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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:01 AM   #101
KGB
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" The Toronto tracks are virtually the cheapest quality a transit operating authority can operate. Their foundations are shallow, and there appears to be a hollow area between the underside of the top concrete and the top of the underlying trackbed making the vehicles unnecessarily noisy for too large a radius; the tracks need rebuilding far too often. "


Where did you hear that nonsense?

The TTC is in the midst of a $300 million track replacement project...all state-of-the-art, pioneered by the TTC and now the standard used around the world.



"Very few -- if none -- switches are equipped with motors (the opertor must fish her/his crowbar, exit the vehicle, and flip the switch with all her/his might leaning into the bar (i.e., on icy days). "


More nonsense...of course they have motors. Occaisionally, when a streetcar is short-turning on a non-route track, they are required to open the switch manually (it closes automatically).

Along with the track replacement, new switches are obviously installed. But, when it comes time to replace the streetcars with new ones (whichever they are), may require double-blade switches...a pretty expensive proposition.







"I wonder how antiquated the circuitry to its network is"

I guess you would have to wonder...cause you obviously wouldn't "know".








"With its predominantly narrow streets there, the city really ought to equip its network and cars with manually-operated or automatic tools to control the traffic lights in favour of passing streetcars. "


Signalized intersections on streetcar routes ARE equipped with signal priority detection equipment.









"As a network, it has all the hallmarks of a system a westerner would come to expect to find characterisetic to a region struggling to develop."


As we have just seen, it doesn't look like you are in a position to make such assessments. As a network, it has all the hallmarks of the best and largest streetcar system in north america. It seems Toronto is doing the least struggling in this catagory. Perhaps we should have followed Montreal's lead, and abandoned our streetcars back in 1959 ?







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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:05 AM   #102
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Sunday, May 09, 2004 - Toronto Star

The right side of the track
When it comes to streetcar work, TTC is on top
Cutting-edge pilot project saves time and money

KEVIN MCGRAN
TRANSPORTATION REPORTER

There was a time the TTC was on the cutting edge of transit in North America.

For the most part, that time has past. But there’s one area — the decidedly unsexy world of streetcar rail/road construction — where the TTC has regained its status as a world leader.

A pilot project last year at the intersection of King and Dufferin Sts. is being expanded this year at two intersections along St. Clair Ave. The work will:

*Lengthen the life expectancy of the road, rail and infrastructure underneath to 25 years, from about 15.

*Cut in half the time it takes to reconstruct intersections.

*Cut the cost of road repairs.

*Reduce the noise and vibration of streetcars.

“We’re the defining edge in my mind,” says Jim Teeple, the TTC superintendent who oversees streetcar track reconstruction. “We don’t deserve bragging rights, until we actually get it in use.

“(But) what we’re doing with special work from the technology perspective and installation methods is cutting edge. I’m very proud of it. A lot of gray matter went into what we’re trying to do.”

In the bad old days, the TTC would lay streetcar tracks on wooden ties and pour concrete around them.

The problems were many.

The wood ties would rot. The rail connections would be bolted together but inevitably loosen over time. The loose rail would take a pounding, shaking the concrete, creating potholes.

Meanwhile, the rail, which also acts as a current for electricity flowing back to a substation, was suffering from electrolysis.

Essentially, it was rusting quickly because the electricity would take the metal with it as it sought the path of least resistance down into the ground, degrading watermains. Road repairs, watermain repairs and rail repairs were constant.

About nine years ago, the TTC pioneered a way to lengthen the life of the road and rail by using steel ties instead of wooden ties and putting a “rubber boot” around the rail in a process they called RETrack (Resiliency Embedded Track).

The material — a thermaplastic that can be mass produced — kept the electrical current contained in the rail, reducing the effects of electrolysis, and acted as a buffer between rail and concrete, reducing road repairs.

The TTC’s RETrack is now a North American standard.

But there was another problem: what to do at intersections. Each area where streetcars turn from one road to another is unique. The rubber boot couldn’t be manufactured to meet the intricacies of the intersection — the curves, the joinings, etc.

“The geometry changes by the foot,” says Teeple. “It’s not something we can order off the shelf and put it in place. It’s unique. Everything in the intersection is unique.”

Advances in polyurethane technology have finally allowed the TTC to apply the principals of RETrack to intersections. Last summer, the TTC tried it out at King and Dufferin; this summer St. Clair and Oakwood and St. Clair and Rubina are getting it. If it works, it’ll be expanded to all 80 intersections as they come up for refitting.

