On Monday, May 15, the TTC began demolition of the intersection of Dundas & Parliament for complete replacement of the special work. By the morning of Saturday, May 20, most of the new track was in place although much of the concrete pour remains to be done as well as installation of the approach tracks connecting the neighbouring tangent rails to the intersection.
Wednesday, May 17
Saturday, May 20
Why would the TTC choose not to build a full Grand Union at locations like this to increase their ability to reroute cars in an emergency?
Steve: Each curve adds to the cost of the intersection, and in some locations there are existing conflicts with utilities (manholes) in the path of missing curves. For Dundas/Parliament, there is nothing obviously in the way, and so it’s likely a matter of avoiding the cost of something they don’t expect to need. I agree that the TTC should be more aggressive about this sort of thing.
Those pictures confirm no south to east curve addition. The one that would have made the most sense because it would end the asymmetric 506 diversions when they need to happen.
It puzzled me how only the tangent track was done with the floating track track laying technique and not the track junctions from the early-mid 1990s into the 2000s. I remember witnessing one of the first track work jobs using the floating track technique back in early 1994 that was being done from the west side of the intersection of Queen and Bay St to the west side of the intersection of University Ave and Queen. I would be heading to school in the morning and admire the track work being done, alongside the trackwork that was occurring on Spadina Ave that same year from Sussex Ave to the north side of College during the summer that same year.
Steve: Yes, it took the special work jobs a while to catch up, and there were two important developments. The first was figuring out how to apply a sleeve to the complex castings. Unlike tangent track, where the sleeve comes in rolls, special work has to be coated piece by piece. The first few jobs (Don Bridge at Queen, King and Dufferin) were ok, but not ideal. The second change was a move to pre-assembling the intersections off-site, including a lot of the welding, and then breaking them down into panels that could be transported to the site for reassembly. This both speeds work and results in a much better built intersection.
The really big job is coming in 2019: King/Queen/Roncesvalles and the carhouse entrances.
The idea of more curves is attractive, but there are downsides. Curves and switches can make it harder for pedestrians, and especially bicyclists, to cross the intersection. Curves are also a maintenance item. And with the present “come to a dead stop at every switch” operation, more curves will slow down travel on the through routes some more. (It’s easy for the stop to mean the streetcar misses the green. Happens all the time on Spadina.)
On the other hand, it would be nice for the TTC to give some thought about what the curve arrangement should be, given current operations. Some curves, and I would think most of the non-revenue trackage, are leftover from route structures back before the subway era.
I am unable to locate it but the TTC did produce a Report to the Board about 8 years ago on potential new curves that would be desirable. Not sure if this one was on their list nor whether any have actually been added. Steve?
Steve: The report was presented in July 2010 under the title “Optimal Turnarounds”. Dundas & Parliament was not listed as a candidate for additional curves.
Other locations that were to be improved, but which have not yet been rebuilt were:
The planned dates for these projects have changed over time. Broadview & Gerrard is due to be rebuilt in 2018, along with the intersection at Dundas and tangent track from Dundas to Hogarth (north end of Riverdale Park). There is no date for the other locations.
Speaking of junctions, I have noticed that some streetcar drivers like to crawl slowly across junctions.
I used to think this was to ensure the switch was properly set, but that doesn’t explain why they continue crawling even after the front of the car has passed the switch.
This is especially a problem on Spadina with the long Flexity cars. Steve do you know what the reasoning is for this?
Steve: The TTC uses the excuse of “safety” to guard against derailments and rather than flag the locations where there are problems, they have simply instituted a system-wide slow order. Yes, it is ridiculous, and shows just how the TTC screws up streetcar service at every possible opportunity.
College & Bathurst was just completed last year. Don’t believe they added E to S or N to W.
Steve: Yes, forgot to mention that. It will be interesting to see if the new proposed curve at Broadview and Gerrard actually materializes.
Slightly off-topic, feel free to move somewhere more appropriate:
I see the late service start and diversion of the 514 is scheduled to end on Monday. Has the TTC fixed or repaired what was causing the screeching noise complaints of residents, or at least hope that they have? Or will this change be suddenly extended through the summer?
Steve: I have not heard of any change. However, during high season for the Distillery District, they have operated streetcar service during the “restricted hours” before.
Also it would not surprise me one bit if the TTC simply hasn’t noticed the date. For a change like this I would expect a press release, and there has not been one.