Toronto streetcar system
|Toronto streetcar system|
An Articulated Light Rail Vehicle on Queen Street West in downtown Toronto and a Canadian Light Rail Vehicle on St. Clair Avenue West
|Number of lines||11|
|Number of stations||>100, including 8 shared with the subway (all others but one are street-level stops)|
|Began operation||1861 (electric lines since 1891)|
|Operator(s)||Toronto Transit Commission|
|System length||75 kilometres (47 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,495 mm (4 ft 10 7⁄8 in) Toronto gauge|
|Minimum radius of curvature||36 ft 0 in (10,973 mm)|
|Electrification||Overhead lines, 600 V DC|
The Toronto streetcar system comprises eleven streetcar routes in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), and is the largest such system in the Americas in terms of ridership, number of cars, and track length. The network is concentrated primarily in downtown and in proximity to the city's waterfront. Much of the streetcar route network dates back to the 19th century. Unlike newer light rail systems, most of Toronto's streetcar routes operate in the classic style on street trackage shared with car traffic, and streetcars stop on demand at frequent stops like buses. Some routes do operate wholly or partly within their own rights-of-way, but they still stop on demand at frequent stops.
There are underground connections between streetcars and the subway at Union, Spadina, and St. Clair West stations, and streetcars enter St. Clair, Bathurst, Broadview, Dundas West, and Main Street stations at street level. At these stations, no proof of payment is required to transfer to or from the subway, as the streetcars stop within the stations' fare-paid areas. At the eight downtown stations, excepting Union, from Queen's Park to College on the Yonge–University–Spadina line subway line, streetcars stop on the street outside the station entrances, and proof of payment is required to transfer to or from the subway.
Despite the use of techniques long absent from the streetcar networks of other North American cities, Toronto’s streetcars are not heritage streetcars run for tourism or nostalgic purposes; they provide most of the downtown core’s surface transit service, and four of the TTC's five most heavily used surface routes are streetcar routes. In 2006, ridership on the streetcar system totalled more than 52 million.
Early history (1861–1945) 
In 1861, the city of Toronto issued a thirty-year transit franchise (Resolution 14, By-law 353) for a horse-drawn street railway, after the Williams Omnibus Bus Line had become heavily loaded. Alexander Easton's Toronto Street Railway (TSR) opened the first street railway line in Canada on September 11, 1861, operating from Yorkville Town Hall to the St. Lawrence Market. At the end of the TSR franchise, the city ran the railway for eight months, but ended up granting a new thirty-year franchise to the Toronto Railway Company (TRC) in 1891. The TRC was the first operator of horseless streetcars in Toronto. The first electric car ran on August 15, 1892, and the last horse car ran on August 31, 1894, to meet franchise requirements.
There came to be problems with interpretation of the franchise terms, for the city. By 1912, the city limits had extended significantly, with the annexation of communities to the North (1912: North Toronto) and the East (1908: Town of East Toronto) and the West (1909: The City of West Toronto - The Junction). After many attempts to force the TRC to serve these areas, the city created its own street railway operation, the Toronto Civic Railways to do so, and built several routes. Repeated court battles did force the TRC to build new cars, but they were of old design. When the TRC franchise ended in 1921, the Toronto Transportation Commission (TTC) was created, combining the city-operated Toronto Civic Railways lines into its new network.
The TTC began in 1921 as solely a streetcar operation, with the bulk of the routes acquired from the private TRC and merged with the publicly operated Toronto Civic Railways. In 1925, routes were operated on behalf of the Township of York (as Township of York Railway), but the TTC was contracted to operate them.
Thoughts of abandonment (1945–1989) 
After the Second World War, cities across North America began to eliminate their streetcar systems in favour of buses (see also General Motors streetcar conspiracy). During the 1950s, the TTC continued to invest in streetcars and the TTC took advantage of other cities' streetcar removals by purchasing extra PCC cars from Cleveland, Birmingham, Kansas City, and Cincinnati.
In 1966, the TTC announced plans to eliminate all streetcar routes by 1980. Streetcars were considered out of date, and their elimination in almost all other cities made it hard to buy new vehicles and maintain the existing ones. Metro Toronto chair William Allen claimed in 1966 that "streetcars are as obsolete as the horse and buggy." A large number of streetcars were eliminated with the creation of the Bloor–Danforth subway that opened in February 1966.
