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Ontario Line (was Relief Line South, in Design)

crs1026

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Metrolinx must be so frustrated, as they likely were in 2012, that for a half decade, the Liberals did nothing to promote their plan or treat their expertise with respect. They were just an arm of the Liberal Party to be used for political means. The Liberals sat back and allowed the City to waste time and money advancing the preliminary design of something (DRL Short) that would not solve the problem to any great extent. I would guess that Metrolinx has been working on this "Fantastic bonanza" plan for some time and they would be ecstatic that a government is finally respecting their expertise.
Well, this may be true, but - if it is ML still has some 'splaining to do. The idea that as a supposedly nonpartisan coordinative and strategic planning authority for the region, they would secretly draw up plans and proposals in silence, waiting for favourable politics to give them the opportunity to blindside the city with this new plan, is a very serious accusation in terms of their professionalism and integrity. ML may be disfunctional, but it's not that sneaky.

I'm no Wynne/McGuinty fan, but neither can I believe that there was a small- or large-L direction to ML to keep their mitts off the RL and go along with all the discussion of it as a TTC-flavour subway. ML has floated so many strategic documents (which seem to have all been filed and ignored anyways, so hardly not grounds for dismissal if they gently broached their own thinking). The RER business case document, and the electrification EA, implicitly if not explicitly differentiate between RER and heavy rail subway. Let alone the Big Move.

There have been dozens of debates where any number of decisionmakers have been asked to put on record whether they saw the RL as a priority. Did ML even once hint that something other than vanilla TTC subway might be an option to consider? Did anyone ever send a short memo to Andy Byford or Jennifer Keesmatt? Or write a submittal to the EA, knowing that the project might just discard it?

It's ridiculous to suggest that AB and JK in their short time in Toronto drank the TTC Kool-Aid to the degree that they overrode their own world-wide experience and aspirations. The RL plan was something they both helped build, and fully endorsed.

One also wonders why nobody nudged Mr Tory to suggest that his Smarttrack idea would be great if he just focussed on the Don Valley routing instead of in Scarborough. I wonder if the reward from Ford for his nonassertiveness will be to have the "new" RL idea somehow linked to the ST vision.

It's possible that some of the newer ML execs, who have been recruited from afar, may have arrived in Toronto and thought, you know, they'd do a lot better if they did something more like (city x). And that may have informed the current rethink. But it leaves the region being asked to consider an option that sounds like it was put together from browsing the trade press, formulated even quicker than @steveintoronto can dig up other cities' precedents. How is this good planning?

I can't offer a single argument why a non-TTC-vanilla system wouldn't work, and maybe Ford's entry into transit planning has netted us an entire line where the previous city/provincial thinking had trouble coming up with the money for a stub effort. But something that seems too good to be true appears out of thin air, and contrary to all process, we should be asking pointed questions.

- Paul
 
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WislaHD

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I'm just curious @steveintoronto , were you a fan of the Michael Schabas report about the Eglinton Crosstown at Neptis Foundation? If you are, then it is clear that we just have very different interpretations of what inner-city mass mobility is supposed to accomplish. This isn't some "Toronto-way" of doing things either. There is a reason why in Paris and Berlin you have both metro systems and RER systems.

I am of the opinion that the goals of regional connectivity aren't supposed to replace or circumvent the goals of inner-city mass transit access. Others like Michael Schabas at Neptis believed that everything in-between the two termini stations weren't important nodes, and only served to delay travel from one end of the line to the other.

I'm extra weary of "SmartTrack 2.0" as the replacement for the Relief Line if it fails to achieve the goals of the Relief Line. It can be done correct and well, I can imagine it with a scheme that involves downtown tunnels, replacing the Richmond Hill GO line, and a re-alignment of the RHGO corridor through Pape and onto Don Mills. We've discussed such schemes before in other threads. But, and this is a HUGE but, pursuing such a scheme would require spending more money, and we know very well that this government is unwilling to do that and is happy to cut corners especially if it means saving money and reducing construction time.

We have seen what half-assing a line to save costs gets us. It gets us the Spadina Line in the middle of the Allen Expressway instead of where it should have gone, under Bathurst.
 

nfitz

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Canada Line currently runs at 3m 20s giving a 6100 pphpd capacity after the split. They are adding additional train sets starting this summer to decrease that to 2m 30s, providing 8100 pphpd. Max is roughly 15000 pphd / 1m 30s with a additional 10m C car (the platforms can be extended from 40m to 50m). The Broadway subway is being built with 80m platforms.
Gosh, only 50 metres ... one one hand that's stunning - a bit longer than an Ottawa LRT or Finch West LRT car.

On the other hand ... less than 6,000 peak hourly ridership.

