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What is RER?

BurlOak

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That may have been what Metrolinx should have been doing, but they weren't. It was up to Tory to force Metrolinx to add stops within Toronto.
 

Anonymous2000

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- Kitchener-Stoufville becomes one through route, much like LSE-LSW is a through route

What about Barrie and Richmond Hill lines. would they be one through route like LSE-LSW, Kitchener-Stouffville.
Would there also be an eastern equivalent for the Milton line?
 

ssiguy2

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You can't expect Tory and Torontonians to wait until Metrolinx and Queen's Park figure out what RER is.

As it stands right now RER is nothing but more frequent GO service and that's it. GO is very much designed and geared towards the 905 which is why few Torontonians actually take it. Tory's mandate is to serve Torontonians and for all he knows RER will have no fare integration and be too infrequent to do Torontonians squat.

He is the mayor of Toronto and those are the people he should be concerned about. Tory's concern {and one he has a mandate to deliver} is to get ST moving and improve TTC service. If Queen's Park and Metrolinx had VERY clear routes, stations, frequency, fares then Tory could work with them if it is to the advantage of Torontonians but seeing they don't he can't wait for them to get their act together.
 

robmausser

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I actually think this is a huge challenge and not going to be made any better with more frequent service and shorter dwell times. Everytime I use one of the stairwells at the new York concourse, I think to myself "good thing this is only 1 way traffic".....if we get to the point where trains are dwelling shorter times and we are using the platforms more then those stairwells are going to be facing two way traffic a lot more frequently than they are today and they simply won't be able to handle it.....this may be alleviated by the re-opening of Bay....but, still, the idea is to drive more passengers through so maybe that won't make as much a difference as first thought would indicate.

This is not as big of a challenge as you think and I will tell you why.

Currently you are seeing crush load for a 12 car GO Train. Thats more than 1,000 people in one train at crush load.

The RER trains will not be this big. They will come more frequently, but they will most likely be about half the size, if that.

So you actually have the advantage of dispersing a crush load.

Rather than having 1,100 at once every 15 minutes currently (during rush hour on current GO system), you have 400-500 every 10 minutes.

More people overall, but you disperse them over a larger time frame.

Another thing is that you can utilize 2 platforms, one for offloading and one for boarding. (Doors on each side of train)

Metrolinx can actually assign each platform to either be a boarding or offloading only, for even 2 trains at once.

Say two trains pull up between platform 1, 2 and 3.

Platform 2 is assigned for boarding only to the two trains. Platforms 1 and 3 are offloading only. (or vice versa)

This keeps the flow of direction on each platform in the same direction.
 

mdrejhon

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"What is RER?"

Many can guess RER is a high frequency electric commuter train service. But beyond that?

So... let's try to understand how The Mother Of All RERs operates (aka Paris RER) -- Where everbody's RER acronym is borrowed from -- including "GO RER".

Here goes...
I wish Metrolinx would accept that they need to do more with RER for Toronto. 4 tph does nothing for the 416. And Smart Track needs more track space.
More tracks (than already planned) is not necessarily needed. Paris RER pulls off SmartTrack+RER with only the equivalent of 5-tracks to Scarborough and 2-tracks to Stoufville.

Just merge Bramalea-Stoufville GO+RER+UPX+SmartTrack into one unified electric service, ala Paris's RER B.

rerb-png.65333

For the above Paris route:
Some stations are served 3 minutes (core section, during peak)
Some stations are served 6 minutes
Some stations are served 12 minutes
Some stations are served 15 minutes
Some stations are served 30 minutes
(From RER B timetable)

Our theoretical equivalent:
So basically, a merged GO+RER+UPX+SmartTrack into one single service, using one single trainset, you would come with this schedule:
- 5-minutes Weston-Unionville (or Scarborough/Markham)
- 10-minutes Bramalea-Unionville
- 10-minutes Airport-Unionville
- 30-minutes Airport-Stoufville
- 30-minutes Bramalea-Stoufville
Or similar. Or could vary throughout the day (like Paris), etc.

Short-turning (e.g. at Unionville) and spurring (e.g. at Pearson spur versus continuing to Bramalea) would create a Paris RER style schedule similar to the above. All trains would allstop on the Stoufville line, with most trains short-turning at Unionville, and some continuing to Stoufville. Allstops and expresses (like RER B) could become possible west of Union. Allstops only on Stoufville (no passing) if Stoufville remains 2 tracks, to keep trains in their slots, and using short turns at Unionville for the high frequency south of Unionville / lower frequency north of Unionville.

