Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toronto's Streetcar System

Toronto streetcar system

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Toronto streetcar system
TTC ALRV and CLRV streetcars 4239 and 4028.jpg
Locale Toronto, Ontario
Transit type Streetcar
Number of lines 11
Number of stations >100, including 8 shared with the subway (all others but one are on-street stops)
Daily ridership 285,600[1]
Began operation 1861 (electric lines since 1891)
Operator(s) Toronto Transit Commission
System length 75 kilometres (47 mi)[2]
Track gauge 1,495 mm (4 ft 10 78 in) 
Minimum radius of curvature 36 ft 0 in (10,973 mm)[3]
Electrification Overhead lines, 600 V DC
A typical streetcar stop indicator sign
The Toronto streetcar system comprises eleven streetcar routes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), and is the largest such system in the Americas in terms of ridership, number of cars, and track length. The network is concentrated in downtown and in proximity to the city's waterfront. Much of the streetcar route network dates back to the 19th century. Unlike newer light rail systems, most of Toronto's streetcar routes operate in the classic style on street trackage shared with car traffic, and streetcars stop on demand at frequent stops like buses. Some routes do operate wholly or partly within their own rights-of-way, but they still stop on demand at frequent stops.
There are underground connections between streetcars and the subway at Union, Spadina, and St. Clair West stations, and streetcars enter St. Clair, Bathurst, Broadview, Dundas West, and Main Street stations at street level. At these stations, no proof of payment is required to transfer to or from the subway, as the streetcars stop within the stations' fare-paid areas. At the eight downtown stations, excepting Union, from Queen's Park to College on the Yonge–University–Spadina subway line, streetcars stop on the street outside the station entrances, and proof of payment is required to transfer to or from the subway.
Despite the use of techniques long removed in the streetcar networks of other North American cities, Toronto’s streetcars are not heritage streetcars run for tourism or nostalgic purposes; they provide most of the downtown core’s surface transit service, and four of the TTC's five most heavily used surface routes are streetcar routes. In 2006, ridership on the streetcar system totaled more than 52 million.[4]



[edit] History

[edit] Early history (1861–1945)

Streetcars at Bay and Queen in 1923
This Peter Witt streetcar, preserved at the Halton County Radial Railway, has been restored into the TTC’s original 1921 livery.
In 1861, the city of Toronto issued a thirty-year transit franchise (Resolution 14, By-law 353) for a horse-drawn street railway, after the Williams Omnibus Bus Line had become heavily loaded. Alexander Easton's Toronto Street Railway (TSR) opened the first street railway line in Canada on September 11, 1861, operating from Yorkville Town Hall to the St. Lawrence Market. At the end of the TSR franchise, the city ran the railway for eight months, but ended up granting a new thirty-year franchise to the Toronto Railway Company (TRC) in 1891. The TRC was the first operator of horseless streetcars in Toronto. The first electric car ran on August 15, 1892, and the last horse car ran on August 31, 1894, to meet franchise requirements.
There came to be problems with interpretation of the franchise terms, for the city. By 1912, the city limits had extended significantly, with the annexation of communities to the North (1912: North Toronto) and the East (1908: Town of East Toronto) and the West (1909: The City of West Toronto - The Junction). After many attempts to force the TRC to serve these areas, the city created its own street railway operation, the Toronto Civic Railways to do so, and built several routes. Repeated court battles did force the TRC to build new cars, but they were of old design. When the TRC franchise ended in 1921, the Toronto Transportation Commission (TTC) was created, combining the city-operated Toronto Civic Railways lines into its new network.
The TTC began in 1921 as solely a streetcar operator, with the bulk of the routes acquired from the private TRC and merged with the publicly operated Toronto Civic Railways. In 1925, routes were operated on behalf of the Township of York (as Township of York Railway), but the TTC was contracted to operate them.

[edit] Thoughts of abandonment (1945–1989)

After the Second World War cities across North America began to eliminate their streetcar systems in favour of buses (see also Great American streetcar scandal). During the 1950s the TTC continued to invest in streetcars and the TTC took advantage of other cities' streetcar removals by purchasing extra PCC cars from Cleveland, Birmingham, Kansas City, and Cincinnati.
In 1966 the TTC announced plans to eliminate all streetcar routes by 1980. Streetcars were considered out of date, and their elimination in almost all other towns made it hard to buy new vehicles and maintain the existing ones. Metro Toronto chair William Allen claimed in 1966 that "streetcars are as obsolete as the horse and buggy."[5] A large number of streetcars were eliminated with the creation of the Bloor–Danforth subway that opened in February 1966.
The plan to abolish the streetcar system was strongly opposed by many in the city, and a group named "Streetcars for Toronto" was formed to work against the plan. The group was led by professor Andrew Biemiller and transit advocate Steve Munro, and had the support of city councillors William Kilbourn and Paul Pickett, and urban advocate Jane Jacobs. Streetcars for Toronto presented the TTC board with a report that found retaining the streetcar fleet would in the long run be cheaper than converting to buses. This combined with a strong public preference for streetcars over buses changed the decision of the TTC board.[6]
The TTC then maintained most of their existing network, purchasing new custom-designed Canadian light rail vehicle (CLRV) and articulated light rail vehicle (ALRV) streetcars. They also continued to rebuild and maintain the existing fleet of PCC (Presidents' Conference Committee) streetcars until they were no longer roadworthy.
The previous policy of eliminating streetcars and using buses for new routes (added as the city developed northward) accounts for the concentration of streetcar lines within five kilometres of the waterfront. The busiest north-south and east-west routes were replaced respectively by the Yonge–University–Spadina and Bloor–Danforth subway lines, and the northernmost streetcar lines, including the North Yonge and Oakwood routes, were replaced by trolley buses (and later by diesel buses).
Two other lines that operated north of St. Clair Avenue were abandoned for other reasons: the Rogers Road route was abandoned to free up streetcars for expanded service on other routes, and the Mount Pleasant route was removed owing to complaints from drivers that streetcars slowed their cars down, and because the track was aging and needed to be replaced.[citation needed]

