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The Toronto streetcar system comprises eleven streetcar (tram) routes in Torontomarker, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), the municipal public transit operator. Totaling 305.8 km in length, the network is generally concentrated 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 transit (LRT) 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.

Before the TTC came into operation in 1921, there were seven distinct transit systems in the city. There were no transfers allowed between them, and so the free transfer has always been a sensitive issue for the TTC. The goal of ease in changing routes has affected the design of the system.

There are underground connections between streetcars and the subway at Unionmarker, Spadinamarker, and St. Clair Westmarker stations, and streetcars enter St. Clairmarker, Bathurstmarker, Broadviewmarker, Dundas Westmarker, and Main Streetmarker 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 Parkmarker to Collegemarker 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.

History

Early history

Streetcars at Bay and Queen in 1923
From 1921 as the Toronto Transportation Commission, the TTC began as solely a streetcar operator, with the bulk of the routes acquired from the private Toronto Railway Company and merged with the publicly operated Toronto Civic Railways. In 1925, routes were operated on behalf of the Township of Yorkmarker (as Township of York Railway), but the TTC was contracted to operate them.

After World War II, in keeping with the trend in many other developed nations worldwide, the TTC began plans to eliminate all streetcar routes, in part because subway development was thought to eliminate the need for them. At the time of major curtailments in streetcar service in 1966 coinciding with the opening of the Bloor–Danforth subway, the TTC foresaw the end of streetcars by 1980. This policy of eliminating streetcar routes was dropped in 1972 in the face of widespread community opposition by citizens' groups who succeeded in persuading the TTC of the advantages of streetcars over buses on heavily traveled main routes. The fear amongst supporters of streetcar system was the eventual shift to bus based transit (see also Great American streetcar scandal).

The TTC then maintained most of their existing network, purchasing new custom-designed CLRV and ALRV streetcars. They also continued to rebuild and maintain the existing fleet of PCC streetcars until they were longer road worthy.

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.

Expansion period (1989-2000)

The TTC returned to building new streetcar routes in 1989. The first new line was a short one from Union Stationmarker, traveling underneath Bay Street and rising to a private centre median on Queen's Quay (along the edge of Lake Ontariomarker) to the foot of Spadina Avenue. This route was originally designated 604 Harbourfront, but was later renumbered 510 to fit with the numbering scheme of the other streetcar routes. This route was later lengthened northward along Spadina Avenue in 1997, continuing to travel in a private right-of-way in the centre of the street, and ending in an underground terminal at Spadina Stationmarker. This new streetcar service, renamed the 510 Spadina, 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 Exhibitionmarker grounds.

Scarborough RT

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

Current and future expansion (2007-)

Route 512 St. Clair is now being rebuilt to have a separated right-of-way similar to that of the route 510 on Spadina Avenue, to increase service reliability.

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 LRT lines that would provide rail transit to underserved suburban areas of the city. As of July 2008, environmental assessments are underway for LRTs on Sheppard Avenue Eastmarker 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.

Shortage of vehicles (2009)

As of January 2009, the TTC expected to announce a shortage of usable vehicles for revenue service for the first time. This is due to the prolonging of the process to replace Toronto's aging CLRV streetcars which require more frequent repairs, have shorter maintenance intervals, and some of which remain inoperable. In 1988, the TTC operated 300 vehicles (mix of PCC, CLRV and ALRV), however the fleet is limited to 186 usable vehicles (CLRV and ALRV), and 62 in the shop as of 2009. The commission is expected to place buses in revenue service during busy periods such as rush hours to either supplement streetcar service, or replace streetcar service on lower-volume routes. Earlier in 2008, Adam Giambrone had clarified a plan to replace some periods of service on routes 502/503 and 511 on Kingston Road and Bathurst Street in order to make up for a predicted shortage, but this was put off until recently because much of Route 512 St. Clair is currently operated with buses due to extended construction, leaving additional streetcars for use downtown, however a new plan has not been officially adopted by the commission.

Routes



The TTC operates 305.8 kilometres or 190 miles of streetcar tracks throughout Torontomarker.