Paris RER B, a unified service with 3-minute headways at peak, is a big-time hybrid:
Conceptually, imagine a rotating stopping plan example:
- T+0min train with stopping plan fully SmartTrack style (allstop)
- T+3min train with stopping plan fully GO style (express)
- T+6min train that's half SmartTrack-like and half GO style (allstop for a bit, then express)
- T+9min train that's very SmartTrack-like in the east, but GO style in the west
- T+15min train that behaves like UPX
During peak. And repeatedly cycles. Then switches to a different group of stopping cycles during different parts of offpeak.

Doing this on the electric Metrolinx heavy rail network, merging everything, will still be simpler operationally than Paris RER B. (See how fantastically complex the RER B timetable is)

Yes, it sounds complex for commuters, but it actually can be simplified by an electronic sign engineering challenge. You'd simply glance at the boards to determine which was the correct train:

This is how Paris RER B solves the confusion:
1280px-siel_-_rer_b_-_direction-1-jpg.65323

(Credit: Wikipedia for Paris RER)

Train approaches.
Is your destination station lit up?
If yes, board that train.
Confusion solved.

(In all likelihood, a modern videoboard equivalent would be used).

You'd merge all the electric Bramalea-Stoufville services into one single route ala Paris RER B. That's a GO+RER+SmartTrack+UPX merger into one electric service. If done, 5-minute SmartTrack is much more easily doable. That way, you only need to keep Stoufville 2-tracks as no passing is needed for Unionville versus Stoufville destination (you'd short-turn most trains at Unionville, for example).

Obviously, you'd need to resignal the whole route out of the wazoo for short blocks and all, and solve the Union Station bottleneck. But you would need no more than 5 tracks Union-Scarborough, and 2 tracks Scarborough-Stoufville. (there's ROW for 5 tracks Union-Scarborough, grades already separated, so somewhat simpler than the Georgetown Corridor project). This avoids residential expropriation, but noisewalls would need to go up.

At the end of the day, the entire electric GO network is simply two routes (LSW-LSE, and Bramalea-Stoufville) with a few spurs ala Paris RER B.

Even today's LSW evening peak is quite multilayered -- spurring and short-turning -- Aldershot short-turn/Hamilton spur/WestHarbour spur, with expresses/allstops, very much resemble an early canary verison of the Paris RER complexity. So we are beginning to have our own homegrown version of RER-style behavior beginning now.

Obviously, if we are going to go more complex than this, we will need clear videoboards on all platforms at Union, as well as on the trains themselves (digital station display announcements), so people don't get confused and miss their train / miss their station, despite importing the multilayered complexity of Paris RER into GO RER...

If Metrolinx wants to operate RER like Paris, they'll need to begin merging routes. Kitchener-Stoufville merger is one step, but it has to go far beyond. In this case, SmartTrack and RER becomes one and same service.

Now, the merged GO+RER+UPX+SmartTrack single service would be another level of logistics altogether, but still not even nearly as complex as Paris RER B!

You'd pull off 5-minute SmartTrack, assuming you solve the Union bottleneck (e.g. union corridor, short dwells, soft timetabling (allowing 5-minute trains to depart early to prevent cascading delays of later trains, etc), and a bunch of other common tweaks done in Europe.

I've made a few longer posts, here, here, and here.

Whether Metrolinx does it is another story altogether, but if 5-minute SmartTrack was a hard requirement, this is one way to logistically achieve this without needing residential expropriation.

I'm just saying it's p0ssible with the corridorwidths already available, assuming the resignalling and Union bottleneck is solved. We'd have to give up the notion of a bunch of services (GO+RER+SmartTrack+UPX) as being separate, and consider it as a single merged electric service (with a multilayered timetable) like Paris RER B is.

The whole GO network becomes treated as 2 routes:
Imagine the whole electric GO network being reimagined as a mere 2 services. (LSE+LSW through service, including both Hamilton DT/WH spurs) + (Kitchener-Stoufville+UPX merged service, including UPX spur). Both services, separately, would be 5 minutes headway each. But you're now only worried about just two services achieving 5-minute headways per direction, rather than a complex mix of separate/monolithic services. Corridor width problem suddenly gets solved.

