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Ontario Line (formerly Downtown Relief Line)


Orion9131
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15 hours ago, 81-717 said:

So the line will be built to light metro standards, instead of heavy rail? If the trains are going to be similar to the REM, that should qualify as heavy rail (not sure why the REM is classified as a light metro let alone light rail, because the rolling stock design looks very much like heavy rail).

 

It's relative.

 

The term "light metro" is a relatively new one, and is used to describe any of a number of systems whereby smaller (and generally lighter) trains are run in a similar environment and configuration as a more traditional subway/metro. By virtue of this, the claim is that the guideway, stations, etc. can all be built to a lighter and less restrictive - and therefore cheaper - standard.

 

So yes, the Ontario Line, REM, and even the Scarborough RT are all considered "light metro".

 

Where it gets really funny is that the proponents of such systems claim that because of the "higher frequencies" which the systems are capable of achieving that they are still capable of handling the same ridership and capacities as a traditional subway/metro system.  At this point, there is scant evidence that this is possible, and it also raises other questions about rider safety when that time comes.

 

15 hours ago, 81-717 said:

Weren't all subway cars up to the T1s delivered on flatcars as well?

Yes.

15 hours ago, 81-717 said:

I can see why a tram/LRV can't be towed in a mainline consist, but I thought that a subway car (much like a commuter railcar) should be able to handle it without issue (since they do it in Europe all the time).

You know that this isn't Europe, right? The rules around equipment are far, far different here. Subway cars are not built to heavy rail standards.

 

With the exception of the very short jaunt that many of the NYC subway cars sometimes take on the South Brooklyn Railway, I don't know of any North American subway cars that have been delivered on their own wheels in a freight train since the State-of-the-Art Car in the early 1970s.

 

15 hours ago, 81-717 said:

Is the mainline track connection going to be built regardless of whether the cars get shipped by rail or by truck?

It's unclear. It's in the EA - but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will build it that way.


Dan

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4 hours ago, smallspy said:

So yes, the Ontario Line, REM, and even the Scarborough RT are all considered "light metro".

Well, out of those 3, the SRT is the most obvious example of a light metro (more obvious than the other 2).

4 hours ago, smallspy said:

Where it gets really funny is that the proponents of such systems claim that because of the "higher frequencies" which the systems are capable of achieving that they are still capable of handling the same ridership and capacities as a traditional subway/metro system.  At this point, there is scant evidence that this is possible, and it also raises other questions about rider safety when that time comes.

How much higher can the frequencies get though? With ATC, the frequency of heavy rail subways is expected to be increased to once every 90 seconds. 4-car trains on the OL would need to run with headways of less than 60 seconds to match the capacity of 6-car trains on lines 1/2 running with headways of 90 seconds.

4 hours ago, smallspy said:

You know that this isn't Europe, right? The rules around equipment are far, far different here. Subway cars are not built to heavy rail standards.

Yes I know, but I expected the standards to which any given type of vehicle is built to be fairly consistent worldwide.

4 hours ago, smallspy said:

With the exception of the very short jaunt that many of the NYC subway cars sometimes take on the South Brooklyn Railway, I don't know of any North American subway cars that have been delivered on their own wheels in a freight train since the State-of-the-Art Car in the early 1970s.

Did the State-of-the-Art Car delivery by rail prove that the practice was not a good idea, or were those particular cars just built differently to allow it?

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27 minutes ago, 81-717 said:

Yes I know, but I expected the standards to which any given type of vehicle is built to be fairly consistent worldwide.

There is a staggering host of differences between rolling stock in Europe vs. here. North American regulations generally require a vehicle to be overbuilt, so that in the event of a collision, the people inside are protected, while the EU approach generally favours much lighter rolling stock, with regulations such as more advanced signalling systems, grade separation, etc doing the heavy lifting in ensuring safety.

It is worth noting that very few things in this world are consistent, unless someone proposes the idea of standardizing it on an international level, such as the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. To the best of my knowledge, nothing of the sort has ever been attempted for railways, and I'm not sure you'd get anywhere even if you tried. A toy operation like the SRT won't require rolling stock built to such heavy duty standards as, say, the New York Subway, with its 24/7 hours of operation and expanded lifespans (over 40 years seems to be the de facto standard, as cars age much faster than their replacements can be financed and sourced).

I repeatedly fail to understand what exactly would be gained by shipping subway cars directly on the rail network vs. on flatbeds. About the only benefit that I can see is that you wouldn't have to source a flat truck (which doesn't seem to be a very difficult task). Everything else about the delivery procedure should, broadly speaking, remain the same: you need something to push the delivered vehicles into the consist, you need something to pull it onto the property when it arrives, and it has to undergo inspection and testing before it can be allowed to move under its own power. You also have to deal with potential problems like incompatible couplers and incompatible gauges. I have my suspicions that perhaps loading gauges may be the reason for this model railway logic operation in various parts of Europe, especially the UK which has an extremely restrictive loading gauge and loading a Tube car onto a flatbed may be in excess of the permitted height clearances. North America has, as a general rule, much freer loading gauges which allows them to comfortably load a vehicle onto a flat car and ensure it is not subjected to the forces of heavy rail operation as it goes.

