The intersection of King and Sumach Streets is the point where the former 514 Cherry, now the 504A King branch, splits off southward to Distillery Loop. It has been the subject of many complaints about noise over the years. The TTC has attempted various fixes with less than ideal results.
At the beginning of August 2022, the 504 King and 503 Kingston Road services began diverting around this location via Queen and Parliament, although actual construction did not get under way for a few weeks. Now, the work is incomplete, and the originally hoped-for restoration of service on September 4, something that is built into the September schedules, will not actually happen until later in September.
During that period, the “504A” cars will continue to operate as “504B” to Broadview Station, although I suspect that many will be short turned as they do not have enough running time to make such a long extended trip.
When this project began, I thought that we might see the implementation of double blade switches here, but that is not the case. There is no change in the facing point switches at this intersection.
Here some photos of work at King and Sumach as it progressed. The purpose was not a complete replacement but rather to do selective maintenance. In a way, this makes the work a bit more tedious than simply ripping up the whole thing, trucking in new, pre-assembled track on panels, and dropping the rails into place over a week or less.
August 19, 2022
August 27, 2022
At this point, the new westbound trailing switch was installed where the curve north to west out of Sumach joins the King Street trackage. Note that the switch blade is different from what we normally see in two ways:
- The blade is pinned at its heel (the wide end) rather than sitting with a round heel in a matching casting.
- There is a mechanism (the box between the rails) attached to the blade much as one would find for an electrified facing point switch.
The purpose of this is to eliminate “slap” of the blade within the switch casting (a familiar “clack clack” as each set of wheels passes over).
Here is the Google Street View of the switch illustrated below in its “before” state.
August 31, 2022
The curves in this intersection had seen a lot of welding work attempting to build them up and change the wheel/rail geometry. New tracks are now being installed presumably to match the desired alignment and reduce squeal on the curves.
September 2, 2022
The work continues although much remains to be done. In addition to the new track, the TTC is adding two new wheel lubricators on approaches to the intersection eastbound on King and northbound on Sumach.
Once upon a time, there was a scheme for the Flexity cars to have onboard lubricators that would would be activated by GPS readings in locations where wheel squeal was a problem. This was never implemented. Wheel lubrication is used in several places on the network, although more commonly near loops (for example, there is a lubricator southbound approaching Distillery Loop).
As this work progresses, I will add to the photo record.
Streetcar service is expected to resume sometime in September.