Union Pearson Express | ?m | ?s | Metrolinx | MMM Group Limited

ssiguy2

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The whole point of RER is to offer effective travel in the entire area and not just commuters going to work at Union in the morning and leaving in the afternoon. That is just commuter rail service and if that's all they are concerned about then they could just add more trains in rush hour.

The entire reason for RER is too offer basically near subway level service throughout the region so it becomes a true alternative to those not going to Union in rush hour. Much of the huge expansions in subway service in the world are not ones starting from scratch but simply upgrading the rail lines they already have.. RER offers travel options that commuter rail never can so that people going from Burlington to Mississauga, Mimico to River Rouge, Weston to Unilever, Oshawa to Ajax, and Brampton to Liberty Village have a true all day rapid transit service.
 

MisterF

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Semantics.

1. Transit priority, meeting proper world-class standards (e.g. European quality) combined with far-side platforms.
2. Replace the word "Metro-class" with "A streetcar that performs as fast in average-speed (including stops) as an average metro", if you prefer that phraseology yourself

Extra detail: I simply choose to use the phraseology "metro-class" to represent synonymous in peformance to a metro. Tunnels would be more ideal but you can get certain old-tram routes 90% of the way to metro-league speeds with heavy amounts of optimizations like 500-meter curbed sections, automatic green lights, far-side platforms, plenty of predictable coast time for approaching streetcars to clear opposing crosswalks before they coast past to a far-side platform. Also, once they are 100% pantographs, they accelerate a bit faster because more current can be drawn through a pantograph than a trolleypole. There are successful conversions elsewhere in the world that corridors-off a LRT with predictable-coast-segments to the point where transit priority behaves reliably. The design of stop spacing and cars-free coast-segments means countdown crosswalks have time to complete before LRVs coast through an already-held-green traffic light. The way transit priority is butchered/bØrked up in Ontario is a big barrier to this but such systems are slowly appearing, including for Crosstowns' surface segment, and some of these systems are now used on ION LRT, though not as straight-line/aggressively in the downtown cores as some routes like Eglinton Crosstown will do. The bottom line is that there are transit priority systems that are so reliable on some routes elsewhere in the world, that turns a surface route to within the same speed-class as many underground metros, creating a performance class that matches the convenience and reliability of a subway onpeak/offpeak. Toronto can pull this off eventually for one route such as King, turning it into one of North Amerca's fastest-performing downtown-core surface rail transit routes, with gradual optimizations. Even today, King Transit Pilot turned many of the streetcar stops into far-side stops, which makes it more compatible with reliable transit priority (since far-side means vehicles whoosh through a green light before picking up passengers; greatly reducing interference from unpredictable dwell time and crosswalk countdowns from transit priority calculations (strategic lengthenings/shortenings of red/green time within prescribed ranges), given sufficient stop spacing and completely cars-free segments between intersections and farside stops). With the right design the light is green most of the time at full coast-through speed between stops, accomplishing metro-class performance (average speed including stopping speed) even if it is not a metro itself. Such systems do exist. Most Canadian residents are just usually not familiar with the existence of such peformant systems. A cheap speed+capacity upgrade is sitting in plain sight, full stop, even if Toronto residents are (for now) opposed to such.
I don't think it's semantics at all. A surface streetcar with traffic lights is just not going to have the same quality of service as a metro that runs independent of traffic. King Street has dozens of traffic lights that slow service down and will never match the equivalent stretch of Line 2. Signal priority and far side stops reduce the interference of signals, but a metro doesn't have to deal with signals at all. That makes a significant difference in the experience of riding the line.

That's not to say that improving the King streetcar isn't worth doing; it's absolutely worth it and will vastly improve the streetcar and the street itself for a cheap price tag.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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The whole point of RER is to offer effective travel in the entire area and not just commuters going to work at Union in the morning and leaving in the afternoon. That is just commuter rail service and if that's all they are concerned about then they could just add more trains in rush hour.

