Goodbye to 514 Cherry (Updated)

Updated August 28 at 11:45 am:

I inquired of the TTC whether the restriction at Distillery Loop was due to noise, and whether the CLRVs, when needed, could be operated on the 504B Dufferin service which does not go to the Distillery.

They have replied that:

  • “We have a commitment from Rick and community relations that we do not operate legacy cars into Distillery Loop. We will short turn any CLRVs on that branch at Parliament.”
  • “We were trying to avoid having any CLRVs operating through the peak point to maximize scheduled capacity. All the CLRVs are also scheduled as swing cars, so that had to be considered as well. As a result, we had to split the CLRVs between the two branches. We will prioritize LF deployment on the remaining CLRV runs on 504A first to minimize missed trips from Distillery.”

Thanks to Brad Ross for the update.

Original article:

Effective with the October 7, 2018 schedules, the 514 Cherry car will disappear from the streets of Toronto.

Since June 24 it has been on a temporary hiatus during the reconstruction of Broadview Avenue and a revised service on the 504 King car. On September 2, the “standard” service will resume on 504 King, 514 Cherry and 503 Kingston Road, but it will only last a month.

In October, the TTC will make the summer route split permanent and will operate two separate routes, both under the name 504 King:

  • 504A will operate from Dundas West Station to Distillery Loop
  • 504B will operate from Broadview Station to Dufferin Loop

The two services will operate at the same frequency and will be scheduled, to the degree anything like this actually happens on the TTC, so that they blend in the central part of the line rather than running in pairs. That will probably be greatest challenge given the TTC’s chronic inability to manage branching routes and the less than professional manner in which some operators run right behind their leaders rather than spacing out the service.

Most of the recovery time (layovers) will be scheduled at Dufferin and Distillery Loops so that streetcars are not sitting in subway station loops with queues extending out onto the street.

All service will be scheduled to operate with new Flexity low floor streetcars, although until the end of 2018, the TTC expects to be short a few cars and will substitute CLRVs (standard sized old streetcars).

Some CLRVs will operate in the peak periods through the end of the year and will be designated on runs that operate outside the busiest hour in the morning and afternoon peak periods. These will be replaced by low-floor streetcars, as available, at the divisional level.

Where a 504A streetcar is designated for CLRV, these cars will turn back via Parliament, Dundas, Broadview, and Queen, at the divisional level, as CLRVs are restricted from entering Distillery Loop. [From the Service Change Memo for the October 2018 Board Period]

This arrangement means that there could be random gaps in service to the Distillery depending on vehicle allocations of the day, and operators of these cars will lose their east end rest break.

The effect of the new service design varies depending on the day of the week and the location on the route.

On weekdays, the total number of cars in service goes down, although this is offset by the scheduling of larger Flexitys replacing the CLRVs. All will be well if the TTC actually fields a full service of Flexitys unlike the situation on 501 Queen where for many years CLRVs were sent out on schedules intended for the larger articulated ALRVs. [That was nominally “fixed” with the February 2018 schedules, but this was a very long-overdue correction to reflect the TTC’s inability to actually muster a full service of ALRVs.]

  • AM peak service between Dundas West and Dufferin, and between Broadview Station and Sumach (the point where the Cherry line branches off) will change from a mixture of CLRVs and Flexitys every 3’40” to a Flexity every 5’15”. This is, just barely, a one for one replacement of capacity, but not on the peak part of the route.
  • PM peak service on the outer ends will change from a CLRV/Flexity mixture every 4’15” to a Flexity every 6’00”.
  • Midday and evening service on the outer ends of the line will also be less frequent, and it will be essential that all service actually reaches the terminals.
  • Service in the middle part of the route from Dufferin to Sumach will generally be more frequent and will operate with all Flexitys once they are available.

On weekends, the total number of cars in service goes up during all periods. The effect is that even though only half of the service is scheduled to run through to Dundas West and to Broadview Stations, the change in frequency is small. The central part of the line will see better service both in frequency and capacity.

Service to the Distillery District will be improved compared to the 514 Cherry schedule during all periods. (This change was quite evident with the summer 2018 schedules, and will no doubt be missed for the period from September 2 to October 6 where the “old” Cherry service will operate.)

Overnight service on 304 King will continue to operate between Dundas West and Broadview Stations, but all runs will be scheduled with Flexitys.

The PDF linked here shows the details of the changes. I will publish the full list of October service changes in a separate article.


As a parting thought, it will be intriguing to see how many years it will take for the last of the signage, advertising and other TTC materials (notably the onboard route maps) to lose the 514 Cherry car. At least, only two months after the change, the cars are not all calling “Short Turn” at every stop.

