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Toronto's Retiring Streetcars an Opportunity for Jax?

Assuming the 2030 Mobility Plan becomes reality, Jacksonville will have a funding mechanism for getting fixed-rail off the ground. With that in mind, Metro Jacksonville suggests taking advantage of Toronto's retiring streetcars to make our plans even more cost effective.

Published January 18, 2011 in Transit      15 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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About the Toronto Streetcar System



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The Toronto streetcar system comprises eleven streetcar routes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), and is the largest such system in the Americas in terms of ridership, number of cars, and track length. The network is concentrated in downtown and in proximity to the city's waterfront. Much of the streetcar route network dates back to the 19th century. Unlike newer light rail systems, most of Toronto's streetcar routes operate in the classic style on street trackage shared with car traffic, and streetcars stop on demand at frequent stops like buses. Some routes do operate wholly or partly within their own rights-of-way, but they still stop on demand at frequent stops.

There are underground connections between streetcars and the subway at Union, Spadina, and St. Clair West stations, and streetcars enter St. Clair, Bathurst, Broadview, Dundas West, and Main Street stations at street level. At these stations, no proof of payment is required to transfer to or from the subway, as the streetcars stop within the stations' fare-paid areas. At the eight downtown stations, excepting Union, from Queen's Park to College on the Yonge–University–Spadina subway line, streetcars stop on the street outside the station entrances, and proof of payment is required to transfer to or from the subway.

Despite the use of techniques long removed in the streetcar networks of other North American cities, Toronto’s streetcars are not heritage streetcars run for tourism or nostalgic purposes; they provide most of the downtown core’s surface transit service, and four of the TTC's five most heavily used surface routes are streetcar routes. In 2006, ridership on the streetcar system totaled more than 52 million.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_streetcar_system



About The Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV)



Constructed between 1977 and 1981, Toronto Transit Commission currently has 195 CLRVs in service.

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The Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) is a type of streetcar currently used by the Toronto Transit Commission in Toronto, Canada.

The first ten cars were to be manufactured by SIG of Zurich, Switzerland and used as templates for Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC) (now Bombardier) to manufacture the rest at the Hawker-Siddeley Canada Ltd. Thunder Bay works. However, this number was cut down to six, which is why there are no CLRVs numbered 4006-4009. These cars are used by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and are numbered 4000 to 4005, and 4010-4199. These are the primary type of streetcar currently used by the TTC, along with the Articulated Light Rail Vehicle.

In 1980, cars 4027, 4029 and 4031 were leased and tested by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA).[2] During this time, two cars were occasionally operated as a pair.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Light_Rail_Vehicle


CLRV Fast Facts



Seating Capacity: 42-46 seated, 132 standing

Car Length: 49 feet

Doors: Two

Maximum Speed: 68 mph

Weight: 50,010 lbs

Power Supply: Overhead trolley wire

Gauge: 4ft 10 7/8"



Articulated Light Rail Vehicles



Toronto's streetcar system also includes 52 articulated vehicles in service.

Seating Capacity: 61 seated, 155 standing

Car Length: 75 feet

Doors: Three

Maximum Speed: 68 mph

Weight: 81,010 lbs

Power Supply: Overhead trolley wire

Gauge: 4ft 10 7/8"



Taking Advantage in Jacksonville



Toronto's original CLRVs are nearing the end of their initial 30-year service life, meaning they'll either need to be rebuilt or replaced.  With new funding from senior governments, Toronto has made a decision to refurbish 132 vehicles and buy new low-floor, higher-capacity streetcars to replace the rest of the current fleet.

For a community like Jacksonville, this could be an opportunity to gain access to an initial fleet of streetcar vehicles for minimal costs.  While many may not view the CLRV as being "sexy" like the modern streetcar, cost savings would be in the tens of millions, considering modern streetcars run as much as $3 million per vehicle.

The benefit would be the opportunity to initiate fixed transit at a lower cost and quick rollout.  In other words, better utilization of existing resources.

Article by Ennis Davis







15 Comments

dougskiles

January 18, 2011, 06:43:52 AM
They look nice enough to me.  I assume that we would buy them from a company who refurbished them?  How much do you think that would be?  And how much additional life would we get from them?

Nothing against the Jaguars, but PLEASE let's not paint them teal.

Keith-N-Jax

January 18, 2011, 07:13:00 AM
Teal would be sweet.  :)

Cricket

January 18, 2011, 08:27:26 AM
OMG, please don't paint them teal, they'll break down every other week. :)

riverside planner

January 18, 2011, 08:44:52 AM
I spent a week in Toronto over Christmas and have to say that the TTC is a fantastic system!  We used the streetcars quite a bit, as well as the subway and buses, and loved it.  Total transportation costs (unlimited ridership) for a family of 3?  $10/day. 

thelakelander

January 18, 2011, 09:03:11 AM
They look nice enough to me.  I assume that we would buy them from a company who refurbished them?  How much do you think that would be?  And how much additional life would we get from them?

