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CLRV4037
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This is going to be a long ass rant post but there's a lot wrong with the streetcar system and frankly I'm fed up. Complaints seem to fall on deaf ears. It's terribly sick and the people in charge would give Metrolinx people a run for their money as bottom-feeding public servants.

The last time I was here a few years ago I was mad about the TTC standard procedure of slapping slow orders on problem areas and then walking away.

Big shock shortly after that one of the intersections where maintenance had been deferred over and over again (KQQR) had a broken rail damage two dozen new streetcars and forced the TTC to steal 90 buses from elsewhere until they could find out where they screwed up.

I wasn't using TTC much after 2020 but with the pandemic "over" I have to take the streetcar downtown a couple times a week and I'm disappointed and even more angry but not surprised things are even worse now than before.

Jesus Christ is the stench of failure everywhere. The first and only line in the description of duties for Toronto streetcar system ops and management must be to sabotage the system whenever and wherever possible, and if not possible then find a way to make it possible.

I was already facepalming in disbelief when they rebuilt multiple intersections and neglected to spec in the curves for improved operations. This is something that people in the office simply forgot!!!

Last month they shut a portion of Queen between Greenwood and Broadview for an entire weekend to fix and patch up slow order areas but for some reason they didn't fix all of the problem spots and left some as is. What another fine half assed job!

Over here I'm still scracthing my head wondering why the overhead system conversion has dragged on. It's like 6 years behind schedule and still unfinished.

Queen was shut down for like 6 months in 2021 (or was it longer?) and they couldn't convert the junctions downtown. I saw them doing main line intersections downtown in the middle of weekdays and holding up like 4 lines before!! No streetcars for months and it still takes them the better part of a year!!!

For what reason now do they have to shutdown Kingston Road to string wires up?? The route runs for less than half the day and only on weekdays?!?!

I wonder how many delays, diversions, and line shutdowns they had to make over the last 6 years because of pantograph oops taking down wire which wouldn't have been an issue if they had followed through in a timely manner.

Now I wanna talk about the design of the King transit mall. It irritates the hell out of me because they didn't take in any lessons learned on Spadina. Anyone who has used Spadina for even one millisecond knew the far side stops were going to be trouble. Make a stop only long enough to fit one streetcar means only one streetcar through per light cycle. Have fun when you have 503/504A/504B/508 sharing track. It's a mini man-made disaster when 501 is on diversion.

When I saw them move the platforms 30m down the road at Yonge and University I thought someone at HQ finally grew a brain!! Make a big platform large enough for two cars and load both simultaneous? LOOOOL NO. That's too efficient! They kept the same setup that only allows one car to load at any time but mercy some operators are smarter than their bosses and open the doors if they're stuck behind another car.

Another new wrinkle I see now is out of service cars deadheading at the start and end of their runs no matter what time of day. These runs used to be useful especially on weekends when service isn't as frequent. WTF is up with this? Not having these available to use on weekends suck with how normally erratic their service is.

I can't even say it's scheduled to be that way because looks 100% random!! Over a couple of weekends I watched the same 2 early Saturday St. Clair cars leave Leslie and sometimes the WB Keele run was in service and the EB Yonge run was out of service. The very next week it was reversed with the WB out of service but EB run in service. But I saw every combination. What the hell is going on? Do they play rock paper scissors at the yard, loser has to pick up customers?

And short turns?? Rick Leary is a liar. I've been booted off many streetcars that have been short turned. Streetcars that Nextbus said were in service and arriving in minutes turned out to be not in service and they were being deadheaded and possibly short turned. (See above point) The most memorable time it happened to me on King when Nextbus claimed the next two 503 streetcars were arriving in 5 and 12 minutes but it was really 20 damn minutes later because the first two were deadheading and trying to rush and get ahead of 504 cars.

And as if they needed to make more problems, some time in late 2020 I think I noticed the doors on the new streetcars were closing more slowly than before. Like dwell times weren't long enough??? Why was this done?? Was service moving a little too fast for your padded schedules, Richard?

It's not even the worst of it. The god damn speed restrictions!!! They put some 15 km/h speed restriction on Queens Quay back then because people are damned stupid and TTC thinks it's their responsibility to save idiots from Darwin. Let's make private right of way operation even slower than mixed traffic. That will get people out of their cars!

