501 Queen

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501 Queen
TTC 4251 Queen Don bridge.jpg
ALRV 4251 westbound to the Humber Loop crosses
the Queen Street Viaduct over the Don River
Type Streetcar Route
Locale Toronto, Ontario
Termini Neville Loop (East)
Long Branch Loop (West)
Stations TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Queen, TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Osgoode
Daily ridership 43,500 (2011)[1]
Operator(s) Toronto Transit Commission
Depot(s) Russell, Roncesvalles [2]
Rolling stock CLRV, ALRV
Line length 24.43 km (15.18 mi) [2]
Track gauge 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm) - TTC Gauge
Electrification 600 VDC Overhead
Route map
 00  Route connection
 00  Route terminus
BSicon uBHF.svg Route transfer
BSicon uBST.svg Sunday-only stop
BSicon uINT.svg Carhouse
Long Branch GO Station GO Transit logo.svg  A 
Long Branch Loop
BSicon BUS1.svg  110A/110B   123  BSicon CLRV.svg  508 
MiWay: BSicon BUS1.svg  5/5B   23 
Browns Line/39th St. ↑ BSicon BUS1.svg  110A   123 
37th St.
Long Branch Av.
↓ 31st St./30th St. ↑
↓ 28th St./29th St. ↑
↓ 27th St./26th St. ↑
22nd St.
Kipling Av.Kipling Loop BSicon BUS1.svg  44 
15th St.
13th St.
10th St.
Islington Av. (7th St.) BSicon BUS1.svg  110 
5th St.
3rd St.
1st St.
Royal York Rd. BSicon BUS1.svg  76 
Lake Cr.
↓ Miles Rd./Symons St. ↑
Douglas Bd.
↓ Norris Cr./Hillside Av. ↑
Summerhill Rd.
Mimico Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  76 
Superior Av.
Burlington St.
Louisa St.
Legion Rd.
↓ Marine Parade Dr./Park Lawn Rd. ↑ BSicon BUS1.svg  66D   145 
2155 Lake Shore Bd. W.
2095 Lake Shore Bd. W.
Lake Shore Boulevard
Private Right-of-Way
Gardiner Expressway
CN Oakville sub.
Humber Loop BSicon BUS1.svg  66A 
The Queensway
The Queensway
Humber River
South Kingsway
Windermere Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  77 
Ellis Av.
Colborne Lodge Dr.
Parkside Dr. BSicon BUS1.svg  80 
Glendale Av.
Sunnyside Av.
Sunnyside Loop
The Queensway
Queen Street West
Roncesvalles Carhouse
Roncesvalles Av.to Dundas West Stn. BSicon CLRV.svg  504 
King St. W.504 to downtown
Triller Av.
↓ Wilson Park Rd./Callender St. ↑
↓ Beaty Av./Sorauren Av. ↑
Dowling Av.
↓ Jameson Av./Lansdowne Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  47 
↓ Dunn Av./O'Hara Av. ↑
↓ Cowan Av.
Brock Av.
Gwynn Av.
Dufferin St. BSicon BUS1.svg  29 
CN Weston sub. & CP MacTier sub.
Gladstone Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  29 
↓ Abell St./Beaconsfield Av. ↑
Dovercourt Rd.
Ossington Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  63 
Shaw St. BSicon BUS1.svg  63 
Strachan Av.
↓ Walnut Av./Bellwoods Av. ↑
↓ Niagara St./Claremont St. ↑
↓ Tecumseth St./Palmerston Av. ↑
Bathurst St.511 to
BSicon BUS1.svg  145  BSicon CLRV.svg  511 
Denison Av.
Augusta Av.
Spadina Av.510 to
Union Stn.
Spadina Stn.
↓ Peter St./Soho St. ↑
John St.
McCaul St.502 to McCaul Loop BSicon CLRV.svg  502 
Simcoe St.
University Av.Osgoode Stn. TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg BSicon BUS1.svg  142 
York St.
Bay St. BSicon BUS1.svg  6   6A 
Yonge St.Queen Stn. TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg BSicon BUS1.svg  97B 
Victoria St.
Church St.
Jarvis St.
Sherbourne St. BSicon BUS1.svg  75 
Ontario St.
Parliament St. BSicon BUS1.svg  65 
↓ Power St./Trefann St. ↑
Sackville St.
Sumach St.
King St. E.503 & 504 to downtown
River St.
CN Kingston sub.
CP Bala sub.
Don River
Don Valley Parkway
Carroll St.
Broadview Av.504 to Broadview Stn. BSicon CLRV.svg  504 
↓ Saulter St./Boulton Av. ↑
CN Lakeshore sub.
Empire Av.
↓ Booth Av.
Logan Av.
Carlaw Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  72 
Pape Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  72 
↓ Caroline Av./Brooklyn Av. ↑
Jones Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  83 
Leslie St.
↓ Laing St./Alton Av. ↑
Greenwood Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  31 
Russell Carhouse
Connaught Av.
↓ Woodward Av./Kent Rd. ↑
Coxwell Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  22 
↓ Eastern Av./Kingston Rd.
BSicon BUS1.svg  22A  BSicon CLRV.svg  502   503 
Woodbine Loop
Kingston Rd. 502 & 503 to Bingham Loop
↓ Sarah Ashbridge Av./Lockwood Rd. ↑
Woodbine Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  92 
↓ Kippendavie Av./Elmer Av. ↑
Waverly Rd.
Lee Av.
Wineva Av. BSicon BUS1.svg  64 
Scarboro Beach Bd.
Glen Manor Dr.
MacLean Av.
Spruce Hill Rd.
Beech Av.
Silver Birch Av.
Neville Park Bd.
Neville Loop BSicon BUS1.svg  143 