[edit] Expansion period (1989–2000)

The TTC returned to building new streetcar routes in 1989. The first new line was route 604 Harbourfront, starting from Union Station, travelling underneath Bay Street and rising to a dedicated centre median on Queen's Quay (along the edge of Lake Ontario) to the foot of Spadina Avenue. This route was later lengthened northward along Spadina Avenue in 1997, continuing to travel in a dedicated right-of-way in the centre of the street, and ending in an underground terminal at Spadina Station. At this time, the route was renamed 510 Spadina to fit with the numbering scheme of the other streetcar routes. This new streetcar service replaced the former route 77 Spadina bus, and since 1997 has provided the main north-south transit service through Toronto's Chinatown. The tracks along Queen's Quay were extended to Bathurst Street in 2000 to connect to the existing Bathurst route, providing for a new 509 Harbourfront route from Union Station to the newly refurbished Exhibition Loop at the Exhibition grounds, where the Canadian National Exhibition is held.

[edit] Scarborough RT

The Scarborough rapid-transit (RT) line was originally proposed to operate with streetcars on a private right-of-way, but the plans were changed when the Ontario government persuaded the TTC and the borough of Scarborough to buy its then-new Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) rapid transit trains instead. Another proposed streetcar/rapid transit line from Kipling station was abandoned, but the ghost platform at the bus level is a hint of a streetcar line.

[edit] Expansion (2007–)

Route 512 St. Clair was rebuilt to have a separated right-of-way similar to that of the route 510 on Spadina Avenue, to increase service reliability and was completed on June 30, 2010.
On March 16, 2007, Toronto Mayor David Miller and the TTC announced Transit City, a major proposal for a 120-kilometre, $6.1-billion network of new European-style tramlines (LRTs) that would provide rail transit to underserved suburban areas of the city. As of July 2008, environmental assessments are underway for trams on Sheppard Avenue East and Don Mills Road, and for the harbourfront route, including an extension of the route from Exhibition Place to Queen Street West at Roncesvalles Avenue.
Since the election of Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto in 2010, the expansion of the streetcar system appears highly threatened as the new mayor plans to scrap Transit City in favour of constructing an expansion to the Sheppard subway line.[7]
On December 16, 2010, the TTC suffered its worst accident since the Russell Hill subway crash in 1995 when three people were killed and 30 others were injured. Up to 17 people including four schoolchildren were rushed to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. TTC has indicated that the 505 Dundas streetcar heading eastbound was turning on to River street when it collided with a Greyhound Canada bus.[8]

[edit] Routes

The current TTC streetcar network, in relation to the subway; all eleven regular routes appear red.
The TTC operates 304.3 kilometres (189.1 mi) of routes on 75 kilometres (47 mi) streetcar network (double or single track) throughout Toronto.[2][9] There are currently 11 streetcar routes:
# Name Length
501 Queen 24.43 Part of Blue Night Network as 301 Queen
502 Downtowner 9.38
503 Kingston Road 8.97 Rush hour service only
504 King 13.97
505 Dundas 10.74
506 Carlton 14.82 Part of Blue Night Network as 306 Carlton
508 Lake Shore 9.40 Rush hour service only
509 Harbourfront 4.65
510 Spadina 6.17
511 Bathurst 6.47
512 St. Clair 7.01 Route reconstruction and new dedicated right-of-way complete.

[edit] Route numbers

The TTC has used route numbers in the 500 series for streetcar routes since 1980; before then, streetcar routes were not numbered, but the destination signs on the new CLRVs were not large enough to display both the route name and destination, according to the TTC.[citation needed] The only exceptions to this numbering scheme are the two streetcar operated 300-series Blue Night Network routes.
The one other exception to the 500 series numbering was the Harbourfront LRT streetcar. When introduced in 1990, this route was numbered 604, which was intended to group it with the old numbering scheme for subway/RT routes. In 1996 the TTC overhauled its Rapid transit route numbers and stopped trying to market the Harbourfront route as 'rapid transit' changing the number to 510; the tracks were later extended in two directions to form the 510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront routes.[10]
During times when streetcar service on all or a portion of a route has been replaced temporarily by buses (e.g., for track reconstruction, major fire, special event), the replacement bus service is typically identified by the same route number as the corresponding streetcar line.

