO could be built with additional platforms so that the EMUs can be turn back faster. We just do not know what type of signal systems and rolling stock used on this line to make an estimation whether it can relieve Line 1.

    It is safe to assume that it will not be a TTC fare to ride Smart Track. Using the current prices, it would cost $7.11 to ride from Union to Milliken GO station on Presto. If a co-fare agreement and 2 hour fare policy are made, it will be about $8 per ride from say Queen Station to Milliken GO and perhaps a bus ride on the 53 bus to say McCowan. All this for under 1 hour of travel time. There are no other lines on the TTC that can bring someone from the end of Toronto to downtown in about 35 minutes. Is it worth it to pay a premium? That’s not for anyone to say, but at least there is a choice.

    Here is an another example. Every morning a GO train departs Aldershot at 07:53 and it arrives at Union Station at 08:50. The cost of this almost an hour ride is $10.35. Before the cut back, Via Rail Train 90 arrives at Aldershot at 07:42 from Niagara Falls. This train will be at Union Station in half an hour, but it will cost at least $25 for the ride. For some people, the extra cost work out with Via Rail relieving GO capacity. Now, with the cutback, the only choice is GO Transit. Progress or regression?

    Steve: I know perfectly well that Rosedale Station will not overflow, but the situation is much different from College south. As for a loop line from Richmond Hill to Vaughan, I really don’t think that is in the cards. The real challenge for the TTC, something they should be able to achieve with ATC, is a split terminal operation with only half of the service going all the way to the end of the line, or a major redesign of the terminals. Unfortunately, Vaughan station is already built.

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  14. Am I reading the figures correctly? Table 2 shows that the roughly 6.8km long DRL short, from Osgoode to Pape, will cost $6.8B. That’s $1B/km. In the (2.5 years) earlier Metrolinx study, the DRL short cost was $3.5B, or about $500M/km.

    Costs of these super deep TBM subway is beyond our ability to pay. I see the solution as going back to cut-and-cover, the technology used to built most of the network we now enjoy. Add in some modern pre-cast concrete and it can be built much more quickly and less costly than what is proposed. The question seems to be, do we want a DRL from Osgoode to Pape, or one from Osgoode (or Spadina or Bathurst) to Sheppard.

    Steve: The numbers in the Metrolinx study are 2014$ while those in Table 2 are “YOE”, or “year of expenditure” which for this project probably sits in the late 2020s with at least 12 years’ inflation compared to 2014. Even so, a 100% increase is really a stretch.

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  15. Steve: I am not as sure as you of the viability of the Don Mills/Richmond Hill corridor. It can intercept traffic originating further north, but a connection to the Danforth subway is extremely difficult, putting it mildly if the route follows the Bala Sub all the way into the city, and only slightly simpler if it shifts to the Don Branch on the east side of the valley south of Leaside. Also, the connection would be far enough west that it would not offload the Danforth line which is packed well east of Broadview.

    The tunnel route would follow whatever is decided best for the RL as projected by the present $150M study save the added northern extension to meet the Bala Sub.

    The alignment I suggest would emerge from tunnel from north-west of Pape @ Donlands, over the DVP and Don River to curve onto the Bala Sub which would be twinned up to Steeles and electrified. North of there is of course still CN, and if electrification was to continue north, it would have to be on a new RoW.

    South of the new junction, some RER would choose the option of running express down to Union (with perhaps a stop under the Queen St bridge) or take the “City Loop” as projected for the Relief Line to Osgoode. If the RH trains were still diesel, they’ve have to continue on the Bala Sub to Union, but if bi-modal, they could also alternate to Osgoode, tunnel bore permitting.

    The ramps planned for moving subway stock to Greenwood at Gerrard could become ramps for connecting Lakeshore East trains to the Relief Line, but in reflection, the cost of those ramps would be so high (due to deep tunnel at that point) that it might be hard to make a business case for them.

