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Streetcar service shutdown on Queen Street; buses running

Last Updated Nov 28, 2019 at 8:46 am EDT

Damage to 25 streetcars has forced the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to shut down streetcar service on Queen Street.

On Wednesday, the TTC announced it had found damaged brake systems on seven vehicles. That number rose to 25 by Thursday morning.

The TTC said they suspect damaged tracks may have made contact with the streetcars’ brake systems.

Crews worked overnight to inspect tracks to find what has caused the damage.

“We went out overnight and we did the inspection of the track all the way from Neville Park to Long Branch, we found nothing along Queen Street itself,” TTC spokesperson Stuart Green explained.

“We’re now turning our attention to the side routing, the diversionary routing — on those occasions where a streetcar would have to go off of Queen to get around, say, a car accident or something — so that’s what we’re looking at now. We hope to have some answers on that by early this afternoon.”

Routes 501, 501L and 508 have been replaced with buses until the issue has been resolved, the TTC said. There are streetcars running west of Roncesvalles Avenue via The Queensway and Lakeshore Boulevard.

“We recommend customers normally using 501, 501L and 508 seek alternative routes where possible,” the TTC said in a statement Wednesday. “Buses will likely be crowded.”

Green says they’re not sure when streetcars will be returning to the route.

“If we can clear Queen Street and all the diversionary routing, we can put streetcars back on. The challenge, of course, is that we’re down 25 streetcars on a relatively fixed fleet,” he explained.

Green said that should they be able to resume service, they will pull streetcars from “low flow” routes such as Carlton, while the damaged streetcars are repaired.

How long those damaged streetcars will be out of service is another question.

Green said the fix is not a complicated one and that crews should be able to do it in a few hours, but it’s a matter of getting the replacement parts. The TTC has contact Bombardier for assistance in sourcing the parts.