[edit] Dedicated rights-of-way

Queens Quay streetcar station
The majority of streetcar routes operate in mixed traffic, generally reflecting the original track configurations dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, newer trackage has largely been established within dedicated rights-of-way, in order to allow streetcars to operate with fewer disruptions due to delays caused by automobile traffic. Most of the system's dedicated rights-of-way operate within the median of existing streets, separated from general traffic by raised curbs and controlled by specialized traffic signals at intersections. Queen streetcars have operated on such a right-of-way along the Queensway between Humber and Sunnyside loops since 1957. More recently, dedicated rights-of-way have been opened downtown along Queen's Quay, Spadina Avenue, St. Clair Avenue West, and Fleet Street.
Short sections of track also operate in tunnel (to connect with Spadina, Union, and St. Clair West subway stations). The most significant section of underground streetcar trackage is a tunnel underneath Bay Street connecting Queens Quay with Union Station; this section, which is approximately 0.7 km long, includes one intermediate underground station at Bay Street and Queens Quay.
During the late 2000s, the TTC reinstated a separated right-of-way — removed between 1928 and 1935[11] — on St. Clair Avenue, for the entire route 512 St. Clair. A court decision obtained by local merchants in October 2005 had brought construction to a halt and put the project in doubt; the judicial panel then recused themselves, and the delay for a new decision adversely affected the construction schedule. A new judicial panel decided in February 2006 in favour of the city, and construction resumed in summer 2006. One third of the St. Clair right-of-way was completed by the end of 2006 and streetcars began using it on February 18, 2007. The portion finished was from St. Clair Station (Yonge St.) to Vaughan Road. The second phase started construction in the summer of 2007 from Dufferin Street to Caledonia Road. Service resumed utilizing the second and third phases on December 20th 2009 extending streetcar service from St. Clair to Earlscourt Loop located just south and west of Lansdowne Avenue. The fourth and final phase from Caledonia to Gunns Loop (just west of Keele St.) is completed and full streetcar service over the entire route was finally restored on June 30, 2010.[12][13]
In 2008, the tracks on Fleet Street between Bathurst Street and the Exhibition loop were converted to a dedicated right-of-way and opened for the 511 Bathurst and the 509 Harbourfront streetcars. Streetcar track and overhead power line were also installed at the Fleet loop, which is located at the Queen's Wharf Lighthouse.[14]

[edit] Future expansion

The City of Toronto's and the TTC’s Transit City report[15] released on March 16, 2007, proposes creating new light rail lines including:
  • Don Mills LRT (along Don Mills Road from Steeles Avenue to Overlea Boulevard, and continuing to Pape Station along a possible alignment of Overlea Boulevard from Don Mills Road to Millwood Road, continuing adjacent to the Leaside Bridge from Overlea Boulevard to Pape Avenue and along Pape Avenue from Millwood Road to Danforth Avenue)
  • Eglinton Crosstown LRT (along Eglinton Avenue from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Kennedy Station, with underground operation from approximately Keele Street to approximately Laird Drive)
  • Etobicoke-Finch West LRT (along Finch Avenue West from Yonge Street to Highway 27)
  • Jane LRT (along Jane Street from Bloor Street to Steeles Avenue and continuing along Steeles Avenue from Jane Street to Steeles West on the Spadina extension. This line also includes a stub extension of the St. Clair ROW from Gunns Loop to Jane Street)
  • Scarborough Malvern LRT (along Eglinton Avenue from Kennedy Station to Kingston Road, continuing along Kingston Road from Eglinton Avenue to Morningside Avenue and along Morningside Avenue from Kingston Road to Finch Avenue)
  • Sheppard East LRT (along Sheppard Avenue from Don Mills station to Morningside Avenue, with a connection to an extended Scarborough RT near Markham Road)
  • Waterfront West LRT (along Lakeshore Boulevard from Long Branch Loop to near the South Kingsway, continuing along the Queensway to King Street, and adjacent to the Gardiner Expressway to Exhibition Loop; from Exhibition it will continue to Union station in either its own as yet to be determined alignment, or in the Harbourfront West LRT alignment)
The Ontario government has in its MoveOntario 2020 plan, proposed funding approximately two thirds of the $5.5 billion of the seven Transit City lines, with the expectation that the federal government would fund the remaining third.
Additional proposals include:
  • Extending 512 St. Clair to Jane subway station
  • A streetcar in dedicated right-of-way on Sumach and Cherry Streets from King Street to the railway corridor south of Mill Street, serving West Don Lands and the Distillery District
  • A route eastward along Queen's Quay, into new developments on the port lands
  • A route westward from the Bay Street streetcar tunnel along Bremner Boulevard and Fort York Boulevard to Bathurst Street
  • A route running east along Finch Avenue from Yonge Street to Don Mills Road, then turning south along Don Mills Road and continuing to Sheppard Avenue at Don Mills subway station, linking the Etobicoke-Finch West LRT and the Sheppard East LRT.

