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TTC: Streetcar Network

ssiguy2

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I don't if I have asked this question before so........

Can the current Flexity trains be expanded? Right now they are about 30 meters divided up into different section so is it possible to add more sections to bring the trains to 40, 50 or even 60 meters? The TTC streetcar routes are very straight with little curves so I wouldn't think trackage would be a problem. I appreciate that terminus stations and u-turns at them may be a challenge but I am just talking about the vehicles themselves.
 

drum118

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I don't if I have asked this question before so........

Can the current Flexity trains be expanded? Right now they are about 30 meters divided up into different section so is it possible to add more sections to bring the trains to 40, 50 or even 60 meters? The TTC streetcar routes are very straight with little curves so I wouldn't think trackage would be a problem. I appreciate that terminus stations and u-turns at them may be a challenge but I am just talking about the vehicles themselves.
I can't speak to the Flexity, but I know Alstom and a number of other supplier cars can have sections added or remove. At X length, another power unit needs to be added.
 

W. K. Lis

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I don't if I have asked this question before so........

Can the current Flexity trains be expanded? Right now they are about 30 meters divided up into different section so is it possible to add more sections to bring the trains to 40, 50 or even 60 meters? The TTC streetcar routes are very straight with little curves so I wouldn't think trackage would be a problem. I appreciate that terminus stations and u-turns at them may be a challenge but I am just talking about the vehicles themselves.

The streetcar loops would have to be enlarged to handle the longer streetcars. They were originally designed for a large Peter Witt streetcar and trailer, which is why the current Flexity Outlooks are the same length.

Alternatively, wyes may have to be created to handle double-ended streetcars of the longer length.

Currently, the world's longest streetcar/tram comes in at 56-meter-long in Budapest. They are also narrower. From link.

 

smallspy

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I don't if I have asked this question before so........

Can the current Flexity trains be expanded? Right now they are about 30 meters divided up into different section so is it possible to add more sections to bring the trains to 40, 50 or even 60 meters? The TTC streetcar routes are very straight with little curves so I wouldn't think trackage would be a problem. I appreciate that terminus stations and u-turns at them may be a challenge but I am just talking about the vehicles themselves.

Sure they can. The car design is modular, and so another two sections could be inserted to make the cars about 140 feet or so.

The question is, though - is it worthwhile? The TTC spec'd a 100 foot long car as it was felt that longer would pose too much difficulty to the traffic through downtown, and the tighter sections of the various routes. Most of the loops were designed around a 50-foot car, and were built to deal with 2 of them - which means a single 100 foot long car would fit. Longer than that may/will pose problems. And while if a sub-set of the current fleet was made longer it would share a lot of the interoperability, there would still be modifications required to the maintenance facilities to handle the longer cars.

Dan
 

Bureaucromancer

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As far as the feasibility from the vehicle side, the Edmonton Flexities are being built as 7 unit/40m vehicles.

But yes, the vehicles were sized for the network. At the end of the day if we needed something larger multiple unit operation of the current (length anyway, whether we retrofit MU gear or just operate a subfleet) vehicles almost certainly makes more sense than bringing in a longer single vehicle.
 

ssiguy2

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Yes I understand that buying more vehicles allows for higher frequency but due to being at grade, there is a limit to how many trains can run a route without 'bunching' and hence slowing down operations. Once the lines are at their highest possible frequency while maintaining current speeds and reliability, it is good that Toronto can simply add more segments to increase capacity.
 

DSC

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Yes I understand that buying more vehicles allows for higher frequency but due to being at grade, there is a limit to how many trains can run a route without 'bunching' and hence slowing down operations. Once the lines are at their highest possible frequency while maintaining current speeds and reliability, it is good that Toronto can simply add more segments to increase capacity.
You say ''there is a limit to how many trains can run a route without bunching' - as the TTC is VERY poor at route management this limit is VERY low - if a route has two 'trains' I would bet we would see bunching! -->
 

reaperexpress

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The streetcar loops would have to be enlarged to handle the longer streetcars. They were originally designed for a large Peter Witt streetcar and trailer, which is why the current Flexity Outlooks are the same length.

