Streetcars Come To Scarborough

On May 25, 2021, Metrolinx moved the first of its test LRVs from the Mount Dennis maintenance facility at the west end of the new Eglinton Crosstown route to the more-or-less completed section of the line between Brentcliffe and Birchmount. This move was done by truck and trailer as the central tunnel section is not yet available. There is no definitive date for the tunnel to open for testing all the way east to Brentcliffe Portal, let alone for revenue service.

The cars are delivered to a temporary ramp installed at Rosemount Drive (between Birchmount and Ionview) where they are unloaded. From that point, they run under their own power.

Initial testing will be at low speed to check clearances and track geometry, and Metrolinx will then move up to regular service speeds and train operation. When cars are not out on the line for tests, they will be stored inside of the tunnel west of Brentcliffe portal.

Photos and videos of this event are on the Metrolinx Blog, and a selection sent to me by Harold McMann (to whom much thanks!) appears below.

And, yes, of course they are “Light Rail Vehicles”. A rose by any other name …

19 thoughts on “Streetcars Come To Scarborough

  1. Shouldn’t this be titled “Streetcars Return to Scarborough”?

    Steve: It’s been a while. The last time there was a streetcar in Scarborough was on a fantrip many years ago when we took one of the Peter Witt cars out onto the (now removed) tail track at Bingham Loop and crossed Victoria Park Avenue. Before that, of course, it was the Kingston Road car to Birchmount Loop, and before that the radial to West Hill.

    But, yes, it is definitely a “return”. I was having more fun tweaking the noses of those who spend hours arguing about where the boundary lies between “streetcars” and “LRT” (it’s at least half about politics and marketing), not to mention the subway trolls who leave vile posts here regularly.

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  2. Very nice to see!

    Does anybody know why the route taken by the trucks was so circuitous? First they went up to the 401, then jogged back down to Lawrence and back up to the 401, then in Scarborough they went past their interchange, looped back, and then got off. With a large move I tend to assume it’s things like turns and clearance, but I’m having trouble seeing why for example some parts of the 401 would be OK and others not, especially given that this isn’t actually that big a load. Is the LRV on a flatbed higher than I think it is?

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  3. Isaac said: then in Scarborough they went past their interchange, looped back, and then got off.

    It’s been a while since I’ve been on the 401, but if I recall, there is no eastbound exit at VP, so I’m assuming that’s why they had to go to Kennedy and loop back to exit westbound at VP.

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  4. IT’S AN LRT NOT A STREETCAR! BIG DIFFERENCE!
    HOW MUCH TIMES DO PEOPLE NEED TO BE TOLD THIS?

    Steve: Well if you believe Metrolinx, when it crosses the Humber River into Etobicoke it becomes a subway!

    That’s the whole point of “LRT” – it can be everything from a humble streetcar to a speeding rapid transit train. But some people make a career out of trying to differentiate. It is not entirely clear why it can be a “subway” in Etobicoke, but an attempt to run the same vehicle in Scarborough on an entirely segregated right-of-way is somehow a second-class service. Unless, of course, you are trolling for votes.

    Please note that I will mercilessly delete attempts to turn this comment thread into that sort of debate.

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  5. Wow! A police escort! This will be the last year for having “transit priority” along for the light rail vehicles. Enjoy it before the automobile disciples at Toronto Transportation get wind of it.

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  6. When they enter revenue service will each vehicle have police outriders to give them signal priority at intersections, as we see here? It’s great to see true signal priority for a TTC vehicle, but that seems like an expensive way to do it.

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  7. Quite a sight to see. I noticed what looked like a concrete segment around a section of track between Birchmount and Ionview a week ago, now it’s clear what that was for…so the truck could drive over the track for unloading.

    Beyond that…even if it took 45 years to get streetcars/light rail vehicles to Scarbrough (or 15 years for the Crosstown itself) it’s here and worth celebrating.

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  8. Did Metrolinx have a contest to see who could come up with the most dull colour scheme?

    Steve: They had a consultant. Even better!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It is nice to see “bigger than a bus” transit finally arriving on Eglinton. Testing is supposed to take a month or two to complete.

    I am guessing that the core (Eglinton Station) is still the major bottle neck for thru running.

    Do you know if Metrolinx has plans to open the line in sections? Will they run Kennedy to Laird or Leaside as a partial opening?

    Steve: I very much doubt that partial running on the east side is an option. The transfer traffic to buses for riders to continue west would be high, and neither Sunnybrook nor Laird Stations have the facilities. Also there are no maintenance facilities on the east side. It’s one thing to run test trains, but quite another to operate revenue service.