Union bottlenecks not unsolvable: Yes, Union is a bottleneck but not impossible to solve (USRC corridor is about to be resignalled for higher train throughput). Instantaneous platform capacity is the problem, not hourly platform capacity. Important distinction. (e.g. level boarding, fast-boarding single-level EMUs, short subway-style dwelling, remove timetables, eliminate surges that create sudden Union stairway crowding. Display only a destination list like Paris RER). Post-revitalization Union has lots more capacity. Instantaneous surge bottlenecks can be smoothed out by removing timetables from ultrahighfrequency services, to regulate flow onto possibly safer slightly wider Union platforms that are flush against safer snagless subway-style trains to empty platforms more frequently, keeping per-platform overcrowding to today's levels, etc.... Maybe not soon, maybe not even 10 years, but someday. All cheaper than a Union tunnel....

5-minute headways ARE possible:
And did you know....Weston sub is already capable of 5-minute headways! A train driver, vegata_skyline confirms that, with 0.6 mile block signalling that was installed on this section of railroad (Georgetown Corridor megaproject up to the UPX spur). If we can apply that resignalling headways improvements to the rest of the corridors (USRC resignalling, Stoufville resignalling, etc), along with other instantaneous-vs-hourly Union platform capacity optimizations -- then we can achieve 5-minute "RER+SmartTrack+UPX" merged service without needing a Union tunnel. LSE-LSW could still use the bilevels, but everything Bramalea-Stoufville would use the unified electric level-boarding trainset. All the bilevels freed up (with electric locomotives) can be used to increase LSE-LSW service, and exclusively use level-boarding EMUs on the Bramalea-Stoufville unified service (with Kitchener diesels going express). All the new stations can just be built to high platforms only, saving money. At this point, 5-minute SmartTrack becomes possible without expropriation or tunnels.

That's my answer to "What is RER?", the topic title of this thread.
To understand, one needs to Understand the Mother Of All RERs (Paris!) ;)
 
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WislaHD

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Fantastic post @mdrejhon

They problem with GO however, is that they are sharing their tracks with other uses. This brings up additional logistic (and bureaucratic/legal) challenges and headaches that Paris RER from my understanding, is exempt form as their rail corridors are exclusively for passenger rail.
 

mdrejhon

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This certainly be true, but I think it's solvable by a 5-track corridor to GO Scarborough -- far easier than the Georgetown Corridor project -- as it's already grade separated and there's already ROW for two more tracks in the corridor without chopping residential backyards (aka no residential expropriation). Noisewalls will certainly have to go up, and existing grade seprations widened.

Beyond that, 2 tracks to Stoufville can still sustain 5-minute service assuming no other services (VIA, freight) are running on the Stoufville line, and no passing is needed (north of Scarborough).

As far as I know, VIA doesn't use Stoufville, and GO owns Stoufville (and I don't recall freight using Stoufville anymore except in occasional cases that might run at night -- correct me if I am wrong)

Once that's done, we really only need 2 tracks for Stoufville as a 5-minute "no-passing" service plan on Stoufville is certainly technologically possible ala RER. Express/allstops will go on the Weston sub and before the Scarborough junction -- but it will be allstop for all services running on the Stoufville spur with short-turning 5 out fo 6 trains at Unionville for the 5-min/30-min schedule.

Certainly what's possible to do, and what Metrolinx/Toronto is willing to do -- is completely two different ballparks in different galaxies in different universes in different dimensions...
 
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crs1026

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I'm quite on board with "GO" running express at whatever frequency makes sense between Malton/Union, Port Credit/Union, and Scarboro/Union. That makes "Smarttrack" an inner-zone stopping service with added stations in that zone. Whether "GO" and "Smarttrack" are one brands or two, is a matter of semantics.

Newmarket-Union and Unionville-Union are the problemmatic routes. Richmond Hill-Union needs a whole 'nuther look because its route may actually need to change, to avoid the lower Don. No matter how aggrieved the 416 may feel, the solution has to be a balance between 416 and 905 and not a blockade of what 905 has today. We need those routes to be auto-competitive commuter routes for peak periods. What happens at off peak hours is easier to reconcile. At peak, the 905 trains will not be auto-competitive unless there are semi-express runs. That limits the stopping service.