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. The only exceptions today to this numbering scheme are the 301 Queen and 306 Carlton Blue Night Network routes, which correspond to the regular 501 and 506 routes; there were similarly a 312 St. Clair and a 304 King streetcar, but the St. Clair Blue Night service is now a bus route, while the King service was removed and partially replaced with extensions of other night bus 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 subway/RT routes (although these have no numbers in public use) instead of the other streetcars. In 1996 the TTC stopped trying to market the route as 'rapid transit' and changed the number to 510; the tracks were later extended in two directions to form the 510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront routes.

During times when streetcar service on all or a portion of a route has been replaced temporarily by buses (e.g., for track reconstruction), the replacement bus service is typically identified by the same route number as the corresponding streetcar line. Shorter-term replacement or supplementary shuttle bus service (e.g., due to a track blockage or short-term street closure) is usually marked simply as 'SPECIAL' on the bus destination sign.

Private rights-of-way

King & Yonge Streets
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 private 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 private 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 and former Long Branchmarker cars have operated on such a right-of-way along the Queensway between Humber and Sunnyside loops since 1957. More recently, private 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 stationmarker at Bay Street and Queens Quay.

The TTC is reinstating a separated right-of-way — removed between 1928 and 1935 — on St. Clair Avenue, from Yonge Street to just past Keele Street. 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 Stationmarker (Yonge St.) to Vaughan Road. The second phase started construction in the summer of 2007 from Vaughan Road to Caledonia Road. The third and final phase from Caledonia to Gunns Loop (just west of Keele St.) will be completed around 2009.

In 2008, the tracks on Fleet Street between Bathurst Streetmarker and the Exhibition loopmarker were converted to private ROW 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 lighthousemarker.

Current streetcar routes

There are currently 11 streetcar routes in Toronto:
# Name Length

(km)
Notes
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 Currently under reconstruction, building a reserved right-of-way similar to the 510 Spadina


Future expansion

The City of Toronto's and the TTC’s Transit City report released on March 16, 2007, proposes creating new Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines and Rights-of-Way (ROW) 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 Airportmarker to Kennedy Station, with underground operation from 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 Harborfront West LRT alignment)
The Ontario government has in its MoveOntario 2020 plan, proposed funding approximately 2/3 of the $5.5 billion of the seven Transit City lines, with the expectation that the federal government would fund the remaining 1/3.

Additional proposals include:
  • Extending 512 St. Clair to Jane subway stationmarker
  • A route eastward along Queen's Quay, into new developments on the port lands
  • 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 stationmarker, linking the Etobicoke-Finch West LRT and the Sheppard East LRT.


Abandoned streetcar routes

  • 507 Long Branch (1928–1995 – merged with 501 Queen in 1996)
  • 512L Earlscourt (1954–1976)
  • 521 King Exhibition (1980–2000)
  • 522 Dundas Exhibition (1980–1986), also operated for a single year in 1995
  • 604 Harbourfront LRT (1990–2000 – forms part of the present 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina routes)
  • Belt Line (1891–1923 – original and Tour Tram along Spadina and Sherbourne )
  • Bloor, including Danforth Tripper (1890–1966) (replaced by the Bloor–Danforth subway line)
  • Coxwell (1921–1966)
  • Dupont/Bay (single line 1926–1965)
  • Fort (1931–1966 merged with 511 Bathurst)
  • Harbord (1911–1966)
  • Oakwood (1922–1960)
  • Parliament (1910–1966); one small section forms part of the present 506 Carlton
  • Winchester (1910–1924)
  • Mount Pleasant (1954–1976)
  • Rogers Road (1922–1974)
  • Yonge (1873–1954) (replaced by the Yonge subway line)


Toronto Street Railway routes

  • St Lawrence Hall-Yorkville (1873–1891)
  • Yonge (1873–1891)
  • Queen (1873–1891)
  • Front (1873–1891)
  • Sherbourne (1873–1891)
  • Carlton (1873–1891)
  • St Lawrence Market-Woodbine (1873–1891)
  • Dovercourt-McCaul (1873–1891)
  • North Toronto-Union Station (1873–1891)
  • King (1873–1891)
  • Bloor (1873–1891)
  • Spadina (1873–1891)


