Scarborough Subway Cost Rises Again (II)

After publication of a series reports going to Toronto’s Executive Committee on March 7, there have been many competing claims about just how much the Scarborough Subway is going to cost. Subway advocates prefer the lower number of $3.35 billion cited as the base cost of the subway itself plus an improved bus terminal, while others point out that many elements have been omitted from this number.

I reviewed many of the reports in a previous article, but this post looks beyond the subway itself to other projects that are required for the subway to open. Some of these are unfunded, or are now planned for a date beyond the Scarborough line’s opening, or are simply missing from TTC and City plans.

Previous Cost Estimates for the “Express Subway”

The Scarborough Subway project, as described in all previous reports included the following three items:

  • Construction of the subway from Kennedy Station to STC at a cost of $2.3 billion in 2010 dollars, or $3.315 billion in year-of-expenditure (YOE) allowing for future inflation.
  • Life extension work to keep the SRT operational until the subway opens at a cost of $132 million (YOE).
  • Demolition and removal of the existing SRT structure following the subway opening at a cost of $123 million (YOE).

These values, totalling $3.56 billion, appeared in:

The October 3, 2013 report to Council:

201310_costextimate

A presentation to a Value Engineering workshop by the TTC in September 2016:

201609_ttcprojectcostestimates_vesession

The TTC’s 2017-26 Capital Budget recently approved by Council (click to enlarge):

2017_capbudget

The $3.305 billion cost for the subway itself is intriguing because it has not changed between the 2016-25 and 2017-26 versions of the budget. The detailed views are below. (These are taken from the detailed TTC budget books that are not available online.)

2016 (click to enlarge):

sse_006_2016

2017 (click to enlarge):

sse_006_2017

The major change between the two versions to line item totals is that an allowance for property has been offset by an increase in “fixed facilities”. However, expenditures timings change, and there is no adjustment for inflation. I have asked the TTC for comment on this and related matters.

Item                          2016-2025        2017-2026
                                ($000)           ($000)
Fixed Facilities              $2,458,000       $2,623,000
TTC Installation                                      250
Property                         165,000
Consultants                      398,123          397,297
TTC Engineering                  101,877          102,453
Vehicles                         182,000          182,000
Total                         $3,305,000       $3,305,000

In the 2017 Capital Budget the section for the SRT life extension shows values only to 2023 and the demolition of the SRT structure is in 2025. These timings do not  make sense except in the context of a 2023 opening as described below. It is clear that these two items have not been updated to reflect the later opening date and the added cost this brings for ongoing support of the old system, and inflation in the cost of demolishing and removing it.

From the description of the Life Extension project:

lifeextensionprojectdescription

Additional Costs Not Included in the Current Projected Total

The $3.35 billion cost now claimed for the SSE project does not include several items cited in the City’s reports:

  • Procurement costs through Infrastructure Ontario: $15 million
  • Financing costs of a 3P project, net to TTC: $40 million
  • Public realm improvements (optional): $11 million
  • Platform edge doors (optional): $14 million
  • Increase in “management reserve” for scope changes to the level recommended by consultants: $100 million
  • SRT Life Extension: $132 million
  • SRT Decommissioning and Demolition: $123 million

As noted above, some costs have been estimated based on a 2023 opening for the subway, but without allowances for inflation to a later date.

Planning for Fleet, Signals and Carhouse Space

There are inconsistencies in the timing of various projects related to the Bloor-Danforth Subway that existed in the 2016-25 budget, and still pose major problems for 2017-26. These are all linked to the opening of the SSE which, like the TYSSE extension to Vaughan, will be built with Automatic Train Control (ATC).

  • Resignalling of Line 2 BD with ATC
  • Replacement of the existing T1 subway fleet with new trains capable of ATC operation
  • Construction of a new yard to house the replacement fleet

The TTC plans to resignal Line 2 following completion of Line 1 YUS in 2019. Here is the budget summary for these projects (click to enlarge):

2017_atcsignals

The T1 subway fleet is due for replacement in the mid 2020s, but current plans show this happening substantially after the SSE opens with delivery of prototypes in 2024 and the remainder of the fleet from 2026-2030. This means that a large part of the BD fleet would not be able to operate on ATC, and therefore could not run beyond Kennedy Station.