Ruh oh now those restrictions are everywhere!!! But it's not enough!! They brought back the rule that forbids more than one streetcar in an intersection. Isn't it lovely when your $5,000,000 streetcars sit idle for 5 seconds at every junction while the drivers decide who gets to go first and who gets to relax for another 15 seconds? Then throw in the cherry on top, the stop and look to make sure our trash switch switching tech didn't fail policy.

King and Church is the best place where you can see all of this lunacy play out. Far side stops + slowly closing doors + slow order for falling apart infrastructure/general operations + only 1 streetcar at a time policy + stop and go 3 times for westbound streetcars.

Stop two times for 2 switches, and a third time if there's an approaching eastbound streetcar that will beat you to the punch and enter the junction first. If I'm going across downtown it's possible to lose several minutes at Church, Spadina, and even York, you name it. My blood boils each time I'm in a streetcar that sits there through an extra red cycle because it had to wait 20 seconds for an opposite direction streetcar to enter and clear the junction.

It's even more disturbing that I noticed sometimes ops will slow down and stop and allow an approaching streetcar to enter and leave before going... even at intersections with no special work (e.g. Jarvis). A few weeks ago I saw a sign at King and Parliament warning drivers to go through only at 10 km/h. Through a damn trailing switch!!! These ******* stupid rules are ridiculous.

The rider experience is complete trash. It shouldn't be like this. I'm not expecting them to put a man on Mars. I just want the people running the show to not be completely incompetent morons who wouldn't know their own ass from their face. I want people running the streetcar system who don't hate the streetcar system. It's not that hard. It's not too much to ask.

I didn't mean to write a 1000 word essay but jeez a lot of people at the TTC deserve their rotting mouldy Davisville office. They should be locked in there forced to use the streetcar system 24/7 and not allowed to leave until they stop sabotaging and undermining the thing they're supposed to be looking after.

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Well that was quite the rant.

All i'll say here on the topic is that TTC operations are screwed up system wide (bus, streetcar, and subway) and the inept fool of a CEO Rick Leary has jacked up things severely. Streetcar operations in the city is a laughing joke, and I often tell people now to only take the streetcar if you want to get to your destination late because that's all they're really good for these days. The amount of slow orders, stop and proceeds, slowing down at signalized intersections, special operations when 2 streetcars meet at an intersection, etc. arent helping anyone and are just making commutes unnecessarily longer for passengers. Not that the TTC necessarily cares because as long as they can stick to their "schedules" things are all good over at Head Office.

I'll give people another funny story as to how the TTC cant do anything properly. When the TTC closed down the Queensway ROW for reconstruction about 5 years ago (which at that time, streetcar service was suspended on/off so many times between 2010-2017 I've honestly lost count), the closure went on for longer then expected and the resumption of service was delayed due to an apparent water table issue. Now we would think that the TTC had time to properly inspect every inch of track work before they opened the ROW right? Apparently not because couple months later, they put in a ~5km/h speed restriction east of the Humber Loop portal because of a track defect. Fast forward to 2022 now that streetcar service has been suspended again on the 501 since 2020, logically speaking you would think the TTC would take the opportunity to fix the track defect right? Well unfortunately management doesnt really think logically at the TTC, so what's probably going to happen is that once the 501 finally resumes service, they'll shut down the line again to fix the defect that shouldve already been fixed.

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14 hours ago, WoodbineSecondExit said:

And as if they needed to make more problems, some time in late 2020 I think I noticed the doors on the new streetcars were closing more slowly than before. Like dwell times weren't long enough??? Why was this done?? Was service moving a little too fast for your padded schedules, Richard?

Pandering to idiot passengers.

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The whole implementation of the door requests has been quite a mess. What is the point of having those buttons in the streetcars in the first place if they're just going to open all the doors at every stop anyway? Nothing like being on the car in the dead of winter and stopping to pick up one person and throwing all the doors open, especially when you're sitting right next to a door.

Then again, given the omnishambolic approach to everything on the streetcar network, maybe this is really a blessing in disguise. Can you imagine if you missed your stop because the pushbutton wasn't working and you couldn't make your way to another door in time? I'm currently staying in Bratislava where this solution is used universally and this just happened to me a few days ago, busy bus so by the time I made my way to the next doorway the bus was already halfway to the next stop.

