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Ontario Line / Relief Line - Toronto (TTC or Metrolinx, depends who you ask.)


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This is the proposed alignment for the Ontario Line, meant to replace the proposed Relief Line from the TTC. It will be operated by Metrolinx, and should be fully integrated with the current public transit offering in Toronto.

Assuming construction starts as planned in 2021, it would open in 2027, making it the largest extension to the Toronto subway in decades.

What do you all think of this plan? Given the previously released plans for the "Relief Line" and case made for its alignment, I find this proposal a bit weird, as it doesn't really "relieve" anything, but actually extends the network. Also loads of question regarding the elevated alignment East of Corktown. It is probably gonna share some of its alignment with existing GO Trains, which might still be a quicker way to reach downtown (Science to East Harbour on OL, East Harbour to Union on GO).

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Not a fan of the Doug Ford alignment. Like you said, it doesn't do much to relieve anything. It mostly duplicates GO (and planned RER) service by making an unnecessary detour east of downtown tha

So, I looked more in details at the initial business case for the OL, and I am far from impressed. Steve Munro did an excellent analysis on his website. https://stevemunro.ca/2019/07/27/the-ontario-li

In many ways, this current alignment of the Ontario Line makes me hopeful, since this serves a great deal of people and makes great connections all around...but I do feel the cost cutting measures, wh

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Not a fan of the Doug Ford alignment. Like you said, it doesn't do much to relieve anything.

It mostly duplicates GO (and planned RER) service by making an unnecessary detour east of downtown that will make the trip longer, and again runs parallel to GO/RER at Exhibition Place making it impossible, or very complicated, to return north in order to make that second connection to the Bloor Subway. It is a very inefficient alignment that will encourage people to continue using the Yonge-University Line. Better to stick with the original wide "U" that has been planned for decades. The one thing I do like better than the previous phase 1 plan is the extension north, connecting to the Eglinton LRT. Honestly though, it would be better to invest that extra money to make the full "U" downtown, relieving Yonge-University at both ends.  

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When you look at the current TTC Subway routing, it is shocking that things have lasted as long as they have. The downtown U to Union Station is very narrow and is the only part of the subway network to reach the core business area. It's non wonder that they are looking to build a relief line, which very likely may actually serve the area in a much better way.

In looking at Montreal's Metro, both the Orange Line and the Green Line run parallel to each other between Berri-UQAM and Lionel Groulx. This has pretty much been the case since the beginning (although the Orange was extended west from Bonaventure later on). Both lines compliment each other quite nicely serving the core downtown area.

Coming back to Toronto, it seems like the service is geared to people transferring to streetcars or bus to complete their trip to their destination, whereas in Montreal you can come really close or arrive by Metro only.

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So, I looked more in details at the initial business case for the OL, and I am far from impressed. Steve Munro did an excellent analysis on his website. https://stevemunro.ca/2019/07/27/the-ontario-line-metrolinx-initial-business-case/

Metrolinx clearly wanted to make the case for it more appealing than the RL, with no real explanation of how it will actually improve service.

In addition, the case compares a fully-built OL to a "phase 1" RL, which is such a flawed analysis. As Shane said,

On 8/4/2019 at 9:50 PM, Shane said:

The downtown U to Union Station is very narrow and is the only part of the subway network to reach the core business area. It's non wonder that they are looking to build a relief line, which very likely may actually serve the area in a much better way.

Toronto has boomed relatively quickly compared to other cities, though its transit never really followed-up with the boom. The definition of downtown Toronto changed a lot in 20 years.

While the OL seems to be an exercise in cost-cutting, it does so at the expense of any future increase in capacity or headways, as it will already max-out the current capacity of CBTC. Since ATO is being pushed to later on Line 2, and the TTC is already maxed-out on their storage capacity until at least 2030 (per their capital expenditure plans for the next 15 years). In short, it doesn't look good for the future.

The OL doesn't solve any problem, and adds even more operational restrictions for any future increase in service, both for GO and the TTC. To me, the solution remains a phased relief line, which is more flexible and still has room for growth. The OL might be cheaper, but building it twice is more expensive than doing it right the first time.

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On 2019-08-12 at 7:35 PM, DavidBellerive said:

Toronto has boomed relatively quickly compared to other cities, though its transit never really followed-up with the boom. The definition of downtown Toronto changed a lot in 20 years.

Just as a reference.... I was watching a documentary about the London Crossrail project that was recorded a few years ago......it was when two sections of the main tunnel portion joined up and the Crossrail General Manager said that since the War, this would be the first time that there would be no active tunneling going on in London, digging or getting ready to start.  They literally were digging tunnels for 70 years straight. Of course there is now more going on as well.  But think of that.  If Toronto had done the same thing, how awesome the metro area would be...well it would be like London!