    Metrolinx stock running on the RL could be serviced in and out along the connected Bala Sub. Savings would be effected from not having to run subway cars to Greenwood and no need for ramps to connect.

    With the latest news on the Alstom LRVs, and eventual permission from TC, LRV tram-trains could be interlined with RER as they are in a number of European cities using the dual-voltage option that the Citadis are available with. CBTC would of course be necessary on all trains.

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  16. “At 110 seconds headway, we can run 32 trains per hour (tph). With a crush load capacity of 1458 passengers, Line 1 can move 46656 passengers per hour. This is very ambitious as turnback operations on the TTC is not military precise.”

    Completely agree.

    For example, Brixton on the Victoria line in London is an Island platform terminus, currently 34tph, soon to be 36tph – that’s a 100 second headway.
    It has been worked out that a train needs to turn around in a maximum of 218 seconds.

    “In this time a driver shuts down his cab, a different driver opens up the cab at the other end, passengers have to leave and board the train, a route is set over the crossovers and the train driven clear of the platform. It has been assessed that this requires at least 203 seconds.”

    So not much leeway for error!

    For the TTC to maximise the use of ATC on Line 1, they will have to have world class train dispatching.

    I wish the TTC best of luck attempting to get trains on Line 1 to leave on time when ATC is in full operation.

    Steve: Another factor the TTC has not yet addressed is that with one person train operation, an operator has to walk the length of a train in addition to whatever calls of nature will be needed after the very long trip eventually from Richmond Hill to Vaughan via Union. This affects not only terminal ops, but the current practice of doing mid-route train swaps to get crews back on time. At a centre platform station, that’s a simple case of walking across the platform with a two person crew. One could argue that this is another reason to go fully automatic, but then we get into other factors such as platform doors.

    These changes will not occur overnight.

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  17. Benny Cheung says:

    “At 110 seconds headway, we can run 32 trains per hour. With a crush load capacity of 1458 passengers, Line 1 can move 46656 passengers per hour. This is very ambitious as turnback operations on the TTC is not military precise. Basically the TTC is trying to run a no turnback service on a line with turnbacks. On the Yamanote Loop Line where there is no turnback and using the latest digital ATO system, 11 car EMUs run 29 times per hour using a headway of about 124 seconds. The crush load of the E235 series are 1725 passengers with the 11 car EMUs. This gives it a capacity to move 50025 passengers per hour per direction. The easiest way for the TTC to increase capacity on Line 1 is to close the loop. It will be a few billion dollars to tunnel from Richmond Hill Center Station to VMC Station. This is strictly engineering discussion and not politics.”

    Are you sure crush capacity is 1458 and not 1459 or 1457? Using crush capacity is stupid because it cannot be maintained for long before the service starts to suffer. You may know that there are exactly 351 seats on one of your airlines but they do allow standees on transit vehicles so using such an exact number not sensible. The effective maximum capacity of a Toronto subway train is around 1000 passengers so your capacity is about 32,000 passenger per hour per direction (pphpd) and not 46,656.

    James Scantlebury says:

    “For example, Brixton on the Victoria line in London is an Island platform terminus, currently 34tph, soon to be 36tph – that’s a 100 second headway. It has been worked out that a train needs to turn around in a maximum of 218 seconds.”

    If it takes 218 seconds to turn a train than you cannot run a 100 second headway from a two track terminus with crossovers like the TTC uses. If a train arrives on platform 1 and 100 seconds later a train arrives on platform 2 there is still 108 seconds until the train on platform 1 can leave so there will be a train sitting outside waiting to enter and being delayed by at least 8 seconds not counting the time it will take for the switches to reset and the train to traverse the crossover.

    Instead of looking at impossible to attain theoretical maximums check out what is possible. In order to run the 100 second headways you either need more than one turnback location, either short turning or branching or some of the trains have to run out of service when they get to the end of the line.

    Also you say

    “As an aside – Paris Métro Line 1 runs at 85 second headway end to end, using Siemens Trainguard MT CBTC – more info here.”