2017_t1replacement

There is also a provision in the SSE budget (above) for additional trains with funding in 2022-23 of $182 million. This corresponds to the original scheme to open the line in 2023, but not to the current fleet plan. In the table below, six trains are shown as a service addition for the SSE in 2023, but these come from available spares within the T1 pool (even though they cannot run in ATC territory). This would provide an AM peak service with alternate trains turning back from Kennedy Station, and overall BD service at the same level as today (2’20” west of Kennedy, 4’40” to STC). The replacement fleet begins to arrive in 2026 through 2030 including the seven trains funded from the SSE project budget. Full service to STC comes in 2027, but this and an allowance for ridership growth are clearly based on a 2023 SSE opening date.

The fleet plan is out of sync with the opening date for the SSE and its signal system.

2017_line2_subwayfleetplan

The T1 replacement project is on the “City Requested Budget Reductions” list, and does not have any funding within the current ten-year Capital Program. This represents a pressure within the City’s overall capital budget and its “below the line” iceberg of capital projects it cannot afford.

Finally, a new fleet cannot be provisioned without a new yard. This is required both to provide overlapping capacity for new and old trains (unlike Line 1 where Wilson Yard had room for expansion to handle the H to TR fleet changeover). There are also design problems with Greenwood in that the shops were not planned for 6-car unit trains, and major renovation would be required to do this, all within an active shop for the BD line.

The TTC recently authorized the purchase of land near Kipling Station for a new subway yard. However, the actual construction of a yard does not appear in the Capital Budget and there is no provision for this in the TTC’s financial plans. Quite obviously this facility is required before the new trains begin to arrive. If the T1 replacement project moves forward so that the new trains can all be here before the SSE opens in 2026, then the new carhouse must exist by the early 2020s. Considering how long it takes the TTC to get approval for a major new facility, let alone build it, this is a critical project that has not even been discussed in the context of SSE planning.

None of this is news, and the TTC is well aware of the problem. I wrote about this as part of my 2016 budget coverage, and the TTC replied with details of what is really needed. Management plans to bring an overall plan for the renovation of Line 2 to the Board at its March meeting, but this will inevitably produce ripples in the City’s budget. That can be fixed, in part, if some of Toronto’s PTIF money (the federal infrastructure program) goes to accelerating these projects, but this has to be fitted in among the many hopes Toronto has for that funding.

These are not, strictly speaking, “Scarborough Subway costs”, but they are projects triggered by the decision to extend Line 2 BD. Although federal money could be available, the City will have to pony up its share, and this will fall right at a period when it is tight for capital.

Toronto Council deserves to see the whole picture of funding and financing requirements for the SSE and related projects. Too much is hidden either by its unfunded status, or by simple omission from the overall plans. This inevitably creates a crisis when – Surprise! – a project is forced “above the line” because it cannot be avoided. This brings new spending that crowds other works, many having nothing to do with transit, off of the table. This is no way to handle City budgeting.

TTC Vehicle Reliability

Delays in the arrival of the new Bombardier Flexity streetcars, together with last summer’s sauna conditions on the Bloor-Danforth subway, make for ongoing concern about the condition of the TTC’s fleet. Statistics in the January 2017 CEO’s Report triggered media reports and a discussion at the recent TTC Board Meeting.

The numbers, although presented in what is supposed to be an “industry standard” format, lead to much confusion for a variety of reasons:

