TTC Streetcar Network Changes in 2020 (Updated)

Construction projects and the ongoing shuffling of streetcars and buses between the 500-series routes will bring some changes over coming months.

Updated March 30, 2020

The planned switch to streetcars on 505 Dundas has been deferred to late April, and buses will continue to operate on this route.

In turn, streetcars will remain on Bathurst until Dundas switches to streetcars.

New overhead poles have begun to appear on Broadview at locations where the curves must be rebuilt for pantograph operation.

March 29, 2020

Dundas Streetcar

Streetcars will return to 505 Dundas replacing buses that have been on this route for quite some time thanks to various construction projects. The route will operate with pantographs up over much of its length, but on arriving at Dundas & Broadview, cars will switch to trolley pole operation. TTC staff will be stationed at the changeover point to raise and lower poles as cars arrive in each direction. This procedure will continue until the overhead from Gerrard to Danforth is fully converted to a pantograph-friendly design over the next few months, according to the TTC.

The option of running with poles over the length of the route is not available because some of the new overhead on Dundas is built to pantograph-only standards and is incompatible with trolley shoes.

Bathurst Streetcar/Bus

On the same date, 511 Bathurst will revert to bus operation because of construction on the Bathurst Street bridge south of Front Street, and later for track replacement between Dundas Street and Wolseley Loop (north of Queen), and from Bloor Street to London Street (Bathurst Station). Diversion arrangements for these phases of the work have not yet been announced.

While the bridge remains open to traffic, the buses will operate to Exhibition Loop, but will travel via Fort York Boulevard rather than going south to Fleet Street.

After the bridge closes, the 511 Bathurst buses will loop via Front, Portland and Wellington. Service to the Exhibition will be provided only by 509 Harbourfront which will have extra service to compensate for the 511’s absence. The 307 Bathurst Night Bus will operate to the Exhibition via Front, Spadina and Fort York Boulevard.

Details of service during the Canadian National Exhibition have not yet been finalized.

Mid-May 2020

Carlton Streetcar/Bus

Reconstruction of the west end of the 506 Carlton route will begin, and the route will convert to bus operation.

The work will begin at High Park Loop which will be rebuilt so that it can be used by either streetcars or buses. Once this is done, the 41/941 Keele diversion that begins on March 29 for work at Keele Station will change to terminate at High Park Loop rather than heading east to Roncesvalles.

The track replacement will head east on Howard Park from Parkside to Sunnyside, but will not affect the intersection at Roncesvalles. This  means that 504 King service to Dundas West Station will remain in operation.

During the bus operation, overhead conversion for pantographs will continue on this route.

Kingston Road Streetcar

With the 506 Carlton operating as a bus route, the 503 Kingston Road will resume streetcar operation. Its western terminus will be Charlotte Loop at Spadina.

Summer 2020

Dundas Streetcar

Track reconstruction on Dundas Street will begin with the Howard Park intersection. Tangent track will be replaced between Sorauren Avenue and Sterling Road, the stretch spanning the bridges over the rail corridors. While this is underway, the 505 Dundas car will (probably) short turn at Lansdowne via College Loop (the triangular intersection formed by Lansdowne, College and Dundas) or via Lansdowne, College and Ossington.

The work will also include the west side of College Loop (the only part of the loop that has not been rebuilt in recent years). This will include reconfiguration of the intersection with traffic signals and pedestrian crossings as shown below.

These arrangements have not been finalized.

Source: Traffic Control Signals and Intersection Improvements – College Street, Dundas Street West and St. Helen’s Avenue

Other Planned Work

Other projects that do not affect scheduled service include:

  • Replacement of the special work at Richmond & Church
  • Replacement of the tangent track on Victoria from Queen to Dundas Square (this depends on the status of construction at St. Michael’s Hospital)
  • Replacement of the track on Church from King to Wellington, and on Wellington from Church to west of Yonge (the eastern boundary of a previous replacement project)

12 thoughts on “TTC Streetcar Network Changes in 2020 (Updated)

  1. TTC staff will be stationed at the changeover point to raise and lower poles as cars arrive in each direction. This procedure will continue until the overhead from Gerrard to Danforth is fully converted to a pantograph-friendly design over the next few months, according to the TTC.

    The original implementation plan which (nonsensically) called for LFLRV’s on Dundas near the beginning also called for overhead conversion on the 505 that year. It should be embarrassing to them that it’s 2020 and with Dundas seeing its first LFLRV revenue service the overhead is still not converted.

    How much money will the TTC have possibly saved from deferring and delaying overhead upgrades since 2013? It’s conceivable they could be spending $500 a day for a few months because management thought they were being cute and “saving” money!

    The option of running with poles over the length of the route is not available because some of the new overhead on Dundas is built to pantograph-only standards and is incompatible with trolley shoes.

    Which sections might these be? I haven’t been along the route in some time.

    Steve: McCaul to Parliament.


  2. “The track replacement will head east on Howard Park from Parkside to Sunnyside, but will not affect the intersection at Roncesvalles.”

    Sunnyside? That’s way down at Queen street. I think you mean something else lol

    Steve: Sunnyside Avenue extends north from The Queensway to Howard Park. You might try looking at a map before posting comments like this.


  3. The tender call for the work on Wellington/Church is apparently ready to be sent out in next week or so and the work is planned for a late July or early August start. The project will be split between 2020 and 2021 with the streetcar track and road being finished in 2020 while the streetscape improvements will be started in 2020 and completed early 2021.


  4. So, with sections of the streetcar overhead going pantograph only, what does that mean to the heritage equipment? Will they be fitted with pantographs of their own?

    Steve: There has been talk of pans on the heritage cars, but not definite movement on that yet.