    I cannot find the 85 second headway mentioned in that item. I am not saying it is incorrect, just that you item is not a verifying source. In the public time tables RATP just says a train every 2 minutes.

    The Siemens brochure says headways of 90 seconds or better are achievable. When you reduce headways below a certain critical value you have to reduce train length, train speed or both.

    What is the good of carrying “46656 passengers per hour” into and out of Bloor-Yonge station if you cannot empty and load the train and clear the platform before the next train comes?

    Using statistics blindly is like using the bible to back a social argument. I can find justification for burning and stoning adulterers or for forgiving them. You can find statistic and examples that are totally useless because they will not work in our system.

    As Steve Saines says CBTC is the control system of choice and it is the system that Metrolinx is installing on its RER lines but, big but, CN and CP won’t install it on their trains so the system still has to be able to handle their freight trains on an old CTC system with fixed block. Also Union cannot handle 2 min. headways unless you are running only 2 or 3 car trains.

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  18. Robert, I am already using the lower range number. The TTC quotes 199 passengers standing room + 64 seating passengers on their site. Yes, crush load capacity varies, but we need a number for comparison. Yes, if a group of mothers boarded with strollers, the standing room will be reduced. The same would happen if a group of sumo wrestlers boarded. The fact stands that the TTC is trying to operate a frequent service with turnbacks end to end. Yes, they will turn some trains back at Steeles West Station. However, every train is still headed to Finch. Compare to the Yamanote Loop Line or the Osaka Loop Line where turnbacks are not required, the TTC is really trying for the impossible.

    Once we have ATO running, the doors will line up exactly at the same place. In Japan, the platforms are marked so that people can form lines. See this pic https://www.japan-rail-pass.com/japan-by-rail/travel-tips/platform-symbols As long as there are people directing the crowds and people line up, a crowded platform is not a problem. People backed up to the platform stairs all the time in Tokyo.

    With electrification, GO should also acquire a fleet of electric locomotives with CBTC system. This way, any CN or CP freight trains can still traverse the GO lines with a locomotive change. It is better for everyone that diesel trains are not running through the city. Fantasy perhaps? Maybe.

    Steve: The TTC also quotes a service design capacity per train of 1,000 for T1s on the BD line, and 1,100 for TRs on the YUS line. This is what they regard as the practical capacity on average. Of course you can stuff more people on board, but don’t expect good service if you do so.

    Taking the crush load for a train, and pro-rating this out to an hourly value with close headways is, quite bluntly, irresponsible and misleading.

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  19. $5 billion would pay for a lot of track straitening and flood protection for the Richmond Hill Go train, plus toss in the restoration of the LRT to Richmond Hill for those who don’t want to go downtown, you got a system that serves everyone better, probably at a lower cost.

    Steve: But it intercepts a different set of riders and provides no connection with the Danforth subway. Better service on GO is worthwhile in its own right, but should not (as SmartTrack has been) be touted as a replacement for the RL.

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  20. Robert writes:

    As Steve Saines says CBTC is the control system of choice and it is the system that Metrolinx is installing on its RER lines but, big but, CN and CP won’t install it on their trains so the system still has to be able to handle their freight trains on an old CTC system with fixed block. Also Union cannot handle 2 min. headways unless you are running only 2 or 3 car trains.

    “CBTC” of course not being any particular proprietary model, but an evolving standard that lends itself to almost full interoperability with PTC rather than CTC per-se.

    Transport Canada sadly lags on this, even as much as many Metrolinx staff reports indicate a ‘willingness’.

    On that “85 sec headway”, I have seen that, have no reference handy right now, but for our purposes, and the gist of your point, RER and/or LRVs can match the subway headways, achieved as claimed or not, being touted for TTC Line 1 and other subways (Relief Line included).

    What I see with ‘convergence’ of signalling and control systems, acceleration and stopping performance permitting along with charge/discharge rate for passengers is the need to ‘converge’ the Relief Line, RER and a new mid-core terminus, hopefully later a ‘run-through’ for maximized efficiency and flexibility.