“The true challenge was to find a material that could be formed and poured and then, when properly cured, would give it the properties we were looking for: electrical isolation, mechanical dampening of vibration and absorption of energy from streetcars above,” says Teeple.

And because the “rubber boot” absorbs the stress of the weight of the streetcar and buffers noise, the streetcars are “quiet as a mouse,” says Teeple.

American transit authorities, increasingly moving toward streetcar- type service, are already copying the TTC’s RETrack procedure for long, straight rail.

Retired engineer Bill Moorhead, whose company supplied the TTC with engineering expertise, says European and Asian cities, as well as places like Houston, San Diego and Philadelphia, are keen to learn if and how the TTC perfects its work on intersections.

“That’s something new; nobody so far is replicating that because the jury is out until we see how well TTC succeeds with it,” says Moorhead, a member of the American Public Transit Association, an influential lobby group in the United States. “This could be considered experimental.

“I’m sure some version of that will be developed and used almost universally.”

Meanwhile, this month at College and Ossington, the TTC will use a pair of European machines called PEMS in an attempt to reconstruct that intersection in two or three days, down from the five to seven it normally takes.

Usually, the TTC assembles an intersection at its Hillcrest yard, then disassembles it into 6- or 9-metre “panels,” transports it to the intersection and puts it back together again.

The PEMS, which speed up the delicate work of positioning track, will allow the TTC to transport much longer panels, requiring less work at the site.

“If you’re the owner of a store on any one of the corners, you can appreciate what this does to you,” says Teeple.

“So the faster we can get in and get out, it benefits everybody. These panel movers are going to allow us to do that now by taking extremely large pieces of trackwork down in one fell swoop.”

That’s all good news for the city’s bottom line. The TTC is in the middle of a 15-year program to rebuild its 280,986 double track feet (84,296 metres) for streetcars. The cost of the repairs has actually come down in the past four years.

In 2000, it cost the city $942.23 per foot of double track. These advances have helped bring the cost down to $688.41.

It’s not a subway to York University or some other glorified project for politicians to cut ribbons at.

But the TTC does quietly look for better ways to handle projects. “Extending life cycle drops costs,” says Teeple. “If we can put some other innovation into them to reduce construction time, we’ll save money.”
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:21 AM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_christine
Quite possibly you are thinking of the Market Street Railway in San Francisco:

Home Page:
http://www.streetcar.org/index.html

Index page for pictures and descriptions of the streetcar fleet:
http://www.streetcar.org/fline/streetcars/index.html

The following are just a few of the streetcars featured at the above website:

1912 Moscow/Orel Tram


1927 Osaka Tram


1929 Porto (Portugal) Tram


1934 Blookpool (England) Boat Tram


1929/1930 Melbourne (Australia) Tram


Philadelphia PCC
Yes, I've seen that in San Francisco... it was very cool.
I like the look of our streetcars. I have no desire for them to be streamlined
bullets.. they are urban transit, and operate at relatively slow speeds, and
are not being designed to blast off into outer space. I would like new ones
designed like the look of the existing pmes so that ours don't look like all the generic one's everyone else is anxious to adopt. Who cares if ours look
different than Tokyo's or in Germany. I am happy to have streetcars that
look like ours!
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 02:30 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGB
"With its predominantly narrow streets there, the city really ought to equip its network and cars with manually-operated or automatic tools to control the traffic lights in favour of passing streetcars. "

Signalized intersections on streetcar routes ARE equipped with signal priority detection equipment.
Yeha, but the TTC is not currently using the signal priority detection equipment. They just got approval/made the decision to start using it at the end of April 2006.
http://transit.toronto.on.ca/index.shtml gives a little bit more info...scroll down to April 21, 2006

When was the Spadina ROW built?

Cheers, m
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 09:55 PM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allurban
When was the Spadina ROW built?
That's the example of how its ROW streetcar route is a ROW physically but not operationally, i.e., prime example of my observations of traffic-light sequencings there.

Reading that article somewhere above, I hope the city'll overcome its ifiness although it's pointless crossing my fingers. It's a network bearing early-to-mid-20th-Century characteristics (I've commuted on many of its routes, and its operators would also tell you the network's low score on automatic switches -- its operators are most likely fully aware of other cities' remarkable accomplishments built into their networks).


Quote:
Originally Posted by KGB
Where did you hear that nonsense?
Like my written observation in my message somewhere above might be implying, as far as several blocks away from the passing bogies.