  • The basic standard is that any fault causing a delay of five minutes or greater counts, while all others do not.
    • A fault that might delay a bus or streetcar (doors not working) may not count against the subway because there is so much redundancy.
    • There is no distinction between a fault that represents a severe failure of a component or a minor annoyance that simply caused a long enough delay to be counted. Similarly, the cost and effort needed to repair faults does not contribute to the metric.
  • Faults are reported “per vehicle kilometre”, but many subsystems fail more on the basis of hours in operation (how long has an air conditioner been running), or number of cycles (how many times did doors open and close).
    • For a specific fleet and type of operation, hours and kilometres are interchangeable because the fleet operates at a consistent average speed within its frame of reference.
    • Fleets (or even subsets of fleets) operating under different conditions (average speed, frequency of stops, loads and grades) will not have the same ratio of hourly-based to distance-based faults. Direct comparison of distance-based statistics between these conditions is meaningless. For example, a well known problem in comparing streetcars with buses is that bus routes tend to operate in suburban conditions at relatively high average speeds. When they shift to more congested, densely used routes, their operating characteristics change. (It is self-evident that fuel consumption is affected by route conditions, and operator wages are paid per hour, not per kilometre. Slower buses run fewer kilometres. Time-based wear and tear, and associated reliability stats will rise when expressed on the basis of distance.)
  • Some fleets are a uniform age, while others are diverse.
    • Toronto’s rail fleets have major vehicle groups each of which was sourced as a single large order: The T1 (BD) and TR (YUS) subway car fleets; the CLRV, ALRV and Flexity streetcar fleets; and the SRT.
    • The bus fleet has a wider range of ages and technologies, and so its statistics are the combined effect of vehicles over a range of ages and conditions.
    • For a list of the TTC fleet by type, see the last page of any Scheduled Service Summary such as the one for January 2017. These are available on the TTC’s Planning webpage.

In the figures reported by the CEO, these issues are not explored in detail, but are at best mentioned in a few footnotes. Unsurprisingly, the media and politicians (even transit pundits) can jump to the wrong conclusion about what the stats actually mean.

To ensure that even without taking these factors into account, we are dealing with similar methodologies for each fleet, I asked the TTC whether the same principles apply across the system.

SM: Is it correct that there is a different set of criteria for a “defect” charged to the streetcar fleets and to the subway fleet? Are the criteria used for buses yet another way of measuring defect rates, or are they the same as for streetcars?

TTC: Same principle applies.  In principle, the calculation of MKBD is the same for each mode.   Overall vehicle reliability is dependent upon component and systems reliability. 

MKBD is calculated from the number of chargeable Road Calls and Change Offs (RCCO) during service.  The definition of a chargeable RCCO is any disruption to revenue service caused by a preventable equipment failure.  This definition is applied to all modes of operation.  It should, however, be noted that there are slight differences to the criteria of RCCO for each mode.   For example, a failure to a set of doors on a subway train may not cause a disruption or a delay to service.  Line mechanics may respond to the failure and barricade the inoperable doors. This may happen with no impact to customer or to service. This is due to the fact that subways have multiple sets of doors that customers can enter or egress from. Transit Control, therefore,  may decide not to remove a train from service if one set of doors is inoperable.  For a 40’ bus, however, the option to continue in service with a set of inoperable doors is not an option. Passenger flow on and off the bus will be significantly impacted.  Therefore, in this case … the same equipment failure may be handled differently on buses, streetcars and subways.   Differences in types of equipment, life cycles of these equipment and operating environments will also contribute to the differences in calculating RCCO and MKBD between modes. [Email of January 16, 2017]

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Mayor Tory Discovers We Don’t Have Enough Transit Service

Budget season brings some of the more extreme and ill-informed statements from the Poo-Bahs who govern our fair city. For the benefit of those unfamiliar with the Gilbert & Sullivan operatta “The Mikado”, the Oxford Dictionary defines the name/term thus:

A person having much influence or holding many offices at the same time, especially one perceived as pompously self-important.

Throughout the development of the TTC Operating Budget, a central question has been that of projected ridership and the service it will require. The accept wisdom goes roughly like this:

  • We expected lots and lots of new riders in 2016, but we aimed rather high, a “stretch target” as CEO Andy Byford described it.
  • They didn’t all show up. This led to a shortfall both in ridership and in revenue compared to the original 2016 budget.
  • Service improvements were planned for fall 2016 based on the target numbers, but as there are fewer riders, the improvements were not required.
  • Ridership for 2017 is projected to be only barely above 2016 levels, and the service operating in fall 2016 is adequate to handle the demand.
  • There is no provision in the 2017 budget for service increases beyond the full-year effect of changes made partway through 2016.

All of this is quite plausible, but it runs headlong into conflicts with other factors. The most recent of these is a letter from Mayor Tory and TTC Chair Josh Colle to Bombardier complaining about the late delivery of streetcars.

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TTC Board Meeting: November 30, 2016

The TTC Board will meet on November 30, 2016 at 1 pm in the Council Chamber at City Hall. This is not a budget meeting, but the agenda contains a number of items of interest.

