TTC Track Construction Update December 5, 2022

Here is a brief update on various construction projects in progress.

King/Queen/Queensway/Roncesvalles

Excavation continues on Roncesvalles at the north gate of the carhouse while the track panels for the new junction remain on trailers on King Street (see previous update).

Track installation has started south from Harvard Street toward the north gate.

The TTC has not yet announced a date for resumption of through service on Roncesvalles between Howard Park and The Queensway on route 504 King, nor for through streetcar service from downtown to Dundas West Station.

On The Queensway, the eastbound stop at Glendale has finally been taken out of service. Passengers are now directed to use westbound buses to access St. Joseph’s Hospital transferring at Roncesvalles or at Colborne Lodge Drive as appropriate.

The map below was tweeted by @ttchelps. As I write this, neither this map nor the diversion notice for the 504 bus service are linked to the route’s schedule page.

Construction continues on the new eastbound curb lane and the eastbound streetcar stop at Glendale. Work is also in progress on the track between Glendale and Parkside.

Overhead is still not in place at Sunnyside Loop although many span wires and hangers have appeared. The 501 Queen service cannot be extended from Dufferin to Sunnyside until this loop is available.

King & Shaw

According to a City of Toronto construction notice, this intersection will reopen on Friday, December 16. This would allow the 504 King and 63 Ossington services to resume normal operations here.

When the TTC announced their November service changes, this included a temporary option, once King & Shaw reopened, with half of the 504 service turning back at Exhibition Loop (the 504B Broadview cars) and half running through to Dufferin (the 504A Distillery cars). The 504C buses which loop at York Street would shift to a Bathurst turnback.

The TTC has not yet confirmed whether these arrangements will actually happen.

Adelaide Street

Construction has moved swiftly west on Adelaide and is now in the final stretch between Widmer and Charlotte Streets. The section east from York to Victoria will be rebuilt in 2023.

Wellington Street

New overhead has not yet been installed on Wellington Street. The 503 Kingston Road bus is looping via York, Richmond and University from King. Streetcar service should return in the Spring when pantograph-friendly overhead on the downtown loop and on Kingston Road has been installed.

Dundas at Brock Street

A large sinkhole appeared under the streetcar tracks on Dundas at Brock due to a burst 120-year old sewer. The City expects the street to be restored by the end of December, but the TTC will then have to restore the track and overhead. Until that work is finished, tentatively by the end of January 2023, the 505 Dundas service is diverting both ways east of Lansdowne via College and Ossington.

Media coverage is available from CBC and CITY, among other sources.

College Street

The diversion of 506 Carlton streetcars around the College Street reconstruction project is expected to finish by the end of 2022. Streetcars continue to operate both ways via Bay, Dundas and Ossington.

18 thoughts on “TTC Track Construction Update December 5, 2022

  1. So currently there is not 1 streetcar route in this city that can complete a route south of Bloor? Total disgrace.

    Steve: 509 Harbourfront, 510 Spadina, 511 Bathurst.

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  2. I see that 504 streetcars are using trolley poles along King Street. So will the 503 streetcars be able to use trolley poles when they return to service? Or is there already pantograph-compatability east of York Street? Would 504 streetcar service need to be suspended to convert the remaining overhead for pantographs?

    Steve: The overhead on Kingston Road was not pan-compliant. TTC is working on that over the winter. The overhead on King west of Dufferin is just starting to be converted. King cars could actually use pans today, but the route has not been officially converted end-to-end, and so they don’t.

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  3. I worry that we have gotten into a cycle where we will never have regular streetcar service. Because by the time one project ends another huge one starts again. An example being I believe Queen West is due for replacement soon. So after all this crap in the west end service will be restored only to be disrupted once again for more track work.

    Steve: According to TOInview, the City’s map of planned projects, work on Queen in 2023 will be in the east end. This includes Parliament to River, and Carlaw to Russell Carhouse. The latter project is intended to be co-ordinated with Metrolinx work on the rail corridor bridge at DeGrassi that will require a shutdown of streetcar service there for a period.

