1st & 2nd August 2011
© copyright photographs by Colin Duff
| Like many major cities around the world Toronto in the early part of the 20th century had an extensive streetcar, a.k.a. tram, system. Whilst the Toronto system has been reduced over time it was done so only very slowly, so by the time trams again became de rigueur it still had a large system - not as a cutsie tourist attraction but as a major part of the public transport system providing very frequent services from early morning to late at night seven days a week.
It is built to a unique gauge of 4ft 10.7/8 inches. I was told this was to prevent the railways from running in the street. Much of the current system is street running, and where there is separated right of way it is mostly still on the street. Passengers often have to cross to the middle of the road to board. Like with school buses in North America, traffic must stop to the rear when the streetcar is at a stop in the middle of the road where there is no separated right of way. Out of the city centre the stops have low platforms with shelters but in the city centre there are just "bus stops" on the pavement. There are eleven lines in total.
The current streetcar fleet is coming up for renewal as it was introduced in 1977/78. Apparently renewal is a bit of a political hot potato as it is expensive and some prominent politicians would prefer to abandon the system and build new subway lines. (Toronto only has two long and two short subway lines. Stock is similar to New York subway stock of the same period.)
Public transport is run by the TTC - Toronto Transit Commission - who have a wonderful logo reminiscent of "Dan Dare" days but I think it must be an original, not "retro". A one day pass, valid for all TTC buses, streetcars
and subway train, costs $10CDN. (~£6) Any individual trip on any mode costs $3CDN so you only need to make 4 journeys a day to break even. Travelling around by streetcar is as much a wonderful way to see the city as it is a good way of getting around.
These photos are of the prototype CLRVL1 stock 4000-4006 and subsequent production CLRVL2 stock 4007 - 4196. Whilst we saw the articulated ALRVL3 stock (which is ten years younger) I somehow failed to photograph or video
any of the 52 artics.
|From the prototype CLRVL1 batch, 4001 is turning out of separated right of way along Lake Shore Boulevard West on its way to Union Station on route 509 on 2nd August.|
|4027 is threading its way through the evening traffic of 2nd August on King Street West on route 504 to Dundas West Station.|
|Interior of CLRVL2 car 4046, looking forwards from the rear seats, as it travels west along Queens Quay West on a route 509 service on 2nd August.|
|This is the reverse move of what is happening in the picture of 4001. 4051 is turning into the separated right of way along Lake Shore Boulevard West on its way to Exhibition on route 509 on 1st August.|
|4070 is on King Street West about to cross Yonge Street on route 504 to Broadview at Gerrard on the evening of 2nd August.|
|4072 is heading towards Union Station on route 509 along Queens Quay West at Robertson Crescent on 2nd August.|