  • CEO’s Report for November 2016
  • Purchase of Air Conditioning Parts for T1 Subway Cars
  • Purchase of land to expand bus storage capacity
  • Reports related to the Hillcrest Complex including a review of property usage, approval of new equipment for Duncan Shops, and approval of a new Streetcar Way Building.
  • Expansion of Davisville Carhouse
  • St. Patrick Station Easier Access Elevators

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The Travails of Cherry Street

A recent meeting of the Corktown Residents’ and Business Association included a discussion of problems with the new 514 Cherry service. As reported by thebuletin.ca

… a resident of the King/Sumach area … commented that the screech of the streetcars turning at King and Sumach was so loud as to prevent sleep. Apparently the issue has been ongoing since the inauguration of the 514 (Distillery Loop–Dufferin) line on June 19.

The issue—which took the meeting somewhat by surprise—was amplified by other attendees, who also noted that there were substantial problems with streetlight timings at the Cherry/Front and Cherry/Eastern intersections, as well as with poorly-delineated turning lane stripes which have led to vehicles accidentally getting onto the streetcar right-of-way and then being unable to get off. (There have been earlier, similar incidents with the slightly older right-of-way at Queen’s Quay.)

Deputy Mayor and area councillor Pam McConnell’s office was aware of the issues and noted that streetcar service was now suspended (replaced with shuttle buses) between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. A public meeting was subsequently scheduled with the councillor’s office and the TTC.

Problems at King & Sumach have continued since the 514 opened for service including:

  • dewirements causing overhead to be pulled down
  • derailments
  • traffic signals that do more to delay transit service than “prioritize” it (this is also a problem further south on Cherry)

When the TTC began rerouting the 514 service late in the evening, the alleged purpose was “railgrinding” and this is still reflected in the URL for the service notice which is called “514_railgrinding.jsp”. The activities underway at the intersection were clearly aimed at the derailment problems by altering the rail profile on the curves.

There is a long-standing slow order for east-west operation on King that has nothing to do with this, but is no doubt related to a few cases of overhead failure.

Meanwhile, the traffic signals here and at other locations on Cherry appear to be on a fixed cycle that has no relationship to whether transit vehicles are present. So much for “transit priority”.

On the subject of wheel squeal, the TTC’s official line is that the new streetcars are supposed to be self-lubricating, and that this would be triggered by GPS information. That’s a good line, but it does not fit with actual conditions.

  • There is a wheel greaser on the southbound approach to Distillery Loop.
  • The GPS-based automatic greasing has not yet been turned on for the new cars. (Anyone with contrary information is welcome to correct me in the comments.)
  • Most of the service on 514 Cherry is provided by CLRVs that do not have automatic greasers.

I have outstanding requests for further information on these issues to both the TTC and to City Transportation, and will update this post as and when they reply.

TTC Service in 1928

A recent comment sent me looking for service levels early in the TTC’s existence (post 1921), and I was pleasantly surprised to rediscover that this information is in a book, now long out-of-print, by John F. Bromley called TTC ’28. This book provides a view of the system when the electric street railway in Toronto was at its height.

In a recent presentation to the TTC Board, staff argued that the streetcars were an integral part of the growth of Toronto, but their viewpoint was comparatively recent, from the 1950s onward, and even that did not fully show the former extent of the transit network which was once almost entirely operated with streetcars.

I often get questions about the streetcar system as it was, and this article is intended to consolidate the bits and pieces in one place. The route histories will give some indication of why there is so much streetcar track in apparently odd places today. Remember also that the downtown one-way streets date from the 1950s when the DVP/Gardiner recruited several streets as on/off ramps to the expressway network and “optimised” them for use by motorists.

Information for 1928 is taken mainly from Bromley’s book. Other sources are Rails From The Junction by James V. Salmon, Riding the Radials by Robert M. Stamp, and The Toronto Trolley Car Story by Louis H. Pursley.

The following map shows TTC routes in August 1928. It was scanned by Pete Coulman from a guidebook, and the original scan lives on the TransitToronto website’s maps page.

ttc-map-1928-08-22

Only a few routes on this map are bus operations, generally small lines on the periphery of the system.

