Archive for July, 2009

Eglinton-Crosstown LRT Open House

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Eglinton-Crosstown LRT

One open house will be held for the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT on Wednesday July 29 at Iondale Heights United Church at 115 Ionview Road from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Ionview Road is the first street west of Kennedy Road along Eglinton. 115 Ionview Road is north of Bertrand Avenue.

This meeting replaces one previously scheduled on June 26 that had to be canceled due to the city’s labour disruption.

The announcement for these can be read here (1.1 M file).

A Ride on ART Mark-II

Friday, July 17th, 2009

I have been in Vancouver this past week and finally had the chance to use SkyTrain and ride on a Bombardier ART Mark-II car, as well as another ride on a Mark-I car to remind me of the differences.

The Mark-II cars are longer and married pairs have a gangway between them making the two a continuous space. While this added length increases the feeling of having more room, these cars actually feel wider than the Mark-I cars even though they are not wider. The seating layout, which actually has more forward/reverse-facing seats, makes it feel like a wider car.

For the rail/transit fan, the Mark-II cars have a larger window in the front (with windshield wiper), with a seat available that has one seated facing forward. SkyTrain is fully automated, so there is no driver’s cab. There are two versions of the Mark-I car: the original 114 cars have a window on the front door similar to the centre window in the driver’s cab on the Scarborough RT. In 1991 and 1994, a total of 36 additional Mark-I cars were purchased that had no door on its front end, but had a slightly larger window with a windshield wiper. The Mark-I cars have a fold-down seat that faces sideways in the narrow space in the front.

If the Scarborough RT were to keep the ART (formerly ICTS) technology, new Mark-II cars would have to be ordered as Mark-I cars are not manufactured anymore. For the most part, these are interchangeable as is the case on SkyTrain, but there are some changes that will be needed on the Scarborough RT as a matter of course including a lengthening of some stations and a re-alignment of Kennedy station to remove the sharp curve and place the RT platform at the mezzanine level below ground. These are significant projects that will have the line shut down for a period of a few months.

It is believed that Mark-II cars can negotiate the tunnelled curve between Ellesmere and Midland stations. I am unaware of how this belief has been determined, but if it is wrong, some major work will be necessary. If converted to LRT, the articulated nature of the type of vehicle to be ordered will allow negotiating this curve. The issue with the Scarborough RT is that the overall infrastructure was originally designed to accommodate CLRVs and it turned out that Mark-I cars worked for the most part. Only the loop at Kennedy was a problem, which required the station to be shut down for the single stub track to be built as it is now.

Years ago, when the TTC first considered purchasing 72-foot subway cars, they actually built a frame of a 72-foot car on wheels that could be pushed through the tunnels to ensure that it would fit. I have not heard if they have done a similar test on the Scarborough RT.

As nice as the Mark-II cars are, the linear induction motor technology has a serious flaw in Toronto’s environment: slushy wet snow clogs up the gap between the reaction rail and the underside of the train. Furthermore, there is a slight heating effect when a train passes over the reaction rail that can cause some minor melting of snow that refreezes before the next train passes. This can occur when the temperature is not so cold that a slight heating will melt snow, but the repeated melting and refreezing can cause a build-up of ice that can cause problems like the wet slushy snow can. The great technological breakthrough to combat this is a heated reaction rail, which is not exactly the epitome of energy efficiency. It is one thing to heat switch points to prevent freezing problems, it is a whole other thing to heat the reaction rail along the entire double-track length of the line!

The Scarborough RT should be converted to Transit City-compatible LRT. The power pick-up would be changed from third/fourth rail to overhead catenary, and the platforms at stations would have to be lowered (or the track level raised). If the Transit City lines are to be built to TTC gauge, the track will have to be re-gauged. If the Transit City lines do not need to have connect-ability with the legacy streetcar network, then they could be built to standard gauge and then the current Scarborough RT tracks are usable as-is.

Eglinton-Crosstown LRT Design

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Eglinton-Crosstown LRTFrom the recent open houses held for the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT, the project page has the display panels available. I have also placed copies on this site: Part 1 (2.5 Mb), Part 2 (2.1 Mb), and Part 3 (1.1 Mb).

Steve Munro has a good breakdown and description of the details on his site, split into three sections:

One item of note is that the TTC is considering the use of a single bore tunnel where tunnel boring is to be used.

Double bore tunnels would have two 6 metre bores for the tunnel, but cut and cover box construction would be used at stations and in places where underground storage and crossover tracks are needed. Bored portions of the TTC subway system uses this method.

Single Bore Tunnel

With a single bore, the diameter is 13 metres and two levels are created in the bore with one direction on the top and the other on the bottom. Stations are built within the bore itself, and room for crossover and storage tracks can be accommodated with a ramp between the levels. By eliminating the cut and cover construction mentioned above, this method of construction is less disruptive on the surface.

For those familiar with the SkyTrain in Vancouver, the portion downtown was built the former Dunsmuir railway tunnel. Unlike what the TTC is looking at, the Dunsmuir tunnel did not have a wide circular bore, but was only one track wide with high vertical clearance. This allowed a superstructure to be built to carry the westbound SkyTrain track. The Burrard and Granville Stations are located on the tunnel section and both have westbound (towards Waterfront) platforms on an upper level and eastbound on a lower level.