    The map also shows the College Street project, but that will be finished from the TTC’s point of view this year, and the Church/Wellington project where the outstanding TTC work is reinstallation of the overhead. Adelaide is shown because that work stretches over 2022/23 although the portion west of York will be largely completed soon.

    Finally, there is a project planned for long-suffering King West from Strachan to Jameson, as well as Broadview from Gerrard to Danforth.

    I am waiting to see details of the 2023 budget where some plans might be set aside, as well as plans for years 2024 and beyond. There is a plan to rebuild King through downtown in 2024 and make some “temporary” elements of the transit mall permanent. Some locations such as the intersection at Church badly need replacement, but we will see what actually gets done.

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  4. I know that the King/Church intersection has not worked properly for ages but I think it was rebuilt within the last decade. Does it really need to be rebuilt again?

    Steve: There have been a lot of patchwork repairs, but this intersection has never been rebuilt with welded pre-assembled track panels.

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  5. Do you know why they’re doing so much all at once? Or is that just my perception due to repeated, coincidental pedestrian detours?

    Steve: This is a combination of the tail end of extra projects added to take advantage of lower traffic during the pandemic, delays to projects due to pandemic work force and material supply problems and, just starting now, work that is being timed to fit with Ontario Line construction. In some cases, it is well-meaning plans that went off the rails, quite literally, notably at KQQR which was originally expected to be finished long ago.

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  6. Though I realise that overhead is not track, any word on when the TTC will (finally!) finish the overhead conversion? As far as I know the major areas not yet converted are Kingston Rd (underway), Adelaide and the Church/Richmond/Victoria ‘loop’ (underway) and at the new trackwork at KQR and King/Shaw (underway). Any others?

    The intersection at KQQR has been rebuilt as pan compliant, and the section of King east to Dufferin is underway.

    I think that when they get 100% converted and can finally stop using poles they will need to make adjustments so that the overhead is staggered to reduce wear on the pantograph – we can expect more overhead work for a while yet!

    Steve: Some overhead is already staggered and cannot be used with poles. There is also the question of frog removal at intersections. The pan-friendly overhead is already strung for this so that the conversion will be simple.

    I also assume that the current order of streetcars will not come with poles! (If they will we will either know the overhead will be done or someone at TTC forgot!)

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  7. Thank you Steve for you ongoing and accurate information. As someone who lives near Dufferin and King and works at College Park your information is most helpful to try to decipher my route to work. I am truly shocked at how inaccurate information from the TTC and the City is. I cannot trust it.

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  8. Is there any reason why the photos won’t expand in this issue?

    Steve: I click on them and that opens a gallery with the photos full size. The only one that was not set up this way was the map for the Glendale stop because I didn’t think it needed to expand and the image from the TTC was soft. I have changed it so that if clicked, it will expand.

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  9. This construction not only causes a lot of traffic but it creates a lot of burden for businesses along the stretch.

    Because of the KQQR intersection construction, there is no streetcar service through Roncesvalles. A person I know operates the business at Roncesvalles and he told me that it obviously decreases the overall customer volume as a result of the construction.. and can’t find people to work because a lot of people can’t handle the inconvenience.

    I know Eglinton is like that for 10+ years but at least the buses are running along the stretch.

    I’ve seen TTC doing streetcar track works many times, but I haven’t seen it being this extensive which the replacement buses are way off their normal routes.

    Steve: Yes, this whole project has been mired in problems because of its complexity, because of unexpected problems found underground, because of slow response to these problems by the utilities involved, and an overall sense that the pandemic is a get-out-of-jail-free card to excuse any delay. The City talks a good line about project co-ordination and support for businesses, but they do not deliver. When it is a provincial project like Eglinton, the accountability is even more remote.

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  10. “The overhead on King west of Dufferin is just starting to be converted. King cars could actually use pans today, but the route has not been officially converted end-to-end, and so they don’t.”

    Why is there still a “no pantograph” sign westbound at Bathurst if it’s good to go til Dufferin, presumably including the turback at Shaw?

    Steve: Things move slowly at the TTC. There was still a “No streetcars beyond this point” sign northbound at Dundas and Church even after the intersection at Carlton had reopened.