I suppose one could stagger trains the way Metra does on the Aurora corridor....fleet of 3 trains stopping at every third station, so they never catch up with each other. That limits the frequency at any one station, however.

Remember that the Province, and not the City, owns those routes. The City can't just turn up and start running its own trains. There will have to be a resolution of competing interests. The test of a good plan should be for the 905 to keep the quality of service it has now, and for the 416 to get better than it has now.

- Paul
 

ssiguy2

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As much as I support ST, the reality is that it is NOT needed.

A very comprehensive RER system would work just as well. More inner city stations and more stations thru the area, high frequency of every 4 minutes between Weston and Kennedy to Union, easier to entry/exit suburban trains, near total grade separation in the city and suburbs, regular TTC fares................all kind of things.

That's the problem. If RER was all those things then it could be a roaring success but if it has none of those things it could be an incredibly expensive white elephant.

This is the problem, outside of electric trains NOBODY including the TTC/Metrolinx/ or Queen's Park know what the final result will be. Incremental changes are fine if you know what your goal is but MLX doesn't.

This whole idea of creating a RER network without actually stating what it entails is and how it will work is pretty incompetent and they certainly shouldn't be surprised when Tory doesn't even acknowledge it's existence. How is he suppose to work around a plan that doesn't have one?
 

bill r

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Scarborough residents have for too long been without an adequate rapid transit system. The citizens need rapid transit to cover the exceedingly long bus routes in Scarborough.

There is an opportunity to provide rapid transit by carrying passengers on a new line. An RT (as in the SRT) train running on the surface from Unionville Station to Scarborough Station and then a tunnel from Scarborough Station under the GO tracks, turning west under Queen to University.


I submit that based on demand flows, there is no need for Stouffville/SmartTrack and a Subway extension (SSE), so discard both.
The RT can easily provide 5 minute headway service.
Markham needs a comprehensive bus system not a commuter train.
There is a subway crisis at Yonge/Bloor and adding the SSE only contributes to the problem, so drop the SSE.
The GO Lakeshore line has questionable capacity issues so tunnel under it.
You reduce the traffic into the overloaded Union Station by turning off at Queen.
Vivanext benefits because it completes the symmetry of Spadina/Vaughan, Yonge/Richmond Hill with Queen/Markham service. The increase in density in Markham (Birchmount and Highway 7) needs more frequent service.
The RT becomes a major north/south axis for Toronto East, providing relief to the Yonge subway line.
The Sheppard LRT meets this line.
The Steeles, Finch, Agincourt, Lawrence stations will significantly shorten bus routes in Scarborough. Passengers can get downtown or transfer at Kennedy to go west on the Bloor subway or Eglinton Crosstown LRT.

Background

Toronto Planning has proposed is a one stop extension from Kennedy to the Scarborough Town Centre (STC).
None of Metrolinx proposed options of Stouffville/SmartTrack service provides a frequent (12 trains/hour) service.

The Stouffville GO line

The Stouffville GO line is a single rail track with trains running only during the rush hour periods with 7 trains running southbound in the morning and 8 running northbound in the afternoon and evening. It was started as a single weekday run by GO Transit on September 7, 1982. Between Union Station and Scarborough Station, the Stouffville line shares tracks with the Lakeshore East line. On December 13, 2007, the government of Ontario announced building a second track to enable all-day two-way service between Union Station and Markham.
There are two problems with the Stouffville line.
1)It is currently single track. Metrolinx currently has two projects underway with the GO Stouffville line. There are plans to build a second track to enable all-day two-way service. There are plans to use electric powered trains for the line.
2)It shares tracks with the Lakeshore East line. There are many challenges. There are two expansion projects to further “share” the Lakeshore East line meaning insufficient capacity on the Lakeshore East line. Integrating the second Stouffville line onto the Lakeshore East line is a major undertaking (grade separated junction). Electrifying the Stouffville line will require electrifying the Lakeshore East line.
 

Admiral Beez

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but it seems the idea of RER is a very vague one.
This made me laugh. I've been wondering what RER stood for, so I click on this link, titled What is RER, and what follows is essentially a closed group of the acronym-wise, where no one tells us what RER is. Thankfully there's google and wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RER

Before this I thought the RER was for electrification of the lines, like we used to have... http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/TSR/junction.htm
 

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