    I see the engineering challenge for Yonge-Bloor the same as Union Station (TTC and GO): Massive sums have been spent to squeeze as much capacity (caveats pending) possible out of them. It’s time to look for solutions that leave that investment intact, and plan a totally separate relief for both. And the Relief Line offers that opportunity. A major cost is going to be boring the tunnels themselves, and logic alone indicates *overdoing* that, not under doing it, station length, bore cross-section, etc, cost a fraction more at this stage, but for future needs would save multiples of that cost now. The Relief Line is far too big a challenge for Toronto alone. It has massive GTHA implications, and the funding and engineering models must reflect that.

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  21. Benny Cheung says:

    “With electrification, GO should also acquire a fleet of electric locomotives with CBTC system. This way, any CN or CP freight trains can still traverse the GO lines with a locomotive change. It is better for everyone that diesel trains are not running through the city. Fantasy perhaps? Maybe.”

    Definite Fantasy. Do you know the time and labour cost to do an engine change at both ends of GO territory, even just to hook another loco to the front and take over. Silly old fashioned rules that are still in force and CN and CP have running rights which I am positive that is with their, not Metrolinx, equipment.

    The Don Valley is not a potential route for a rapid transit line. It barely works as a GO Train line. Even if you straightened it out it would make very poor connection with nothing. It runs in the middle of nowhere until it gets to York Mills.

    Steve:

    “The TTC also quotes a service design capacity per train of 1,000 for T1s on the BD line, and 1,100 for TRs on the YUS line. This is what they regard as the practical capacity on average. Of course you can stuff more people on board, but don’t expect good service if you do so.

    “Taking the crush load for a train, and pro-rating this out to an hourly value with close headways is, quite bluntly, irresponsible and misleading.”

    Thank you Steve!

    Could everyone take a valium or something to return yourself to a state of sanity and stop coming up with impossible ideas. Thinking outside the box is good but please try to stay in the same solar system. Mapleson has posted some analysis of how long it takes trains of different lengths to clear interlockings, crossovers, etc at different speeds. Please re-read them and stop trying to repeal the laws of Physics; non even Trump can do that.

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  22. Improved Richmond Hill GO service isn’t to replace the Relief Line, but to replace the Yonge Subway extension.

    Steve: Try telling that to York Region who have their hearts set on a subway.

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  23. James Scantlebury wrote: Computer driven trains with regenerative brakes also allow trains to be driven more efficiently, allowing 10% to 15% saving on the total electricity bills.

    Most new trains, whether computer driven or manually driven now have regenerative brakes (as others have mentioned). However, CBTC operated trains save even more power since their acceleration and deceleration are determined by an overall knowledge of where trains are and how far they can go. Manually driven trains rely on fixed signalling and when an operator is told they have to keep to schedule, they tend to provide stop-and-go operation when the line is congested. A CBTC-controlled train can be instructed to travel at a speed that is more likely to not catch up to an obstruction and have to make a complete stop, and they don’t get the “urge” to go just a little faster.

    This can save a transit operator hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in electricity costs alone, not to mention maintenance costs.

    James Scantlebury wrote: Take a look at the CBTC Wikipedia page to see how many rapid transit systems now use Computer Based Train Control systems.

    The “C” stands for “Communication”, not “Computer”.

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  24. I saw chatter on Twitter about the new jog at the lower end of the relief line which might add an extra $150 million minimum to construction costs. That’s a lot of extra money for what seems like very little net gain. Much like the SSE project no one seems too concerned about controlling costs once the area representatives get involved.

    Steve: The benefit (claimed) mainly is that a Carlaw alignment puts the Queen station in a somewhat more commercial district than going down Pape which is a narrow residential street.

    Actually the more ridiculous waste is provision of a SmartTrack station at Gerrard which would also be served by the RL. We continue to mix the supposed purpose of local and regional lines. The logical ST stop is at East Harbour (Unilever), but try telling Mayor Tory that yet more of his pipedream shouldn’t be built.