Cheers,
Chris

Last edited by elkram; May 3rd, 2006 at 10:10 PM.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:00 PM   #106
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If you're implying that you can hear TTC streetcars for blocks around, you must have quite the superhuman sense of hearing. Downtown you can certainly hear them everywhere... because they *are* everywhere. Where it's just one route, there is no way you can hear them from farther than the next street over, if that.

"It's a network bearing early-to-mid-20th-Century characteristics"

Shocking that it would bear characteristics of the time when it was built. And characteristics aside, they've done a remarkable job adjusting the network over the years, which is much harder than building a modern network from scratch. Combined with their rate of use and functionality, I don't see how any other NA city has done a better job with what it has.

And finally, with new subway lines largely a financial impossibility, the TTC is gung-ho about ROW these days. Within 10-15 years I think you'll see a lot of them popping up. Frankly I wouldn't be surprised if the St. Clair line were extended east, and an Eglinton east-west line and maybe even a Don Mills north-south line were built, all with ROW, relatively soon.

Ultimately I think the TTC will look to expand streetcar usage outside of downtown, especially once the new car issue is cleared up and they know what they'll have going forward. I hope to see ROW streetcars operating on every major street in the city that can't quite support a subway someday.

Last edited by sl64; May 3rd, 2006 at 11:42 PM.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:46 PM   #107
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they reallly need some new low floor ones
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Old May 4th, 2006, 02:48 AM   #108
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Supposedly the new s'cars that they bought are low-floor models
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Old May 4th, 2006, 04:59 AM   #109
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"Yeha, but the TTC is not currently using the signal priority detection equipment. They just got approval/made the decision to start using it at the end of April 2006."



What are you talking about????? The signal priority equipment has been in use for years. And not just on the streetcars, but buses as well.

That article is talking about just the Spadina line...and there are very good reasons it's not being used....the major one being it's basically pointelss, given the factors affecting that route. Using signal priority would cause more problems than it would solve.

Why do you think the engineers have chosen to not utilize them up to this point??? They are just stupid, or have a grudge against Spadina????


If you don't know what you are talking about...why not ask questions, rather than look stupid making incorrect statements.








"its operators would also tell you the network's low score on automatic switches -- its operators are most likely fully aware of other cities' remarkable accomplishments built into their networks) "



Where do you think I get most of my info regarding this....I have an immediate family member as a streetcar operator for the last 23 years. I hear stuff you will never read in a newspaper article....or even commision reports.


But you are right about the switches being the bain of streetcar operators (not just TTC...but anywhere). The basic rule is....never trust a switch. Switches wear out and malfunction....and you never know when, so you are always wary. That's why there are basic procedure every operator must use with them. Because taking an open switch is something you definetely don't want to happen.

But you are wrong about every other point you made....the switches aren't heated, because there is no point....the other mandatory switch maintenence renders it pointless to install heaters. And ALL switches are motorized on a route. There are the odd ones that are manual, but they are never located on an actual route, and would represent like 1% of switches. If you ever see an operator opening a switch manually, it's because the switch has malfunctioned and must be used manually until it can be repaired.








"overhead traction power signs are so rusted and tiny that an operator often missed the warning, and her/his mismanagment of the current would cause the vehicle to lurch or even shower sparks onto streetgoers."


There's no such thing as an operator "missing" an insulator or an NA switch. They don't use the signs....they are there just as a technicality for liability purposes...not as signs used by operators. An operator knows exactly what is on the rails, on the overhead wires, and on the road (or at least is supposed to). If there are ever sparks, then you either braked or accelerated through an insulator....and you are not supposed to do that...pretty basic stuff...you aren't trained to go by the signs. Try telling an inspector that you took an open switch or blew an insulator because you couldn't read the sign....quite laughable.








"the most pressing improvement necessary is to equip all the streetcars there with flashing signs more akin to those found upon schoolbusses"


Well, if you aren't aware of the Highway Traffic Act, then you shouldn't be on the road.

The offenders know what they are doing is wrong...the solution is not barriers or flashing lights, but change of attitude. What it needs is a serious penalty...not the pidly fine...if you are even caught. If the penalty is severe enough, then people will stop doing it. They gave operators special forms to fill in plate #s of those who violated the law....they filled them out...sent them in...on a regular basis. The police then issued a warning to those people. The TTC asked for a formal study to determine if it had made any difference...it made none.

If you lost your license for 3 or 6 months if found guilty, then you wouldn't be taking such risks just to get in front of that streetcar....or you'd be riding it for the next 3 or 6 months.






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Old May 4th, 2006, 05:08 AM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGB
If you don't know what you are talking about...why not ask questions, rather than look stupid making incorrect statements.
KGB
You have chosen to reveal your own self with your statement. This is sad.

