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SmartTrack (Proposed)

aquateam

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#1
So, given that John Tory is now our mayor-elect, it looks like SmartTrack might be built. What will SmartTrack be? Is it just a branding of GO RER? This thread could collect our discussion for everything SmartTrack related, in case this proposal goes off the ground.

I recently discovered this report, from 2009, from which it looks like SmartTrack was taken (i.e. it looks like John Tory's campaign team didn't just draw a bad fantasy map.) It looks like the original purpose of the line was to exploit developable land and to link employment centers. It also contains a lot of the rhetoric JT was using (e.g. "surface subway", "can be built in 7 years", etc.)

Originally I thought that SmartTrack was either I-METRO-E or Andre Sorensen's big U proposal, with a spur off for Eglinton West.
 
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#2
So, given that John Tory is now our mayor-elect, it looks like SmartTrack might be built. What will SmartTrack be? Is it just a branding of GO RER? This thread could collect our discussion for everything SmartTrack related, in case this proposal goes off the ground.

I recently discovered this report, from 2009, from which it looks like SmartTrack was taken (i.e. it looks like John Tory's campaign team didn't just draw a bad fantasy map.) It looks like the original purpose of the line was to exploit developable land and to link employment centers. It also contains a lot of the rhetoric JT was using (e.g. "surface subway", "can be built in 7 years", etc.)
What's interesting is that they have a tunneled Wellington portion as Phase 4 of the project, not far off from suggestions we've heard on the forum (albeit along slightly different alignments).

AoD
 

Markster

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#3
It also finally explains the left turn to run along Eglinton. The line in that proposal continues west, following the 401. That at least provides some benefit from cutting off the Eglinton Crosstown
 

ehlow

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#4
This article talked a bit about where the Tory campaign got the SmartTrack idea:
http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/1...de-for-john-torys-fledgling-mayoral-campaign/

There have definitely been many similar plans/ideas/proposals in the past.

One of the things I liked about it was the attempt to connect to major employment areas that currently are impractical for most to take transit to: Mississauga area south of the airport, and Markham office areas.

Along with well integrated feeder local transit, it seems like it can provide an alternative to spending hours on gridlocked highways every day to many, and reduce travel times for longer distance travel.
 

canarob

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#5
My Stouffville train had to stop at three or four malfunctioning level crossings (all south of Unionville) on the way home today. I wonder how many billions will be needed just to build separations? It's hard to imagine modern, electric rail on this line in under a decade.
 
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#6
Maybe John Tory is not using the term "light rail", to get the suburban vote. Maybe his "SmartTrack" is actually a "tram-train" or "train-tram"? But avoided using that term, "tram".

From this link:

A tram-train is a light-rail public transport system where trams run through from an urban tramway network to main-line railway lines which are shared with conventional trains. This combines the tram's flexibility and accessibility with a train's greater speed, and bridges the distance between a main railway stations and a city centre.

There is also a train-tram, which is a train modified to also run on tramlines. Generally, the tram-train and train-tram are interchangeable, although a train-tram is based on a train design modified to also run as a tram and a tram-train is based on a tram design modified to also run on a train line.
Heilbronn_Bahnhofsvorplatz_Stadtbahn01_2002-09-08.jpg
Avg-898-00.jpg
 

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#7
Maybe John Tory is not using the term "light rail", to get the suburban vote. Maybe his "SmartTrack" is actually a "tram-train" or "train-tram"? But avoided using that term, "tram".

From this link:
You're asking the wrong questions. I dont think that even JT knows what exactly SmartTrack is. The details about vehicle type will come later.
 
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#9
My Stouffville train had to stop at three or four malfunctioning level crossings (all south of Unionville) on the way home today. I wonder how many billions will be needed just to build separations? It's hard to imagine modern, electric rail on this line in under a decade.
10 crossings south of Unionville, so likely around $150 million to completely grade separate that part of the line. 7 additional at grade crossings to Mount Joy, probably another $150 million given that they are much more complicated separations. (Rivers, close to historic buildings, etc.)
 

mdrejhon

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#10
Given that SmartTrack will recycle a lot of GO platform lengths (plus a lot of much-needed new infill stations and interchange/intermodal stations), the electric trains will probably be vastly longer than this. Would be a shame to waste the platform length opportunity that Union and other GO stations already have.