If every 200 seconds (now) is 6,100, then a 25% increase to the train length would give you about 15,000 capacity at every 90 seconds.

The question will be can then maintain every 90 seconds (or ever have 15,000 riders)?
 

ssiguy2

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I don't think Toronto's track gauge is such a problem that it would cost billions to retrofit new subway trains (see the T1) to the track gauge. Just adjust the trucks that the trains ride on. When I speak of newfangled technology I am more specifically referring to other options such as co running with GO RER trains, using hydrogen, etc.
Even the hydrogen trains are not revolutionary. They get their power source from onboard as opposed delivered thru wires but the trains themselves are standard EMUs. The Alstom trains are simply another version of it's current Lint series which are the backbone of their EMU and DMU regional trains.
 

nfitz

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LOL 50 years? Lol, no.

20 years yes. 50? common...
50 years might be stretching it, but I remember living in Toronto 30 years ago, with the Yonge line overcrowded and much slower at peak, with promises of the DRL and Sheppard Line in the newspaper to help things (I don't recall the Eglinton West line off-hand back then ... but perhaps it's because I was seldom if ever that ways ...)

That being said, I believe Montreal started installing their ATC system in 1971, which was 48 years ago. So maybe we ARE 50 years behind! Certainly commuting in the 1980s was shockingly eye-opening in Toronto, with trains frequently stopping between each station at peak ... which just doesn't happen most of the time in Montreal where I'd commuted regularly previously.
 

steveintoronto

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The idea that as a supposedly nonpartisan coordinative and strategic planning authority for the region, they would secretly draw up plans and proposals in silence, waiting for favourable politics to give them the opportunity to blindside the city with this new plan,
It's in their mandate, and ironically, they do appear to have learned a lesson. You'll note that Verster, who has been 'head salesman' in the past, is conspicuously absent.
and go along with all the discussion of it as a TTC-flavour subway.
Did ML even once hint that something other than vanilla TTC subway might be an option to consider?
I've scoured their Relief Line reports scrupulously. I can find no reference to "existing subway rolling stock" in even the earlier ones. You're better than I am for scouring their reports, please offer reference. They do allude to the interconnections of Line 2, and the earlier ramps to the LE line RoW in earlier ones to access the Greenwood Yards, and later, the pricey and functionally questionable connections at Pape.
It's possible that some of the newer ML execs, who have been recruited from afar, may have arrived in Toronto and thought, you know, they'd do a lot better if they did something more like (city x).
That is possible. And that's what other jurisdictions do to keep the corporate angst vital. If this is the case (and their Electrification Report was very worldly in providing other examples of how things are done) then kudos to them.
I can't offer a single argument why a non-TTC-vanilla system wouldn't work
Of course they'll work. So do DC-3s. Still a great plane, uprated with turbines et al, but you wouldn't want to build a new system to use them. And Metrolinx, who are 'in charge' of this file...or more precisely, a private investment consortium certainly wouldn't use old tech and TTC gauge. They'd use tried and trued modern methods.
There is a reason why in Paris and Berlin you have both metro systems and RER systems.
OK, at this point, before labouring discussion on it: Define what you mean by "metro"...as it appears to mean something very different from how the world uses it.
This isn't some "Toronto-way" of doing things either. There is a reason why in Paris and Berlin you have both metro systems and RER systems.
Yeah, history is a massive one. Paris actually had "RER" a century ago, ditto Berlin. World wars weren't kind to either. Neither was the private enterprise background of both that meant 'nationalizing' them. Paris' present RER is a way to revitalize and further connect what was done historically, and vestiges of the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemin_de_fer_de_Petite_Ceinture are being re-used for RER. IIRC, over half the original route. Some of it is used to just move stock between stations as the new RER tunnels have made much more direct passenger connections between otherwise non-connected mainline stations. Most capital cities of the time were forbidden to build smoke belching railways into their cores. It's no mistake that in almost all cases, the terminals were on the periphery of the core. London's Metropolitan was initially built for exactly that reason, and to a lesser extent, the District Line. It was only later that they ventured radially out of the City to serve the newly developing suburbs, and the Metropolitan even bought land in the Twenties for their own housing estates as to support that. Toronto's equiv was the Belt Line, which lasted only a decade or so. It was never electrified and fell to much more competitive trams.
I am of the opinion that the goals of regional connectivity aren't supposed to replace or circumvent the goals of inner-city mass transit access.
Perhaps we have a difference of opinion as to what the term "Relief" means? It doesn't mean offering the Pape Entitlement a station every few blocks within a quick walking distance, but Not In My Back Yard! Let them do what most of us have to do: Take a streetcar or bus to the closest station. And if they don't like that, then THEY pay for it. And on that point, define "Regional".
We have seen what half-assing a line to save costs gets us.
Exactly. Just not the way you intend that to apply.