The entire reason for RER is too offer basically near subway level service throughout the region so it becomes a true alternative to those not going to Union in rush hour. Much of the huge expansions in subway service in the world are not ones starting from scratch but simply upgrading the rail lines they already have.. RER offers travel options that commuter rail never can so that people going from Burlington to Mississauga, Mimico to River Rouge, Weston to Unilever, Oshawa to Ajax, and Brampton to Liberty Village have a true all day rapid transit service.
The distinction that I make between and RER and subway (or metro if you like) is stop spacing (and by extension total line length). An RER cannot have the kind of close stop spacing that a subway does while also providing long range service to suburban centres. Witness TTC's Line 1 where it would a rider travelling from VMC station to Union about 45 minutes to complete that ~20 Km trip. In the same time frame a GO rider could get to union from Oakville GO (on an all stop run) a ~30 Km trip.

A true RER with EMU's would have even greater acceleration ability and higher speeds than GO currently does, and that would stretch the trip distance probably to 40 or 50 Km
 

mdrejhon

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That's not to say that improving the King streetcar isn't worth doing; it's absolutely worth it and will vastly improve the streetcar and the street itself for a cheap price tag.
It certainly won't be as fast as a commuter-style train spacing (Paris RER, GO Expansion, York TTC, etc) but King LRT can still approximately match the "south-of-Bloor" Yonge subway average speed (including stops). It's possible for King LRT will be faster than today's Spadina LRT -- there's no world-class optimized transit priority, no level boarding, and no consist operation, and the density doesn't warrant upgrading that route.

Several surface LRTs have already actually managed to run faster average speed (including stopping time) than the south-of-Yonge subway.

Even if we only reach 75% of the average speed of that, it will still feel like a worthwhile near-metro-like upgrade of a former streetcar route. Reliability and capacity will skyrocket. It would feel more metro than Spadina, St. Clair, Queens Quay.

Some routes could do it with fewer upgrades:
-- St. Clair is also a good technical candidate for upgrade (level boarding + upgraded priority + consists) but not dense enough.
-- Spadina is also a good technical candidate for upgrade (level boarding + upgraded priority + consists) but doesn't have same future-growth potential of King LRT

But capacity upgrades makes even more sense with King, the most popular streetcar route in the city. Regardless of metro semantics, where it makes sense, it is worth making them as "metro-like in performance as you feel possible" (speed, capacity) short of the insane expense of tunnelling. Which still should be done where it makes sense.

The distinction between "streetcar" and "LRT" is incrementally getting quite blurry in Ontario and will be even blurrier by the end of 2020s. Streetcar, LRT. Potayto, potahto. Some routes are just the difference of potayto, potahto. This will be very clear/obvious where certain sections of Hurontario LRT (outside the long layover in Mississauga) has similar performance to Yonge-subway-south-of-Bloor. Likewise for the Hamilton LRT, though Hamilton LRT has way fewer far-side platform stops than Hurontario LRT, but is still way more optimized in speed performance than both Spadina/St.Clair overall.

So.... let's cast preconceived baked-in assumptions.

Bottom line: King Street LRT can cheaply push ~150,000 people/day without a tunnel if Toronto puts full mind to optimizing King.
 
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Reecemartin

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Cross Post from GO Transit Construction

A really exciting transit upgrade program is underway in Toronto right now and most people haven't even heard of it! The Georgetown South corridor is getting it's 4th track enabled by a number of projects, including a whole new platform at Weston GO which we look at today!

As always if you enjoy the video consider sharing and subscribing!

 

Streety McCarface

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I disagree. RER is much more comprehensive than that. Stations like East Harbour, Gerrard and Liberty Village are much more than merely a by-product. They're planned to serve their immediate areas and form key transfer points in an integrated region-wide network. It's a silly debate though, RER doesn't have to choose between being a shuttle to the suburbs and metro-style rapid transit for downtown. It can effectively do both.
What you're describing is not much different from what I'm saying. Sure, the stations will serve the areas they're being built in, but the vast majority of riders will be coming from the suburbs to serve those stations (due to general commuter patterns). If you live by said stations, the only reason you'd use them is if you're going to another suburb (including those in the city of Toronto (ie Scarborough, North York (Not Centre), or Etobicoke). And that's only for people living in close proximity to the station. Metrolinx doesn't seem to be trying to incorporate surface transit routes into the station, so there doesn't seem to be a reason to take RER if the bus you take goes to the subway station and you're going to the denser areas of Toronto. It will certainly provide some relief, Weston works because commuters are heading downtown and surface transit there is quite slow. We don't really see similar patterns at Downsview Park, Kipling, Kennedy, etc.

