4405 Arrives On Spadina

Car 4405 made its revenue service debut today, March 2, 2015, on route 510 Spadina joining 4400, 4403 and 4404 already on that line. (4401 and 4402 are prototypes that have yet to be retrofitted for public service.)

I together with all the riders who yearn for improved capacity on the streetcar system look forward to the day that each new car’s delivery is not cause for its own article.

Car 4405 loads northbound at Baldwin Street.

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Northbound at College Street. The slow order signs for the intersection are due to its delicate condition. The special work will be replaced in April 2015.

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Cars 4403 (northbound) and 4404 (southbound) at Willcocks Street.

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TTC Service Changes Effective March 29, 2015 (Update 2)

Updated February 6, 2015 at 6:10 pm:

A change to service on 1 Yonge-University on weekday evenings was missed in the original version of my condensed version of the changes. This has been corrected.

Updated February 3, 2015 at 11:30 am:

In response to questions raised by the planned changes, I asked the TTC for more details on specific work.

  • At College & Spadina, the platforms used by 506 Carlton will be lengthened, but not widened. They are already wide enough for boarding via the ramps on the Flexities.
  • The 509 Harbourfront route will convert to PoP operation when the Flexities move there at the end of March.
  • Transit signal priority has been or will be restored at various locations on St. Clair:
    • On December 23, 2014, it was restored at Yonge and at Avenue Road.
    • Before March 29, 2015, it will be restored at Deer Park, west of Dunvegan, Russell Hill, Bathurst, Wychwood, Arlington and Caledonia
    • To be completed, but not necessarily by March 29: Ferndale (St. Clair Stn. Loop exit), Christie, Old Weston, Keele/Weston)

The original article from January 31 follows below.

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Streetcars Return to Queens Quay

After a two-year absence, streetcar service returned to Queens Quay today with the 510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront routes resuming their normal operation.

Construction has not yet finished — there are sidewalks still to be finished, a bit of roadwork, the construction of the new bikeway and pedestrian area on the south side, and finally the trees — but that will all be finished for spring 2015.

For those who could not make it down to the waterfront on a fine Sunday morning, and for my out of town readers, here is a sample of views along the line.

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Flexities Debut on Spadina (Update 2)

Updated September 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm:The Nextbus site now displays wheelchair symbols on route tags for the Flexities running on the 510 Spadina line.

Updated September 2, 2014 at 12:45 pm: Thanks to Darwin O’Connor for the URL that takes us to a page on his website showing where the new cars are located in real time.

Original article from August 31, 2014:

August 31, 2014 marked the reopening of the 511 (oops!) 510 Spadina streetcar between Bloor and Queens Quay, and the introduction of the first two of Toronto’s new fleet of Bombardier Flexity streetcars.

Regular service had been operating since 5:00 am, but the official ceremony took place at Spadina Station at 10:00 with the usual speechifying by sundry officials and politicians. Particularly gratifying were remarks by TTC CEO Andy Byford praising the people who had designed and built the new cars. Politicians show up for the ribbon cutting, but it’s the folks who have spent years to bring us these new cars who did the real work.

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TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, August 31, 2014 (Update 3)

The August 31 schedules will see a return to fall service across the system as well as several other changes.  At long last (I have been distracted with other events, and there was a lot to do this month) here is the consolidated list of service changes. The list combines all types of change because there are overlapping seasonal, construction and service improvement effects.

The table linked here has been updated to correct errors missed in its creation. Thanks to Timor Urakov for catching these.

2014.08.31_Service_Changes (Revision 2)

Major changes include:

  • Return of streetcars to 510 Spadina
  • A major change of the 504 King schedule to provide added running time
  • Return of 504 King and 505 Dundas streetcars to Broadview Station
  • Route split of 501 Queen for Gardiner Expressway construction at Humber Loop
  • Route split of 116E Morningside Express to 198 UTSC Rocket

Something I have not included here, but will add in a future update, is a list of all of the Standby Buses (and a few streetcars) that are spotted around the city for various reasons. They don’t show up in the route-by-route info, but there is a substantial chunk of the fleet used to provide this service. Due to a bus shortage, the number of standby vehicles scheduled for fall 2014 is lower than originally planned.

510 Spadina

Streetcars will return to Spadina between Bloor and Queens Quay with all service running through to the south end of the line. The route will be scheduled based on CLRV capacity, and new Flexities will take over runs one by one as cars become available. Current plans are for through service to Union and a resumption of streetcar service on 509 Harbourfront in October.

At the end of the AM Peak, 508 Lake Shore trippers operate a westbound trip as 506 Carlton to provide extra capacity to the UofT St. George campus. These trips previously operated back to Roncesvalles Carhouse, but they will be changed so that the cars switch over to 510 Spadina which has more cars during the midday than the AM peak.