25 thoughts on “Goodbye to 514 Cherry (Updated)

  1. My heart will always hold dear the 514 Cherry.
    I have fought extremely hard for my beloved Cherry car.

    RIP 514 CHERRY, you will be remembered with warm fond memories…


  2. With the change like this can someone finally get Nextbus to adjust their predictions for vehicles along Cherry Street? I usually board at Ontario Street going west. As soon as a car leaves the Distillery loop it will predict 4 minutes to arrival. It usually takes 8 to 10 minutes. The intersection of King and Sumach is like a black hole with cars seemingly stuck there for several minutes every time. I guess they have to wait for a long light to change to get through it?

    Steve: There appears to be a problem with the way the various branches of the routes are defined right now, although there appears to have been a recent change that fixes many problems. Notably, the predictions now tell you which branch of the service is about to appear rather than just the times, and this has the benefit that at shared stops with the bus shuttle, one does not anticipate the imminent arrival of a westbound streetcar only to find out that it is a bus going only to Parliament. There are similar problems with the overlap eastbound.

    One big issue that has not yet been corrected is that there are no predictions for stops on Cherry Street, and the Dundas West branch is defined as if it originates at Queen and Broadview. With luck this will be fixed for the October cutover.


  3. This is a historic change. King has operated on it current route longer then any streetcar, since July 1, 1923. I was looking forward to celebrating its 100th anniversary.


  4. Why can’t the CLRVs run into Distillery Loop? Also will the cars actually say 504A and 504B?

    Steve: Noise, and probably, at least for the Flexitys.

    Now if they could do something similar with Dundas they could get rid of the queues of Dundas cars at the stations but I don’t know if they were as bad as with King.

    Steve: Dundas has the queuing problems too, including with the bus replacements. The difficulty in making a route design is that there is no real “terminal” at either end where part of the service could short turn and have a layover point, complete with creature comforts. (Operators at Distillery Loop use facilities in nearby buildings.) This was a big issue with the Queen split tried some years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sucks but really I am not surprised as it ran on the same track as the 504. It was a 504 streetcar dressed up in a press conference.

    Really what the 504 was, was an attempt to sell the idea of service improvements. Byford and the gang needed to look like they were doing something to improve service so they cooked up the 514.

    As long as service still goes to Distillery and Dufferin Loop everything should be fine.


  6. Do you know what is happening to the 503? Will it continue to run over to Dufferin as it does right now?

    Steve: As of September, the 503 reverts to its usual York Street terminus via Wellington, and will continue to operate with streetcars peak only. The 502 goes back to buses and will run weekdays until early evening.


  7. Cherry as a name never ever made sense when it made up less than 400m of route double track. There was more track on Dufferin!

    Steve: But it was a much more romantic name than Toronto usually gets for its routes.


  8. This seems absolutely ridiculous and will just anger people that get on the wrong streetcar and have to wait for the right one because the one they got on ends up turning somewhere else. The TTC is completely insane for even thinking of doing something as stupid as this.

    Steve: Considering that an operation quite like this has been running since late June, and the sky has not yet fallen, I think not.


  9. 1. Should use 514 CHERRY for the Dundas West Station to Distillery, and 504 KING for the Broadview Station to Dufferin.

    2. If going with 504A and 504B, maybe there should be a 504C Dundas West Station to Broadview Station trippers?


  10. I find it funny how people will think they will be pissed off about it. Most of the time, people get on the wrong streetcar, bus or subway train because they are *staring down at their phones* (it actually happened to me last Wednesday that I got up the stairs at Warden Station and I got on the train going the wrong way because I wasn’t looking.

    I don’t agree that the 504A should be turning back at Parliament. 504B should be the only one that has CLRVs on it, owing to (and quoting from you) to ‘preserve accessibility on Cherry Street’.

    I also find it humourous reading a 503 comment that the TTC says during the TIFF that the 503 will be diverting via Church, Wellington, York and King. Any trained eye can see that that is what the routing is going to be in September anyhow so there really is no ‘diversion’ to speak of.


  11. Operationally, this makes a lot of sense. Despite the wonderfully romantic name, 514 Cherry was a route that was short-turned at both sides, and therefore was bound to have slightly emptier cars, unfairly packing 504 cars with more passengers.

    Now, imagine the new arrangement, at a sampling point in the middle section of the route:
    – 504A cars eastbound are pre-filled with extra passengers from Dundas West.
    – 504B cars eastbound are biased to contain extra passengers heading to Broadview.
    – 504A cars westbound are biased to contain extra passengers heading to Dundas West.
    – 504B cars westbound are pre-filled with extra passengers from Broadview.
    This way, the extra load is shared more equally.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Young Centre (Soulpepper and George Brown) is where the non-CRLV request came from. To reduce ground vibrations in the theatres near Distillery Loop.