Nashville purchased their commuter rail cars from Chicago for a $1/piece.  That was one of the main reasons they were able to implement the cheapest commuter rail startup ($40 million for a 32 mile long rail line) in recent history a couple of years ago. 

I'd assume if wanted, you would purchase or have them given to you for free directly from the TTC.  According to JTA's prefeasibility streetcar study (page 17 of linked pdf below), restoration could be as much as $1 million/car, assuming complete rebuilt (which in this case, would not be).

http://www.jtafla.com/JTAFuturePlans/Media/PDF/StreetCarPrefeasibilitystudy.pdf

According to this quote, the rebuild option would add 10 - 15 years of service life, in addition to what they already have remaining. 

Quote
As the original CLRVs reach the end of their thirty-year service life, the TTC must soon either rebuild or replace them. Until recently, their official plan was to rebuild the CLRVs to extend their useful life by about ten to fifteen years and add new features such as air conditioning, and not purchase any new streetcars until the ALRVs reached obsolescence. On July 26, 2006, the first streetcar with air conditioning (number 4041) entered revenue service. With new funding from senior governments, however, they now intend to refurbish only one hundred CLRVs to meet Toronto's immediate requirements, and buy new low-floor, higher-capacity streetcars to replace the current fleet and run planned routes along the waterfront and in the inner suburbs. The remaining 96 streetcars will be rebuilt only if the introduction of new models is delayed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_streetcar_system

For a place like Jax, 15 years is more than enough time to affordably grow into a system.  With all of this said, this is a question that would be right down Ocklawaha's alley.  I say this because there are plenty examples of streetcars +80 years old still in operation today.  So it would appear, as long as they are properly maintained, they'll run.

thelakelander

January 18, 2011, 09:16:23 AM
More info about Nashville's purchase from Chicago's Metra.


Nashville's Music City Star

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While, as a "heavy" intercity-type railroad project, this is certainly not "light rail", the Nashville project does suggest what can be done on a tight budget with a "can-do" attitude and a determined approach to minimizing design and containing costs. At a budgeted cost of $39 million for the 32-mile line, including infrastructure rehab, stations, maintenance facilities, and rolling stock (including minor renovation), this rail project is about as bare-bones as they come (about $1.2 million per mile), and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is taking pains to keep costs contained. Known officially as the East Corridor Alignment (it heads almost due east from Nashville), it's a single-track line (with a passing siding at one station), owned by the Nashville and Eastern Railroad Authority, that will share operation with freight trains. The project includes track rehab with 110-lb rail; installation of 6 very rudimentary stations; and sharing of a maintenance facility with the current freight operator.

Quote
By far the most bargain-priced aspect of Nashville's rail starter line project has been the rolling stock – 11 bi-level coaches obtained from Chicago's Metra regional passenger rail agency for $1.00 (yes, that's one dollar) apiece. These are high-floor cars, currently being adapted for (internal) ADA compliance. Platform access for mobility-impaired passengers into the car will be provided by pedestal or "mini-high-block" platforms. Each train will consist of two or three passenger cars, each coach seating about 155 passengers. Push-pull operation will be powered by several ex-Amtrak E-8 units (although how many is currently unclear), costing $200,000 each.
http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_nsh_2005-01.htm

While many cities and transit agencies over spend on "state-of-the-art" modern systems, you don't have to spend money you may not have or implement tax increases.  There are several communities (ex. Nashville, Memphis, Kenosha, Austin, Little Rock, etc.) out there that have proven you can implement mass transit improvements (even fixed rail start ups) at affordable costs.  We can learn a lot from them, if we're truly interested in stretching our limited financial resources.

wsansewjs

January 18, 2011, 09:44:11 AM
OMG! DO BRING THAT LAWLSBUCKET HERE! DO WANT DO WANT!

urbaknight

January 18, 2011, 01:24:43 PM
Nashville seems to have implemented their streetcar system wisely and cost effectively. Is Nashville run by Yankees or something? and can we get some of them involved in out local politics? There are lots of transplants down here, including myself. But, I'm not stable enough to run, however, I'll gladly support you if you can help us compete on the world stage, with out going too far left or too far right.

 C'mon fellow Yankees, let's show the leadership here the true meaning of "re-construction". Because even nearly 150 years later, there's not too much change, it's only on the surface, masking the stupidity.

 No offence to the good people who live here. You're some of the best people I've met, but the bad and stupid people are the ones that ruin the south. And our leadership is infested with them. Let's get some forward thinking people in office. Then, we can have all these things that we really need, hopefully.

Keith-N-Jax

January 18, 2011, 01:29:05 PM
Ok so this is just a suggestion not anything Jax is really looking into. (Sigh) ok back to normal.

peestandingup

January 18, 2011, 06:04:05 PM
Nashville seems to have implemented their streetcar system wisely and cost effectively. Is Nashville run by Yankees or something? and can we get some of them involved in out local politics? There are lots of transplants down here, including myself. But, I'm not stable enough to run, however, I'll gladly support you if you can help us compete on the world stage, with out going too far left or too far right.