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  25. Calvin writes:

    However, CBTC operated trains save even more power since their acceleration and deceleration are determined by an overall knowledge of where trains are and how far they can go. Manually driven trains rely on fixed signalling and when an operator is told they have to keep to schedule, they tend to provide stop-and-go operation when the line is congested. A CBTC-controlled train can be instructed to travel at a speed that is more likely to not catch up to an obstruction and have to make a complete stop, and they don’t get the “urge” to go just a little faster.

    It works to such a degree that there is at least one *single track* ICE line for about 100 kms in Germany that runs half-hourly high speed service in both directions by using passing tracks with optimized access from the use of CBTC (and a European standard). The most one waits in a siding is “five minutes” according to my source who specializes in this.

    And if that sounds too exotic for our provincial tastes, VIA is planning most of the HFR route taking the old O&Q alignment to Toronto from near Ottawa as being single track! They have full confidence that modern signalling and control techniques not only allow this, but the economics dictates doing it this way. Of course, being passenger only allows this to happen, although temporally separated night-time freight service is contemplated on that alignment.

    Mention of the HFR in today’s NatPost.

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  26. The Figure 7: Yonge Subway Extension has a mistake where the bottom right “Richmond Hill” should be “Markham” as Richmond Hill is bordered by Bathurst, Highway 7, Hwy 404, and Bloomington. While Markham is bordered by Yonge, Steeles, MPT, 19th, Hwy 404, and Highway 7.

    Is there any news whether or not York Region will pay for the operating costs for the YSE? Of course they will pay for construction, but what about operation and maintenance? I feel that York Region should be paying for most of the municipal construction costs for Yonge North as well as both operating and maintenance costs for both Line 1 Extensions north of Steeles. Of course, the TTC will still be owning and running it, just getting “subsidized” by York Region.

    Steve: It has been the City of Toronto’s position for many years that the operating cost of the YSE should be borne by York Region. If you actually believe that TO won’t be strong-armed into some other arrangement, well, I have several bridges for sale that might interest you.

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  27. With possible increased usage of both the Richmond Hill GO line and the Don Valley for more transit (DVP; spur line parallel from Brickworks south; less travelled Bayview), my thinking is far less for subway but more for surface relief in the medium term using bus/LRT in as much of a RoW as possible. Absolutely, connecting up to the Danforth/Bloor line is less-easy to not being done, but that makes it VERY clear to passengers that there is a faster route to the core, and one less stop/transfer, so we get closer to near-express routes over longer distances which is kinda what is needed. And while sometimes Torontonians are Morontonians for whom they elect, choices would be made, and other options would be selected, or come available. Such as seeing how the RER /ST works. And do we have discernible data as to how many riders are going through Y/B on a longer haul and would be happy with a bypass?

    I’ve also had some thoughts of a true Yonge-based Relief subway that might be able to get going faster at Davisville, (maybe), but more likely c. Rosedale, that goes to the SE in a new tunnel over to Church St, and down Church to Ryerson area as a stop, then to Queen with a curve at the Metropolitan church corner, (and perhaps a stop there), and then to use the old Queen St. station. Also wondering, hmm, how impossible is it to have single track tunnels used with double-platforms and excellent!! signalling to minimize the construction costs. Yes, some trains would have to wait in station ahead of signal clearance, but..

    And maybe we need to be thinking of connecting by transit-only bridges and tunnels Lawrence Ave. East to Lawrence Ave. East, or St. Clair Ave. E. to St. Clair Ave. E via Thorncliffe. I think we need to move beyond having heavy subways to one destination being the main ‘fix’, and have a speed-up of surface implementations, yes, including Danforth (and Bloor) bike lanes.

    Steve: I will publish this comment because it’s not a rant, but the level of fantasy involved here and the construction problems that have been ignored are numerous.