Side note, while Long Branch sees sizable ridership, it's pretty much in Mississauga, and more people heading into Toronto tend to use the 501/507.

The goal of the network (particularly during peak periods) is to serve suburb-suburb and suburb-downtown commuters on long-distance trips. Any dense city-downtown commuters using RER will either be using it during off-peak periods or are heading only to Union, otherwise, the subway is generally faster.
 

MisterF

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It certainly won't be as fast as a commuter-style train spacing (Paris RER, GO Expansion, York TTC, etc) but King LRT can still approximately match the "south-of-Bloor" Yonge subway average speed (including stops). It's possible for King LRT will be faster than today's Spadina LRT -- there's no world-class optimized transit priority, no level boarding, and no consist operation, and the density doesn't warrant upgrading that route.

Several surface LRTs have already actually managed to run faster average speed (including stopping time) than the south-of-Yonge subway.

Even if we only reach 75% of the average speed of that, it will still feel like a worthwhile near-metro-like upgrade of a former streetcar route. Reliability and capacity will skyrocket. It would feel more metro than Spadina, St. Clair, Queens Quay.

Some routes could do it with fewer upgrades:
-- St. Clair is also a good technical candidate for upgrade (level boarding + upgraded priority + consists) but not dense enough.
-- Spadina is also a good technical candidate for upgrade (level boarding + upgraded priority + consists) but doesn't have same future-growth potential of King LRT

But capacity upgrades makes even more sense with King, the most popular streetcar route in the city. Regardless of metro semantics, where it makes sense, it is worth making them as "metro-like in performance as you feel possible" (speed, capacity) short of the insane expense of tunnelling. Which still should be done where it makes sense.

The distinction between "streetcar" and "LRT" is incrementally getting quite blurry in Ontario and will be even blurrier by the end of 2020s. Streetcar, LRT. Potayto, potahto. Some routes are just the difference of potayto, potahto. This will be very clear/obvious where certain sections of Hurontario LRT (outside the long layover in Mississauga) has similar performance to Yonge-subway-south-of-Bloor. Likewise for the Hamilton LRT, though Hamilton LRT has way fewer far-side platform stops than Hurontario LRT, but is still way more optimized in speed performance than both Spadina/St.Clair overall.

So.... let's cast preconceived baked-in assumptions.

Bottom line: King Street LRT can cheaply push ~150,000 people/day without a tunnel if Toronto puts full mind to optimizing King.
I realize that we're splitting hairs with a debate over terminology, but "near metro-like" is quite different from the "metro class" you mentioned earlier. I have my doubts that a streetcar that goes through the heart of the financial district and dozens of traffic lights can approach the speeds of the subway, even the south of Bloor sections.

Absolutely the lines between LRT and streetcar are blurred, same with metro. These are somewhat arbitrary terms without perfect definitions. To me though, a metro doesn't stop at red lights and that gives it fundamentally different characteristics from most surface transit.
 

MisterF

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What you're describing is not much different from what I'm saying. Sure, the stations will serve the areas they're being built in, but the vast majority of riders will be coming from the suburbs to serve those stations (due to general commuter patterns). If you live by said stations, the only reason you'd use them is if you're going to another suburb (including those in the city of Toronto (ie Scarborough, North York (Not Centre), or Etobicoke). And that's only for people living in close proximity to the station. Metrolinx doesn't seem to be trying to incorporate surface transit routes into the station, so there doesn't seem to be a reason to take RER if the bus you take goes to the subway station and you're going to the denser areas of Toronto. It will certainly provide some relief, Weston works because commuters are heading downtown and surface transit there is quite slow. We don't really see similar patterns at Downsview Park, Kipling, Kennedy, etc.