Serving Downtown

Anyone born in the past half-century is used to the idea that the Yonge-University and Bloor-Danforth subways (now known as Lines 1 and 2 respectively) provide the lion’s share of transit capacity into the core area, supplemented by the streetcar network and GO Transit. However, before the subways opened, their role was provided not just by streetcars on their namesake streets, but on parallel routes that fed into a common area. This was an essential part of service design not simply to spread out the network through many neighbourhoods, but because all of the streetcars needed to serve the core could not fit onto one street.

“Downtown” was quite different from the area we think of today, and much of the development was concentrated south of Dundas with areas to the north more residential than commercial. Construction of Eaton’s College Street store began in 1928, and it was thought to be a huge risk building so far away from downtown. The building is much smaller than original plans because of the combined effect of its location and the recession.

The land around the port and the railway corridor was used mainly for industrial purposes, and the large workforce in these areas required a lot of transit service. This land is now home to tens of thousands as the condo boom recycles the old city and changes travel demands.

Services to downtown in 1928:

  • Bathurst cars ran south from Vaughan Loop at St. Clair to Front, then east to Frederick Loop at Sherbourne Street. (Although there was track linking Bathurst to the Exhibition ground, it was used only during special events such as the CNE or Royal Winter Fair.)
  • Bathurst trippers (peak period cars) ran from Caledonia Loop on St. Clair east to Vaughan/Bathurst, south to Adelaide and then east to Church.
  • Bay cars ran from Caledonia Loop on St. Clair east to Avenue Road, then south to Bloor, east to Bay and south to Ferry Loop (York & Queens Quay where the circular ramp from the Gardiner is today).
  • Beach cars ran between Neville Loop on Queen to Sunnyside Loop west of Roncesvalles. Today the route is 501 Queen.
  • Beach trippers ran from Neville Loop to King & Bay looping via Bay, Wellington and Sherbourne. Today’s 503 Kingston Road Tripper is a descendant of this route.
  • Queen cars ran initially from Bingham Loop on Kingston Road (still in use by routes 502, 503 and 12) looping downtown via Victoria, Richmond and York. During 1928, service was extended east to Birchmount Loop, but streetcar service was cut back to the City of Toronto boundary in 1954 with the creation of “Metro Toronto”. Today’s 502 Downtowner is a descendent of this route.
  • Bloor cars ran between Luttrell Loop (between Dawes Road and Victoria Park on Danforth) and Jane Loop (south side of Bloor opposite the foot of Jane Street).
  • Danforth trippers ran from Luttrell Loop west to Church & Bloor, then south to Queen looping via Queen, York and Richmond.
  • Carlton cars ran between Luttrell Loop and High Park over almost the same route as today’s 506 Carlton. College Street ended at Lansdowne, and so streetcars jogged south to Dundas to continue their trip west.
  • Carlton tripper cars followed the east end route to Parliament, then jogged south to Dundas and west to loop via Victoria, Adelaide and Church.
  • Church cars began at Christie Loop (corner of Dupont & Christie) and ran east via Dupont, Avenue Road and Bloor to Church, then south to loop via Front, Yonge and Wellington.
  • College cars took a rather scenic route from Royce Loop (southeast corner of what is now Lansdowne & Dupont, formerly Royce Street) via Lansdowne, College, Bay, Dundas, Broadview, Gerrard, Carlaw, Riverdale and Pape to Lipton Loop (current site of Pape Station).
  • Harbord cars also originated at Royce Loop, but took a different route into downtown via Lansdowne, Lappin, Dufferin, Hallam, Ossington, Harbord, Spadina and Adelaide to Church looping via Richmond and Victoria. Sunday service followed much of the College route from downtown to Lipton Loop. This evolved eventually into a consolidated Harbord route which was its form until 1966 when the BD subway opened.
  • College trippers ran from Royce Loop to College and McCaul where they turned south and then east to York looping via Richmond, Bay and Adelaide.
  • Dovercourt cars ran from Townsley Loop at St. Clair & Old Weston Road (the loop still exists as the western terminus of 127 Davenport) then later in 1928 from Prescott Loop (a small parkette west of the railway at Caledonia). They operated via Old Weston, Davenport, Dovercourt, College, Ossington, Queen, Shaw to loop via Adelaide, Crawford and King. This route served the Massey-Ferguson industrial district which is now the eastern part of Liberty Village. Peak period service extended via King looping via Church, Front and George Streets. The most substantial remnant of the Dovercourt car is the 63 Ossington bus which was once operated with trolley coaches taking advantage of the electrical system already in place.
  • Dovercourt Trippers originated at Davenport & Dovercourt (reversing using the wye at that location as there was no loop) and followed the main route to King & Church.
  • Dundas cars operated between Runnymede Loop (now the western terminus of 40 Junction) and City Hall Loop (from Bay via Louisa, James and Albert Streets). This route has operated through to Broadview Station (now as the 505) ever since part of City Hall Loop disappeared under the Eaton Centre development.
  • King cars operated over essentially the same route as they do today between Vincent Loop (across the street from Dundas West Station) and Erindale Loop (one block north of Broadview Station). Peak service was extended in the west to Jane Loop and in the east to Danforth & Coxwell with some trippers looping downtown via Sherbourne, Front and Bay.
  • Parliament cars ran from Viaduct Loop (now a parkette at Bloor & Parliament) south to Queen then west to loop via Church, Richmond and Victoria.
  • Sherbourne cars ran from Rosedale Loop (at Rachael Street) south to King and then west to York and Front to Station Loop (Simcoe, Station and York Streets). Peak service operated east to Danforth & Coxwell rather than to Rosedale Loop.
  • Spadina operated with double-end cars between crossovers at Bloor and Front.
  • Yonge cars operated between Glen Echo Loop (east side of Yonge, just before the hill down to Hogg’s Hollow, the originally proposed name for York Mills Station) and Station Loop. Short turn services operated as far north as Lawton Loop (now a parkette on the west side of Yonge north of Heath Street) and AM peak trippers originated at Eglinton Carhouse (of which parts remain in the bus garage now recycled into a “temporary” bus terminal).