    There is also the question of whether the contract provides for a partial handover from the builder to the operator/maintainer. Maybe on the west side to Eglinton West (or Cedarvale as it will become) for a subway connection, but that’s all I would expect to see.

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  10. I noticed the large coupler extending out from the body. Will they operate in service like that? In contrast, I think back to the CLRV’s that had hinged couplers that folded back just inside the body panel. Then the Shiner safety panel was added to help minimize injury to contacted pedestrians. It was a cleaner look.

    Steve: The couplers had to be removed to make room for the Shiner skirts. The cars will operate like that in service because MU trains of two or three cars are planned.

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  11. “It’s been a while since I’ve been on the 401, but if I recall, there is no eastbound exit at VP, so I’m assuming that’s why they had to go to Kennedy and loop back to exit westbound at VP.”

    Well that’s the weird thing: unless it’s closed for construction or something right now, there is an eastbound exit there, at least according to Google Maps.

    The route they advertised took them right past the offramp on the 401, then right past its outlet on Victoria Park after exiting the 401 westbound. My general assumption when I see a circuitous route for a large load is things like bridge clearances, turn radii etc. which I don’t have to think about in my minivan, but I’m really having trouble seeing the problem here. I mean even turn radii: with a police escort they could turn from the leftmost lane of the offramp into the leftmost lane of Victoria Park if necessary.

    And I’m similarly confused about the jogging back and forth between Lawrence and the 401.

    Steve: The next time you have a 30m long vehicle to move, I am sure you will pick the ideal route. Meanwhile, why does this matter?

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  12. Jim G. Said: “… Do you know if Metrolinx has plans to open the line in sections? Will they run Kennedy to Laird or Leaside as a partial opening?

    Steve: I very much doubt that partial running on the east side is an option. The transfer traffic to buses for riders to continue west would be high, and neither Sunnybrook nor Laird Stations have the facilities. Also there are no maintenance facilities on the east side. It’s one thing to run test trains, but quite another to operate revenue service.

    There is also the question of whether the contract provides for a partial handover from the builder to the operator/maintainer. Maybe on the west side to Eglinton West (or Cedarvale as it will become) for a subway connection, but that’s all I would expect to see.”

    I’d like to add that it would be “possible” for the east side to only open from Science Center to Kennedy, though I’d imagine that Metrolinx would have to sign off on it with the Crosslinx consortium. The other question would be where to store the trains as well as how to maintain them since it’s not like there’s a hidden MSF past the tail tracks at Kennedy unless the idea is to try and through-run some trains to Mt. Dennis on rail overnight which would cause a whole bunch of insurance and liability implications than possibly be worth in opening the eastern section a few months early.

    Steve: Again the problem is that people would be forced to transfer, albeit at a bus station, and there remains the problem of equipment servicing and maintenance. It’s all or nothing.

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  13. While the Eglinton LRTs are double-sided I believe that they only have a cab at one end so the minimum length is 2 cars unless Metrolinx plans to install loops or turntables.

    Steve: A subtle difference from the outside is that the “front” of the car has a destination sign, but the “rear” does not.

    Front end of Eglinton Crosstown LRV

    Rear end of Eglinton Crosstown LRV

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  14. Where’s the grass, man?

    Steve: The grass is only planned to be on the segment through the valley east of the portal. In any event, the construction isn’t finished yet and it’s early to be installing anything like that.

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  15. Do you know how many of the LRV’s have been delivered for the Eglinton line so far?

    Steve: Not to the exact number, but the car moved to the east end of the line on May 27 was 6256. There will be 76 cars in total numbering from 6200 upward.

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  16. I was going to leave a comment about streetcars in Scarboro but Steve beat me to it.

    Steve said: “Before that, of course, it was the Kingston Road car to Birchmount Loop, and before that the radial to West Hill.”

    Seriously, Scarborough could use more streetcars and less buses.

    And that silly SSE to STC, have you been there at all? It is a dead zone.

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  17. Steve: The next time you have a 30m long vehicle to move, I am sure you will pick the ideal route. Meanwhile, why does this matter?

    Thanks for handing me the 30m length. That led me to actually measure out 30m on the map and sure enough, I sure wouldn’t want to try turning a vehicle that long at the direct exit from 401 eastbound to Victoria Park southbound, even taking all the lanes. Looks like the other jog will remain a mystery but still a good reminder that big moves are very different from day-to-day driving.

    As to why it matters, it matters about as much as my previous questions about leftover streetcar tail tracks at loops or the specific historical details of why the streetcars and subway run on a non-standard gauge. In other words, it doesn’t, but sometimes I’m curious.

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