[edit] Discontinued streetcar routes

[edit] Toronto Street Railway

Routes marked to City were operating on May 20th, 1891, when the Toronto Street Railway Company's franchise expired and operations were taken over by the City of Toronto.[16]
Route↓ Started↓ Ended↓ Notes
Bathurst 00 Sep 1889 07 Dec 1889 to SEATON VILLAGE
Bloor 29 May 1891 to City
Brockton 4 Sep 1883 May 1884 from QUEEN & BROCKTON; to QUEEN & BROCKTON
Carlton & College 2 Aug 1886 to City
Church 18 Aug 1881 to City
Danforth 8 Jul 1889 to City
Davenport 18 Aug 1890 to City from SEATON VILLAGE
Dovercourt via McCaul 24 Sep 1888 to City from McCAUL & COLLEGE
Front & McCaul 22 Oct 1883 28 Jun 1884 to McCAUL & COLLEGE
Front & Parliament 25 Nov 1878 25 Jul 1881 to PARLIAMENT and WINCHESTER
High Park via Queen 00 Apr 1887 to City by this date; from QUEEN & PARKDALE
King 21 Sep 1874 to City longest continuous-operated route in Toronto
King via Strachan 2 Sep 1879 19 Sep 1890 during (TIE) Exhibition only; to KING
Kingston Rd. 9 Jun 1875 Apr 1887 Kingston Road Tramway Co.; by this date; part to WOODBINE
Lee 15 Jul 1889 to City
McCaul & College 30 Jun 1884 22 Sep 1888 from FRONT & McCAUL; to DOVERCOURT VIA McCAUL
McCaul & College 15 Jul 1889 to City from DOVERCOURT VIA McCAUL
Metropolitan 26 Jan 1885 to City Metropolitan Street Railway
Parliament 26 Jul 1881 to City from FRONT & PARLIAMENT
Queen 2 Feb 1861 7 Dec 1881 to QUEEN & BROCKTON
Queen 4 Sep 1883 May 1884 from QUEEN & BROCKTON; to QUEEN & BROCKTON
Queen & Brockton 8 Dec 1881 3 Sep 1883 from QUEEN; to QUEEN and BROCKTON
Queen & Brockton 00 May 1884 to City from BROCKTON and QUEEN
Queen & Parkdale 2 Sep 1879 Apr 1887 ended by spring 1887; to HIGH PARK VIA QUEEN
Queen East 11 May 1885 to City from SHERBOURNE
Seaton Village 27 Jul 1885 to City from SPADINA & BATHURST
Sherbourne 1 Dec 1874 to City may have begun a day or two earlier
Spadina 00 Jun 1879 to City
Spadina & Bathurst 30 Jun 1884 25 Jul 1885 from SPADINA; to SEATON VILLAGE
Toronto Industrial Exhibition 13 Sep 1883 19 Sep 1890 first electric route; operated by steam during the 1891 season
Winchester 26 Jul 1881 to City from FRONT & PARLIAMENT
Woodbine 21 May 1887 to City from KINGSTON RD.
Yonge 9 Nov 1861 to City first rail transit route in Toronto

[edit] Toronto Railway Company

  • Queen-High Park (1891–1921)
  • Church (1891–1921)
  • Carlton-College (1891–1921)
  • Yonge (1891–1921)
  • Belt Line (1891–1921)
  • Bloor-McCaul (1891–1921)
  • Avenue Road (1891–1921)
  • Dundas (1891–1921)
  • College-Yonge (1891–1921)
  • Bathurst (1891–1921)
  • Wincester (1891–1921)
  • Parliament (1891–1921)
  • Broadview (1891–1921)

[edit] Toronto Civic Railways

  • Danforth Division (1913–1921)
  • Gerrard (1912–1921)
  • Bloor West Division (1915–1921)
  • St. Clair Division (1913–1921)
  • Lansdowne (1917–1921)

[edit] Toronto Transit Commission

Route↓ Began↓ Ended↓ Number↓ Notes
Belt Line 1891 1923
original and Tour Tram along Spadina and Sherbourne
Bloor, including Danforth Tripper 1890 1966
replaced by Bloor-Danforth subway
Coxwell 1921 1966
replaced by 22 Coxwell bus
Dundas Exhibition 1980 1986 522 also operated for the 1995 season
Dupont/Bay single line 1926 1963
replaced by 6 Bay bus
Earlscourt 1954 1976 512L replaced by part of 512 St. Clair
Fort 1931 1966
merged with 511 Bathurst
Harbord 1911 1966
replaced by 72 Pape and 94 Wellesley buses
Harbourfront LRT 1990 2000 604 forms part of the present 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadinas
King Exhibition 1980 2000 521
Long Branch 1928 1995 507 merged with 501 Queen in 1995
Oakwood 1922 1960
replaced by 63 Ossington trolleycoach
Parliament 1910 1966
replaced by 65 Parliament bus
Winchester 1910 1924
replaced by 97 Yonge and 65 Parliament buses and 506 Carlton
Mount Pleasant 1975 1976
split from 512 St. Clair; replaced by 74 Mt. Pleasant trolleycoach
Rogers Road 1922 1974
replaced by 63F Ossington via Rogers trolleycoach
Yonge 1873 1954
replaced by Yonge subway and 24 Downtowner bus