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13 hours ago, lip said:

I'll give people another funny story as to how the TTC cant do anything properly. When the TTC closed down the Queensway ROW for reconstruction about 5 years ago (which at that time, streetcar service was suspended on/off so many times between 2010-2017 I've honestly lost count), the closure went on for longer then expected and the resumption of service was delayed due to an apparent water table issue. Now we would think that the TTC had time to properly inspect every inch of track work before they opened the ROW right? Apparently not because couple months later, they put in a ~5km/h speed restriction east of the Humber Loop portal because of a track defect. Fast forward to 2022 now that streetcar service has been suspended again on the 501 since 2020, logically speaking you would think the TTC would take the opportunity to fix the track defect right? Well unfortunately management doesnt really think logically at the TTC, so what's probably going to happen is that once the 501 finally resumes service, they'll shut down the line again to fix the defect that shouldve already been fixed.

Too many of their people are just snoozing at the wheel and the people at the top are too stupid to know it when they see it. Hell they might be sleeping next to them on the office lounge couch. They get these huge windows to do what work that needs doing without ******* over customers and they wait for the windows to slam shut before trying to pry them open again. It's like they don't care one bit about how crappy the experience is for customers when they have to suffer their incompetence.

Seriously, about the only thing botched even worse than Bombardier's LRV building program is the TTC's overhead conversion program. They had all the time in the world to convert overhead on Kingston Road when it was all buses a few years ago but they did f all with that time!! I watched last summer day after day, week after week, the junctions at Queen and Church/Victoria stood abandoned with no activity until I finally saw crews putting up wires at like 2am late in the year. I even forgot about Dundas that they had half converted and half not converted which cancelled their plans to bring back the streetcars. How can they keep forgetting about these things?

3 hours ago, T3G said:

The whole implementation of the door requests has been quite a mess. What is the point of having those buttons in the streetcars in the first place if they're just going to open all the doors at every stop anyway? Nothing like being on the car in the dead of winter and stopping to pick up one person and throwing all the doors open, especially when you're sitting right next to a door.

Thanks for reminding me about that. This is another one of those TTC things they dropped the ball on. They got Andy Byford to parade around in one of those videos to show us plebs how to use the buttons but when they sent the streetcars out into the streets they never even tried to run them like that. I would say far far less than 5% of crews will put the things in button operated mode. The other 95% will do things by the book and open all of the doors in white out conditions at every single stop. It's straight up pain that never ends.

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Stuff like this almost makes it sound like Rob Ford was right and we should have just sold off all of our streetcars for articulated buses.

Being on rails, streetcars are supposed to be faster, transport larger volumes of people, and ultimately be more reliable since it's steel wheels on rails. Not only are buses not limited by speed/intersection restrictions, but they are currently more accessible by picking up people directly at the curb. Buses running replacement service are not supposed to be a blessing but it sure starting to sound like it is.

I'm hoping things are figured out soon since I do think streetcars, when optimized properly are better, but at the rate it's going it sounds like it will get worse before it gets better.

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The switch control problems are really the worst, and the TTC has been putting off replacing the switch electronics for what seems like 10 years. Didn't the TTC go as far as to get reverse engineered clones made of the old electronics because the original supplier (ITT/Lorenz?) no longer exists? It seems like even old school power on/off controls would be better at this point.

And I'm surprised Tory didn't fire Rick Leary after the incident in the subway in early 2020.

 

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3 hours ago, IRT_BMT_IND said:

And I'm surprised Tory didn't fire Rick Leary after the incident in the subway in early 2020.

John Tory represents status quo, he wont change a lick of anything unless his hand is forced.

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  • 3 weeks later...

If it's been discussed here I've missed it....there are two steps to the pantograph-ization of the overhead. Lake Shore Blvd. had the suspension cable installed for pantographs years ago. But now they're putting in the bars that offset the overhead side to side. Westbound, this conversion has made it to about Long Branch Ave.

I'm also waiting to see what the replacement specialwork at Kipling and Lake Shore looks like. Will the mystery east-to-north curve vanish? It seems to have been there from at least the second world war. I don't know if it was like that when Lake Shore was double-tracked. Maybe TTC '28 has some info.