The 501 Queen is an east-west streetcar route in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).[3] At 24.8 kilometres (15.4 mi), it is the TTC's longest surface route, the longest streetcar route operating in North America and one of the longest streetcar routes operating in the world.[4] It stretches from Long Branch Loop (just west of Browns Line, adjacent to Long Branch GO Station) in the west to Neville Park Loop (just west of Victoria Park Avenue) in the east, running on Lake Shore Boulevard, in a reserved right-of-way at the median of The Queensway, and on Queen Street. The route was first instituted in the mid-to-late-19th century by private operators as a horse-drawn line, was later electrified, and was assumed by the TTC upon its creation in 1921. Service is provided 24 hours a day, though the route number changes to 301 Queen late at night.

The 501 Queen is one of the routes regularly operated with the TTC's double-length ALRVs. It runs with a combined service of five minutes during rush hour, four to ten at other times, and 10 to 30 overnight from approximately 1:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. The route is split into two branches, one running from Neville Park to Humber Loop on the Queensway, and the other running all the way to Long Branch. Every other streetcar is scheduled to go to Long Branch. The route interchanges with the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line at Queen and Osgoode stations.

Former Route 507[edit]

Route 501 used to run only as far west as Humber Loop, which until 1973 was a fare zone boundary point.[5] Another route, 507 Long Branch, ran from Humber to Long Branch. The TTC decided in the 1990s to amalgamate the two routes and create today's continuous route.

Current route[edit]


Critics of the TTC's management of this line argue that small delays at one end ripple into 30-40 minute waits at the other. Like route 504, there is much demand at either end of the route, and along the downtown middle stretch. Transit proponents such as Steve Munro have long claimed that Route 501 would be better off if it were split into two or three overlapping segments.[6] A report presented to the Commission for its January 23, 2008, meeting cites steps taken to improve performance on the line, including consideration of splitting the route into multiple routes with overlap in the middle. A report is expected by summer 2008 with a trial implementation in the fall. At the Commission's May 2008 meeting, the TTC discussed measures implemented and future plans. Six supervisors are to be hired and placed along the route. As well, the TTC is actively considering plans that would split route 501 into two or three segments. Potential options include restoring and/or extending the 507 route, or overlapping segments through the downtown core.[7]

2009 trial route splitting[edit]

The TTC conducted an experiment of splitting the 501 streetcar route into two overlapping segments, as recommended by the critics to alleviate bunching, gaps and short turns when delays occurred.[8][9]

During the experiment streetcars from the Neville Park Loop ran west on Queen as far as Shaw Street, and from Long Branch Loop or Humber Loop east as far as Parliament Street.[10]

In January 2010 the commission received a report analyzing several of the experiments done in 2009 to increase service reliability. It was determined that splitting the route actually increased short turns, required more streetcars and resulted in poorer service, and was therefore considered an unfavourable option going forward.[11][12]

Sites along the line (from east to west)[edit]

Short turn locations[edit]

Every second car heading west is short turned at Humber Loop at the mouth of the Humber River. The most common locations for short turns outside of the schedule are Sunnyside loop just west of Roncesvalles Avenue beside the Roncesvalles Carhouse, and in the east, Woodbine Loop, just east of the junction of Queen Street East, Eastern Avenue, and Kingston Road.

