510 Spadina

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This article is about the Toronto streetcar route formerly known as Harbourfront LRT. For the current similarly named route, see 509 Harbourfront.
510 Spadina
CLRVs on Spadina.jpg
CLRV 4074 travels south on Spadina, south of College Street
Type Streetcar Route
Locale Toronto, Ontario
Termini Spadina Station (North)
Union Station (South)
Stations TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg Spadina
TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Union
Redpoint.svg Queens Quay
Operator(s) Toronto Transit Commission
Depot(s) Russell [1]
Rolling stock CLRV
Line length 6.165 km (3.83 mi) [1]
Track gauge 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm) - TTC Gauge
Electrification 600 VDC Overhead

510 Spadina is a streetcar route in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission.


A Peter Witt streetcar on the original line, beside the Spadina Hotel on King St.

Spadina's streetcar service dates back to 1891, when a loop route called the Belt Line operated on Bloor Street, Spadina Avenue, Sherbourne Street, and King Street.[2] In a 1923 reconfiguration of the streetcar network, this service was discontinued and Spadina became a separate streetcar route, which operated until 1948 when it was replaced by buses.[3] The tracks on Spadina between Dundas Street and Harbord Street were still used by the Harbord streetcar route until its discontinuation in 1966.[3]

The modern 510 Spadina route effectively began as the 604 Harbourfront LRT route along Queens Quay in 1990. The route was later renamed the 510 Harbourfront, but when a new dedicated right-of-way opened in 1997, extending the track north along Spadina Avenue from Queens Quay to Spadina station on the Bloor subway line and replacing the 77 Spadina bus, it became the 510 Spadina.

The term "LRT" ("light-rail transit"), which had been adopted for political reasons to project an image of modernity, was dropped when it led to residents and newspaper reporters imagining elevated guideways like those of the Scarborough RT running through their streets. It was found that the project was much easier to sell to the public and politicians when it was pitched simply as an improvement to the speed and reliability of traditional streetcar service.

In 2000, when the Queens Quay streetcar tracks were extended west to Bathurst and Fleet Streets, the name Harbourfront reappeared for a 509 Harbourfront route between Union and Exhibition Loop. The 509 and 510 routes share the trackage originally operated by the 604.


A winter day on the 510

The Globe and Mail newspaper published an article with criticisms that the switch to a dedicated right-of-way streetcar had been less beneficial than promised. Based on TTC documents, the author argues that service is about one minute slower (from Queen's Quay to Bloor) during afternoon rush hour than in 1990. The author also cites TTC documents which show that the cost-to-revenue ratio of the route has fallen with the switch from buses to streetcars.[4] Mitch Stambler, the TTC’s manager of service planning, responds by pointing out that streetcars offer a smoother and quieter ride, zero emissions, and economic development.[4]

Transit experts point to two major problems in the line's operation: lack of traffic signal priority, and an inefficient passenger boarding system[citation needed]. While the line was designed to allow streetcars to have priority at all signalized intersections (which would essentially eliminate the requirement to wait for any red lights), the City of Toronto's Traffic Services department refuses to turn the system on, fearing that it will cause too much inconvenience for motorists.

With the current non-priority system, streetcars are usually forced to wait for left-turning and through traffic, only to proceed and stop at the other side of the intersection, where most of the passenger platforms are located; the experts claim that this feature alone significantly increases travel times on the line. Critics also claim that the TTC's policy of boarding passengers only by the front doors forces streetcars to wait at least twice as long at each stop, particularly during rush hour.

Instead of the current pay-as-you-enter system, many independent transit experts have called for a "proof of payment" system such as exists on the 501 Queen streetcar, where passengers with transit passes or transfers can board at the rear doors without presenting their pass to an operator. During the trip, passengers are subject to random fare inspections, where proof of payment (hence the name) must be presented, with fines levied on those who do not comply. Independent transit planners point to the success of such systems in most of Europe, but see much resistance from TTC planners, who are worried about the financial implications of fare evasion and because the method is incompatible with the TTC's system of transfers within fare-paid areas on subway stations (which the 501 Queen does not use). The TTC has taken steps to improve boarding, such as placing inspectors at the busiest stops to allow those with passes to board at the rear doors.

Since turning back into a streetcar route, ridership has increased significantly. Ridership has increased from 26,000 per day to 35,000 per day to over 45,000 per day in 2005-2006[5] Streetcars on the Spadina portion run every 2–3 minutes every day.

Since December 15, 2008, the 510 Spadina streetcar route has the next vehicle arrival notification system installed in the Spadina and Union subway stations. The next vehicle arrival notification system includes a display screen that shows the location of the streetcars in "real" time with a delay of one minute. The goal is to advise the commuters of any delays on the route.[6]

The TTC is replacing its rolling stock with new vehicles based on Bombardier Transportation′s Flexity Outlook design.[7] The first of these vehicles are scheduled to enter service in 2014, on the Spadina line. The new vehicles are expected to be quicker to load and unload, as they will have four pairs of doors, and are designed to load and unload passengers from all doors.[8] The new vehicles are low-floor, which is expected to also speed loading and unloading.