Toronto Railway routes

  • 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)


Toronto Civic Railway routes

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


See also abandoned streetcar routes [124857]

Vehicles

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 Railwaymarker
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 1963 Numbered 2300-2678, 2900-3018 (even numbers only) 2580-2678 are Brills. Car 2424 and 2984 is at Halton County Radial Railwaymarker 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 / 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. 1 retained by TTC for tour service. 2 cars (2894 and 2786) are at Halton Radial Railway in Rockwood, Ontario.
St. Louis Car Company / Canada Car and Foundry President's Conference Car Air Electric cars class A1-A5 street car 300 1938 1968 1 car (4000) at Halton County Radial Railwaymarker in Rockwood, Ontario.
St. Louis Car Company/Pullman Standard President's Conference Car street car 445 1947 and on 1996 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 rebuilds2 St. Louis Car Company PCC streetcar A-8 (used only for private charters and parades; 4500 and 4549); St. Louis Car Company W30-W31 Rail Grinder - ex-PCC streetcar at the HCRY.
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 1977–1982? 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 1983–1988 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.


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 1970s they had operated a larger fleet of PCCs than any other agency in the world. The early cars were retired and sent to Egyptmarker, and some newer cars were acquired from U.S. operators abandoning streetcar service, including Kansas Citymarker, Birminghammarker, and Clevelandmarker. By the 1970s, the TTC sought to abandon the service as well, but 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 the mid-1990s, are retained for special events such as parades, private charters and special revenue runs, such as holidays in the summer.

Most PCCs were scrapped with a few becoming restaurants, housing and other uses. A few cars were purchased by railway museums:

Relocation # of cars TTC fleet # PCC Class Builder Built for Current use
Kenosha Electric Railway 5 4610 (originally 4541), 4606, 4609, 4615 and 4616 A15 – formerly ex-A8 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC museum pieces with some as active cars
San Francisco Municipal Railway 1 N/A – Twin City Rapid Transit car repainted as TTC car 1074 (this number never existed and has 2 trolley poles) and missing bull light copy of A8 St. Louis Car Company – rebuilt by Brookville Locomotive Company Twin City Rapid Transit restored/operational, but not in active service
San Francisco Municipal Railway 11 4752, 4754, 4757, 4758, 4763, 4764, 4769, 4770, 4771, 4775 and 4777 A-14 St. Louis Car Company Kansas City Public Service Company operated ex-TTC PCCs during the 1970s – all retired
Halton County Radial Railwaymarker 9 4000, 4386, 4426, 4600, 4611, 4618, 4631(W30), 4668(W31), 4684 A1, A6, A7, A15(3), A12 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry / 4684 by St. Louis Car Company TTC, except 4631, 4668, and 4684 - Cleveland Railway some restored/operational cars – some waiting for restoration. 4618 used as an ice cream shop in the museum.
SuperBurger in Primrose, Ontario 1 4341 A6 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC non-operational diner car
The Boutique – Thornhill, Ontariomarker 1 4716 A13 St. Louis Car Co Birmingham Transit Company non-operational/some damage; former office space for Shylow Farms
Perris, California 1 4460 A7 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC privately owned – static display
Perkinsfield, Ontariomarker 1 4524 A8 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC non-operational car attached to building
A Streetcar Named Dessert, Springville, New Yorkmarker 1 4434 A7 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC non-operational car used as dessert restaurant
La Pentola Ristorante, North York, Ontario 1 4774 A14 body by St. Louis Car Company Kansas City Public Service Company static car; removed from restaurant – fate unknown
Langford Restaurant, Langford, Ontario 2 4427, 4560 A7 and A9 St. Louis Car Company TTC, Cincinnati Transit Commission static car part of restaurant
Pickering, Ontariomarker 1 4674 A11 Pullman-Standard Car Company Cleveland Railway privately owned – ?
Bombardier Transportation- Thunder Baymarker, Ontariomarker 2 4359, 4456 A6 and A7 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC The 2 Cars were on display on tracks outside the plant from the early 1990s until 2007 when they were relocated to behind the facility and ultimately removed and sold for scrap
Edmonton Radial Railway 3 4349, 4367, 4612 A6 (2), A15 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC restored/operational museum roster cars
Static Outdoor Exhibit in Kansas City, MO (moved from Western Railway Museum) 1 4752 A14 St. Louis Car Company Kansas City Public Service Company unrestored car/heavily damaged; served as SF Muni 1190
Tahoe Airport Generic Railway, Lake Tahoe, Californiamarker 2 4404 and 4472 A7 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC stored for later use for future line in area
Valley Metro, Phoenix, Arizonamarker 1 4607 A15 St. Louis Car Company Cleveland Railway static outdoor exhibit
Old Pueblo Trolley – Tucson, Arizonamarker 1 4608 A15 St. Louis Car Company Cleveland Railway static museum piece
Colorado Springs & Interurban Railway, Colorado Springs, Coloradomarker 1 4478 A7 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC static museum piece
Gomaco Trolley Company, Ida Grove, Iowamarker 1 4476 A7 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC ?
McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, Dallas, Texasmarker 2 4613 and 4614 A15 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC static restored car
East Troy Railroad Museum, East Troy, Wisconsinmarker 1 4617 A15 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC static car
Michigan Transit Museum, Mount Clemens, Michiganmarker 1 4601 A15 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC static outdoor display
Northern Ohio Railway MuseummarkerChippewa Lake, Ohiomarker 2 4655 and 4656 A11 Pullman-Standard Car Company Cleveland Railway unrestored/heavily damaged
Trolleyville USA, Olmsted Falls, Ohiomarker (sold to National Capital Trolley Museummarker in 2009) 1 4602 A15 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC restored and operational car
Buckeye Lake, Ohiomarker 2 4662 and 4663 A12 Pullman-Standard Car Company Cleveland Railway unrestored/heavily damaged and stored outdoors
Vintage Electric Streetcar Company, Windber, Pennsylvaniamarker 1 4524 A8 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC ?
National Capital Trolley Museummarker, Silver Spring, Marylandmarker 1 4603 A15 body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC operational
Alexandria, Egyptmarker N/A N/A N/A body by St. Louis Car Company/assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry TTC sent to Egypt from 1966 to 1968; all retired by 1984


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 Bostonmarker and Philadelphiamarker, but this strategy proved unsuccessful as the German designs became widely used for the new paradigm of light rail in North America.

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 1987 – 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, or SIG) and the rest by Hawker Siddeley Canada Limited in Thunder Baymarker, 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 a driving 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 not very long compared to some other modern trams, which may have as many as four articulations. This has much to do with the fact that the TTC network is largely a "traditional" streetcar network dating back to as early as the 19th century, and not a modern LRT system dismantled decades ago then rebuilt to modern standards more recently. Loops and trolley-pole infrastructure was already in place when the vehicles were built, and the requirement for compatibility with a large fleet of existing vehicles, meant that the CLRVs and ALRVs were built to fit a traditional system rather than a new LRT system. The TTC has never seen any conclusive reason to upgrade the infrastructure, but the option to buy bidirectional and pantograph trains has been included for the next generation of streetcars.

ALRV at Neville Loop.


According to the TTC, 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.

Unlike the TTC's earlier PCC and Peter Witt streetcars, the current models are never run in two-unit trains, 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 is long enough to provide sufficient capacity on today's busiest routes. Notably, the CLRVs originally came with couplers, but these were removed owing to safety concerns.

Next-generation streetcar

As the original CLRVs will 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 the end of their lives. 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 trams 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, and displays at Finchmarker and Scarborough Centremarker stations, the Albion Centre, and Dundas Squaremarker. Mock-ups of the Bombardier Flexity Swift (as used in Minneapolis) and Siemens Combino Plus were on display at the 2007 Canadian National Exhibitionmarker in front of the Direct Energy Centremarker.