Many major stops built between the 1980's and early 2010's are just over 45 metres long, to accommodate three 15-metre CLRV's or two 22-metre ALRV's.

For example, Main Street:
Capture3.JPG


Dundas West:
Capture.JPG


Platforms along the Queensway
Capture2.JPG


This has exacerbated the capacity issues at stations such as Dundas West and Broadview where the platform capacity dropped from 3 streetcars to 1 with the introduction of 30-metre LFLRV's. The TTC is working to extend some critical platforms such as Dundas West to just over 60 metres to accommodate two LFLRV's.
 

Northern Light

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It makes sense to get streetcar platforms at stations to 60M wherever practical.

But to get bunching under control, they need to take excess bloat out of trip times across the network.

Main Stn never used to have more than 1 bus sitting on its opposite side due to arriving too early.

Now, 6-8 buses is standard with buses bunching up all over the station, impeding each other's ability to get in and out.

Beyond that, they need to move strictly to headway management, not schedule; and to step-back crewing so that the operator takes a break, not the vehicle.
 

Amare

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Beyond that, they need to move strictly to headway management, not schedule; and to step-back crewing so that the operator takes a break, not the vehicle.
This is exactly what needs to happen. The TTC is unable to follow their own schedule, so it's for the best they switch over to a headway based dispatch since their route management skills are abysmal.

I'd probably go as far to say that they should go with a double-step back crew arrangement. I dont even trust they would be able to meet a step-back arrangement.
 

reaperexpress

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It makes sense to get streetcar platforms at stations to 60M wherever practical.

But to get bunching under control, they need to take excess bloat out of trip times across the network.

Main Stn never used to have more than 1 bus sitting on its opposite side due to arriving too early.

Now, 6-8 buses is standard with buses bunching up all over the station, impeding each other's ability to get in and out.
Removing running time does not resolve bunching, it resolves congestion in terminals. Those are opposites to each other.
More running time results in more congestion in terminals but less bunching;
Less running time results in more bunching but less congestion in terminals.

That said, I do agree that there is too much time in the schedules. Part of the reason that so much time appears to be needed (according to the GPS traces of the streetcars) is that many of the Streetcar policies require operators to operate in an exceedingly leisurely pace - even when behind schedule. For example, they're expected wait until the doors close on their own, leading to pointless delays at busier stops while people keep pressing the button to come in, and pointless delays at minor stops where the doors haven't yet figured out that everyone is already onboard. This is in contrast to the subway where guards anticipate the moment when everyone will have boarded, and start the door chimes a few seconds beforehand, such that there is no time wasted before departure. The Flexities have cameras and door chimes making this possible, but operators aren't allowed to use them.

Then there's the issue that the Streetcar Operations group has a tendency to just introduce a new speed restriction as a knee-jerk response to every incident.
Newsflash: Other railways don't achieve safety by expecting operators to be able to stop the train in time to avoid collisions. It's not like VIA train drivers can see level crossings 2km down the line while they're travelling 160 km/h. Instead the focus is on alerting people to approaching trains, and encouraging them to use common sense by obeying signals and/or looking both ways before crossing the tracks.
People often think of streetcars as buses on rails, but they can't stop nearly as quickly. They should really be treated more as little street-running trains, just as they are in virtually every other city. One little change I think could help is to swap the current horns which sound like car horns, to a sound which resembles a train horn. Many light rail systems in North America use train-like horns on their light rail vehicles, so there are plenty of off-the-shelf products available.

It's easy to make fun of the TTC for having horrendously unreliable streetcar service, but when you think about it, it's actually quite difficult to run regular headways on most of Toronto's streetcar lines. In any other type of transit service, there are certain stops where the vehicle sits when it is ahead of schedule, but on many of the mixed-traffic streetcars routes, there isn't anywhere practical to sit. There's also little opportunity to "hurry" to make up time, since so much of the streetcar's time is spent at stops rather than moving. The amount of time saved by driving faster won't come anywhere near enough to offset the extra time spent at stops due to the additional people who are waiting there due to the streetcar being late.