The plan to abolish the streetcar system was strongly opposed by many in the city, and a group named "Streetcars for Toronto" was formed to work against the plan. The group was led by professor Andrew Biemiller and transit advocate Steve Munro, and had the support of city councillors William Kilbourn and Paul Pickett, and urban advocate Jane Jacobs. Streetcars for Toronto presented the TTC board with a report that found retaining the streetcar fleet would in the long run be cheaper than converting to buses. This combined with a strong public preference for streetcars over buses changed the decision of the TTC board.
The TTC then maintained most of their existing network, purchasing new custom-designed Canadian light rail vehicle (CLRV) and articulated light rail vehicle (ALRV) streetcars. They also continued to rebuild and maintain the existing fleet of PCC (Presidents' Conference Committee) streetcars until they were no longer roadworthy.
The previous policy of eliminating streetcars and using buses for new routes (added as the city developed northward) accounts for the concentration of streetcar lines within five kilometres of the waterfront. The busiest north-south and east-west routes were replaced respectively by the Yonge–University–Spadina and Bloor–Danforth subway lines, and the northernmost streetcar lines, including the North Yonge and Oakwood routes, were replaced by trolley buses (and later by diesel buses). Two other lines that operated north of St. Clair Avenue were abandoned for other reasons: the Rogers Road route was abandoned to free up streetcars for expanded service on other routes, and the Mount Pleasant route was removed because of complaints from drivers that streetcars slowed their cars down and because the track was aging and would have needed to be replaced anyway.
Scarborough RT (1985–present) 
The Scarborough rapid-transit (RT) line was originally proposed to operate with streetcars on a private right-of-way, but the plans were changed when the Ontario government persuaded the TTC and the borough of Scarborough to buy its then-new Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) rapid transit trains instead. Another proposed streetcar/rapid transit line from Kipling station was abandoned, but the ghost platform at the bus level is a hint of a streetcar line.
Expansion period (1989–2000) 
The TTC returned to building new streetcar routes in 1989. The first new line was route 604 Harbourfront, starting from Union Station, travelling underneath Bay Street and rising to a dedicated centre median on Queen's Quay (along the edge of Lake Ontario) to the foot of Spadina Avenue. This route was later lengthened northward along Spadina Avenue in 1997, continuing to travel in a dedicated right-of-way in the centre of the street, and ending in an underground terminal at Spadina Station. At this time, the route was renamed 510 Spadina to fit with the numbering scheme of the other streetcar routes. This new streetcar service replaced the former route 77 Spadina bus, and since 1997 has provided the main north-south transit service through Toronto's Chinatown and the western boundary of University of Toronto's main campus. The tracks along Queen's Quay were extended to Bathurst Street in 2000 to connect to the existing Bathurst route, providing for a new 509 Harbourfront route from Union Station to the then-newly refurbished Exhibition Loop at the Exhibition grounds, where the Canadian National Exhibition is held.
Recent proposals and developments (2007–present) 
On March 14, 2007, Toronto Mayor David Miller and the TTC announced Transit City, a major proposal for a 120-kilometre, $6.1-billion network of new European-style light rail transit (LRT) lines that would provide rail transit to underserved suburban areas of the city. Since 2008, environmental assessments were made for trams along Eglinton Avenue, Sheppard Avenue East, Finch Avenue West, Jane Street, Morningside Avenue, Don Mills Road, and the extension of the 509 Harbourfront route from Exhibition Place to Queen Street West at Roncesvalles Avenue. Eventually, construction of an LRT line along Sheppard Avenue began in December 2009.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who was elected as Miller's successor in 2010, announced the cancellation of Transit City on the day that he took office. The redesigned Eglinton–Scarborough Crosstown line along with a Sheppard line extension was announced four months later, with the support of Metrolinx and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. The redesigned line would put the 19 km Eglinton portion completely underground, integrate the Scarborough RT portion, and run contiguously from Black Creek Drive to McCowan Road.
On December 16, 2010, the TTC suffered its worst accident since the Russell Hill subway crash in 1995. Up to 17 people, including four schoolchildren, were sent to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries after a 505 Dundas streetcar heading eastbound collided with a Greyhound Canada bus at River Street.