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  28. Steve: At this point the concentration is on the eastern leg. Don’t forget that if service improves substantially in the Weston rail corridor, and there is some sort of fare integration with GO, the need for a DRL West may evaporate. In any event, I think a line that ends at Dundas West would be a poor choice just as ending at Pape to the east would miss a good chunk of potential demand, and a Roncesvalles subway is just plain dumb given population densities.

    I get the logic behind not going all the way to Dundas West, but would it not make some sense to terminate at Bathurst instead of University to potentially serve all that coming density in the King/Spadina area?

    Steve: This sounds like one of those “just one more stop” arguments. There is a lot of density building at Queen east of Dufferin, and your argument could be used equally to keep going westward. The problem with a subway, however, is that there would be a stop at University, maybe one at Spadina, one at Bathurst and then nothing to Dufferin Street.

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  29. @ Nick L;

    VIA has to start with the O & Q line as there would be no need for an environmental assessment as they would only be relaying a line that had already been improved. AN EA would delay the line about 4 or 5 years, if VIA can get the funding. Their plan is to gradually straighten out the curves and reduce the grades. They have to use the existing RoW to avoid the EA. CP, not the trail associations, still owns the line as they have fibre optic cable under it. The trail users and those who live next to it are not thrilled at VIA’s plans. The big question is will Ottawa give them the money to build it?

    @ Steve Saines;

    VIA is definitely looking at an electric locomotive at one end and a diesel at the other. Dual power locomotives more costly that two separate units, extremely heavy and have poor diesel hauling power. There is also the problem that if you go over 125 mph you cannot lead the train with an occupied cab car so a locomotive at either end makes good sense.

    I have heard the VIA presentations on their proposed Lakeshore Corridor with all trains terminating in Kingston. There will be Kingston – Toronto trains, Kingston – Ottawa trains and Kingston – Montreal trains. The thinking being that it is easier to keep shorter lines on time. They also have discovered that there is a lot of traffic on the line that is not going from one end to the other and the Moose Pasture route could handle that.

    Given the restrictions placed upon them by the government and CN VIA’s plan is logical except for the belief that it will make money and be funded by private investors. That will only happen with a federal guaranty of return on investment.

    What private investor engineering staffs have study the route? I have heard that VIA did a cursory study only. I have heard of no business case study having been made except for VIA’s cursory one. If you know of one please tell me as I am interested in it. Every time we, Transport Action Ontario, have questioned VIA about some aspect of their plan they revise it and come back with something extra. That is why we now have the Kingston centred Lakeshore service and the incremental changes to the Moose Pasture route.

    Steve: I am amused at the “discovery” by VIA that “a lot of traffic … is not going from one end to the other”. This is also true of the Toronto-Guelph-Kitchener-London route, or at least was when it had decent service. The fetish by Queen’s Park for HSR to London is a triumph of technology (and consultants) over actual need. Plus ça change.

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  30. steve saines said: “With the latest news on the Alstom LRVs, and eventual permission from TC, LRV tram-trains could be interlined with RER as they are in a number of European cities using the dual-voltage option that the Citadis are available with.”

    Goodness me, why would anyone ever want to run tram-trains in Toronto and the GTA?

    Toronto and the GTA are big enough with 3 clearly defined “levels” of public transit: regional i.e. commuter rail (GO/RER), intracity rapid transit (subway and rapid transit LRT a la Crosstown) and “street-level” local service (buses and streetcars). These three systems exist, what is the benefit of mixing them?

    Tram-trains were invented in Karlsruhe, a small/midsize city (about 500k inhabitants) to revitalize discontinued/uneconomic local train lines to surrounding towns and villages, basically using available railway track to cheaply extend the city’s tram (streetcar) network into its environs. This was then copied by other small and medium-sized cities around Europe. It makes sense to do in regions gravitating to a small/midsize city where a need for faster transit between the surrounding towns and villages to the city centre than a bus can provide is necessary, but where building a commuter rail network does not make sense. In Ontario, perhaps it would make sense for Hamilton or Ottawa and their surroundings. It doesn’t make any sense in the GTA.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Well…lol…how little does a city need to be to match Paris? Perhaps we’re talking mindset rather than technology?