This is a huge number of routes that collectively linked the commercial and industrial core of Toronto to the residential neighbourhoods, some of which were comparatively recent “suburbs”.

The level of service was equally impressive. In the table below, numbers under “Two-Car Trains” give the number of trains (a motor car plus a trailer) operated followed by the total number of runs so that, for example, the Beach car has 44 runs of which 37 operated with trailers.

Route                 PM Peak      Two-Car
                      Headway      Trains

Bathurst                2'00"        3/30
Bathurst Tripper        5'00"        9/14
Bay                     1'15"
Beach                   2'30"        37/44
Beach Tripper           3'00"
Bloor                   3'00"        All 41
Carlton                 3'00"
Carlton Tripper         4'00"        14/17
Church                  4'00"
College                 4'00"        2/23
College Tripper         7'00"
Danforth Tripper        7'30"        7/10
Dovercourt              2'45"
Dovercourt Tripper      4'00"
Dundas                  2'00"
Harbord                 2'30"
King                    2'00"        31/54
King Rush               4'00"
Parliament              3'00"
Queen                   5'00"        16/17
Queen Tripper           5'00"
Sherbourne Tripper      2'45"        10/26
Spadina                 2'45"
Yonge                   1'45"        All 42

The West End and Suburbs

In addition to many routes listed above, a few were entirely “local” to their areas, and others were part of separate suburban network, the lines called “radials” that had been built separately from the “city” system.

  • The Davenport route was a remnant of a longer route on the Toronto Suburban Railway, but by 1928 was reduced to operating a shuttle service from Bathurst to Dovercourt. It survived until 1940 when it was replaced by a bus.
  • Lansdowne operated as two separate routes because of the railway level crossing (now an underpass) north of Dupont (Royce). The Lansdowne North route operated as a shuttle from St. Clair to the north side of the railway. Service from Royce Loop southward was provided by the College car weekdays and Saturdays, but there was a Lansdowne South Sunday service from Royce Loop to Dundas.

The TTC operated routes for York Township under contract.

  • Oakwood cars operated from Oakwood Loop at St. Clair (still existing) north to Eglinton and west to Gilbert Loop (west of Caledonia Road).
  • Rogers Road cars also operated from Oakwood Loop north to Rogers and west to Bicknell Loop (east of Weston Road).
  • Lambton cars, a remnant of the Toronto Suburban Railway, operated from Runnymede Loop west to Lambton Park. The line did not carry well, and it was converted to a bus route in August 1928.
  • Weston Road cars operated from Keele & Dundas north to Humber Street in Weston. This was another TSR line that originally had operated to Woodbridge (1914-1926). The line was converted to TTC gauge in stages, and for a time ended at a loop at Northland Avenue (at the City limits).