On February 8, 2012, city council voted to restore the original LRT plans cancelled unilaterally without council approval by Mayor Ford. This basically restored funding for the original lines although under a different project name.
|501||Queen||24.43 km (15.18 mi)||Part of Blue Night Network as 301 Queen|
|502||Downtowner||9.38 km (5.83 mi)|
|503||Kingston Road||8.97 km (5.57 mi)||Rush hour service only|
|504||King||13.97 km (8.68 mi)|
|505||Dundas||10.74 km (6.67 mi)|
|506||Carlton||14.82 km (9.21 mi)||Part of Blue Night Network as 306 Carlton|
|508||Lake Shore||9.40 km (5.84 mi)||Rush hour service only|
|509||Harbourfront||4.65 km (2.89 mi)|
|510||Spadina||6.17 km (3.83 mi)|
|511||Bathurst||6.47 km (4.02 mi)|
|512||St. Clair||7.01 km (4.36 mi)||Route reconstructed to a dedicated right-of-way (completed on June 30, 2010)|
Route numbers 
The TTC has used route numbers in the 500 series for streetcar routes since 1980; before then, streetcar routes were not numbered, but the destination signs on the new CLRVs were not large enough to display both the route name and destination, according to the TTC. The only exceptions to this numbering scheme are the two streetcar-operated 300-series Blue Night Network routes.
The one other exception to the 500 series numbering was the Harbourfront LRT streetcar. When introduced in 1990, this route was numbered 604, which was intended to group it with the old numbering scheme for subway/RT routes. In 1996, the TTC overhauled its rapid transit route numbers and stopped trying to market the Harbourfront route as 'rapid transit' changing the number to 510; the tracks were later extended in two directions to form the 510 Spadina and 509 Harbourfront routes.
During times when streetcar service on all or a portion of a route has been replaced temporarily by buses (e.g., for track reconstruction, major fire, special event), the replacement bus service is typically identified by the same route number as the corresponding streetcar line.
Dedicated rights-of-way 
The majority of streetcar routes operate in mixed traffic, generally reflecting the original track configurations dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, newer trackage has largely been established within dedicated rights-of-way, in order to allow streetcars to operate with fewer disruptions due to delays caused by automobile traffic. Most of the system's dedicated rights-of-way operate within the median of existing streets, separated from general traffic by raised curbs and controlled by specialized traffic signals at intersections. Queen streetcars have operated on such a right-of-way along the Queensway between Humber and Sunnyside loops since 1957. More recently, dedicated rights-of-way have been opened downtown along Queens Quay, Spadina Avenue, St. Clair Avenue West, and Fleet Street.
Short sections of track also operate in tunnel (to connect with Spadina, Union, and St. Clair West subway stations). The most significant section of underground streetcar trackage is a tunnel underneath Bay Street connecting Queens Quay with Union Station; this section, which is approximately 0.7 km (0.43 mi) long, includes one intermediate underground station at Bay Street and Queens Quay.
During the late 2000s, the TTC reinstated a separated right-of-way — removed between 1928 and 1935 — on St. Clair Avenue, for the entire 512 St. Clair route. A court decision obtained by local merchants in October 2005 had brought construction to a halt and put the project in doubt; the judicial panel then recused themselves, and the delay for a new decision adversely affected the construction schedule. A new judicial panel decided in February 2006 in favour of the city, and construction resumed in summer 2006. One-third of the St. Clair right-of-way was completed by the end of 2006 and streetcars began using it on February 18, 2007. The portion finished was from St. Clair Station (Yonge Street) to Vaughan Road. The second phase started construction in the summer of 2007 from Dufferin Street to Caledonia Road. Service resumed utilizing the second and third phases on December 20, 2009 extending streetcar service from St. Clair to Earlscourt Loop located just south and west of Lansdowne Avenue. The fourth and final phase from Caledonia to Gunns Loop (just west of Keele St.) is completed and full streetcar service over the entire route was finally restored on June 30, 2010.
In 2008, the tracks on Fleet Street between Bathurst Street and the Exhibition loop were converted to a dedicated right-of-way and opened for the 511 Bathurst and the 509 Harbourfront streetcars. Streetcar track and overhead power line were also installed at the Fleet loop, which is located at the Queen's Wharf Lighthouse.