    From RailJournal.com

    CONSTRUCTION of the extension of Paris tram-train line T4 to Montfermeil was officially launched on October 18 with a groundbreaking ceremony in Clichy-sous-Bois, which was attended by France’s minister for cities, youth affairs and sport Mr Patrick Kanner, Ile-de-France regional president Mrs Valérie Pécresse, president of the département of Seine-Saint-Denis Mr Stéphane Troussel, and Mr Alain Krakovitch, president of SNCF Transilien.

    The project involves constructing a 6.5km branch off the initial Bondy – Aulnay-sous-Bois section from a junction at Gargan. The branch will have 11 stations, including an interchange with the future Grand Paris Express metro Line 16 at Clichy-Montfermeil. Daily ridership is forecast to be around 37,000, and around 30% of journeys will be through trips from Line 16.

    The line will operate between 04.30 and 01.20 with services running at six-minute intervals between 06.00 and 20.00. The journey time between Bondy and Montfermeil will be around 30 minutes.

    Services will be operated by Line T4’s existing fleet of Siemens Avanto tram-trains and 15 new Alstom Citadis Dualis vehicles, which were ordered by French National Railways (SNCF) earlier this year.

    Also:

    ALSTOM confirmed on January 5 that French National Railways (SNCF) has placed a €75m order on behalf of Ile-de-France transport authority STIF for 15 Citadis Dualis tram-trains for the €270m extension of Paris Line T4 from Gargan to Montfermeil.

    The 100km/h vehicles will be assembled at Alstom’s Valenciennes plant in northern France and deliveries will begin in October 2017. The fleet will enter service in 2019. The order is part of a framework contract which was signed by Alstom, SNCF, the French regions in 2007.

    The expansion of Line T4 involves constructing a 6.5km branch off the initial Bondy – Aulnay-sous-Bois section from a junction at Gargan. The branch will have 11 stations, including an interchange with the future Grand Paris Express metro Line 16 at Clichy-Montfermeil. Daily ridership is forecast to be around 37,000, and around 30% of journeys will be through trips from Line 16.

    As part of the project the existing section of Line T4, which opened in 2006, will be upgraded and adapted for the new tram-trains.

    What next? The side-valve engine to replace flat-heads?

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  32. Please edit my prior post, it repeats too much information, and add the following instead if you could, as it promotes the technology of how this meshes with forward compatible RER use of the same infrastructure, or the converse, building RER grade infrastructure, loading gauge, and low platforms, and running it until demand increases to capacity with LRV.

    From Wikipedia

    Infrastructure

    The T4 is a hybrid line. In most cases, French rail lines are electrified (when applicable) in 1,500 V or 25 kV, and use Vignole rails and a block signal system. These trains travel on the left.

    The T4 Line is electrified in 25 kV and uses classic tracks like the national railway system instead of urban tram flange rails, which are flat tracks built into recesses in a road or greenspace. Instead, it has low platforms and its trains travel on the right. Like tramways, the line uses multi-aspect signalling, and crossings are equipped with traffic lights. Thus tram-trains exceed the capabilities of vehicles that can only travel on the national railway system or on urban tramway lines.

    However, a true tram-train was not in use in 2011, but should be in the future with planned tramway extensions into urban areas (tramway tracks electrified in continuous 750 or 1,500 volts).

    The line is also the first in France to use the GSM-R communications system, a standard ground-train radio link that is progressively being implemented throughout the French rail network.

    Steve: It’s not clear exactly what sort of edit I should make, and so I am leaving things as they are. You should be less verbose in the future.

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  33. 1) Any time YSE comes up, I have to mention that the bus passenger volume up to Steeles warrants subway. That would also give the opportunity to add another northerly turnback point, if Finch turnback was retained. Beyond that, LRT would make more sense, although it would be best if buried through downtown RH.

