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!

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