    Steve: It was from residents mainly at the north end intersection at Sumach and King, not at the loop. The theatre is far enough from the loop, and the loop track has enough mechanical isolation given it is fairly new construction, that vibration is not an issue in the theatres.


  12. Steve said: As of September, the 503 reverts to its usual York Street terminus via Wellington, and will continue to operate with streetcars peak only. The 502 goes back to buses and will run weekdays until early evening.

    We will see how that goes — Wellington will be a major construction site from Church to Yonge through summer 2019 and traffic gets blocked quite often now. Currently a Hydro contractor (Powerline Plus) is working and when they finish, early 2019, the City (and TTC) will be replacing all the track from Yonge to Church and doing major streetscape improvement work.


  13. I understand the TTC keeping the King name, but by splitting the route it seems it might be less confusing for riders in the downtown core to have separate route numbers and names. Tourists and occasional riders would benefit from clear nomenclature.

    Based on early route history the 504A section has the strongest claim to the King name, though Distillery would be a clear option.
    Prior history suggests that the 504B section take over the abandoned 521 King-Exhibition name and number. Cutting down the name to Exhibition might be clearer, and Dufferin is also a possibility. Broadview is an obvious alternate, but should probably be saved for the southern expansion into the Port Lands.

    And while this all makes sense and seems logical, that is not the TTC’s way of operating. So I am not holding my breath.


  14. The 504A/504B split is reminiscent of the tried and rejected 501 split in 2009. I think the goal of the 501 split was to reduce gaps and bunching resulting from the line being too long. The 504 split appears to be for concentrating more service downtown with only limited negative impact at the extremities of the line. So it seems the TTC unexpectedly liked the 504 split over the summer months.


  15. Hopefully it works out for the best as I am generally supportive of more explicitly branching the streetcar routes.

    If not this specific 504A/B split, I would have liked to have seen the 504 maintained from Broadview Station to Dundas West Station, with a new, downtown King branch operating between Exhibition Loop, via either Bathurst Street or Spadina Avenue, and Distillery Loop.

    Steve: The area between Bathurst and Dufferin needs extra service, and running a line to the CNE loop would not provide this.


  16. Richard L wrote: The 504A/504B split is reminiscent of the tried and rejected 501 split in 2009.

    That was the first thing I though of and wondered why King would work when Queen didn’t, remembering that as I recall some issues with Queen had to do with “TTC culture” (operators making its failure a foregone conclusion). Then Steve pointed out:

    The difficulty in making a route design is that there is no real “terminal” at either end where part of the service could short turn and have a layover point, complete with creature comforts. (Operators at Distillery Loop use facilities in nearby buildings.) This was a big issue with the Queen split tried some years ago.

    This would be a good reason why operators would have issues with the operation, though I don’t recall hearing of this at the time.

    Graham wrote: I understand the TTC keeping the King name, but by splitting the route it seems it might be less confusing for riders in the downtown core to have separate route numbers and names. Tourists and occasional riders would benefit from clear nomenclature.

    Not just tourists and occasional riders, but regular riders could spot the difference from a greater difference even if they have route numbers that differ by more than one character.

    YRT has overlapping routes on both Rutherford/Carrville/16th and Major Mac. The Rutherford 85 and the 16th Avenue 16 routes overlap between Bathurst and Leslie. These have significantly different numbers and names. On Major Mac, the Major Mackenzie 4 overlaps with the Major Mackenzie 25 between Harding (two blocks west of Yonge) and Woodbine. Even with the same name, these are easy to spot since the route numbers are so different.

    Steve: One could make the same argument about 504/505 which (currently) have the same destinations and differ only in route number and name. The situation with new signs used on Flexitys and buses has improved over the CLRVs where confusion reigned from the day the cars entered service. We lost route names on CLRV/ALRV signs because “they wouldn’t fit”, but also it was a period when the TTC was trying to move to all numbers without names. We know how far they got with that scheme.

    L. Wall wrote: Cherry as a name never ever made sense when it made up less than 400m of route double track.

    This does not seem out of the ordinary for the TTC. Back in the day, I could never figure out why what we now know as the 506 was called the “Carlton car”, when it was only on Carlton between Yonge and Parliament. (I now know the route’s history, but didn’t back then!) 🙂


  17. I can see the advantages of doing the layovers at Dufferin and Distillery loops, and it does look like this new arrangement may improve transit in the area. In terms of route names, why not adopt the obvious “King East” and “King West”? Oh, well.