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1 hour ago, Ed T. said:

If it's been discussed here I've missed it....there are two steps to the pantograph-ization of the overhead. Lake Shore Blvd. had the suspension cable installed for pantographs years ago. But now they're putting in the bars that offset the overhead side to side. Westbound, this conversion has made it to about Long Branch Ave.

I'm also waiting to see what the replacement specialwork at Kipling and Lake Shore looks like. Will the mystery east-to-north curve vanish? It seems to have been there from at least the second world war. I don't know if it was like that when Lake Shore was double-tracked. Maybe TTC '28 has some info.

I don't think it's long enough to fit the new cars.  However Obico yard may house a new barn so maybe they will make use of that stub track. 

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1 hour ago, Shaun said:

I don't think it's long enough to fit the new cars.  However Obico yard may house a new barn so maybe they will make use of that stub track. 

No one was talking about the stub track. Since you mention it, however, its length is 136 feet from junction to end. It's less than that if you want to ensure the car does not block another vehicle's access into the loop, but it should be plenty enough to fit a Flexity car, and this is clearly viewable if you look at it on Google Streetview, too.

This is all a moot point, though, as the track is not connected electrically to the network and I know of no plans to change this.

2 hours ago, Ed T. said:

It seems to have been there from at least the second world war. I don't know if it was like that when Lake Shore was double-tracked. Maybe TTC '28 has some info.

TTC '28 does not make any reference to the east to north curve track. Its only track diagram is dated to February 1928, prior to the TTC takeover of the Lakeshore track, so that is also out. The earliest reference I have found to it is in the foldout track diagrams that come with 50 Years of Progressive Transit - according to that, the track has been there since at least May 1, 1936.

Personally, despite the low probability of it needing to be used, I think that intentionally handicapping yourself by omitting a curve wouldn't make much sense from an operation's perspective. This is my theory as to why the west to north curve at Queen and Kingston Road exists. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it, and all that.

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On 7/17/2022 at 4:13 PM, Shaun said:

However Obico yard may house a new barn ...

I hadn't heard that - is that for real?

If so, they'd have most of the 44 Kipling South route covered! :)

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7 hours ago, nfitz said:

I hadn't heard that - is that for real?

If so, they'd have most of the 44 Kipling South route covered! :)

Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

 

Dan

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It's funny, i came here to ask about the track extending north from Kipling Loop after watching a video of the 44 Kipling South. It seems to be one of the weirdest pieces of mystery track. The ones on Kingston east of Bingham and the tracks on Neville Park Blvd are ones we at least know the history behind. This one is strange though. On the subject of a barn/carhouse. Even if a carhouse was constructed at the Obico yard, i find it strange to do so as it would only connect to and be used by the long branch route. 

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49 minutes ago, lifty4ever said:

It's funny, i came here to ask about the track extending north from Kipling Loop after watching a video of the 44 Kipling South. It seems to be one of the weirdest pieces of mystery track. The ones on Kingston east of Bingham and the tracks on Neville Park Blvd are ones we at least know the history behind. This one is strange though. On the subject of a barn/carhouse. Even if a carhouse was constructed at the Obico yard, i find it strange to do so as it would only connect to and be used by the long branch route. 

There are potentials, maybe 50 years down the road

Queensway streetcar, Islington South car, Royal York South car, Waterfront west LRT streetcar, Sherway LRT (instead of subway) and even a northly extension to the airport via the hydro corridor.

All brought to you by the Etobicoke Streetcar Admiration Society. Current membership - ZERO!

Jokes aside, this is the only area left where they can build a large carhouse. It doesn't have to be at Obico but closer to Kipling/Horner or beside the detention centre. 

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1 hour ago, Xtrazsteve said:

Jokes aside, this is the only area left where they can build a large carhouse. It doesn't have to be at Obico but closer to Kipling/Horner or beside the detention centre. 

Given how frequently there seems to be some construction issue west of Roncesvalles - I don't really see this as an option.

There's still lots of other options, if you are creative. Move some of the bus facilities at Hillcrest elsewhere, and you can build a full scale yard there (and I thought they were leaning that way).

Start going vertically. Deck over Greenwood yard, and put a streetcar yard on top (though track access would be difficult); then develop above that to pay the cost for the whole thing. Buy Dufferin Mall (surely it will be redeveloped some day), dig down for a yard, and redevelop on top of it. Might even make a profit on that one.