    2) The ridership comparison table is one of the most useful pieces of transit data in Toronto. However, I find it curious that in the DRL SHORT column, YUS and BD volumes fall more than the volume that the DRL would attract. i.e. total volume across the 3 lines would fall. This makes no sense to me. Steve, can you shed some light?

    Steve: I’m just showing the numbers Metrolinx claims. There are a lot of problems with the demand models that have been used over many years.

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  34. steve saines said: “Well…lol…how little does a city need to be to match Paris? Perhaps we’re talking mindset rather than technology?”

    T4 was a poorly used suburban rail line converted to tram-train in order to improve service. Where in Toronto or the GTA do you see an equivalent case? (Greater) Paris has a ton of subway lines, RER lines, various types of rail corridors…can’t be compared to Toronto and the GTA at all, where commuter rail shares a lot of its corridors with freight…so sure, in Paris, with their abundance of rail lines, they found one (in a suburb) which warranted a conversion to tram-train. So when Toronto has 15 subway lines and 10 RER lines, maybe we can find some corner of Brampton where a tram-train might be warranted.

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  35. Andre writes: So when Toronto has 15 subway lines and 10 RER lines, maybe we can find some corner of Brampton where a tram-train might be warranted.

    Or a corner of Scarborough? STC perhaps? Or the Eglinton Crosstown?

    Meantime Ottawa does very well with the O-Train, and lo and behold, we have 61 of the same vehicles on order for the GTHA.

    Steve: In case you have not noticed, it is the dead or dying industrial areas that are along rail corridors. Everything is focussed on the highway network now, and tram-trains are not going to change this.

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  36. Steve Saines says: “Meantime Ottawa does very well with the O-Train, and lo and behold, we have 61 of the same vehicles on order for the GTHA.”

    Are you referring to the existing to the existing Trillium Line O-Train which runs with Diesel Multiple Units on a not quite abandoned CP rail line or the new Confederation line. That line originally used Bombardier DMUs but now runs with 6 Alstom Coradia LINT 41 cars which are also DMU. They are 2 section cars with 1 double door in the middle of each section. Metrolinx is not buying any of these so there is not an order, lo and behold, for 41 of these.

    Ottawa’s Confederation line which will be electric will run with 34 Alstom Citadia Spirit cars. It 61 of these vehicles that Metrolinx is ordering.

    So we are not getting 61 of the vehicles that are running on the current O-Train line but 61 of the cars on order for the Confederation lines. Once again you are confusing two different things or you are not stating your ideas clearly.

    There is nowhere in the Toronto area (416) where a Tram Train could be operated. There are not any existing rail rights of way that are not used in the daytime that run through a major area upon which you could runs such service. Perhaps it might be justified to connect Cambridge with the GO station in Guelph using the old Fergus sub, now the Fergus spur, but not in Toronto.

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  37. Indeed, I’m as confused as Alstom is:

    Alstom is supplying 34 Citadis Spirit light rail vehicles for the O-Train Confederation Line, and will maintain both the vehicles and the line’s infrastructure for a period of 30 years. This first phase of the O-Train Confederation Line comprises 13 stations along a 12.5-kilometre route, with 10 kilometres running at ground level and 2.5 kilometres underground. The O-Train Confederation Line is expected to begin full revenue service in 2018.

    Steve: You are aware that “O-Train” is a generic term that has been used to refer both to the LRT line and to DMU operations? There is no confusion at all.

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  38. Steve Saines says: “Indeed, I’m as confused as Alstom is:”

    Are you saying Alstom is confused, or are you saying you are confused, because the latter is obvious. Before making any more unfounded comments please read more than one source and check all the facts. The sources that I provide are on line and easily accessible. I read about 8 for each of the O-Trains lines in Ottawa, the operating DMU line and the planned LRT line that is under construction before picking the 2 that I linked to above.

    This a link to the Trillium line.

    This is a link to the Confederation line.

    Please read and educate yourself.

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