[edit] Rolling stock

Note: Hundreds of cars were acquired from the TTCs predecessor companies, the Toronto Railway, and Toronto Civic Railways, among others. The current fleet operates with 248 vehicles.
Product list and details (date information from TTC)
 Make/Model   Description   Fleet size   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
Preston Car Company (ex TCR) streetcar DE-ST 8 1915–1917 1976 Numbered 2200-2214 (even numbers only). Formerly ex-TCR 50-57. 52(Currently RT-7), 55, 57 (Currently W-28) at Halton County Radial Railway
Preston Car Company (ex TCR) streetcar DE-DT 4 1912 1933, last car retired 1950 Numbered 2120-2126 (even numbers only). Formerly ex-TCR 120-123.
Niles Car and Manufacturing Company (ex TCR) streetcar DE-DT 19 1913 4 Retired in 1933, rest retired in 1948 Numbered 2128-2144 2148-2166 (even numbers only). Formerly ex-TCR 110-119. Car 109 (2146) burnt in fire and never rebuilt.
Preston Car Company (ex TCR) streetcar DE-DT 13 1918 1948 Numbered 2168-2192 (even numbers only). Formerly ex-TCR 200-212.
Birney Car - ex Toronto Civic Railways / J. G. Brill and Company street car DE-ST 20 1920 1940–1941 ex TCR 60-84. Sold as operating cars to Cornwall and Halifax.
Peter Witt - Large / Canada Car and Foundry and J. G. Brill and Company street car; could pull trailer 525 1921–1923 1961 Numbered 2300-2678, 2900-3018 (even numbers only) 2580-2678 were Brill-type. Car 2424 and 2984 are at Halton County Radial Railway museum. 2300 is owned by the Canadian Railroad Historical Association and is currently at the Canadian National Railway Museum in St. Constance, Quebec. The entire TTC streetcar system was designed to accommodate cars of this size.
Peter Witt - Small / Canada Car and Foundry /Ottawa Car Company street car 50 1923 1963 Numbered 2700 - 2898 (even numbers only). Car 2898 preserved at Shore Line Trolley Museum, East Haven, Connecticut. Car 2766 retained by TTC for tour service. 2 cars (2894 and 2786) are at Halton Radial Railway in Milton, Ontario.
St. Louis Car Company / Canada Car and Foundry President's Conference Car Air Electric cars class A1-A5 street car 300 1938 1972 1 car (4000) at Halton County Radial Railway in Milton, Ontario.
St. Louis Car Company/Pullman Standard President's Conference Car street car 445 1947 and on 1995 New cars were A6-8; 205 acquired as second hand units were A9-10 - Cincinnati Street Railway, A11 - Cleveland Railway, A12 - Louisville Railway, A13 - Birmingham Railway and Electric Company, A14 - ex-Kansas City Public Service Company; A15 were A8 rebuilds 2 St. Louis Car Company PCC streetcar A-8 (used only for private charters and parades; 4500 and 4549); Pullman-Standard W30-W31 Rail Grinder - ex-A-11 class PCC streetcars, St. Louis Car 4386 (A-6), 4434 (A-7), 4684 (A-12) 4600/11/18 (A-15) at Halton County Radial Railway in Milton, Ontario.
SIG CLRV L1 street car 6 1977
Designed by Urban Transportation Development Corporation, built in Switzerland. These 6 streetcars were the prototypes for the CLRV. There were originally supposed to be 10 numbered 4000–4009 but they were reduced to 6.
Urban Transportation Development Corporation CLRV L2 street car 190 1977–1981
Designed by Urban Transportation Development Corporation and manufactured by Hawker Siddeley Canada; air conditioning added to car #4041 in 2006, order was placed for 99 other cars to have air conditioning installed but was cancelled due to the confirmed new streetcar order. Cars #4030 and #4165 had an automated stop announcer tested in 2006 (mainly in use on the 511 line only). Now all streetcars have the automated announcer.
Urban Transportation Development Corporation ALRV L3 articulated street car 52 1987–1988
Designed by Urban Transportation Development Corporation and manufactured by Hawker Siddeley Canada. Demo car 4900 owned by UTDC and destroyed at test facility in Kingston, Ontario. Used mainly on 501 Queen and 511 Bathurst routes.

[edit] PCC streetcars

The TTC were among the first to buy the then state-of-the-art PCC streetcar when it was designed by a committee of public transport operators in the 1930s. These cars were bought to replace the Peter Witt cars and also older vehicles inherited from the Toronto Railway. The TTC's first purchase was in the late 1930s, and by the end of the 1950s they had operated a larger fleet of PCCs than any other agency in the world, with 744 cars in service. The early cars were retired and sent to Egypt, and some newer cars were acquired from U.S. operators abandoning streetcar service, including Kansas City, Birmingham, and Cleveland. By the 1960s, the TTC sought to abandon the service as well, but in 1972 supporters persuaded them to reconsider, and so a new streetcar model was needed to replace some of the ageing PCCs.
Two of the TTC’s PCC streetcars, which operated in regular service until they were rebuilt and repainted into historic livery in 1989, have been retained for special events such as parades, private charters[17] and special revenue runs, such as holidays in the summer.[18]
Most of the PCCs were scrapped with a few becoming restaurants, housing and other uses. A few cars were purchased by railway museums and five ex-Toronto cars continue to operate on a new streetcar line in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