I think that introducing headway-based signal priority (as planned) will help matters somewhat by creating some kind of force nudging vehicles forward or back toward the desired headway. Of course that alone won't solve the bunching issues - line managment and operator discipline are also key - at least it increases the number of practical headway management tools from 0 to 1.

Beyond that, they need to move strictly to headway management, not schedule;

The TTC is reluctant to use strictly headway management because it results in operators being in unpredictable locations at the time of their breaks and at the end of their shifts, thereby requiring a lot of annoying crew swapping between streetcars opposite directions to get them to the location where the next crew is waiting. Note that it's a lot more awkward to swap crews between streetcars in the middle of the street than it is to swap subway crews in stations where they can just walk across the platform.

Each time the crew is swapped represents a couple minutes delay, which is a big deal on lines scheduled as frequently as every 3 minutes. Furthermore, one or the other of the two streetcars will probably be sitting right before a signalized intersection, maxing out the signal priority there for a few minutes. The latter doesn't really affect the TTC much, but it increases the resentment that the City has against the signal priority system by creating a large and pointless delay to other types of traffic.

I think a decent compromise would be to dispatch from the terminals based on schedule (when service is running relatively close to schedule), but then always manage spacing along the line based on headways.

and to step-back crewing so that the operator takes a break, not the vehicle.
Streetcar schedules are already written entirely with step-back crewing for breaks. The problem is that some operators act like the recovery time scheduled in terminals is an additional break they're entitled to, which it is not. When the schedule includes 5 minutes sitting at a terminal, an operator who arrives more than 4.5 minutes late is expected to depart immediately.
 
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Northern Light

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Removing running time does not resolve bunching, it resolves congestion in terminals. Those are opposites to each other.
More running time results in more congestion in terminals but less bunching;
Less running time results in more bunching but less congestion in terminals

I was meaning bunching at terminals specifically as that was the topic at hand; but you're quite right.

.

That said, I do agree that there is too much time in the schedules. Part of the reason that so much time appears to be needed (according to the GPS traces of the streetcars) is that many of the Streetcar policies require operators to operate in an exceedingly leisurely pace - even when behind schedule. For example, they're expected wait until the doors close on their own, leading to pointless delays at busier stops while people keep pressing the button to come in, and pointless delays at minor stops where the doors haven't yet figured out that everyone is already onboard. This is in contrast to the subway where guards anticipate the moment when everyone will have boarded, and start the door chimes a few seconds beforehand, such that there is no time wasted before departure. The Flexities have cameras and door chimes making this possible, but operators aren't allowed to use them.

There are lots of practices that can be used to make trips more efficient, the low-cost, easy-to-do stuff would be more stop rationalization, physically barriering non-signalized left turns off-of or onto to streetcar tracks, and more meaningful parking restrictions along streetcar routes. I would favour 6-10am, 3-7pm, and in both directions in high congestion areas.

Longer term, there is more room exclusive ROW such as on the wider points of College, or the Main Street bridge, or Lakeshore in Etobicoke.

There's also a need to address streetcar routes running the full length of the old City.

That's too much exposure to an accident 10km away interrupting service.

Breaking the Queen and Carlton services on the far sides of downtown, similar to King would reduce the risk-margins needed in schedules.

Have queen flip at McCaul and Broadview (put in the Broadview/Queen loop that has been planned for); Not sure where to turn Carlton/College, but again that would be helpful.

I would also like to more redundant connections in the network to allow streetcars to move around accidents/disruptions.

This is particularly needed in the east end where there is no N-S connection btw Carlton and Queen from Broadview to Coxwell.

