514: First New Streetcar Line in Over 15 Years

June 18th, 2016

Monday (June 20, 2016) will see the start of service on the first new streetcar line in Toronto in over 15 years. While the new 514 Cherry route from Dufferin Loop to the new Distillery Loop mostly runs on existing track, the part of it from King Street down the east side of Cherry Street to the new loop just south of Mill Street is brand new track, albeit less than a kilometre in length. What is nice to see is that it uses a side-of-the-road right of way instead of down the middle.

Today (Saturday June 18) saw the official opening ceremony at 10 am. The TTC had the newest Flexity car, 4421, on hand which made a single run to Dufferin Loop and back after the usual political speeches were done with. For the ceremony, 4421 was followed in the loop by ALRV 4225, CLRV 4140, Peter Witt 2766, and PCC 4500.


Above: Peter Witt 2766 and PCC 4500, ALRV 4225 and CLRV 4140, speech time.
Below: Flexity 4412 heading north on Cherry Street at Mill Street.

Eglinton Crosstown TBMs On the Move

April 19th, 2015

Over this weekend, the west-end TBMs for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line were lifted out of their extraction shaft on the west side of the Spadina Subway Line at Eglinton West Station, and moved a short distance above ground to a launch shaft east of the subway line.

Early Saturday morning, the first of the two TBMs heading east, named Dennis, made this journey. On Saturday, the second TBM, named Lea, was hoisted out of the extraction shaft and began its move to the east side of the subway line.

Here are three photos of Dennis taken around 2 am Saturday morning where it is in place east of the subway line being prepared for lowering:

Dennis viewed from just east of the launch shaft

Dennis viewed from its south side at the launch shaft

Dennis viewed from just west of the launch shaft


Here are four photos of Lea taken around 2 am Sunday morning where it is in place east of the subway line and being lowered:

Lea viewed from just east of the launch shaft

Lea viewed from just west of the launch shaft, still being shifted into place for lowering

Lea viewed from just west of the launch shaft as it is in place and about to be lowered

Lea viewed from just west of the launch shaft as it is being lowered

Do I Get To Say, “I Told You So”?

October 4th, 2013

A new report on a subway extension to Scarborough from Toronto’s city manager, Joe Pennachetti, has him saying:

The construction of a Relief Line subway or equivalent may become a prerequisite to address the higher ridership on the Bloor-Danforth line that will be accelerated by construction of the subway extension.

I have said this before. Despite the fact that the name of this site is the Toronto LRT Information Site, it is my opinion that a (Downtown) Relief Line is a major priority. I believe that the correct mode of transit is a very important part of good transit planning, and sometimes that means subways. Unfortunately, many politicians and much of the public have drank the Koolaid that has them believing that good transit planning can only mean subways, subways, subways.

This site was started about six months before the Transit City LRT Plan was made public. The original focus was to provide information on just what LRT is and what it can do for Toronto. LRT is a broad expression that covers much more than just streetcars, but because Toronto kept its streetcar network, residents know very little beyond this narrow scope. Of those who have visited cities with LRT, most have never used another city’s LRT system to get around and therefore have no idea of what LRT can and can’t do for us. Fear of the unknown, combined with misleading information or out and out lies, makes for great opposition to something. This site was originally meant to show what is done in other cities, and how some of this can apply to Toronto (as well as how some things may not apply in Toronto).

With the announcement of the Transit City plan, the need to convince the politicians diminished (but did not disappear), and the purpose of this site took on a slightly wider scope about what mode is better for a given corridor.

From this, it was clear that there are situations where a full subway line is necessary, and that is at the core of the subway network where capacity is non-existant. Expansion of the core will do little to improve transit for those living in the core, but it will do wonders for those needing to get to the core. Thus, the word “Downtown” in the name Downtown Relief Line is misleading in a way. It would relieve the downtown part of the subway network, but in doing so it increases capacity on the parts of the subway network bringing in people from further out.

Getting back to the point of this post, it was on March 15, 2012 that I said that Toronto badly needs a subway. Going even futher back, it was on June 2, 2009 that I spoke of removing the plans for the Don Mills LRT line south of Eglinton and replacing it with the DRL subway line.

So finally there is an official report that says what I have been saying for several years now. Now if we can only get people to pull their fingers out of their ears and stop saying, “I can’t hear you - subways, subways, subways!”

Presto’s New Site Falls Short

July 3rd, 2013

How is everyone liking the new Presto site?

It is nice that you can have a user ID so you don’t have to enter your card number to log in. Though, I should say that you MUST now have a user ID, and the process to set it up if you were have a card from before is not exactly straight-forward. The process involves you typing in your card number more than once, along with the three digit code (like the CVV on a credit card) and your old online PIN. Each time, it will not like something about one of those, but when you type it again, it will be happy about it, but have a problem with one of the other two and make you do it all over again. Even though you enter everything the same each time (I assured this for myself by typing the numbers in a text editor, then using copy/paste to fill in the Presto form!), it will eventually take everything. Read the rest of this entry »

Thornhill Resident Has It Right

April 18th, 2013

In last Saturday’s editions of the Thornhill Liberal and the Richmond Hill Liberal, Thornhill resident Judith Witzig was 100% correct in her letter to the editor regarding the controversy over VIVA Rapidways to be built along Centre Street west from Bathurst over to where Highway 7 swings south to meet Centre Street. I wrote about this back in February, and how Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman and the Beverley Glen Ratepayers Association were opposed to this going through their neighbourhood. Never mind that VIVA service along this route has been a fact of life for seven and a half years now.

Ms. Witzig’s words deserve to be repeated, and appear after the break:

Read the rest of this entry »