The Oakwood and Rogers routes eventually became trolley coach lines as part of what is now 63 Ossington, although Rogers Road has been extended and split off from Ossington for many years. The Weston Road route also became a trolley coach, although streetcar service remained as a peak-only extension of St. Clair until 1966. That extension was not possible until the opening of the “St. Clair Subway” under the Weston rail corridor in 1932, and the streetcars originally operated to Northland Loop. That is the reason why St. Clair cars were signed “Northland” even after they were extended to Avon Loop at Rogers Road.

Another leftover from the radial system was the line on Lake Shore Boulevard West.

  • Mimico cars operated from Roncesvalles Carhouse via the old trackage on Lake Shore (pre-Gardiner Expressway) west to Stavebank Road, just east of the Credit River in Port Credit. In the fall of 1928, the city trackage was extended to Long Branch, and the “Mimico” route disappeared. “Port Credit” cars ran on the remaining “radial” line until February 1935.

Updated: I have been remiss when listing routes operating in 1928 by omitting the Toronto Suburban’s line to Guelph. This was not a TTC operation, but remained part of CN’s electric operations to the end.

The line began at Keele & St. Clair, but was abandoned in 1931. This electric railway was never extended into downtown and suffered from its “suburban” nature even though its terminus was on the CN corridor now used by GO’s Kitchener-Waterloo service. The small station building remained for decades after. A fragment of the line still sees streetcar operation as the Halton County Radial Railway museum.

The East End and Suburbs

Most of the services in the east end ran to the downtown area and they are included in the main list above.

  • Coxwell cars shuttled between Danforth and Queen with Sunday/Holiday service extended via Queen and Kingston Road to Bingham Loop. This route exists almost unchanged today.

Service on Kingston Road east of Victoria Park was provided by the Scarboro radial car to a point east of Morningside Avenue where Kingston Road and Old Kingston Road diverge today. In late 1928, the line was double-tracked to Birchmount, the city routes were extended into Scarborough and the radial service operated from there east. Rail service ended in two stages: east of Scarborough Post Office in 1930, and the rest of the line in 1936 to allow highway widening.

The North End and Suburbs

The northernmost of the remaining streetcar lines is on St. Clair. In 1928, it operated from Caledonia Loop to Mt. Pleasant Loop at Eglinton, although service on St. Clair was also provided by the Bay and Bathurst cars west to Caledonia (see above). Eventually, the line was extended west to Keele Loop (replaced now by Gunn’s Loop) when the underpasses at Caledonia (1931) and at Weston Road (1932) opened. Caledonia and Prescott Loops were no longer needed.

By far the most extensive of the radial lines was the Metropolitan Division of the Toronto & York Radial Railway. This was not taken over by the TTC until 1927. Cars ran from Glen Echo Terminal north to Richmond Hill and Lake Simcoe with the line ending in Sutton. Service operated every 15-20 minutes during peak periods to/from Richmond Hill with some cars running through to Newmarket every 45-60 minutes all day. Cars to and from Sutton operated every two hours or so leaving from Sutton between 5:50 am and 10:25 pm with a running time of 2 hours and 25 minutes. The Lake Simcoe route was cut back to Richmond Hill in 1930.

Air Conditioning as an Optional Extra

Every spring for some years, the TTC has been caught flat footed with air conditioning units in trains and buses that do not work when the hot weather arrives. This year is easily the worst in my memory. Instead of the occasional “hot car”, they are so prevalent that the official advice is to avoid the middle pair in a train on the BD line (Line 2) because that’s where they stick the ones with no AC.

This started out as a “we’ll fix them as soon as we find them” earlier in the season to an admission today that the fleet won’t be back in working order until the end of the summer. Here is the TTC’s Brad Ross on Twitter:

20160707_BradRossACTweet

The problem even has its own web page where the TTC states that 20-25% of cars on BD do not have working AC.

The situation is made even more ridiculous by the huge difference between the size of the subway fleet and the number of trains the TTC actually needs to operate service.

