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Toronto - August 2009

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Toronto — Queen Streetcar Line to be Split

Rail Transit Online, August 2009

The TTC has decided to temporarily create two routes out of the 501 Queen, the city's longest streetcar line, as a test to determine if speed and reliability can be improved. The 501, at 14.9 mi. (24 km), has average weekday ridership exceeding 43,500.

Many runs have to be short-turned because traffic snarls —primarily left turns by motorists — cause them to fall far behind schedule. There were two lines until 1995, the 501 and the 507 Long Branch, but they were combined to eliminate transfers for long-distance riders.

The idea of a new split was first proposed about two years ago, triggering a study which found that establishing two routes might eliminate delays and bunching.

"The romance of a long journey is nice for people who have all the time in the world and don't really care when they get there," streetcar advocate Steve Munro told the National Post. "That's not what the Queen car is about."

Between Oct. 18 and Nov. 21, westbound Queen cars will run from Neville Park to Shaw Street while eastbound cars from Long Branch will turn back at Parliament Street: the overlap allows cars from both directions to serve the downtown core.

The old single route will resume on Nov. 22 pending a report to the commission. The split could become permanent if the experiment is deemed successful.

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