I am well aware of the TTC and the issues that it has with signal priority equipment. I am aware that it is installed in some buses and streetcars...and I am aware that in most cases it is not being used...

Please provide evidence and examples of where it is being used...before you start criticizing me personally.

Cheers, m
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Old May 4th, 2006, 05:51 AM   #111
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[quote]At present, the TTC employs signal priority at 260 intersections on eight routes, with benefits of faster service and an annual savings of $1.5 million in operating costs, and ten streetcars and four buses in vehicle savings. The TTC would like to expand signal priority to 27 additional routes.[quote]

The above was taken from the text of the Final Report of the Smart Growth Panel, April 2003.

http://www.pir.gov.on.ca/userfiles/p...ish.txt?N_ID=4
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Old May 4th, 2006, 06:01 AM   #112
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Maybe you should have googled before you spoke?? he he

Don't be a sore sport...you were simply wrong. Next time, just admit it, rather than tap-dance around.






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Old May 4th, 2006, 06:09 AM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGB
Maybe you should have googled before you spoke?? he he
8 routes out of how many? Not being used on Spadina...because the engineers dont want it...Is it currently being used on streetcar routes? (note title of thread)

I wouldnt call it system wide implementation

Quote:
Originally Posted by KGB
Don't be a sore sport...you were simply wrong. Next time, just admit it, rather than tap-dance around.
KGB
That's fine...I can accept that I was partly wrong..not simply wrong. You were simply rude...can you admit that?

Hmmmm...actually, lets just leave it.

I'd like to hear more about the stories from your streetcar operator family member.

Cheers, m
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Old May 4th, 2006, 06:38 AM   #114
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"I wouldnt call it system wide implementation"


Of course it isn't system-wide (yet). It's something that takes time to instal...and at $25,000 per intersection, it's not cheap. It's being done by priority...about one route per year (40 to 60 intersections).

But that's not what you said...you said the TTC does not use signal priority period....or just started using it last week. This is completely false...not partly false.








"Is it currently being used on streetcar routes? (note title of thread) "


You should read your own googled post more carefully.








"You were simply rude...can you admit that? "


You made an incorrect statement...I pointed it out...that isn't being rude. Suggesting that you should do some research rather than making incorrect statements is not being rude either....it's good advice.







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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:28 AM   #115
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So, it is being used, on some Toronto streetcar and bus routes...at least 8, perhaps more. I had read the April 19 MTO press release, stating the plans to expand signal priority permission to all transit vehicles, which says:

With the traffic signal pre-emption technology, buses, streetcars and
other transit maintenance vehicles can shorten a red, or lengthen a green
traffic signal to their advantage when approaching an intersection. This
technology is currently used by emergency vehicles.


another article I found uses two conflicting views:

With the traffic signal pre-emption technology, buses, streetcars and
other transit maintenance vehicles can shorten a red, or lengthen a green
traffic signal to their advantage when approaching an intersection. This
technology is currently used by emergency vehicles.


and

This initiative responds to requests from municipal transit authorities. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and York Region have already implemented forms of this transit priority system on some of their routes. Several municipal transit authorities, including Guelph Transit, are investigating the use of this technology.

Well, thanks for the correction.

So, Id like to know, why isnt it being used on Spadina? Why is it "basically pointless" to use it?

Cheers, m
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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:40 AM   #116
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From my experiences, I have seen the 506 streetcar with signal priority in action. The pedestrian light would be flashing the red hand, and then finally it turned solid, but the traffic light was still green on College St, where a streetcar was in the process of crossing the intersection. The traffic light immediately changed once it completed crossing. It's pretty cool, I think.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 08:41 AM   #117
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Are Allurban and Elkram the same person???!!!!
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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:00 AM   #118
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No
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Old May 4th, 2006, 10:18 AM   #119
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"So, Id like to know, why isnt it being used on Spadina? Why is it "basically pointless" to use it? "


"I am well aware of the TTC and the issues that it has with signal priority equipment. "


It does not appear that you are "well aware" at all.


What's all the negativity over Toronto's streetcars anyway? It's well used and well loved. To listen to you guys, it's some antiquated, malfunctioning piece of crap that should be scrapped.





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Old May 4th, 2006, 10:49 AM   #120
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KGB, if you dont have an answer to the question, or do not wish to answer the question, please say so.

I can find my answers from other sources...but I would like to hear from this forum as well.

Again, does anyone know why TTC is not currently using the signal priority detection equipment for the spadina line.

Cheers, m
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