[edit] The CLRVs and ALRVs

Toronto streetcars stored in Russell Carhouse.
When the TTC reversed their decision to eliminate streetcars in the 1970s, they were faced with the problem of how to replace their ageing fleet of PCC streetcars given that most cities in North America were switching entirely to buses, and so there were no new mass-market streetcar designs already being built that Toronto could purchase as it had before. While Edmonton and Calgary chose to adapt German stadtbahn (city rail) trains for the new systems they were installing around the same time, the TTC instead had a new streetcar designed in the traditional style, and so the two models of streetcars the TTC uses for revenue service today remain unique to the city. It was hoped that the new models could also be sold to the few other cities that continued streetcar service, such as Boston and Philadelphia, but this strategy proved unsuccessful as the German designs became widely used for the new paradigm of light rail in North America and other cities purchased cars similar to the CLRV built by other manufacturers for their traditional streetcar systems.
The CLRV (Canadian Light Rail Vehicle, ordered 1977 – version L1 and L2) and the one-and-a-half-length ALRV (Articulated Light Rail Vehicle, ordered 1984 – version L3) were designed by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC), an Ontario Crown corporation. The first six cars were built by Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (Swiss Industrial Company, SIG) and the rest by Hawker Siddeley Canada Limited in Thunder Bay, with a propulsion system by Brush of England and bogies by MAN of Germany.
The CLRVs and ALRVs retain many features of traditional streetcar design: they collect their electric power by trolley pole rather than the pantograph more common on modern vehicles, and are unidirectional, with an operating position at only one end and doors on only one side, requiring track loops in order to turn around. Even the ALRVs, which have two body sections connected by an articulation, are shorter than some other modern vehicles, which may have as many as four articulations. This is because the TTC network is largely a "traditional" streetcar network dating back to the 19th century, and not a recent light rail system built to modern standards. The infrastructure already in place and the need for compatibility with a large fleet of existing vehicles meant the CLRVs and ALRVs were built to fit the existing system. The TTC has not had strong reason to upgrade the infrastructure, but the option to buy bidirectional and pantograph trains has been included for the next generation of European-style vehicles.
According to the TTC,[19] one CLRV replaces 60 private cars in the morning rush period or 72 passengers, whereas one ALRV can carry the equivalent of 90 cars or 108 passengers.
Both models of streetcar have high floors accessed by stairs at each door. TTC staff have explored a number of possible means to make them wheelchair-accessible, including constructing level boarding platforms, lowering the track level, installing wheelchair lifts, and attach wheelchair-accessible trailers, but have concluded that none of these options is practical.[citation needed]
Unlike the TTC's earlier PCC and Peter Witt streetcars, the current models are never run in two-unit combinations or with trailers; the replacement of the two highest-volume routes with subway lines has decreased the number of passengers streetcars must cope with, and a single ALRV has been estimated to be long enough to provide sufficient capacity on today's busiest routes. Notably, the CLRVs originally came with couplers, but these were covered beginning in 1984 owing to safety concerns, and removed in 1988 as no longer required.[citation needed]
There have been a few technical additions to the CLRV/ALRV cars including a horn, a secondary warning device which was added in addition to the primary warning device, gong/bell on most of the streetcar fleet in 2005, an automatic stop announcement system which was installed in 2008 and the security camera system in 2009, all of which have been installed on both the CLRVs and the ALRVs, the system also in use on TTC buses. The additional hardware is located behind the left rear seat of the both types of vehicles.[20]