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  11. “Finally, there is a project planned for long-suffering King West from Strachan to Jameson, as well as Broadview from Gerrard to Danforth.”

    Would it have killed them to do that this summer in conjunction with the sewer / water replacement, whatever that was?

    Steve: Originally there was a scheme to do both the water main replacement and the track in the same season, but that was abandoned because they would have had to completely close Broadview. As things turned out it was just as well that the projects were split because the water main work was delayed due to a shortage of pipe (I am not making this up) and took much longer than planned, stretching over two construction seasons rather than just one This is the challenge when projects are bundled as we have seen big time at KQQR where at least five separate agencies/utilities are involved. It only takes one of them to screw up the whole thing, even without covid problems.

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  12. “Originally there was a scheme to do both the water main replacement and the track in the same season, but that was abandoned because they would have had to completely close Broadview”

    I meant the project that happened this summer on King W, which, while it didn’t shut streetcar service, restricted traffic up until they started the King / Shaw project, so residents just endured 3+ months of no streetcar for that portion of the street to be worked on. Would have been great to just bite the bullet and get the work done all the way to Jameson this fall.

    Steve: Sorry, I thought you were referring to the work on Broadview, not King West.

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  13. For the overhead on King west of Bathurst, there’s a a piece of hardware that seems designed to prevent pantographs from continuing past as it would force the panto lower than the contact wire and removing electricity to the car. Because the trolley pole hugs the wire, it is not stopped from proceeding.

    I’ve seen this on Roncesvalles southbound from Howard Park, and I think also southbound on Shaw from Queen. I assume it’s to protect areas that haven’t yet been converted from operators using pantos accidentally, and it being in place would seem to prevent pantograph operation until it is removed. Also, King between Niagara and Crawford didn’t look to have it’s overhead upgraded yet. As well, there is some signage I’ve seen between Bathurst and Dufferin that hangs between the OCS wires that would have to be raised or removed to prevent conflict with pantographs.

    Steve: The device you have seen is a section insulator which the pans have to ride under. They are also found in areas where pantographs are in regular use. Thanks for the info about the Bathurst to Dufferin section. It’s an obvious chunk that should have been done a while ago considering the King car has been operating and will return (soon) to Dufferin Loop which ironically is pan-compliant.

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  14. “The device you have seen is a section insulator which the pans have to ride under”

    The device I saw isn’t a section insulator, I’m familiar with those devices and unlike it there is no break in the wire, nor the diode seen on the section insulators. The one on Roncesvalles has made it to street view.

    Agree with you that it’s quite frustrating that the TTC doesn’t seem to be taking advantage of closed sections to do the OCS conversion.

    Steve: Aha! That’s what you’re talking about. Yes, it can provide a dead spot where the operator should make the pan/pole transition.

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  15. Steve: The overhead on Kingston Road was not pan-compliant. TTC is working on that over the winter. The overhead on King west of Dufferin is just starting to be converted. King cars could actually use pans today, but the route has not been officially converted end-to-end, and so they don’t.

    On that note, I have in recent months spotted 1 or 2 Distillery bound cars using their pan collectors. I’ve no idea if they were transferred from another route or if they left the yard as a 504.

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  16. Was checking out King Street and it looks like the signage has been removed west of the railway overpass. It’s still present between Niagara and Crawford where the overhead is yet to be converted.

    Also, I noticed that the pavement markings at Shaw were restored with the double dashed line indicating the centre lane reservation at rush hour given all the signage for it is disappearing. Of course I’m not surprised that anyone involved would consider this inconsistency and just blindly restore the markings.

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  17. “Finally, there is a project planned for long-suffering King West from Strachan to Jameson, as well as Broadview from Gerrard to Danforth.”

    Streetcars weren’t running west of Dufferin for about a year and a half and west of Bathurst for a couple months would it not make more sense to schedule that project within?

    Steve: There is only so much work that could be done at once. In the west end, KQQR was snarling things up much longer than planned, and in the east, the water main project on Broadview was delayed.

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