  5. Tangentially related: I recall reading somewhere that the track connecting Victoria and Dundas under CityTV building is not functional anymore. Is that the case, or has it just not been used?

    Steve: It was rebuilt in 2017 and would be operational but for two problems. First, CityTV uses it as a parking lot. Second, the approach north on Victoria has been impassible for years due to the ongoing (and much behind schedule) construction at St. Michael’s Hospital. See my article documenting the reconstruction of the area.


  6. Steve, people opting to taking the TTC to and from this year’s Canadian National Exhibition have a number of options. Of the two routes that operate out of the Exhibition loop, the “511 Bathurst” route will operate with buses (starting Sunday March 29,2020, which is the next schedule change date), and the “509 Harbourfront” operates with streetcars. With the absence of streetcars on “511 Bathurst”, there will be extra service on “509 Harbourfront”.

    Taking the “510 Spadina” and “509 Harbourfront” streetcars is a good option for getting to this year’s CNE; looks like I will be oping for this combination. As with last year’s CNE, service on the main branch of the “510 Spadina” route to Union subway station (“Union Stn” on the streetcar’s destination bar) will be suspended for the duration of the CNE. However, there will be extra service on the “510 Spadina” route to the Queens Quay and Spadina loop for the duration of the CNE. From the Queens Quay and Spadina loop, take a “509 Harbourfront” streetcar to complete your journey to the Exhibition loop, located under the Gardiner Expressway. This option is especially good for the Labour Day weekend, when the air show is on; passengers on the streetcar take in the views of the planes flying over the city and the lake through the streetcar’s large windows.


  7. Seems interesting. Does the TTC have a timeline for full, system wise pantograph operations? Are the historical Peter Witt, PCC, and CLRV/ALRV (chartered) streetcars going to be converted to pantographs, or will they be sold/scrapped?

    Steve: About 2022 I think. The big conversion next year is King/Queen/Roncesvalles in association with the track and road work planned there. Remaining bits of Carlton will be converted while that line is operated by buses this summer.

    There will be follow-up work to realign the overhead and add self-tensioning devices to locations where the tangent wire is not yet slewed to even out pantograph wear.

    There is talk of equipping the legacy fleet with pans, but nothing specific yet.


  8. Haven’t been on Bathurst in a long time, since December 29th, 2019 actually. Is the 511 using pantographs, and if so, since when?

    Steve: Bathurst operated with CLRVs right up to the end of that fleet’s life. When it switched to Flexitys, the overhead was already set up for pans.


  9. Steve,
    I may be making a lot of unfounded assumptions here, so please jump in everywhere:

    1. Are the 502/503 are permanently merged as 503 Kingston Road (Bingham to McCaul)?

    Steve: No. The merger is supposed to be temporary, and it is Bingham to King and University. Wellington Street would have been completed some time ago except for work by various utilities that keeps getting rescheduled. It is also a useful westbound diversion for 504 King.

    2. If so, what is the justification for rebuilding on Wellington/Church/Victoria streets?

    Steve: If the 503 is the surviving route permanently, it would loop via Wellington and York once the construction projects are completed.

    3. Back to the 503: is there any plan to make this an 18 hour regular service streetcar route?

    Steve: No, but there is a proposal for restructured services that was shown as an example of how the streetcar network could be enhanced with more cars. The map is in this article. You will see that it does not include a regular service along Wellington.

    (Not that anyone cares), I really resent the tripper routes, as it is (now) much easier and safer for me to get around on streetcars in areas they’re available, and would strongly prefer that streetcar routes were all “regular service”.

    Steve: There are only two “trippers”. The 508 Lake Shore is peak only and covers trackage that has all-day service on 501 Queen and 504 King. The 503 Kingston Road used to be a peak period tripper, but is now 12 hours a day. By the way, that arrangement on Kingston Road itself with evening and weekend service running up Coxwell dates back to the 1940s. The trippers originally went west to Roncesvalles via King.

    … lastly, (very late to the party), I am thrilled about the (not so) recent addition of streetcar routes to the overnight network; that was long past time.

    Steve: Recent?


    Not only do I understand their role as service diversion options, I also very much wish that the completed stretches (Parliament to Bathurst) on Richmond and Adelaide could have been rebuilt contiguously and retained (and on the “outside” lane of each), I often think of those streets as ideal diversion options for festivals on King and (to a lesser extent) Queen.

    Steve: Well, first of all, there was never track on Adelaide or Richmond east of Church because originally the streets did not run through (that’s why there is a jog at Jarvis). Curb running is unlikely both because of parking considerations and curve radius problems at intersections. There was talk of restoring the track on Adelaide between Spadina and Victoria, but nothing has come of this and I would be very surprised if it happened.


  10. Steve, first I want to thank you for putting these lists together. I always appreciate your collection of all this information and your work to keep people informed about the TTC and transit in general.

    Now that we are at near the end of May, I see the 506 is still operated by streetcar and going to the High Park loop with no sign of upcoming service changes posted on the TTC website. As well, there was 506 overhead work done recently instead of waiting for the planned bus replacement. I wonder if you know if any of the work from the loop to the Dundas & College intersection is still on?

    Steve: It is planned for later in the year. There is already a notice regarding rail welding in mid-June. I have not seen the plans for the summer schedules yet. The work on Dundas from College westward is planned for the fall, I believe, but I have not seen anything definitive.

    As for overhead work and bus replacements, I think the TTC is a bit too fond of complete replacement of streetcar routes rather than selective substitutions. If they have overhead projects scattered across the line, this should not take many months. Also, with limits on available operators, wasting them on lower-capacity buses when there are plenty of streetcars available is not good planning.


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