[edit] Next-generation streetcar

The Bombardier Flexity Outlook Cityrunner (as shown in Brussels, Belgium) is the future streetcar for Toronto.
As the original CLRVs reach the end of their thirty-year service life, the TTC must soon either rebuild or replace them. Until recently, their official plan was to rebuild the CLRVs to extend their useful life by about ten to fifteen years and add new features such as air conditioning, and not purchase any new streetcars until the ALRVs reached obsolescence. On July 26, 2006, the first streetcar with air conditioning (number 4041) entered revenue service. With new funding from senior governments, however, they now intend to refurbish only one hundred CLRVs to meet Toronto's immediate requirements, and buy new low-floor, higher-capacity streetcars to replace the current fleet and run planned routes along the waterfront and in the inner suburbs. The remaining 96 streetcars will be rebuilt only if the introduction of new models is delayed.
In June 2007, the TTC launched a public consultation on the design of its new streetcars, including an online survey,[21] and displays at Finch and Scarborough Centre stations, the Albion Centre, and Yonge-Dundas Square. Mock-ups of the Bombardier Flexity Swift (as used in Minneapolis) and Siemens Combino Plus were on display at the 2007 Canadian National Exhibition in front of the Direct Energy Centre.
On September 19, 2007, the TTC published their specifications for the ‘LF LRV’, as they are calling the proposed new streetcars, which explains what they are seeking beyond that the vehicle be compatible with the TTC’s existing tracks, which require tight turning radii, good hill-climbing ability, and compatibility with single-leaf switches. The tender requests a tram/streetcar of 27–30 m, with multiple points of articulation, and three powered bogies.
Though the document states that the TTC would accept a well-designed 70% low-floor streetcar, they have since decided to seek a 100% low-floor design; folding ramps may be fitted at the doors to allow stepless boarding where platforms are not available. The initial fleet replacing the CLRVs and ALRVs are to remain single-ended with doors on the right only, and to retain current collection by trolley pole, but the TTC also request that provision be made for future conversion to pantograph, and that the option of buying a bi-directional version of the streetcar for new lines be available. Provision will be made for ticket-vending machines on board, rather than have the driver take fares as is current practice.
The TTC are tendering for an initial order of 204 Flexity Outlook Cityrunner streetcars, with the first prototypes to be delivered in 2010.[22] Current projections for population increases and new lines indicate that by 2026, the TTC will need to extend its fleet to between 350 and 480 streetcars, suggesting that the replacements for the CLRVs and ALRVs will be merely the first of a large fleet.
Bombardier, Siemens, Ansaldobreda, Mytram, ┼ákoda, and Vossloh Kiepe, and Kinki Sharyo all expressed interest in competing to supply the new streetcars, but most dropped out of the bidding at various stages.[23] Siemens gained a great deal of attention for their Combino Plus in 2007, with newspaper advertisements and a web site, but eventually decided that ‘it was in our better interest not to bid’; ultimately, only Bombardier and TRAM Power submitted bids.[24]
Bombardier initially displayed a mock-up of the Flexity Swift originally built for the Minneapolis project, but later offered a variant of the Flexity Outlook to meet the 100% low-floor requirement,[25] promoting it with a web site called ‘The Streetcar Redefined’. TRAM Power's product is the Citytram, a prototype of which was being tested on the Blackpool tramway until it caught fire on January 24, 2007.[26]
On July 18, 2008, the TTC announced that both bids had been rejected — according to TTC chair Adam Giambrone, Bombardier's entry "would have derailed on Toronto streets", while TRAM Power's was not "commercially compliant" — and reopened the contract.[27] Bombardier actively disputed this claim, adding that it could either supply a compliant car or pay for $10.4 million of construction to make the TTC's track network compliant. The TTC entered into direct negotiations with three companies (Alstom, Siemens, and Bombardier) following its August 27, 2008, commission meeting.
On April 24, 2009, the TTC selected a customized version of the Flexity Outlook for the upgrade,[28] with possible use for the Transit City plan as well.
New streetcars will not appear in Toronto until at least 2010, providing that capital funding is secured. In its most recent capital budget on April 2009, there was no solid commitment to fund the purchase of new units from any level of government.[29] As a result, the TTC is facing a shortage of available streetcars. Because the CLRVs are reaching the end of their usable lifespan, they require more frequent repairs, and of the TTC's 248 streetcars, only 186 are available for service, leaving a deficit of almost 10 vehicles in the morning rush hour. The TTC plans to refurbish 132 CLRVs, and perform scheduled mid-life maintenance on all of its ALRVs, however in the meantime the TTC has considered replacing streetcars on Bathurst Street and Kingston Road (routes 502, 503, and 511) with buses during the morning rush hour on a contingency basis, so that they can increase service on busier routes until new vehicles arrive.
The City of Toronto has committed one third of the necessary funds, according to the usual[citation needed] funding formula for capital projects, ⅓ municipal, ⅓ provincial and ⅓ federal. Federal transport minister John Baird was quoted in private telling the city that they could f*** off [sic], though later apologized while explaining that the Toronto request did not meet the timeline required for funds disbursed under the Canadian government's economic stimulus program.[30] While these words were later recanted, the federal government was unwilling to provide any money before the June 27, 2009 deadline approached to finalize the contract with Bombardier. Finally, Toronto City Council voted on June 26, 2009 to commit the other ⅓ of the funding by deferring other capital projects, such that the funding formula became ⅔ municipal and ⅓ provincial.[31]

[edit] List of past Toronto streetcars

Traffic cars
Product list and details
 Make/Model   Description   # of vehicles   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
Canadian Car and Foundry/Brill Peter Witt streetcar – Large with trailers streetcars 392 1921–1923 1963 retired
Canadian Car and Foundry/Ottawa Car Company Peter Witts – Small Witts streetcars 196 1921–1923 1965 retired; 1 refurbished for tours
St. Louis Car Company and Canadian Car and Foundry PCC streetcars streetcars total of 745 with 205 second-hand and 540 brand-new; some PCCs became work cars for the streetcar service and some to the subway 1938 1996 retired; 2 refurbished for tours
Work cars
Product list and details
 Make/Model   Description   Fleet size;   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
Birney Car – ex-Toronto Railway (retired) rail grinder 1 1931 1976 retired
St. Louis Car Company W30-W31 rail grinder 2 1976 1999 ex-PCC streetcar - retired. Now at the Halton County Radial Railway. W30 still operational, W31 has driving motors removed.
St. Louis Car Company W28 rail grinder 1 1931 1976 ex-TRC Preston car - retired
Toronto Railway C1 crane 1 1921  ? sold to Halton Radial Railway
W5 snow plow 1  ?  ?  ?
W16 dump car 1 1920s  ?
W26 sand car 1 1950 1967
S-30 snow sweeper 1 1947 1970 New York City's Third Avenue Railway System
Russell Car Company / S-31 snow sweeper 1 1947 1973 Built in 1920 as Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway P-601; to Third Avenue Railway System as 86 in 1935; to TTC as S-31 in 1947; preserved at Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport, Maine
S-33 snow sweeper 1 1947 1960s New York City's Third Avenue Railway System
Russell Car Company / S-36 snow sweeper 1 1947 1973 Built in 1920 as Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway P-607; to Third Avenue Railway System as 89 in 1935; to TTC as S-36 in 1947; preserved at Shore Line Trolley Museum, East Haven, Connecticut
Russell Car Company / S-37 snow sweeper 1 1948 1973 Built in 1920 for the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway; to Third Avenue Railway System 1935; to TTC as S-37 in 1947; preserved at Halton County Railway Museum
Russell Car Company / S-39 snow sweeper 1 1948 1973 Built in 1920 as Trenton & Mercer County 31; to Third Avenue Railway System as 82 in 1935; to TTC as S-39 in 1948; to Public Service of New Jersey as 5246 in 1973; now at Transport of New Jersey in Newark as 5246, semiactive in stub tracks at Newark terminal