Future expansion 
- Don Mills LRT (along Don Mills Road from Steeles Avenue to Overlea Boulevard, and continuing to Pape Station along a possible alignment of Overlea Boulevard from Don Mills Road to Millwood Road, continuing adjacent to the Leaside Bridge from Overlea Boulevard to Pape Avenue and along Pape Avenue from Millwood Road to Danforth Avenue)
- Eglinton Crosstown line (from Black Creek Drive to McCowan Road, with underground operation to Kennedy)
- Etobicoke-Finch West LRT (along Finch Avenue West from Yonge Street to Highway 27)
- Jane LRT (along Jane Street from Bloor Street to Steeles Avenue and continuing along Steeles Avenue from Jane Street to Black Creek Pioneer Village on the Spadina extension. This line also includes a stub extension of the St. Clair ROW from Gunns Loop to Jane Street)
- Scarborough Malvern LRT (along Eglinton Avenue from Kennedy Station to Kingston Road, continuing along Kingston Road from Eglinton Avenue to Morningside Avenue and along Morningside Avenue from Kingston Road to Finch Avenue)
- Sheppard East LRT (along Sheppard Avenue from Don Mills station to Morningside Avenue, with a connection to an extended Scarborough RT near Markham Road)
- Waterfront West LRT (along Lakeshore Boulevard from Long Branch Loop to near the South Kingsway, continuing along the Queensway to King Street, and adjacent to the Gardiner Expressway to Exhibition Loop; from Exhibition it will continue to Union station in either its own as yet to be determined alignment, or in the Harbourfront West LRT alignment)
The Ontario government has in its MoveOntario 2020 plan, proposed funding approximately two thirds of the $5.5 billion of the seven Transit City lines, with the expectation that the federal government would fund the remaining third.
In April 2012, construction began on the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Cherry Street streetcar line, which will run in a dedicated right-of-way on Sumach and Cherry Streets from King Street to the railway corridor south of Mill Street, serving West Don Lands and the Distillery 
Additional proposals include:
- Extending 512 St. Clair to Jane subway station
- A route westward from the Bay Street streetcar tunnel along Bremner Boulevard and Fort York Boulevard to Bathurst Street
- A route running east along Finch Avenue from Yonge Street to Don Mills Road, then turning south along Don Mills Road and continuing to Sheppard Avenue at Don Mills subway station, linking the Etobicoke-Finch West LRT and the Sheppard East LRT.
- Queens Quay East light rail line to complement the Waterfront West LRT and the 509 Harbourfront line.
Discontinued streetcar routes 
Toronto Street Railway 
Routes marked to City were operating on May 20, 1891, when the Toronto Street Railway Company's franchise expired and operations were taken over by the City of Toronto.
|Bathurst||Sep 1889||7 Dec 1889||to SEATON VILLAGE|
|Bloor||29 May 1891||to City|
|Brockton||4 Sep 1883||May 1884||from QUEEN & BROCKTON; to QUEEN & BROCKTON|
|Carlton & College||2 Aug 1886||to City|
|Church||18 Aug 1881||to City|
|Danforth||8 Jul 1889||to City|
|Davenport||18 Aug 1890||to City||from SEATON VILLAGE|
|Dovercourt via McCaul||24 Sep 1888||to City||from McCAUL & COLLEGE|
|Front & McCaul||22 Oct 1883||28 Jun 1884||to McCAUL & COLLEGE|