510 Spadina
Yonge–University–Spadina line
Bloor–Danforth line
Spadina Station TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg BSicon BUS1.svg  127 
Sussex Avenue
Harbord Street BSicon BUS1.svg  94 
Willcocks Street
Knox College
College Street BSicon CLRV.svg  506 
Nassau Street
Dundas Street West BSicon CLRV.svg  505 
Sullivan Street
Queen Street West BSicon CLRV.svg  501 
Richmond Street West
King Street West BSicon CLRV.svg  504   508 
Adelaide Street West
Front Street West
CN Oakville sub. & CP MacTier sub.
Bremner Boulevard
Gardiner Expressway
Queen's Quay Loop
509 to Exhibition
Lower Spadina Avenue BSicon CLRV.svg  509 
Rees Street
Lower Simcoe Street
York Street
↑ Queen's Quay
Bay Street
Queens Quay Station  Island ferry  BSicon BUS1.svg  6/6A   97B 
Union Station
BSicon BUS1.svg  6/6A   72A/72B  BSicon CLRV.svg  509 
Yonge–University–Spadina line
TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg
GO Transit & VIA Rail
GO Transit logo.svg VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg

510 streetcars operate entirely in their own right of way, except for the one-way short turn loop at Spadina and King streets, via Adelaide Street West and Charlotte Street; there are no plans to institute a right of way here as it would not benefit operation significantly. Most stops along the 510 routes are surface stops with islands separating the regular traffic from the streetcar tracks. Streetcars enter underground subway stations at Union and Spadina TTC stations, and a dedicated underground streetcar station at Queens Quay.

Unlike the stops on the old Harbourfront route, most of the Spadina stops have streetcar traffic signals, partial shelters, and railings to protect patrons from the traffic. Except late at night, every other or two of three streetcars operate only between Spadina subway station and King Street, the busiest portion of the route.

Route branches[edit]

  • 510 Union/501 Spadina Station: Spadina to Union via Queens Quay
  • 510 King: Southbound from Spadina to Spadina Ave and King St.
  • 510 Queens Quay: Southbound from Spadina to Spadina Ave and Queens Quay

The 510K, Q and F (Southbound) turn around at the King/Queen/Charlotte Loop. The 510F (Northbound) loops at Spadina Station.

Points of interest[edit]

Location Stops
University of Toronto Sussex Avenue – College Street
Kensington Market College Street – Dundas Street
George Brown College Dundas Street
Chinatown College Street – Queen Street
Fashion District Queen Street – Bremner Boulevard
Rogers Centre Lower Spadina Avenue – Simcoe Street
CN Tower Lower Simcoe Street
Queen's Quay Terminal York Street, Queen's Quay Station
Harbourfront Centre
Islands ferry docks
Queens Quay Station



510 Spadina southbound at Harbord St.

Stops along 510 consist of a raised concrete platform with a partially covered shelter and railings along the entire boarding area. Platforms are located on the far-side of most intersections, to make room for left-turn lanes on the near side. TTC streetcars are equipped with a Surface Vehicle Automatic Stop Announcement System (SVASAS) which calls out the stops through the public address system and on the L.E.D. board (e.g., Next Stop: College Street).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Toronto Transit Commission (September 18, 2009). "TTC Service Summary". 
  2. ^ Mike Filey (2003). "Toronto Sketches 7: The Way We Were". Dundurn Publishing. pp. 19–21. ISBN 9781550024487. Retrieved November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b John F. Bromley and Jack May (1973). 50 Years of Progressive Transit. Electric Railroaders' Association. pp. 37, 74, 107, and map section. 
  4. ^ a b Stephen Wickens (May 7, 2005). "RAPID TRANSIT? NOT ON SPADINA Summary". 
  5. ^ http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_newslog001.htm, http://www.toronto.ca/ttc/pdf/ridership_cost_stats_bus_streetcar_05_06.pdf
  6. ^ TTC launches next vehicle arrival notification pilot project
  7. ^ Kevin Connor (2012-11-15). "TTC officially unveils new streetcar". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2012-11-16. "The current, 35-year-old fleet is being replaced by 204 new vehicles, which will be in service by 2014 and introduced to Toronto’s streets during a five-year period. The 510 Spadina line will be the first route equipped with the new acquisitions." 
  8. ^ Kyle Bachan, Hamutal Dotan (2012-11-15). "TTC Previews Our New Streetcars: Media and politicians explore the first full-size test vehicle from Toronto's new streetcar fleet.". The Torontoist. Archived from the original on 2012-11-16. "Key is the new Presto fare payment system, which will include open payment options—by credit and debit cards, and by mobile devices, as well as the Presto fare cards. Crucially, this will allow for all-door loading and hopefully cut down on the amount of time vehicles need to spend at each stop. Also crucial: the new low-floor design, which will make it much easier for people using wheelchairs and other mobility aids to board and exit." 
  9. ^ "510 Spadina: Route Description". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 

External links[edit]