Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Service Change: Toronto, Part 3 - 501 Queen and 504 King Streetcars

When writing the title, I thought about how easy it could be to misinterpret it as the Queen and King of streetcars. Rest assured, the streetcars are just named after the principal streets they run on; they don't have special titles.

I was excited to ride the Toronto streetcars, since the MBTA actually leased a few for testing. They didn't make the buy (because they didn't have left hand doors and weren't articulated), but some were in Boston nonetheless. The first streetcar I'll be showing you guys (I'll be doing these in numerical, rather than chronological, order) does use articulated trains, but I guess they must be newer than the ones the MBTA leased.

We didn't take any of the streetcars (except the Dundas one, which will be in the next post) for especially long distances; we did the 501 from Jarvis to Bathurst, about 1 and three quarters of a mile. After a fruitless run for a stopped streetcar and about a 10 minute wait, we were off.

There was some sort of bus replacement for part of the line, it looks like.
The inside.
Looking towards the front.
The 501 runs from Neville Park in the east all the way to Long Branch in the west. Its route is a little under 20 miles in total (for comparison, the 352 is one of the MBTA's longest - if not the longest, let me know in the comments - bus routes, and it's only about 17 miles). The sheer length of the line is probably why it uses articulated streetcars.

We got on in a fairly bad neighborhood, with abandoned buildings and parking lots, but once we crossed over Church Street it got better. There was a nice park on the corner and the buildings got taller. We went by Queen Station and Toronto's old city hall.

We then went by Osgoode Station and Osgoode Hall (which had a very interesting exhibit about the fence around its perimeter...very interesting), then the buildings got much smaller after that. There were some very diverse storefronts along this section. Also of note was a CTV building, which had a car smashing its way out. I didn't take any pictures, but here's a link that leads to the Google Street View of the building.

Nearing Spadina Ave, the neighborhood got hipper, with a lot of clothing and shoe stores lining the street. But after Spadina, it got much less so. We didn't see much of it, though, because we got off at Bathurst to take another streetcar up to the theater district.

A better view of the train.
That may not have seemed like a very long journey, and we took the 504 an even shorter distance: from Bay (the street between the two arms of the Yonge Line) to Bathurst. The line runs from Broadview on the Bloor Line to Dundas West, also on the Bloor Line. However, it's also the southernmost of the principal east-west lines, so that means that it's basically shaped like a big, fat U.

The one picture I got of the 504.
We got on right in the heart of the financial district and headed west to St. Andrew Station. After going by Roy Thompson Hall (a very cool-looking building), we left the financial district, though the buildings were still pretty tall. After crossing Spadina, the buildings got smaller, but they did have very cool brick architecture. However, we soon reached Bathurst and our ride was over. Sorry, 504, for only giving you a paragraph...

But next time I'll be doing the Dundas and Carlton Streetcars, the former of which we actually took a considerable distance!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Service Change: Toronto, Part 2 - The Scarborough RT and the Bloor-Danforth Subway

So what does RT stand for? The other lines are all referred to as "subways," so the Scarborough RT must be different. RT must stand for rapid transit, right? What else could it be? But all the other lines are rapid transit, too...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Transit Tales: To Dog or Not to Dog?

I've been taking the T to my summer job, and I wanted to share this little experience I had one day. It was rush hour, so it was of course absolute madness - I was holding onto a pole for dear life. I felt something hairy against my leg, and looking down I saw a big black lab. "There's a dog rubbing against my leg. It feels kinda nice, though," I said to my friend, Chip. Half the train burst out laughing. See, this is one of those things that you don't think about until after you say it.

But anyway, the guy with the dog soon left at Downtown Crossing, along with many other people on the train. Now sitting, I said to Chip that it would've been mean to tell the guy that dogs aren't allowed on the T (I know for a fact that it wasn't a service dog). Someone sitting a few seats over (complete with muscles and tattoos) piped up and said "That's wrong. Dogs have always been allowed." Now I could've just agreed with him or just said nothing, but my big mouth had to say "Where did you get your information?" "I've lived here for 12 years," said the guy. "Well so have I!" I said a bit too loudly. "The only dogs that aren't allowed are pit bulls and Rottweilers," the guy said. Finally I stopped talking, but I told Chip to remind me to do some research on the matter.

So it turns out we were both partially right. Dogs are allowed on the T (something I didn't know/expect), but not during rush hour. So I was right in saying that he wasn't supposed to have a dog with him.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Service Change: Toronto, Part 1 (of many) - The Yonge-University-Spadina Subway and the Sheppard Subway

The layout of the Toronto subway is kinda...weird. There are two main subway lines: the Yonge-University-Spadina Line, and the Bloor-Danforth Line. However, only the Yonge-University-Spadina (which I will now be referring to as just the Yonge) Line serves the financial district, in a U shape. The Bloor-Danforth Line goes east to west, but doesn't go anywhere near downtown! That said, Bloor Street is still extremely busy - Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America, after all. Fun fact for the day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Random Photos: Toronto Skyline View From Algonquin Island

Consider this a teaser. There is much more to come.

Click on it to make it bigger, if you so wish.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Random Photos: The View From the MET

I love a good skyline, so I was excited to visit the MET's rooftop garden. Here's the amazing view from up there:

Service Change: New York, Part 2 - the E, the 6, and the Q

I did a Service Change about the New York subway 6 line over a year ago. I had taken it up to the Bronx, so the train was elevated and there were some very interesting views. Unfortunately my subway experiences this trip were entirely underground, but I have much better pictures of the trains and such.

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