|Front & Parliament||25 Nov 1878||25 Jul 1881||to PARLIAMENT and WINCHESTER|
|High Park via Queen||Apr 1887||to City||by this date; from QUEEN & PARKDALE|
|King||21 Sep 1874||to City||longest continuously operated route in Toronto|
|King via Strachan||2 Sep 1879||19 Sep 1890||during Toronto Industrial Exhibition only; to KING|
|Kingston Rd.||9 Jun 1875||Apr 1887||Kingston Road Tramway Co.; by this date; part to WOODBINE|
|Lee||15 Jul 1889||to City|
|McCaul & College||30 Jun 1884||22 Sep 1888||from FRONT & McCAUL; to DOVERCOURT VIA McCAUL|
|McCaul & College||15 Jul 1889||to City||from DOVERCOURT VIA McCAUL|
|Metropolitan||26 Jan 1885||to City||Metropolitan Street Railway|
|Parliament||26 Jul 1881||to City||from FRONT & PARLIAMENT|
|Queen||2 Feb 1861||7 Dec 1881||to QUEEN & BROCKTON|
|Queen||4 Sep 1883||May 1884||from QUEEN & BROCKTON; to QUEEN & BROCKTON|
|Queen & Brockton||8 Dec 1881||3 Sep 1883||from QUEEN; to QUEEN and BROCKTON|
|Queen & Brockton||May 1884||to City||from BROCKTON and QUEEN|
|Queen & Parkdale||2 Sep 1879||Apr 1887||ended by spring 1887; to HIGH PARK VIA QUEEN|
|Queen East||11 May 1885||to City||from SHERBOURNE|
|Seaton Village||27 Jul 1885||to City||from SPADINA & BATHURST|
|Sherbourne||1 Dec 1874||to City||may have begun a day or two earlier|
|Spadina||Jun 1879||to City|
|Spadina & Bathurst||30 Jun 1884||25 Jul 1885||from SPADINA; to SEATON VILLAGE|
|Toronto Industrial Exhibition||13 Sep 1883||19 Sep 1890||first electric route; operated by steam during the 1891 season|
|Winchester||26 Jul 1881||to City||from FRONT & PARLIAMENT|
|Woodbine||21 May 1887||to City||from KINGSTON RD.|
|Yonge||9 Nov 1861||to City||first rail transit route in Toronto|
Toronto Railway Company 
Routes marked to TTC were operating on September 21, 1921, when the Toronto Railway Company's operations were taken over by the Toronto Transportation Commission.
|Arthur||12 Feb 1902||1909||merged with DUNDAS|
|Ashbridge||5 Nov 1917||to TTC||replaced by bus service in the 1920s.|
|Avenue Road||2 Sep 1895||to TTC|
|Bathurst||27 Jul 1885||to TTC|
|Belt Line||16 Nov 1891||to TTC|
|Broadview||Oct 1892||to TTC|
|Brockton||1882||9 Oct 1893||renamed DUNDAS|
|Carlton||Aug 1886||to TTC|
|College||Nov 1893||to TTC|
|Danforth||May 1889||Oct 1892||renamed BROADVIEW|
|Davenport||Dec 1892||Nov 1891||replaced by BATHURST, PARLIAMENT and WINCHESTER|
|Dovercourt||Nov 1888||to TTC|
|Dufferin||1889||30 Sep 1891||merged with DANFORTH|
|Dundas||9 Oct 1893||to TTC|
|Dupont||29 Aug 1906||to TTC|
|Harbord||29 Aug 1911||to TTC|
|Lee Avenue||1889||15 May 1893||merged into KING|
|McCaul||Oct 1883||1 Jan 1896||replaced by BLOOR|
|Parkdale||1880||1886||renamed HIGH PARK|
|Parliament||1881||merged into QUEEN|
|Queen||2 Dec 1861||to TTC|
|Queen East||1882||16 Oct 1891||merged with DANFORTH|
|Roncesvalles||1909||20 Dec 1911||replaced by QUEEN|
|Seaton Village||27 Jul 1885||23 Oct 1891||replaced by DAVENPORT, PARLIAMENT and WINCHESTER|
|Sherbourne||Nov 1874||16 Nov 1891||merged into BELT LINE|
|Spadina||1878||16 Nov 1891||merged into BELT LINE|
|Winchester||Nov 1874||to TTC|
|Woodbine||May 1887||4 Apr 1893||replaced by KING|
|Yonge||11 Sep 1861||to TTC|
|York||in operation in October 1891 and discontinued prior to 31 December 1891|
Toronto Civic Railways 
All routes transferred to the Toronto Transportation Commission.