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 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 streetcars, with the first prototypes to be delivered in 2010. 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, Škoda, 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. Siemens gained a great deal of attention for their Combino Plus in 2007, with newspaper advertisements and a web site (now defunct) at www.combinoplus.ca, but eventually decided that ‘it was in our better interest not to bid’; ultimately, only Bombardier and TRAM Power submitted bids.

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, promoting it with a web site called ‘The Streetcar Redefined’. TRAM Power's product is the City Class Tram, a prototype of which was being tested on the Blackpool tramway until it caught fire on January 24, 2007.

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. 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 Bombardier's Flexity Outlook for the upgrade, 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 streetcars from any level of government. 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, as per the usual 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*** [censorship preserved] off, though later apologized while explaining that the Toronto request did not meet the timeline required for funds dispersed under the Canadian government's economic stimulus program. While these words were later recanted, the federal government was unwilling to provide any money before the June 27 deadline approached to finalize the contract with Bombardier. Finally, Toronto City Council voted on June 26 to commit the other ⅓ of the funding by deferring other capital projects, such that the funding formula became ⅔ municipal and ⅓ provincial.

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 Railwaymarker. 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


Track gauge

tracks of Toronto's streetcars and subways (apart from the Scarborough RT) are built to the unique track gauge of , 60 millimetres (2 3/8 in) wider than the usual standard gauge of . 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.

Properties

Loops

Since all of Toronto's current streetcars are unidirectional, they require on- or off-street track loop in order to change direction.

The following loops are or have been used by the TTC (the symbol † indicates those no longer used by streetcars or those disposed of):

  • Avon Loop† (Weston Road and Rogers Road) [124858]
  • Bathurst Station Loopmarker
  • Bedford† (Bedford and Bloor)
  • Bicknell Loop† (Rogers Road and Bicknell Avenue) - now belongs to the City of Toronto [124859]
  • Bingham Loop (Kingston Road and Victoria Park)[124860]
  • Birchmount Loop† (Birchmount and Kingston) [124861]
  • Broadview Station Loopmarker
  • Caledonia Loop† (St Clair and Station St)
  • Charlotte (King and Spadina) [124862]
  • Christie Loop† (Dupont and Christie)
  • College Loop (College, Dundas and Lansdowne)
  • Danforth Loop† (Danforth and Coxwell, now buses only part of Coxwell Stationmarker)
  • Dundas West Station Loopmarker
  • Dufferin Loop
  • Earlscourt Loop (Lansdowne and St Clair)
  • Eglinton Loop†: Eglinton and Mount Pleasant - later trolley bus loop, now used only by buses
  • Erindale Loop Broadview Stationmarker
  • Exhibition Loopmarker
  • Ferry Loop† (Bay Street and Lakeshore Blvd West)
  • Fleet Loop (Fleet Street and Lakeshore Blvd West) [124863]
  • Gilbert Loop† (Eglinton & Caledonia)
  • Gunn's Loop (Keele and St Clair) - formerly Maybank
  • High Park Loopmarker (Parkside and Howard Park)
  • Hillside Wye† -Hillside and Lakeshore [124864]
  • Humber Loop [124865]
  • Hillcrest Loop
  • Jane Loop†
  • Keele Loop† (Keele Street north of St Clair Avenue West)
  • Kipling Loop (Kipling Avenue north Lakeshore Boulevard West, west side)
  • Long Branch Loop [124866]
  • Lawton Loop† (Yonge and St Clair)
  • Lipton Loop† (Lipton and Pape, now buses only part of Pape station)
  • Luttrell Loop† (Danforth just west of Victoria Park)
  • Main Street Stationmarker Loop
  • McCaul Loop (McCaul and Queen)
  • Mutual Loop† (Mutual and Queen) [124867]
  • Moore Park Loop† (Mount Pleasant and St Clair) - now parkette
  • Neville Park Loop (Queen just west of Victoria Park) [124868]
  • New Toronto Loop - now Kipling Loop
  • Oakwood Loop (Oakwood and St Clair)
  • Parliament Loop† (King)
  • Preston Loop†
  • Queen-Coxwell Loop
  • Queen's Quay Loop
  • Roncesvalles Carhouse
  • Royce Loop† (Lansdowne and Dupont)
  • Russell Carhouse Loop
  • Runnymede Loop† (Dundas and Runnymede)
  • Spadina Loopmarker
  • St Clair Carhouse Loop†
  • St. Clair Station Loopmarker
  • St. Clair West Station Loopmarker
  • St Clarens Loop† (St Clarens and Davenport)
  • Sunnyside Loop (Sunnyside and Roncesvalles)
  • Townsley Loop† (St Clair and Old Weston) [124869]
  • Terauley† (Bay)
  • City Hallmarker† (Bay and Albert)
  • Union Station Loopmarker
  • Viaduct Loopmarker† (Bloor and Parliament)
  • Vincent Loop† (across from Dundas West Stationmarker)
  • Wolseley Loop (Queen and Bathurst)
  • Woodbine Loop (Kingston Road and Queen, across from former Woodbine Racetrackmarker)
  • Wychwood Carhouse†