You know Metrolinx is tooting the "RER" acronym -- Rapid Express Rail -- Paris has a similiar system although it stands for Réseau Express Régional ("Regional Express Network"), but the acronym is kept the same as a homage to Paris' system which apparently nearly exactly resembles what Toronto would have ten years from now.

The best model for comparison I can think of is the Paris RER which is the actual acronym of their frequent electrified service on "surface subways", that I believe GO borrowed. I see a lot of evidence that GO took a page from the French RER rulebook. Paris' RER is a 'surface subway' and covers hundreds of kilometers, just like the GO network. Assuming SmartTrack is modelled after Paris RER, the trains will be very similiar to subway-length or GOtrain-length, but be single decker for some of them.



(...the acronym GO took advantage of -- this is Paris' eqivalent of GO train but they run them every 15 minutes or more often)

I've ridden the Paris RER system, and it's rather neat how they distinguish the super-express trains, the semi-express trains and the all-stop trains, by having videoboards that display all subsequent station names with checkmarks next to them. When a train arrives, all the future stations it will stop at, are highlighted extremely clearly (no scrolling). So it was easy to know which which express train to step on for where you're going. Some Paris RER trains are bilevel and other Paris RER trains are single-levels -- exactly the hybrid mix that GO mentioned they are planning to do.

The resemblance to Paris RER to the upcoming GO electrification seems more than coincidential, from what I've witnessed.

Comparing GO upcoming "RER" versus Paris existing "RER"
- Paris RER is the Paris version of Toronto's GO Train system.
- Surface subways, just like GO will be
- Long trains, just like GO will keep even when single level (long subway-sized train lengths)
- Electricification, just like GO will be
- Some of these trains routes are over 100km long, just like GO Kitchener or Lakeshore lines.
- Good interchanges with the subway and buses, just like GO plans to (more integration with TTC is coming)
- Some single decker trains and some double decker trains, just like GO will.
(Metrolinx already said they're expanding GO with single-level trains since bilevels are too empty for 15-minute service on some routes; this is obvious as it can be a waste to use the bilevels during offpeak)
- Paris RER felt just as convenient as catching a subway. Just like GO wants their RER network to be.

So you see why Metrolinx borrowed the Paris "RER" acronym...
They ARE essentially copying the Paris "subway-like" ultrafrequent commuter train system!

All in all, I think Smarttrack is a great idea -- if the Smarttrack and the GO electricification is executed properly and similiar to Paris' similar sized RER system. Mix some quick express trains with some all-stop trains, just like Paris does. They should choose the same single-level electric trainsets if possible, for simplicity. For a long time, they will still fill up the bilevels for the busy routes/peak/longer-hauls/non-electric lines -- and GO will still need the single-level electric trains for the frequent-service (Smarttrack + GO electrification) expansions.

Metrolinx was planning to do this anyway, even before John Tory, too. See 2009 report, the original poster. To Metrolinx, Smarttrack is just simply another GOtrain route (even if the media has made it quite a distinct thing). They were planning to get single-level electrified trainsets anyway for frequent off-peak service on a lot of the GO network (eventually). That's exactly what Smarttrack is too. They can just buy the same trainsets for both. Smarttrack even runs along a portion of the UP Express electrification too. It all blends perfectly into the Metrolinx 10-to-15 year plan even before JT said 7 years.

Bring it on, Metrolinx.
 
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howl

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#11
I think what John Tory proposed looks more like this:
Even building the wrong thing is better than building nothing. If John Tory was elected on a platform of building SmartTrack then let's get those shovels in the ground.
 

salsa

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#12
GO RER plans are often compared to Paris and German rail systems, but how about Metro North Railroad in NYC? I used it last summer and in many ways it seems very similar to what Metrolinx is striving for.