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4 hours ago, 81-717 said:

Well, out of those 3, the SRT is the most obvious example of a light metro (more obvious than the other 2).

No, they all are obvious examples.

 

None of them can reach the ultimate capacity/throughput of a traditional subway/metro without some funny games. That's the whole point.

 

4 hours ago, 81-717 said:

How much higher can the frequencies get though? With ATC, the frequency of heavy rail subways is expected to be increased to once every 90 seconds. 4-car trains on the OL would need to run with headways of less than 60 seconds to match the capacity of 6-car trains on lines 1/2 running with headways of 90 seconds.

90 second headways is the projected minimum of just about all of the "light metros" being designed and built today. To get lower than that requires some seriously fancy tricks, such as branching or loops at the ends.

 

And no, the irony is not lost on me that there are a couple of more traditional lines operating at that frequency, either. For the record, those same fancy tricks are also applicable to them as well.

 

4 hours ago, 81-717 said:

Yes I know, but I expected the standards to which any given type of vehicle is built to be fairly consistent worldwide.

Why would you assume that?

 

North America's railway network has come to its ultimate form through almost 200 years of use and change. Oddly enough, so has European's railway network, but in a vastly different environment, both operating, regulatory and even geo-policitcal.

 

4 hours ago, 81-717 said:

Did the State-of-the-Art Car delivery by rail prove that the practice was not a good idea, or were those particular cars just built differently to allow it?

I'm not clear, to be honest. It is certainly possible that it was built to a higher standard in order to operate on a host of vastly different systems with differing standards. But since then, it just isn't done anymore. I'm sure the freight railways are more than happy about that, too.

 

Dan

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7 hours ago, 81-717 said:

How much higher can the frequencies get though? With ATC, the frequency of heavy rail subways is expected to be increased to once every 90 seconds. 4-car trains on the OL would need to run with headways of less than 60 seconds to match the capacity of 6-car trains on lines 1/2 running with headways of 90 seconds.

With ATC enabled on its entire line, Line 1's rush hour frequency will still not go to 90s. I don't know where you got that number.

They said their upper limit is 32 trains per hour and that's really really stretching it. That works out to slightly less than a 2min frequency trains.

Hence, the Ontario Line will not need to run 60s frequency to match Line 1 since Line 1 won't be able to run at 90s frequency anyway.

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On 11/19/2022 at 1:50 PM, T3G said:

There is a staggering host of differences between rolling stock in Europe vs. here. North American regulations generally require a vehicle to be overbuilt, so that in the event of a collision, the people inside are protected, while the EU approach generally favours much lighter rolling stock, with regulations such as more advanced signalling systems, grade separation, etc doing the heavy lifting in ensuring safety.

If North American subways are overbuilt compared to European ones, they should be able to withstand mainline rail operation better than their European counterparts, no?

On 11/19/2022 at 1:50 PM, T3G said:

A toy operation like the SRT won't require rolling stock built to such heavy duty standards as, say, the New York Subway

Too bad that instead of 1 "toy operation" (the SRT), we're going to have 3 more (line 5/6 and apparently the OL as well).

On 11/19/2022 at 1:50 PM, T3G said:

You also have to deal with potential problems like incompatible couplers and incompatible gauges.

Incompatible couplers are a solvable issue (just use an adapter), and having the same track gauge would be a prerequisite.

On 11/19/2022 at 5:30 PM, smallspy said:

No, they all are obvious examples.

None of them can reach the ultimate capacity/throughput of a traditional subway/metro without some funny games. That's the whole point.

Well, considering that the REM cars are just over 60' long and almost 3m wide, that makes them about the same size & capacity as New York's B-division cars (and quite a bit bigger than the A-division cars), both of which are unambiguously heavy rail. Maybe the reason it's considered a light metro is because the anticipated ridership requires trains only 2–4 cars long.

On 11/19/2022 at 9:10 PM, Orion V said:

With ATC enabled on its entire line, Line 1's rush hour frequency will still not go to 90s. I don't know where you got that number.

If I remember correctly, that was the theoretical minimum headway with ATC. Of course, that's only on paper, in reality is a different story.

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On 11/19/2022 at 9:10 PM, Orion V said:

With ATC enabled on its entire line, Line 1's rush hour frequency will still not go to 90s. I don't know where you got that number.

In its current configuration, that is correct. The fixed plant won't allow lower than about 110-ish seconds between trains over the whole length of the line. The primary limiting factor to this is the design of the terminals - specifically the length and geometry of the crossovers.