Look, the City is skint, so's the Province (or at least that's their platform) so funding for this is going to be a good part, if not all Private. Getting back to Paris and Berlin, who built their historical systems? Ditto all the major world cities, London, NYC, etc when there was a business case for doing it. That case wouldn't be there today, thus the 'nationalization' of those systems at various points through history.

Toronto never went through the stage of 'public takeover' with subways, or local commuter rail. It happened federally, thus VIA, or provincially, like GO or ATM. And what's VIA having to do to build HFR? Look to the Private Sector. It's not a case of whether I like this or not, it's a case of reality. You want to build the "Downtown" Relief Line (notice the "Downtown" has been dropped by all, why do you think that is?). Then provide the funding. It's that simple. In the vacuum left by that absence, it's going to take a large chunk of private infusion. And if they want to build like you want it, great...

They're not...
 
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Woodbridge_Heights

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Of course they'll work. So do DC-3s. Still a great plane, uprated with turbines et al, but you wouldn't want to build a new system to use them. And Metrolinx, who are 'in charge' of this file...or more precisely, a private investment consortium certainly wouldn't use old tech and TTC gauge. They'd use tried and trued modern methods.
You CAN put modern metro trains on ttc gauge, the TR1 trains are an example of that.

If that's what the provincial gov't means by different technologies than they are fooling their followers
 

steveintoronto

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Sorry, SRRA - Strategic Regional Research Alliance.

AoD
OK, there now reading.

Edit: Now realizing I've read this some years back, still navigating the site, but had to double check if this is the Schabas thing. Even if not, it's connected: (did a backward search on Google using the address) Paul Bedford of course the prior Toronto chief planner.

Post Script: "Regional Relief Line"...now I know where that comes from. I'll continue reading and watching later, but my first impression is that the 'RRL' is already dated in ways from five years ago. Expecting streetcars (as per mention of the College Car) to be the connecting links of rapid transit lines is wildly optimistic, but that may just be the opinion of one article/vid.

In all fairness, if this latest Relief Line scheme is what it is hyped to be, a lot of presumptions will be rendered moot.

Acknowledgements — SRRA
www.srraresearch.org/acknowledgements/

Paul Bedford, Former Chief Planner City of Toronto & Metrolinx Board Member. Jim Berry, Senior Vice ... Michael Schabas, Partner FCPWorld. Michael Sutherland ... 30 St. Patrick Street, 5th floor, Toronto, ON416-460-1969. Copyright © 2018.
 
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Tuscani01

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steveintoronto

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You CAN put modern metro trains on ttc gauge, the TR1 trains are an example of that.

If that's what the provincial gov't means by different technologies than they are fooling their followers
Define "metro". Of course you can. You can also drive a twenty year old Chevy. Does that mean you should? How about buses? Would you buy a fleet of buses a generation old in design?
 

crs1026

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@steve asked for references to past studies etc. Here are a few examples.

I may be beating this to death.... but.... should ML declare what a great plan the "Ford alternative" always was, and how they only wished someone had listened before.....those comments need to be compared to this history of ML thinking and strategic pronouncements. Someone needs to ask why we hadn't heard about this before. The comments, especially those of the Feb 7 2019 ML Board meeting, certainly suggest ML was fully in support of the project as the City was advancing it. Not a hint of "but we think there is a better way"

The Big Move

Discussion of transit modes

25-year Plan - which does not mention the Relief Line, or the Line 1 extension either - and designates the Richmond Hill GO line as "Express Rail"
2014 Revision to the Big Move Plan - see page 55 for its discussion of the Relief Line

Regional Express Rail

GO Expansion - Full Business Case Document -
see chapter 1 for a description of the process that ML follows for all projects - (presumably they followed their own process before submitting their plan to Ford? )
178838

- see page 60 for a description of the Richmond Hill corridor and how GO and the Relief Line are related

178839


Metrolinx Board Minutes

June 28 2017 Board Meeting - Presentation by Lesley Woo covering TTC-ML and City cooperation and Executive Working Group regarding Relief Line planning - (surely if ML had concerns or other ideas about the Relief Line, they would have been raised in the work of this committee....the minutes and correspondence within this group, and the Memo of Understanding that is mentioned between ML and the City would be a good FOI source for anyone factchecking should ML declare a longstanding pursuit of the "Ford alternative")

178842
178843


September 14 2017 - Presentation by Lesley Woo re Draft 2041 Strategic Plan - Page 60 - description of the Relief Line; Page 61 - Relief Line shown in map
178845
178846

Feb 7 2019 - Presentation to ML Board re Relief Line Update - Executive summary states that subway level infrastructure is justified; ML indicates its support for the business case as developed by the City, ie subway on one of the six alternatives proposed

178848

- Paul
 
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