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2 hours ago, nfitz said:

Given how frequently there seems to be some construction issue west of Roncesvalles - I don't really see this as an option.

There's still lots of other options, if you are creative. Move some of the bus facilities at Hillcrest elsewhere, and you can build a full scale yard there (and I thought they were leaning that way).

Start going vertically. Deck over Greenwood yard, and put a streetcar yard on top (though track access would be difficult); then develop above that to pay the cost for the whole thing. Buy Dufferin Mall (surely it will be redeveloped some day), dig down for a yard, and redevelop on top of it. Might even make a profit on that one.

Why not Gerrard Square since you mentioned Dufferin Mall?

These are the only 2 malls within the old City of Toronto afterall (besides Eaton Centre which won't be moving anytime soon).

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7 hours ago, nfitz said:

Given how frequently there seems to be some construction issue west of Roncesvalles - I don't really see this as an option.

There's still lots of other options, if you are creative. Move some of the bus facilities at Hillcrest elsewhere, and you can build a full scale yard there (and I thought they were leaning that way).

Start going vertically. Deck over Greenwood yard, and put a streetcar yard on top (though track access would be difficult); then develop above that to pay the cost for the whole thing. Buy Dufferin Mall (surely it will be redeveloped some day), dig down for a yard, and redevelop on top of it. Might even make a profit on that one.

I suppose if they ever get the Waterfront West LRT done, there will be an alternative track west of Roncy. Humber River crossing remains a problem but they could built a new crossing and keep tracks entirely on Lake Shore. There would be access to the regular network at Dufferin Gates, Bathurst, Queens Quay, Spadina and into East Bayfront/Portlands. The only real problem is the location is too far from the network for routes like Bathurst, Spadina, Dundas and Carlton.

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18 hours ago, lifty4ever said:

It's funny, i came here to ask about the track extending north from Kipling Loop after watching a video of the 44 Kipling South. It seems to be one of the weirdest pieces of mystery track. The ones on Kingston east of Bingham and the tracks on Neville Park Blvd are ones we at least know the history behind. This one is strange though. On the subject of a barn/carhouse. Even if a carhouse was constructed at the Obico yard, i find it strange to do so as it would only connect to and be used by the long branch route. 

Virtually all loops used to have a tail track - that is, a short section of track that dead-ended and was connected by a switch to the main trackage - that allowed the TTC (and its predecessors) to store a car out of the way of regular service.

 

That's all this stretch of track is.

 

Dan

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On 7/21/2022 at 6:39 PM, Orion V said:

Why not Gerrard Square since you mentioned Dufferin Mall?

These are the only 2 malls within the old City of Toronto afterall (besides Eaton Centre which won't be moving anytime soon).

That's a good thought!

I have no doubt that Gerrard Square will be redeveloped in the next decade or two with the new subway station to be built there. Though it may be a bit on the small side. But if they only use it for storage, it might work! And more central than other locations - assuming they develop on top of it!

 

18 hours ago, Xtrazsteve said:

I suppose if they ever get the Waterfront West LRT done, there will be an alternative track west of Roncy. Humber River crossing remains a problem but they could built a new crossing and keep tracks entirely on Lake Shore. There would be access to the regular network at Dufferin Gates, Bathurst, Queens Quay, Spadina and into East Bayfront/Portlands. The only real problem is the location is too far from the network for routes like Bathurst, Spadina, Dundas and Carlton.

I thought the Waterfront West LRT was supposed to join the Queensway, somewhere between the Humber and Roncesvalles.

 

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2 hours ago, nfitz said:

I thought the Waterfront West LRT was supposed to join the Queensway, somewhere between the Humber and Roncesvalles.

 

Yes with the current “cheap” plans. I was just fantasizing. It would be nice if they actually made waterfront LRT faster instead of cheaper by lumping it through the Humber Loop.

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On 7/22/2022 at 9:55 PM, Xtrazsteve said:

Yes with the current “cheap” plans. I was just fantasizing. It would be nice if they actually made waterfront LRT faster instead of cheaper by lumping it through the Humber Loop.

What makes Humber loop so slow? The travel times and speed are excellent on the grade-separated 2.5 km stretch from east of Parkside to Humber Loop.

How would fixing whatever that issue is, be more expensive than building a new ROW (on the south? where would it fit?)

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