Toronto is having to re-build much of it’s streetcar network to allow for the new Bombardier streetcars that are being rolled out.
The busy intersection of Bathurst & Dundas was closed for much of October and November as the tracks were torn up and replace at the busy four way intersection.
A Grand Union is where there is a 4 way intersection with rail tracks. There aren’t many left in the world, but there are 19 of them here in Toronto.
A Grand Union has 16 switches to enable the streetcars to turn in any direction. As a streetcar approaches an intersection like this they have 3 options.
Toronto has the most extensive streetcar, or tram network in North America. But it isn’t a patch on Melbourne, where I moved here from.
Toronto & New Orleans both call their urban light rail network streetcars. The rest of the world call them trams.
Toronto and Melbourne also share a suburban disdain for the streetcar because of most drivers inability to cope with them.
In Toronto the distant suburbanites have to cope with overtaking them while the doors are closed, and in Melbourne people cope with the infamous hook turn
If you live in Toronto then you’ll be told that streetcars slow traffic down, they’re a waste of money, the construction is never ending and they’re for the downtown elite.
All of which are untrue. They take thousands of cars off of the road and reduce congestion. They’re great value and the construction is usually planned well.
For the Bathurst & Dundas Grand Union rebuild they coped with changing the water mains at the same time as replacing the tracks.
One of the biggest fans of the streetcar is Banjo, my Wheaten, who loves to ride at the back with his nose sticking out of the window, on the way to the Beach.
Here Banjo inspects the progress being made in the 3rd week of construction.