Previously, this interlining was done using 503 Kingston Road cars from Russell, but with the move of 510 Spadina to Roncesvalles, trippers from that division will be used.

504 King Running Time Changes

In an attempt to reduce the need to short turn much of the service to keep operators on time, the TTC is changing the round trip times during all periods of service on this route.

King Round Trip Time Changes September 2014

                    Weekdays     Saturday     Sunday
                    Aug   Sept   Aug   Sept   Aug   Sept
AM Peak             104+8 120+8
M-F Midday          100+8 122+5
PM Peak             115+8 135+7

S-S Early Morning                85+5  105+5  78+2  95+4
S-S Late Morning                 97+7  111+6  94+5  109+5
S-S Afternoon                    97+7  111+6  94+8  109+5

Early Evening        95+7 116+6  97+4  111+4  82+8  97+3
Late Evening         85+6  99+4  83+7  100+4  76+4  95+4

In the table above, the “before” times are shown under “Aug” and are taken from the schedules in effect until Aug. 30. The “after” times are shown under “Sept” and are taken from the schedules effective Aug. 31.

The time is given as running time plus recovery time. For example, the AM peak running time of “120+8” means that cars will have 120 minutes of driving time to make a round trip plus 8 minutes of terminal recovery time. Some of the changes increase the total time by 20%, a very substantial increase.

Whether this will translate into a noticeable reduction in short turns remains to be seen. One potential problem will be the accumulation of “early” cars at terminals where it is already possible to find lineups of cars. From my own knowledge of the line, some of these changes appear to be excessive and will probably have to be rolled back.

501 Queen & 508 Lake Shore

From September through December, reconstruction of the Gardiner Expressway at Humber Loop will close off the underpass between the loop and Lake Shore Blvd. The outer end of the Queen route will once again switch to a shuttle bus connecting with the streetcar.

Subway Changes

Yonge subway operations will be changed to base more trains at Davisville Yard. This will give more time for maintenance work as the last service trains will be clear of the line sooner than on current schedules. An early morning non-revenue train that carries Station Collectors to work will be replaced with a shuttle bus.

On the Bloor subway, service will be improved weekday middays and evenings, and on Saturday afternoons to reduce crowding.

Roncesvalles Yard

In anticipation of the arrival of more Flexities, some runs will be shifted to other locations. Exhibition Loop will now be used to store some 511 Bathurst runs as well as 512 St. Clair runs already at that location.

The 510 Spadina route will operate from Roncesvalles where the Flexities will be based, and to make room, all runs on 505 Dundas will operate from Russell.

Broadview Avenue

Streetcar service will return to Broadview Station after a temporary absence in July-August.

Since the re-opening of the Broadview & Queen intersection, carhouse trips from Russell westbound have resumed using the west-to-north curve that was taken out of service for safety concerns in October 2012.

Six Points Project

The reconstruction of the Kipling-Dundas-Bloor interchange begins in September and this will trigger diversions of various routes around Kipling Station.

Reconstruction of Dundas & Spadina (Updated August 8, 2014)

August 8, 2014

Regular streetcar service on McCaul Street is rare both because of how this trackage fits into the network and because the narrow street invites autos and trucks to park foul of the tracks. Below, a few shots of McCaul Street while the 505 Dundas route is still there.

Regular service through Dundas & Spadina resumes on Tuesday, August 12.

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TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, July 20, 2014

Most of the changes for the July-August schedule period are triggered by construction projects. The detailed list linked from this report now includes a chart showing the expected duration of all projects in progress.

The 172 Cherry bus is affected both by the seasonal service to Cherry Beach and by an extension to improve the connection with 72 Pape.  The Cherry buses will now operate east on Commissioners to Carlaw looping via north on Logan, east on Lake Shore and south on Carlaw.

The Cherry bus has also been operating over its “standard” route via Mill and Cherry Streets through the Distillery District since June 21, although this route is occasionally blocked by parked cars that still behave as if the roads are closed and have no transit service. Recently, the westbound service changed back to the diversion via Lake Shore and Parliament because Metrolinx construction at the rail corridor makes bi-directional operation through the Cherry Street underpass difficult.

Water main construction was planned for Broadview from Danforth northward, but this project was cancelled after the schedule changes for July-August were already in place. Bus routes operating from Broadview Station will have slightly widened headways to allow for construction delays, and streetcar service will be replaced with buses on Broadview.

  • 504 King cars will loop via Parliament, Dundas, Broadview and Queen.
  • 505 Dundas cars will loop via Parliament, Gerrard, Broadview and Dundas.
  • 504/505 Shuttle buses will loop via Queen, River and Dundas.

A concurrent project at Spadina & Dundas (described in another post) requires all 505 Dundas cars to divert both ways via McCaul, College and Bathurst. No additional running time has been provided in the schedule to accommodate this.