    So, anyway, I’m going to have to change the Transit Toronto pages. I was lucky enough to snap an image of the first ever 514 CHERRY streetcar on its first day of operation. Anybody out there up for the challenge of snapping the last one?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I fear that with the Cherry restrictions, we’ll see all Flexities on 504A (22 in AM peak) and less on 504B (20 in AM peak).

    If they end up with mostly CLRVs on Broadview, running only 5.25 minutes, it’s going to be messy.

    With all CLRVs every 4-minutes, service was often crush-loaded southbound by River Street – particularly between 8:30 and 9:00 AM when the ALRVs weren’t doing some runs. But frequently relieved by trippers (often ALRVs).

    Even with all Flexities, I dread what a 10-minute gap with a missing car would be like! (on bad days like that, I carry on the 506 to Parliament and catch a 65 – or take a 505 and get some exercise).

    Clearly the TTC has observed through all those cameras they’ve installed I’ve gained a few pounds – and is going to help me lose them!

    Steve: The total scheduled Flexitys in the October Board is 82 (42 King, 7 Harbourfront, 14 Spadina, 19 St. Clair). Even at a 25% spare ratio that’s a bit over 100 cars. We are already up to 4495 in service, with 4496 in the acceptance phase, less the cars lost pro tem thanks to flood damage. The CLRVs are supposed to be allocated to trippers, and with 30 midday service cars, that means 12 runs split between the two services. Let’s hope Bombardier deliveries really do speed up when the Kingston production comes on line.


  19. Steve – is the Old in your table September or something earlier? The ‘Old’ shows both six AM and PM peak CLRV trippers. But your September service changes shows only 2 AM Flexity trippers.

    Steve: The “Old” service with six AM and PM CLRVs dates from May, before the route was restructured for the summer. I felt that this was an appropriate comparison.

    James – a problem with calling the 504B (Broadview) service as King East, is that the 504A (Dundas West) service stops at all the King East stops except River.


  20. There was an impressive 77 Flexities in service for AM peak yesterday (Tuesday) and 79 today (Wednesday) with 37 and 38 on 504/514. So 504 should be almost entirely Flexities in October – which would alleviate my fears!

    Progress …


  21. Call the 504B the “Broadview” car and the 504A the “Roncesvalles” car. There would no confusion then, not one tiny bit.


  22. As was discussed here several weeks ago, the 503 will be being diverted due to Wellington construction.

    5 a.m., September 17, 2018 to 5 a.m., July 1, 2019
    Toronto Hydro will begin construction and lane occupation on Wellington Street to support future construction at King Station relating to TTC Easier Access projects. Streetcars will divert along King Street.

    503 Kingston Rd streetcars extended to Charlotte Loop.

    Do the TTC Planners not look at the City’s construction plans BEFORE making routing decisions? (OK, silly question!). The Hydro project has actually been going on for a couple of months and is not only (or even primarily) about work for King Station’s easier access.

    Steve: I am waiting to see if they will formally extend the route and update its schedule with the November changes when they come out. This really sounds like an “own goal” by TTC planning.


  23. Hey Steve.

    I hate to do this, but I need to correct you on the reasoning why all streetcars on 514/Distillery Loop service use FLEXITY cars.

    1. Accessibility

    There are approximately 70 ppl in that area who are wheelchair users, mostly at Front/Cherry stop, who need it, also trying to train & wean said users off the habit of only using wheeltrans to get around.

    Large amount of March of Dimes assisted living apartments in this area also.

    2. Only FLEXITY cars have ability to put “grease” on rails to quieten the sound, also the CLRVS, had a lot of issues in loop (according to TTC’s own streetcar staff)

    Steve: The situation varies by area. For the curve at Distillery Loop, there is a wheel greaser on the southbound approach to the loop that should grease all cars unless it is not working for some reason. The curves at King and Sumach do not have an automatic greaser and depend on either manual application, or a GPS-based greasing system on the Flexitys. Whether this is actually operating I don’t know, and the last time I checked it hadn’t been turned on yet.

    3. I with support from Andy & others, including Pam M, fought long & hard to have an agreement with TTC, that ONLY accessible streetcar services would operate on Cherry street, also that the service run until 1am, 7 days a week, also to NOT have a ‘shuttle service’ done by wheeltrans, as it was severely impacting operations availability for regular wheeltrans service.

    (I can’t post all my notes/files on here, as I am in process of packing, to move, so am only able to use my phone for online use, not my computer.)

    Steve: You’re not correcting me. You’re correcting the story the TTC is putting out about the how and why of Flexity/CLRV operation on Cherry. TTC is notorious for scrambling its corporate history to suit the argument of the moment.


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