Even one extra connection (say Carlaw) would be quite helpful.
 

reaperexpress

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https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2020/ph/comm/communicationfile-101165.pdfThere are lots of practices that can be used to make trips more efficient, the low-cost, easy-to-do stuff would be more stop rationalization
The TTC has been pushing hard for years go eliminate or consolidate superfluous stops, and has actually managed to get rid of a decent proportion of them over the past few years. The remainder of the planned stop rationalizations are beyond the control of the TTC now that they're being blocked by City councillors. The only way they can proceed is for the public to convince those councillors otherwise. The problem is that each councillor has complete control over the stops in their ward. So every councillor always wants as many stops as possible to be as convenient as possible for the residents of their ward, regardless of how much it delays people travelling through on the streetcar (to/from other wards).

physically barriering non-signalized left turns off-of or onto to streetcar tracks, and more meaningful parking restrictions along streetcar routes. I would favour 6-10am, 3-7pm, and in both directions in high congestion areas.

The City has already extensively banned left turns along streetcar routes in busy periods. Banning parking only really helps on the approaches to major intersections. In other locations its benefits are partly offset by allowing cars to overtake streetcars, resulting in more traffic in front of the streetcar at the next traffic signal. Streetcars move quite well on Roncesvalles because they hold traffic behind them, giving them a clear shot down the street.

Longer term, there is more room exclusive ROW such as on the wider points of College, or the Main Street bridge, or Lakeshore in Etobicoke.

There are new ROWs under construction on Lakeshore Blvd near Long Branch station, and along the Queensway between Parkside and Roncesvalles. But more are definitely needed.

The City is currently trying to move forward with an exclusive ROW along Lakeshore in Etobicoke, but is facing opposition from local residents. What's needed here is more vocal support for transit improvments to offset the very loud NIMBYs.

There's also a need to address streetcar routes running the full length of the old City.

That's too much exposure to an accident 10km away interrupting service.

Breaking the Queen and Carlton services on the far sides of downtown, similar to King would reduce the risk-margins needed in schedules.

Have queen flip at McCaul and Broadview (put in the Broadview/Queen loop that has been planned for); Not sure where to turn Carlton/College, but again that would be helpful.

It seems that the TTC also agrees with this strategy given how much they have been experimenting with splitting crosstown streetcar routes. The new splits on the 504 and 501 come to mind.
 
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duffo

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I was meaning bunching at terminals specifically as that was the topic at hand; but you're quite right.



There are lots of practices that can be used to make trips more efficient, the low-cost, easy-to-do stuff would be more stop rationalization, physically barriering non-signalized left turns off-of or onto to streetcar tracks, and more meaningful parking restrictions along streetcar routes. I would favour 6-10am, 3-7pm, and in both directions in high congestion areas.

Longer term, there is more room exclusive ROW such as on the wider points of College, or the Main Street bridge, or Lakeshore in Etobicoke.

There's also a need to address streetcar routes running the full length of the old City.

That's too much exposure to an accident 10km away interrupting service.

Breaking the Queen and Carlton services on the far sides of downtown, similar to King would reduce the risk-margins needed in schedules.

Have queen flip at McCaul and Broadview (put in the Broadview/Queen loop that has been planned for); Not sure where to turn Carlton/College, but again that would be helpful.

I would also like to more redundant connections in the network to allow streetcars to move around accidents/disruptions.

This is particularly needed in the east end where there is no N-S connection btw Carlton and Queen from Broadview to Coxwell.

Even one extra connection (say Carlaw) would be quite helpful.
It's a shame that the Ontario Line isn't being planned with streetcar integration in mind. I really think that the 501 should be split with the OL replacing the central portion. I guess you'd have the 501W which would go from Humber/Sunnyside Loop to McCaul Loop and 501E which goes from the Neville Park Loop to the future "Broadview Loop", allowing connections to the OL Queen/Spadina and Leslieville stations respectively.
 

W. K. Lis

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It's a shame that the Ontario Line isn't being planned with streetcar integration in mind. I really think that the 501 should be split with the OL replacing the central portion. I guess you'd have the 501W which would go from Humber/Sunnyside Loop to McCaul Loop and 501E which goes from the Neville Park Loop to the future "Broadview Loop", allowing connections to the OL Queen/Spadina and Leslieville stations respectively.
Ontario Line to provide "express" service, the 501 to provide "local" service.
 

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