Construction work at Roncesvalles Carhouse requires the reassignment of some peak period runs to Russell Carhouse. On 512 St. Clair, cars will be stored at Exhibition Loop overnight, and service during some periods will be improved so that this storage is only required between 10pm and 10am. A 791 Roncesvalles Operator Shuttle will ferry operators to and from Exhibition Loop.

Articulated buses will be operated on the peak period express services on 53 Steeles East. Currently, one in three express trips operates east to Staines Road, but this will change to one in two trips. The combined service on the express branches will change from 4’45” to 6’00” in the AM peak, and from 5′ to 7′ in the PM peak. The local service to Markham Road does not change.

2014.07.20_Service_Changes

Queens Quay Reopening for Streetcars Delayed Again (Update June 24, 2014)

Updated June 24, 2014 at 11:35 pm with additional info from the TTC. Please scroll down to the end of the article.

Updated June 19, 2014 at 11:15 am: Waterfront Toronto has replied to my query about the status of the Queens Quay project. This has been added to the end of the article.

In what is becoming a distressingly common TTC tactic, the first sign of delays to the Harbourfront streetcar’s return has again appeared buried deep in the monthly CEO’s Report in the TTC Board’s meeting agenda.

The report now shows two separate dates for resumption of service to Queens Quay:

Queens Quay Union Stn to Yo Yo Ma Lane
Jul 29/12 – Oct 11/14
Waterfront Toronto
Queens Quay Reconstruction

Spadina Ave. and Queens Quay including Loop
May 13/13 – Aug 30/14
Platform Upgrades & Track Replacement

[See table on page 21]

I wrote to the TTC’s Brad Ross about this slippage, and also asked whether another factor was the planned opening date for the second platform at Union Station (which provides access to the Union Station Loop). He replied:

QQ may well be ready, but then again it may not. As you can appreciate, we had to schedule service as bus in case it wasn’t ready.

Union second platform is to open this summer. I don’t have a specific date to share yet.

What astounds me here is that the trackwork on Queens Quay is nearly complete, except for the section west of Spadina which is not required for restoration of streetcar service to Union Station.

When I pressed Ross further on the issue of opening east from Spadina, he replied:

Our track and overhead staff do not have a high level of confidence of readiness. We have made clear to WT in the strongest terms possible, our desire to have QQ back.

I will pursue this issue with Waterfront Toronto to get their side of the story.

Updated June 19, 2014:

Waterfront Toronto replies:

We are working collaboratively with TTC to substantially complete the construction of both the Spadina Loop and the streetcar corridor on Queens Quay by the end of June to give TTC crews the time they need to commission the line. To date, we have completed over 90% of the construction and have begun installing TTC poles along the corridor. Unfortunately, due to a collapsed telecommunications duct bank in the roadway west of Spadina (which is now repaired), reconstruction of the streetcar corridor in that block has been delayed by approximately two weeks. While we are working diligently to provide TTC crews the time they need to commission the line in that area, we fully respect their Service Planning process and the decision to have buses available to serve customers on the 509 Harbourfront line through September. We are pleased that the TTC will resume the 510 Spadina streetcar service to the newly rebuilt Spadina Loop as of August 31 and that we are on schedule to deliver the fully revitalized Queens Quay next June.

Updated June 24, 2014 at 11:35 pm:

Today I spoke with TTC CEO Andy Byford who advises that a major problem for the TTC is not the completion of the track, but the availability of poles on which to string the overhead. This is a particular problem at Queens Quay and Spadina where even getting the loop open for August 31 may be a challenge.

From various Waterfront Toronto construction reports, I know that work west of this intersection has been delayed first by the unexpected collapse of a Bell duct, and also while work was put on hold so the area could be used for staging of new track panels. That said, it is difficult to believe that WT cannot get the new poles installed promptly now that the intersection construction is largely complete. I will follow this up with WT for further info.

Reconstruction of Dundas & Spadina

The TTC and Toronto Water will be rebuilding their infrastructure at Dundas & Spadina this summer.

Here are the preliminary plans for TTC service as supplied by Brad Ross:

  • July 14-28: Water main work in the intersection. 510 Spadina will run with buses over its entire route. 505 Dundas cars will divert both ways via McCaul, College and Bathurst.
  • July 28-August 11: Track work. 510 Spadina will be split into two routes. The northern section will run to Baldwin looping via College, Huron and Baldwin to Spadina. The southern section will run to Sullivan and will simply make a U-turn at that intersection.
  • August 11 onward: Bus operation will continue on 510 Spadina while reconstruction at Spadina Station Loop for new streetcars continues. The 505 Dundas car will return to its normal routing.

August 31, 2014 is the start of the next schedule period, and at that time new streetcars will make their debut in service on 510 Spadina running south to Queens Quay Loop. As previously reported here, service to Union Station is not expected until the next set of schedules on Thanksgiving weekend.