|Bloor||4 Nov 1914||to TTC|
|Danforth||30 Oct 1913||to TTC|
|Gerrard||18 Dec 1912||to TTC|
|Lansdowne||16 Jan 1917||to TTC|
|St. Clair||25 Aug 1913||to TTC|
Toronto Transportation Commission / Toronto Transit Commission 
|Bloor||1890||1966||replaced by Bloor–Danforth subway|
|Coxwell||1921||1966||replaced by 22 COXWELL bus|
|Dundas Exhibition||1980||1986||522||also operated for the 1995 season|
|Dupont/Bay||1926||1963||replaced by 6 BAY bus|
|Earlscourt||1954||1976||merged into ST. CLAIR; assigned number 512L|
|Fort||1931||1966||merged into BATHURST|
|Harbord||1911||1966||replaced by 72 PAPE and 94 WELLESLEY buses|
|Harbourfront||1990||2000||604||renumbered 509 Harbourfront|
|Long Branch||1928||1995||507||merged in 501 Queen|
|Oakwood||1922||1960||replaced by 63 OSSINGTON trolleycoach|
|Parliament||1910||1966||replaced by 65 PARLIAMENT bus|
|Winchester||1910||1924||replaced by YONGE and PARLIAMENT streetcars|
|Mount Pleasant||1975||1976||split from ST. CLAIR; replaced by 74 MT. PLEASANT trolleycoach|
|Rogers Road||1922||1974||replaced by 63F OSSINGTON VIA ROGERS trolleycoach|
|Yonge||1873||1954||replaced by Yonge subway, DOWNTOWN bus, and YONGE trolleycoach|
Rolling stock 
Hundreds of cars were acquired from the TTCs predecessor companies, including the Toronto Railway Company, Toronto Civic Railways, Toronto & York Radial Railway and Toronto Suburban Railway. The current fleet is composed of 248 vehicles.
Streetcars purchased by the TTC 
Note that not all numbers within a series were used.
|Fleet numbers||Type||In service||Notes|
|Peter Witt||1921–1954||"large" Witts; even numbers only|
|2700–2898||Peter Witt||1922–1965||"small" Witts; even numbers only|
|2301–2419||2-door trailer||1921–1938||odd numbers only|
|2701-3029||3-door trailer||1923–1954||"Harvey" trailers; odd numbers only|
|4000–4199||CLRV||1977–2013||will be phased out when Flexity Outlook (Toronto LRT car) enters service in 2014|
|4200–4251||ALRV||1987–2013||articulated; will be phased out when Flexity Outlook (Toronto LRT car) enters service in 2014|
|4900||ALRV||1982–1983||prototype; never owned by TTC but by UTDC; used on TTC test runs and returned (later scrapped); painted with similar TTC scheme|
Track gauge 
|Track gauge · Break-of-gauge · Dual gauge ·
Conversion (list) · Bogie exchange · Variable gauge
|By transport mode|
|Tram · Rapid transit · High-speed rail|
|By size (list)|
|North America · South America · Europe|
The tracks of Toronto's streetcars and subways are built to the unique track gauge of 4 ft 10 7⁄8 in (1,495 mm), 2 in (60 mm) wider than the usual 3⁄8standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in), which the Scarborough RT uses. In 1861, 'standard gauge' in North America was non-existent, so there was little advantage selecting it over any other gauge. Faced with this decision, when the agreement between the City of Toronto and the Toronto Street Railway was signed on 26 March 1861, the gauge was selected to allow carts and wagons to ride within the rails:
That the gauge of the said railways shall be such that the ordinary vehicles now in use may travel on the said tracks, and that it shall and may be lawful to and for all and every person and persons whatsoever to travel upon and use the said tracks with their vehicles loaded or empty, when and so often as they may please, provided they do not impede or interfere with the cars of the party of the second part (Toronto Street Railway), running thereon, and subject at all times to the right of the said party of the second part, his executors, and administrators and assigns to keep the said tracks with his and their cars, when meeting or overtaking any other vehicle thereon.
As wagons were normally built at standard gauge, the streetcar rails were selected to be slightly wider, allowing the wagons to ride on the inside sections of the rail, and the streetcars on the outside. The Williams Omnibus Bus Line changed the gauge of their buses in 1861 to fit this gauge. At the time, track for horsecars was not our modern 'T' rail, but wide and flat, with a raised section on the outside of the rail.
As the decision was made well over a century ago, and the companies involved no longer exist, a number of apocryphal stories have evolved over the years to explain the odd gauge. One belief, sometimes quoted by the TTC themselves, is that the City of Toronto feared that the street railway franchise operator, first in 1861, the Toronto Street Railway, then in 1891, the Toronto Railway Company, and in 1921, the TTC, would allow the operation of steam locomotives and freight trains through city streets, as was common practice in Hamilton, Ontario (until the 1950s) and in many US cities, such as New York City and Syracuse, New York.