Source: Toronto Streetcar Track Map

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 Streetmarker 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 Avenuemarker and Coxwell Avenue 1915 2002 built for the Toronto Civic Railways
Dundas Carhouse [124870] Dundas Streetmarker West and Howard Park Avenue 1907 1936 storage for 60 cars; wye and runaround loop since disappeared and area re-developed
Eglinton Carhouse Eglinton Avenuemarker 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


Lost carhouse

Facility details
 Yard   Location   Year To Open   Notes 
Runnymede Carhouse Runnymede Road 1926 proposed carhouse / never developed and abandoned in 1960s


Source: The TTC's Active Carhouses

During the construction of the St. Clair route, streetcars are being parked at three temporary locations:



A new carhouse is to be constructed for housing and maintaining the new Bombardier Flexity Outlook vehicles; the existing facilities will not serve due to 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.

Facilities

The TTC vehicles are serviced and stored at various location throughout the city:

Facility details
 Shop Name   Year Open   Location 
D.W. Harvey Shops 1924 Hillcrest Complex
W.E.P. Duncan Shops 1985 Hillcrest Complex
Greenwood Shops 1966 Greenwood Yard
Roncesvalles Yard 1895 At Intersection of Roncesvalles, Queen and The Queensway


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.

Trivia

  • The TTC still has a blacksmith employed to make specialized parts for the overhead wires used by the streetcars.
  • The lights, or bullseyes, over the route sign on today's CLRV and ALRV, are holdovers of the past streetcars in Toronto. Before lighted route signs, differently coloured glass lenses were used in various patterns to indicate the route the car was running. The new streetcars may have that feature.
  • On some tight curves on older portions of the system, water is piped onto the tracks to help reduce the noise caused by the wheels. Modern flange greasers are being used on newly rebuilt portions.
  • Syenite sand is dropped onto the rails ahead of the wheels for extra traction in acceleration and braking. A passenger might notice spilled sand on the streetcar floors near the front of the car; this is where the hoppers are loaded.
  • Eglinton Westmarker station features an artwork called Summertime Streetcar by Gerald Zeldinwith, which consists of two enamel murals depicting PCC streetcars facing each other, although these streetcars never served this station.


See also





References

  1. Toronto Star. 15 July 2007. The great Toronto streetcar debate. Retrieved on 2009-04-29
  2. TTC to run extra buses on some streetcar routes - cbc.ca, December 30, 2008
  3. A seat on the Queen streetcar? Don't make me laugh - National Post, February 27, 2008
  4. Route 512 - The St Clair Streetcar
  5. [1]
  6. http://www.toronto.ca/involved/projects/lrv/pdf/2009-09-17_plac_presentation_new_lrv_fleet.pdf
  7. http://torontoist.com/2009/09/rocket_talk_how_come_streetcars_and_subway_cars_squeak.php
  8. http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/archive/2008/09/12/ttc-streetcars-it-s-time-to-rail-against-change.aspx


External links




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