501 streetcars are less commonly short turned at, ordered from east to west:

Proof-of-payment fare system[edit]

In 1990, the commission introduced a Proof-of-Payment fare system for this route, to speed loading and improve service. Passengers who already have a valid pass or transfer may board at any door of the streetcar without showing their ticket, but are subject to random ticket inspections. Passengers who pay a fare to the driver must take a transfer to show if they are inspected.

The 501 Queen is the only streetcar route where this proof-of-payment system is feasible without a larger-scale redesign of the TTC's fare system, since it is the only one that never enters the fare-paid area of a subway station; even if people did manage to evade paying the streetcar fare, they would not be able to transfer to any other route without paying. The Commission ended the proof-of-payment system in 2000, but it was reinstated after groups such as Rocket Riders successfully appealed the decision in 2002.

Today the Proof-of-Payment system is in effect from 7am to 7pm. Outside of these hours, entry can be gained only through the front door of the streetcar.[13]

Former subway plans[edit]

The TTC's original subway plans in the 1940s and 1950s called for the north-south rapid transit line built under Yonge Street (the first section of today's Yonge-University-Spadina line) to be complemented by an east-west streetcar subway under Queen Street, allowing streetcars to avoid city-centre traffic, but come above ground and run on city streets in outlying areas. When the Government of Canada refused to help fund the project, the Queen line was dropped to save money, but a set of streetcar platforms were built under Queen station to allow for further expansion. By the time the TTC returned to the idea of an east-west line, however, traffic had moved north to Bloor Street, and the Bloor-Danforth line line was built there as a dedicated rapid-transit line like that under Yonge.

Proposed right-of-way[edit]

On April 2, 2007, the Toronto Transit Commission proposed that the 501 Queen streetcar route operate in a transit-only right-of-way similar to the proposal for the 504 King streetcar route announced on March 22, 2007. These plans have been all but shelved; the TTC is now focusing on King street for a transit mall because of objections from merchants on Queen St. who claim their businesses are more car-based than that of King.


  1. ^ "Ridership and cost statistics for bus and streetcar routes, 2011". Toronto Transit Commission. April 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Toronto Transit Commission (September 18, 2009). "TTC Service Summary". 
  3. ^ Vanessa Farquharson (2012-03-24). "Riding the 501: The longest streetcar route in North America". National Post. Archived from the original on 2013-02-24. "With nearly 25 kilometres of track, the 501 Queen is the longest streetcar route operating in North America." 
  4. ^ Christopher Hume (2007-12-29). "It's not too good if you're in a hurry, but the 501 does give a wonderful look at city's many faces". Toronto Star. p. A.3. Retrieved 2013-02-24. "Torontonians who ride it daily might not be impressed, butNational Geographic has named the Queen streetcar, the 501, one of the top 10 trolley routes in the world. The honour is included in a new book, Journeys of a Lifetime 500 of the World's Greatest Trips." 
  5. ^ As seen on this 1968 map.
  6. ^ Kuitenbrouwer, Peter (2007-11-24). "Crown jewel badly tarnished". National Post (Toronto). Retrieved 2008-01-21. [dead link]
  7. ^ "501 Queen Streetcar Route - Issues and Solutions". TTC. 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  8. ^ "TTC temporarily splits 501 streetcar route". CBC News. 2009-10-19. Archived from the original on 2013-02-24. "Toronto transit advocate Steve Munro said that people who are travelling downtown from the outer ends of the city will still be able to make the trip in one ride." 
  9. ^ Thandiwe Vela (2009-10-15). "TTC to split Queen streetcar route". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2013-02-24. "On weekdays between Oct. 19 and Nov. 20, the west portion of the route will run from Long Branch to Parliament St. while the east portion will run from Neville Park to Shaw St., the TTC announced in a statement. Saturday, Sunday and holiday service will not be changed." 
  10. ^ "October 2009 - Service changes effective October 18, 2009". TTC. October 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  11. ^ "501 Queen Streetcar Route: Final Recommendations". TTC. 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2012-07-29. 
  12. ^ Tess Kalinowski (2010-01-19). "TTC gives up attempt to divide Queen route". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2013-02-24. "A report before the city councillors on the Toronto Transit Commission on Wednesday shows that splitting the route in half actually increased the number of short turns by 90 per cent overall during a five-week experiment last October and November." 
  13. ^ http://www3.ttc.ca/Fares_and_passes/Fare_information/Proof_of_payment.jsp

External links[edit]