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In many ways, this current alignment of the Ontario Line makes me hopeful, since this serves a great deal of people and makes great connections all around...but I do feel the cost cutting measures, while helpful in bringing this transit line to a more reasonably quick pace of completion hypothetically, do create their own issues. This is a complicated line in terms of engineering anyways....especially in terms of digging below established neighbourhoods in the downtown, east of there, and in East York. This is something that needs to be built with the future in mind...something like the Eglinton Crosstown will not be very helpful, even if they did make it half LRT, half subway...which would be impossible in terms of the plan. 

 

There's some great opportunities made in this alignment, but I don't see much to look by with the way the government/Metrolinx is proposing this.

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Welcome to the forum DreamMachine!

I agree with you that a Crosstown type LRT would not be helpful, even disastrous. Many people seem to think they will use something similar to Montreal's REM technology, which could work quite well. 

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I have been looking alot at the TTC Subway map lately due to setting up the related site...

For the Yonge-University line U that comes into the downtown core, it is clear that the Streetcar routes are essential for transit in that area. When you look at how narrow the U portion of the line is and then consider the streetcars it makes since how they can operate and get away with this type of design. Still I much prefer and like Montreal's metro downtown better, with two lines running parallel about 5-7 blocks apart... that's good service. Still, the streetcars in Toronto do get the job done, just not quite as smooth as an underground rapid transit system could.

While I can't say I am for or against the Ontario Line proposed above, I do like seeing more East-West service added between the south and the existing Bloor-Danforth line.

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Environmental assessment for the Ontario Line – A thorough review

https://www.railfans.ca/news/environmental-assessment-for-the-ontario-line-a-thorough-review

There are several interesting points, especially on noise mitigation:

Noise walls will not be the only part of the plan. The toolkit also includes options such as rail dampers, continuously-welded rail, ballast mats, floating slabs, resiliently supported rail ties and highly resilient fasteners. All of these have been proven effective on transit lines around the world.

In Ottawa, we have some definite noise issues and concerns in several areas from our system. While Ottawa makes use of many tight radius turns, the Ontario line will have fewer and more gradual, which should result in less noise.

Following a link in the above article, I came across a past article on Metrolinx from back in 2019, where they made mention of the possibility of using rubber tired trains. (https://blog.metrolinx.com/2019/09/10/ontario-line-will-be-driven-by-proven-tech-rather-than-futuristic-prototypes/) If they operate outdoors and not in covered tunnels, I don't believe it would happen and they would almost surely use steel wheels.

Rubber tires on subway cars could also be considered. They’re used in the Paris subway, and help reduce vibration and noise, and climb steeper grades. Though they can slip when exposed to outside, wet elements, says Goetzke.

But, transit planner Nagorsky stresses, specifics on what will be used on Ontario Line will all come down to moving a lot of people quickly, safely and cost-effectively.

“Under the P3 model, what we care about is moving people,” says Nagorsky. “We don’t care about what the wheels are made out of. If the private sector believes they have a better solution with rubber tires, that’s great and if they think they have a better solution with steel wheels, great as well.

“We don’t care what the vehicle is – we care that it can run frequently and run where it needs to go.”

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"We don't care what the vehicle is" . . . sounds like a P3 echo of the Ottawa discussion by which a completely grade-separated system uses a rejig of Alstom tram-trains intended for lo-ridership lines rather than, say, hi-floor trains such as used in Edmonton and Calgary. It's way beyond unfortunate (it's a societal failure) that we have arrived at a place where government/public officials are considered to know less about what their city might need than a profit-driven consultant working for a private firm. It's fascinating to read through the procurement documents for Stage 1 Confederation Line. They are detailed and precise yet all this detail and thoroughness somehow couldn't prevent low-quality concrete pours, inadequate catenary construction, switch heaters and train sensing systems inadequate to winter conditions, leaking subway station walls , etc.  . . . I hope the City learned something from Stage 1 and that its officials will be monitoring MUCH more closely the implementation of Stage 2 so that the huge gap between what the City might have thought it was getting and what it actually got can at least narrow somewhat

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For Ottawa, it was the politicians who made the decision to go low floor lrt. They've been obsessed with lrt since they implemented the original O-train, which ironically is/was not actually lrt despite everyone calling it as such. That and the original n/s plan. It's like they were stuck in their small town box refusing to think light-metro rolling stock might have been a better choice. 

For sure the City should have had better oversight with Stage 1 from the get-go and not pushed so hard to get it done asap. I feel like the City charging RTG for bus detours beyond the original May 2018 RSA probably created a rush to get the project done half-assed.  They assumed that a P3 with a maintenance contract would guarantee better quality, but clearly that was not the case. 

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I don't have much confidence in the City doing a better job of overseeing the work for Stage 2, especially not after the mess of a process to choose the Trillium bid. I do have more faith in EWC for the Confed extension. 

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