 C'mon fellow Yankees, let's show the leadership here the true meaning of "re-construction". Because even nearly 150 years later, there's not too much change, it's only on the surface, masking the stupidity.

 No offence to the good people who live here. You're some of the best people I've met, but the bad and stupid people are the ones that ruin the south. And our leadership is infested with them. Let's get some forward thinking people in office. Then, we can have all these things that we really need, hopefully.

Keep in mind that Nashville's isn't a streetcar & is more of a commuter rail. It basically just gets people to/from downtown Nashville & Lebanon. See: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=102541370026937657768.00048a44d25cfe7275a09&ll=36.216579,-86.531067&spn=0.495808,0.587082&z=11 It doesn't really go through any of the highly condensed areas where people actually live/work (west & east Nashville, doesn't go to the airport, etc)

They're further along than we are, in that they actually HAVE something, but like us, they still have a looong way to go until it would be what I would consider a real viable system that you could ditch your car for.

spuwho

January 18, 2011, 08:57:58 PM
One of the largest factors in Streetcar life is the environment they run in.

Being that Toronto has a continental climate and deals with temp and precipitation extremes, the "wear and tear" over time is much higher.

Use in Jacksonville would entail a much smaller set of extremes which means longer life cycles and lower maintenance costs.

If Cuba can keep a 1903 Brill running for a hundred years, there is no reason we can keep these cars going beyond what they expected.

Ocklawaha

January 19, 2011, 11:26:08 AM
The biggest problem with the TTC cars is the track gauge. With a bastard gauge every component for future improvements would have to be custom made. Before moving ahead with such a proposal we would have to ascertain if a wheel press or other fairly easy fix is possible or not. If it is, I say we go for it, if it isn't, then avoid these cars like they're infected with "bubonic AIDS."

Before everyone stampedes out the door on the TTC cars, keep in mind that changing track gauge is usually not a deal breaker. The Oporto Portugal cars were all narrow gauge when imported back to the USA. All of the cars from Portugal were converted to standard gauge.

Lastly, using the TTC cars would get us into the streetcar business in one sweep, but don't discount the value of antique or vintage streetcars to bring in the crowds. When is the last time you saw a whole city turn out with a parade to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a bus?  Better yet? Who has ever seen a 100 year old bus? Witness the following photos taken from the parade staging area in Dallas, celebrating the 100th anniversary of their tiny wooden (American made) streetcar named "Rosie."


OCKLAWAHA



DALLAS TEXAS, MC KINNEY AVENUE STREETCAR 100TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION PARADE





On board the the 100 year old birthday girl...(note for JTA: body=wood, wheels=steel, no steering wheel, seats=velvet as opposed to bolted down park benches, interior exotic tropical wood=NOT plywood, trim brass=NOT brass plated plastic, THIS IS A TROLLEY)





This is "Rosie" the 100 year old streetcar.



We could be doing the same thing as the East Coasts premiere vintage AND modern streetcar system (and yes they can operate together without any changes)  We're just missing a couple of things including the will to act.





Oh and those missing streetcars? THEY are hiding in plain sight.

Ocklawaha

January 19, 2011, 11:35:10 AM
Teal would be sweet.  :)

Interesting the original JACKSONVILLE TRACTION COMPANY colors were forest green with a cream colored window band. Later models appeared to have been in the typical yellow seen everywhere else. So teal? Here is the catch for any vintage streetcar lover - something else we have that no other city has - JTCO allowed a certain amount of cars to have their paint schemes designed by local school children! One early reporter said "Better wear your sun glasses!"

OCKLAWAHA

fsujax

January 19, 2011, 11:46:17 AM
Nashville isnt "like" a commuter rail it is a commuter rail. Sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side. This is from a blog out of Nashville, back in September 2008.

scroll down to September entry.

http://www.transitnownashville.org/2008_09_01_archive.html

peestandingup

January 19, 2011, 06:33:13 PM
Nashville isnt "like" a commuter rail it is a commuter rail. Sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side. This is from a blog out of Nashville, back in September 2008.

scroll down to September entry.

http://www.transitnownashville.org/2008_09_01_archive.html



True. Although I think arguing over Nash & Jax's overall systems is like arguing which turd stinks the least. My point was, at least they have a rail system in place already that gets used & they've got the public warmed up to the idea. All Jax has is a bunch of "we're gonna do this & that" talk with nothing actually becoming a reality.

Also, that blog poster talks about the Skyway like it's actually useful to people & seems to think our "Trolleys" are actual trolleys & not busses in disguise (maybe he does know, but he never mentions that part at least). I'm willing to bet he's never been here for any extended period of time & tried to actually use any of these systems. Anyone who has knows what a joke they are, including the people who run this very blog: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-jul-long-days-journey-into-plight-stephen-dare-goes-jta-

Not saying the grass is greener, just that they have the ball rolling at least.
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