Side note, while Long Branch sees sizable ridership, it's pretty much in Mississauga, and more people heading into Toronto tend to use the 501/507.

The goal of the network (particularly during peak periods) is to serve suburb-suburb and suburb-downtown commuters on long-distance trips. Any dense city-downtown commuters using RER will either be using it during off-peak periods or are heading only to Union, otherwise, the subway is generally faster.
New and expanded GO stations do accommodate surface transit. People at Long Branch and the other stations you mention choose the TTC because it's cheap and often because GO service simply doesn't exist for much of the day. I'm not sure how you expect RER service patterns to develop when there's no RER yet. Fares will be largely irrelevant when we have an integrated fare system.

When GO is electrified with trains running frequently all day with integrated fares those patterns absolutely will develop. Buses will feed GO stations just as they feed the subway. People will use whatever service gets them to their destination quickly and easily. Stations like Gerrard and St. Clair/Old Weston will connect people to other parts of the city just like any subway station. A system where central city service is merely a by-product of a suburb focused service wouldn't have these types of stations.
 

Mercenary

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I am a little confused. If they are gonna re-configure the UPX to run Go trains, then they will have to re-do all the platforms, the UPX station in Union Station and completely rebuild the elevated bridge to pearson Airport for Go trains to get there.

Are they planning to do all this? What exactly is in scope?
 

innsertnamehere

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I am a little confused. If they are gonna re-configure the UPX to run Go trains, then they will have to re-do all the platforms, the UPX station in Union Station and completely rebuild the elevated bridge to pearson Airport for Go trains to get there.

Are they planning to do all this? What exactly is in scope?
It will become a regular "GO" service, but not with the trains GO uses today.

GO will be running single level EMUs in a few years on a few lines, I imagine they will use them here.
 

robmausser

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I am a little confused. If they are gonna re-configure the UPX to run Go trains, then they will have to re-do all the platforms, the UPX station in Union Station and completely rebuild the elevated bridge to pearson Airport for Go trains to get there.

Are they planning to do all this? What exactly is in scope?
While they wont be using the current Bi-Levels, they would actually still be supported on the pearson elevated bridge. Transport Canada demanded it be built to mainline standards. Its the law when its connected to a heavy rail line.
 

Streety McCarface

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I realize that we're splitting hairs with a debate over terminology, but "near metro-like" is quite different from the "metro class" you mentioned earlier. I have my doubts that a streetcar that goes through the heart of the financial district and dozens of traffic lights can approach the speeds of the subway, even the south of Bloor sections.

Absolutely the lines between LRT and streetcar are blurred, same with metro. These are somewhat arbitrary terms without perfect definitions. To me though, a metro doesn't stop at red lights and that gives it fundamentally different characteristics from most surface transit.
I would argue that a metro has the defining characteristics of grade separation, high capacities, and frequent service. Light rail, on the other hand, is just a blanket term these days for anything that's either cheaper than a subway or doesn't conform to Transport Canada's rail guidelines. By this metric, all the streetcar lines can be considered light rail, street-running light rail perhaps.

In the case of King, what is being proposed would certainly be a light rail line, but it would not have the characteristics of grade separation and high capacities (The most they'd probably be able to do would be 10K PPD, and seeing how well Ottawa is doing with that, I have my doubts there).
 

dowlingm

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While they wont be using the current Bi-Levels, they would actually still be supported on the pearson elevated bridge. Transport Canada demanded it be built to mainline standards. Its the law when its connected to a heavy rail line.
what mainline standards are you referring to here and what exactly did TC demand? Or is just assertion on your part?
 

robmausser

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what mainline standards are you referring to here and what exactly did TC demand? Or is just assertion on your part?
Id have to really dig, its been over 5 years since it was discussed. Maybe someone else on the forum can help me out.

But basically in order to have the airport spur connected to a heavy rail line such as the Georgetown corridor, it had to be built to mainline standards even though that was way more than what was necessary to adequately support the relatively light UPX trains.

I'm not sure what mainline standards entails but I was told basically you could run a full 12 car go train on it no problem.

Its why the spur looks so overbuilt, and was a significant cost of the UPX.
 

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