The Bloor-Danforth and Sheppard lines both use T-1 trains, although Sheppard is being converted to 4-car Toronto Rocket (TR) sets and one is already in operation there.

  • Peak trains on BD = 42, or a requirement for 252 cars (summer schedule).
  • Peak trains on Sheppard = 3, or a requirement for 12 cars.
  • Spares at 20% of 264 = 54 cars.
  • Total requirement = 318 cars.
  • Total fleet = 370 cars.

Meanwhile, on the YUS line, the TTC has more trains than it needs because most equipment intended for the Spadina extension and for more frequent service with automatic train control has already been delivered.

  • Peak trains on YUS = 51 (summer and winter schedules are the same)
  • Spares at 20% of 51 = 10
  • Total requirement = 61 trains
  • Total fleet = 71 (June 19, 2016 Scheduled Service Summary, last page)

This means that the TTC has roughly 50 surplus T1s that are available as an overhaul pool, plus 10 TR trainsets that could be redeployed to the BD line where their working AC units would be most welcome. (And, yes, before someone kvetches, I know that the BD operators would have to be trained to drive the TRs, but many probably know already, and not every crew needs this.)

What we are seeing is a TTC that has been caught out acknowledging the severity of its problem, claiming, basically, that it is impossible to overhaul AC units in advance because they only fail when it gets hot.

20160707_BradRossACTweet_2

The TTC makes a big point of publicizing its Customer Satisfaction stats and trumpeting how strong they are (although we only have numbers to 2016Q1). Hand-wringing over lost ridership is their new passtime, and yet some issues, including failing AC units, are not even mentioned in the staff report on this subject.

It is simply not credible that the TTC is unable, with some juggling of its fleet, to field enough trains where all six cars have AC on the BD line while they get the rest back in proper shape.

All that is needed is the will to organize service around rider comfort.

TTC Board Meeting: May 31, 2016

The TTC Board will hold its regular meeting at 1:00 pm on May 31, 2016 in Committee Room 1 at City Hall.

Items of note on the agenda include:

  • The monthly CEO’s Report
  • Purchase of 97 diesel buses
  • Metrolinx response to a request for additional parking in the Kipling Terminal project

The agenda also includes the draft financial statements which I covered in a separate article.

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Why Are Subway Cars on Bloor-Danforth So Dirty?

As a regular traveller on the Bloor-Danforth subway (Line 2), I cannot help noticing how often a car will appear with a very grimy exterior. Although inside the cars look just fine, the exterior can leave much to be desired. The comparison is quite striking with the gleaming trains on Yonge-University-Spadina (Line 1).

It turns out that this problem is caused by a combination of factors including the fact that the BD trains (the T1 sets) are riveted aluminum, while the YUS trains (the newer TR sets) are welded stainless steel.

I asked the TTC about this issue, especially considering how important system cleanliness is in their attempt to present a good face to customers, and they replied:

You’re correct that some of the T1 cars are not as clean as we like.

There are a number of factors in play here.

Trains are not washed regularly through the winter when the ground temperature drops below a certain point. Every winter, it follows that the trains become less clean. We do wash trains mechanically but it is less effective.

Each summer we employ summer students to hand wash the trains using detergent and pressure washers. They can do a train or so a day. They look pretty good, but with the condition of the body and its design –  it takes time.

Chemicals used also make the aluminium more porous and so we have to be careful how much we use, or we potentially make the issue worse over time as the body will attract even more dirt.

The work is made more difficult due to the number of rivets used on the sides of the train. You can see more staining around the doors in general where the normal train wash (think of a car wash for trains) just doesn’t get into these nooks and crannies. On the TR we designed this dirt trap out by the smooth car body.

The students have started work and you’ll see a gradual improvement in the fleet. That said, progress will be slower this year as we are using them to clean also air filters on the trains’ heating system which whilst invisible to customers needs doing across the fleet and is a higher priority.

We will be targeting the worst units first, and working through the fleet on a priority basis.

[Email from Mike Palmer, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, TTC, April 19, 2016]

The T1s will be with us for many years as they are only about 15 years old. TTC has had aluminum bodied cars for decades, and I hope that they can maintain some semblance of cleanliness with this fleet.