 

Of course, this isn't helped by the crowding situations that we had at Bloor-Yonge and a number of the others stations further down the line prior to COVID. Which just goes to show, once you get down to a lower headway/higher frequency, the fixed plant and signal system are just one (small) part of the whole equation.

 

On 11/19/2022 at 9:10 PM, Orion V said:

They said their upper limit is 32 trains per hour and that's really really stretching it. That works out to slightly less than a 2min frequency trains.

So, this is where it gets complicated.

 

The maximum sustained frequency of the line, end-to-end, in its current configuration is about 32 trains/hour, yes.

 

But by inserting trains into the line from a variety of different locations, 40 trains/hour are possible over short bursts. Very, very short bursts. In terms of the fixed plant, it's limited to where trains can be stashed to be brought into service/turned/pulled from service. And doing that without affecting the opposite flow of traffic. And in Toronto, there aren't many places to do that efficiently, outside of Davisville Yard in the mornings.

 

But again, then the problem becomes everything else around the fixed plant. Do we have enough trains for that? (No.) Does Bloor-Yonge bottleneck everything? (Yes.) Is there enough capacity at the other downtown stations for that many people? (No.) Is there enough power for all of those trains? (No, I think.)

 

On 11/19/2022 at 9:10 PM, Orion V said:

Hence, the Ontario Line will not need to run 60s frequency to match Line 1 since Line 1 won't be able to run at 90s frequency anyway.

For the record, no one seems to know if 60 trains/hour (60 second frequencies) are even possible. 40 trains/hour (90 seconds) sustained is about as good as anyone has been able to achieve, and even that is reliant on absolute perfection.

 

On 11/20/2022 at 12:30 AM, 81-717 said:

If North American subways are overbuilt compared to European ones, they should be able to withstand mainline rail operation better than their European counterparts, no?

No one said anything about the subways being overbuilt. To be honest, the subway cars are probably the equipment that is most likely to be similar in specs across the continents, because in almost every situation their operating sphere is the same. (High frequencies, identical (or nearly so) equipment, independent signalling, complete separation and operation from other modes.)

 

On 11/20/2022 at 12:30 AM, 81-717 said:

Incompatible couplers are a solvable issue (just use an adapter), and having the same track gauge would be a prerequisite.

Couplers are the smallest part of the issue. Brakes are a far bigger issue, and most subways around the world use braking that is vastly different - and thus incompatible - than mainline trains around the planet.

And it's not just track gauge - structure gauge can be an issue as well in some places, especially England.

 

On 11/20/2022 at 12:30 AM, 81-717 said:

Well, considering that the REM cars are just over 60' long and almost 3m wide, that makes them about the same size & capacity as New York's B-division cars (and quite a bit bigger than the A-division cars), both of which are unambiguously heavy rail. Maybe the reason it's considered a light metro is because the anticipated ridership requires trains only 2–4 cars long.

It's not just the length, but also the usage case. You hit it on the head with the train lengths - with the exception of NYC's shuttles, their trains are frequently 8 to 11 cars long. The REM won't operate any longer than 4 cars.

 

But yet, the same(-ish) equipment will be used in Paris in trains 6-cars long - longer than the trains operating on some of their metro lines.

 

So you can also see why a lot of this whole thing about "light metro" is frankly a bunch of marketing wank.

 

Dan

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10 hours ago, raptorjays said:

Metrolinx is being douchebag again..

Why are they trying to get rid of heritage site??

While I don’t agree with metrolinx’s tactics, clearing trees and fencing from a corner of a large property and total site destruction are not the same thing.

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4 hours ago, GTAmissions1 said:

A very significant cost overrun from $10.9 billion dollars to $19 billion dollars currently. Or just over $1 billion dollars a kilometre. 

https://globalnews.ca/news/9298381/estimated-cost-ford-government-ontario-line-balloons/

 

 

not surprising given the massive inflation of all materials in the market... just goes to show that the fetish with subway tunnels has reached an unaffordable peak

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2 hours ago, Ber said:

not surprising given the massive inflation of all materials in the market... just goes to show that the fetish with subway tunnels has reached an unaffordable peak

Especially they still have to award the two remaining contracts for the North section.

  • Ontario Line North: Pape tunnels and underground stations including underpinning of Line 2
  • Ontario Line North: Elevated guideway and stations (DVP to Ontario Science Centre Station)

I don't think the Ford government will abandon the commitment even if it goes past $20 billion dollars. Even if the price for construction increases, there is way too much work that has already been awarded and planned. 

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6 hours ago, Ber said:

not surprising given the massive inflation of all materials in the market... just goes to show that the fetish with subway tunnels has reached an unaffordable peak

So, people will ride on trains made of good intentions then?

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1 hour ago, smallspy said:

Only if they're powered by unicorn farts and pixie dust.

 

Dan

Sounds like a helluva party.

31 minutes ago, Ed T. said:

Swan boats will soon be floating down the Don River as an alternative.

Ooh. I know a local swan boat expert.

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