Queen Street Construction Update: Aug. 6/21

Construction is moving slowly on various parts of the Queen route which will continue to operate with a mix of buses and streetcars until late in 2021.


The planned move to “phase 2” on July 22 with through operation east-west on Queen Street has still not happened, and there is no announced date for this.

Here is a view of The Queensway looking east toward Roncesvalles taken on August 4.

In the foreground, the new leads to Sunnyside Loop are mostly completed within the streetcar lanes on The Queensway, but the majority of the new loop has not been installed. In the background, the leads to Roncesvalles Carhouse are now in place across the westbound road lanes and connected to trackage within the yard.

Aug 4/21. Photo by Steve Munro.

When the project moves to phase 2, work will shift to the King Street leg of the intersection. 501 Queen buses will revert to east-west operation via Queen rather than their present diversion via Dufferin and King. The two 504 shuttle buses will be linked via Queen although there will only be eastbound bus service on King Street east from Triller. Westbound service will operate via Dufferin and King as it does today.

This means that there will be no westbound service on King from Dufferin to The Queensway just as there is no eastbound service on Queen today in the phase 1 configuration.

The north leg of the intersection will be the last part of the reconstruction, and it will include the intersection at the north gate of the carhouse.

Queen From Bay to University

This first phase of a large-scale project to replace track from Bay to Fennings (west of Dovercourt) is not exactly speeding along. The trackbed has been partly excavated in preparation for rail replacement using the existing foundation and ties.

Looking east toward Bay Aug 5/21. Photo by Steve Munro.

Because this track was rebuilt two decades ago with a new foundation, concrete ties and Pandrol clips holding the track in place, the excavation only needs to remove the surface layer. The old track will be replaced and new rails clipped onto the existing base. Also visible below is the rubber sleeve for vibration isolation that was wrapped around the old track.

Aug 5/21. Photo by Steve Munro.

Pre-welded strings of track sit in the north curb lane (usually occupied by a fleet of fast food vendors and tour buses). A companion inventory sits in the north curb lane at Trinity-Bellwoods Park for the west end of the project.

Aug 5/21. Photo by Steve Munro.

East from University, the track excavation has not progressed to the same degree. A short section just west of York will be completely excavated to access utilities underneath. The special work at York will not be replaced as this intersection was rebuilt in 2013.

Work will continue westward from University to Spadina in stages, and then will jump to the west end of the project at Fennings and work eastward. There are no announced dates for future stages nor details of service arrangements for buses and streetcars.

Queen Street East from Leslie to Neville

Streetcars returned to the east end of 501 Queen and to the 503 Kingston Road route on August 5. During a shutdown that began on July 26, spot repairs were performed at various locations on the track, and work began on conversion of the overhead for pantograph operation.

Intersections at Coxwell, Connaught and both entrances to Russell Yard are in a transitional state with new and old overhead. The intersection at Kingston Road and Queen, including Woodbine Loop, was installed with pan-friendly overhead when the track and roadway were rebuilt here in 2019.

Two 503 Kingston Road cars sit in Woodbine Loop short-turned due to an overhead break near Bingham Loop. Aug 5/21. Photo by Steve Munro.

4 thoughts on “Queen Street Construction Update: Aug. 6/21

  1. When the Q-K-R intersection is rebuilt and they finish the overhead work on Queen will they (finally) be just about finished installing new overhead? It seems to have taken a huge amount of time to finish this off, especially as the original Bombardier order was to have pantograph-only cars coming about the mid-point.

    Steve: The Queen route is the last major one to be done. Russell Carhouse is a 2022 project, I believe. There are a few more odds and ends like Victoria Street, but not much is left.


  2. Is it my imagination or is the space between the two tracks in Woodbine Loop bigger than it used to be?

    Steve: The oldest Google Street View of the loop is from September 2007, before the rebuilt with concrete for bus operations, and the tracks were on the same spacing then as they are now.


  3. Thanks Steve, in many ways.

    This is showing the result of the core being outvoted through the decades, so it’s not really the fault of the current folks in core/institutions, but instead a problem from continually building of heavy transit like a subway in the less-wise to wrong places vs. a Queen or King subway. From Parkdale to the core is a short bike ride; but it’s perilous and deadly, and as the tracks dictate the lane positions, having bike safety is less-easy, as noted in various city reports etc. from 30 years ago and the 2001 Bike Plan. But due to a mangled grid and the Weston railtracks slicing through the west end, no, we can’t take sidestreets: only King and Queen are useful to bike in and out of Parkdale in a somewhat direct fashion.

    Somewhat sadly, much of this work keeps the dangers ‘live’ – though there is an incredibly RARE chance for bike safety in the most important segment, from where Richmond/Adelaide end at Niagara St. over to Brock St. in Parkdale, through the Dufferin underpass area, where two cyclists have died, Ryan Carrier and Peter Cram. Westbound is more important to fix, and is more clear in my mind, and it’s only possible because the two roads with streetcar tracks that help Queen transit have a network function, Shaw and Dufferin, only have feed-in from the south, and don’t have any trackage on the north. So with the turning space needs of streetcars, if there was any N/S trackage on the north side of Queen in this vital link, it’d be impossible to alter positionings, as pedestrians totally need their safety.

    So moving the tracks north a meter (and pouring new trackbed for it all) isn’t lightly done, but there’s all sorts of allegedly ‘green’ millions around for cycling and transit etc., although it would be far more complex than these mere words suggest ie. what services are under any possible new trackbed?

    But we’ve restricted Queen and many other roads to only a single lane of car travel during this Covid emergency; what about the climate emergency? Consulting future generations about how scorched they’d like their planet isn’t done; and a 2008-ish consult of cyclists in the West-End bikeways project did show strong support for safe cycling on Queen W. along its length.

    There’s also a fairly good system of back alleys throughout this Niagara to Brock distance, and it’s not the fault of the current generation that we don’t have a subway in the right place here.

    I really hope that the slowness in doing things is a result of the bureaucracies and some of the politicians reacting to this unique chance to save a life and boost cycling; again, the City and the TTC have only had about 30 years to recognize the hazards, and I do see cycling as the real competition to the transit in the core, and Parkdale, being a NIA, does deserve better. Alas, the west-side K/Q/R/Q work has not been bike-supportive and is keeping some of the dangers and adding a couple, so the bar is pretty low, and presumably there’ll be evermore liability on the City and TTC for not making biking safer, though of course, some of us bring danger upon ourselves and also are on the ‘passhole’ side.

    Pardon length; but it’s now very dangerous and rough, and equity in mobility access should mean having sum $$$ devoted to adjusting the tracks as outlined from just E of Niagara over to just west of Brock. And if the TTC/City were really at all concerned about bike safety, heck, even in the wider stretch of Queen from Shaw to c. Ossington, we’d have bike lanes added to make it a more normal 2-lane road, and nope, seems like just same old pattern, just as the TTC/City are quite OK with reworking substandard/narrow segments of road with tracks elsewhere..


  4. Steve,
    You mention Victoria Street still needs to be done. I see there are two metal sheets covering part of the streetcar track north of Shuter Street. Does this mean Victoria Street will only be used by streetcars south of Queen Street or will the track north of Shuter be rectified once the construction of Massey Hall is completed.

    Steve: Yes. Between Massey Hall and the new St. Mike’s building, Victoria has been impassible for a while. However, the intersection at Dundas Square is new and the intent is to reconnect the street once other projects are out of the way.


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