[edit] Track gauge

Streetcar track reconstruction at Bathurst Street and Queen Street.
The tracks of Toronto's streetcars and subways (apart from the Scarborough RT) are built to the unique track gauge of 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm), 60 millimetres (2 3/8 in) wider than the usual standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in). In 1861, 'standard gauge' in North America was non-existent, although some railways had chosen what was to become standard. The reason for the choice of TTC gauge is unclear. One belief, sometimes quoted by the TTC themselves, is that the City of Toronto feared that the street railway franchise operator, first in 1861 the Toronto Street Railways, then in 1891 the Toronto Railway, and in 1921 the TTC, would allow the operation of steam locomotives and freight trains through city streets, as was common practice in Hamilton, Ontario (until the 1950s) and in many U.S. cities, such as New York, New York (New York Central), and in Syracuse, NY (Erie Railroad).
Standard gauge rails in the streets would have allowed this, but of course steam railway equipment could not follow the abrupt curves in the streetcar network. Opposition to freight operation in city streets precluded interchange even with adjacent radial lines even after the lines changed to TTC gauge. Electric railway freight cars could negotiate street curves, but still freight operations to downtown were not allowed until the final few years of radial operation by the TTC.
Some suggest the more practical reason is that early tracks were used to pull wagons smoothly in the days before paved roads, and that they fit a different gauge. The Williams Omnibus Bus Line did change the gauge of their buses in 1861 so as to do this.
The unique gauge has remained to this day, since converting all tracks and vehicles would be expensive and would lack any real benefit. Some proposals for the city's subway system involved using streetcars in the tunnels, and possibly having some routes run partially in tunnels and partially on city streets, so the same gauge was used, though the idea was ultimately dropped in the case of dedicated rapid-transit trains. The use of standard-gauge tracks on the Scarborough RT makes it impossible for there to be any track connection between it and the other lines, and so when RT vehicles need anything more than basic service (which is carried out in the RT's own McCowan Yard), they are carried by truck to the Greenwood subway yards.[32]
The new lines to be built as part of the Transit City project will be constructed to standard gauge. As the project is receiving a large part of its funding from Metrolinx, the Ontario provincial transit authority, it wants to ensure a degree of commonality with any other proposed tram/LRT projects within Ontario, ensuring a better price for purchasing vehicles.[32]

[edit] Properties

Track map of TTC network containing loops, stops, subway and GO Transit stations

[edit] Dedicated station

There is one standalone underground station in the network that exclusively serves streetcars, located in the tunnel shared by the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina routes:

[edit] Loops

A Peter Witt Car car decked out in holiday fare pauses in at McCaul Loop in 1975
Since all of Toronto's current streetcars are unidirectional, they require on- or off-street track loops in order to change direction.

[edit] Carhouses

Streetcars at the Roncesvalles Carhouse
Toronto's streetcars are housed and maintained at various carhouses or "streetcar barns":
Facility details
 Yard   Location   Year Open   Notes 
Hillcrest Complex Davenport Road and Bathurst Street 1924 former site of farm and later Toronto Driving Club track; services streetcars and buses, repair facilities
Roncesvalles Carhouse Queen Street West and Roncesvalles Avenue 1895; rebuilt 1921 built for the Toronto Railway; indoor and outdoor streetcar storage
Russell (Connaught) Carhouse Connaught Avenue and Queen Street East 1913 built for the Toronto Railway; indoor and outdoor streetcar storage
Inactive carhouses once part of the TTC's streetcar operations:
Facility details
 Yard   Location   Year Open   Year Closed   Notes 
Danforth Carhouse Danforth Avenue and Coxwell Avenue 1915 2002 built for the Toronto Civic Railways
Dundas Carhouse [2] Dundas Street West and Howard Park Avenue 1907 1936 storage for 60 cars; wye and runaround loop since disappeared and area re-developed
Eglinton Carhouse Eglinton Avenue West and Yonge Street 1922 2002; demolished
Lansdowne Carhouse Lansdowne Avenue and Paton Avenue 1911 1996; demolished 2003 Built for the Toronto Railway
St. Clair (Wychwood) Carhouse Wychwood south of St. Clair Avenue West 1913 1978 built for the Toronto Civic Railways
Source: The TTC's Active Carhouses
A new carhouse is to be constructed for housing and maintaining the new Bombardier Flexity Outlook vehicles; the existing facilities will not accommodate the differences in length and configuration of the different generations of vehicle. A preliminary report recommends a currently-vacant lot at the southeast corner of Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard.[33]
Facility details
 Yard   Location   Year To Open   Notes 
Ashbridge's Bay LRV Maintenance and Storage Facility Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard East - southeast corner TBD proposed carhouse for Flexity fleet (100 of the 204 cars)[34]

[edit] Operator training

A mockup of a CLRV is used to train new streetcar operators is located at Hillcrest. The training simulator consist of an operator cab, front steps and part of the front of a streetcar.
Operators also train with a real streetcar. Front and rear rollsigns on the vehicle will identify it as a training car.

[edit] See also

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