Standard gauge rails in the streets would have allowed this, but steam railway equipment could not follow the abrupt curves in the streetcar network. Opposition to freight operation in city streets precluded interchange even with adjacent radial lines even after the lines changed to TTC gauge. Electric railway freight cars could negotiate street curves, but freight operations to downtown were still not allowed until the final few years of radial operation by the TTC.
The unique gauge has remained to this day since converting all tracks and vehicles would be expensive and would lack any real benefit anyway. Some proposals for the city's subway system involved using streetcars in the tunnels, possibly having some routes run partially in tunnels and partially on city streets, so the same gauge was used, but the idea was ultimately dropped in the case of dedicated rapid-transit trains. The use of standard-gauge tracks on the Scarborough RT makes it impossible for there to be any track connection between it and the other lines, and so when RT vehicles need anything more than basic service (which is carried out in the RT's own McCowan Yard), they are carried by truck to the Greenwood subway yards.
The proposed Eglinton Crosstown LRT line will be constructed to standard gauge. As the project is receiving a large part of its funding from Metrolinx, the Ontario provincial transit authority, it wants to ensure a degree of commonality with any other proposed tram/LRT projects within Ontario to ensure a better price for purchasing vehicles.
Dedicated station 
Since all of Toronto's current streetcars are single-ended, turning loops are provided at the normal endpoints of each route and at likely intermediate turnback locations. A routing on-street around one or more city blocks may serve as a loop, but most loops on the system are wholly or partly off-street. Many of these are also interchange points with subway or bus services.
Toronto's streetcars are housed and maintained at various carhouses or "streetcar barns":
|Hillcrest Complex||Davenport Road and Bathurst Street||1924||former site of farm and later Toronto Driving Club track; services streetcars and buses, repair facilities|
|Roncesvalles Carhouse||Queen Street West and Roncesvalles Avenue||1895; rebuilt 1921||built for the Toronto Railway; indoor and outdoor streetcar storage|
|Russell (Connaught) Carhouse||Connaught Avenue and Queen Street East||1913||built for the Toronto Railway; indoor and outdoor streetcar storage|
Inactive carhouses once part of the TTC's streetcar operations:
|Yard||Location||Year Open||Year Closed||Notes|
|Danforth Carhouse||Danforth Avenue and Coxwell Avenue||1915||2002||built for the Toronto Civic Railways|
|Dundas Carhouse ||Dundas Street West and Howard Park Avenue||1907||1936||storage for 60 cars; wye and runaround loop since disappeared and area re-developed|
|Eglinton Carhouse||Eglinton Avenue West and Yonge Street||1922||2002; demolished|
|Lansdowne Carhouse||Lansdowne Avenue and Paton Avenue||1911||1996; demolished 2003||Built for the Toronto Railway|
|St. Clair (Wychwood) Carhouse||Wychwood south of St. Clair Avenue West||1913||1978||Built for the Toronto Civic Railways. Converted into the Wychwood Barns community centre.|
Source: The TTC's Active Carhouses
A new carhouse is to be constructed for housing and maintaining the new Bombardier Flexity Outlook vehicles; the existing facilities will not accommodate the differences in length and configuration of the different generations of vehicle. A preliminary report recommends a vacant lot at the southeast corner of Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard.
|Yard||Location||Year To Open||Notes|
|Ashbridge's Bay LRV Maintenance and Storage Facility or Leslie Barns||Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard East - southeast corner||TBD||proposed carhouse for Flexity fleet (100 of the 204 cars)|
|Black Creek Maintenance and Storage Facility||Black Creek Drive and Eglinton Avenue West - northwest corner (former Kodak property)||TBD||proposed carhouse for Flexity fleet for the Eglinton Crosstown line|
|Scarborough Maintenance and Storage Facility||TBD||TBD||proposed second carhouse for Flexity fleet for the Eglinton Crosstown line|
Operator training 
A mockup of a CLRV used to train new streetcar operators is located at Hillcrest. The training simulator consists of an operator cab, front steps and part of the front of a streetcar.
Operators also train with a real streetcar. Front and rear rollsigns on the vehicle identify it as a training car.
See also 
- Toronto Transit Commission buses
- Queen line
- Light rail in Canada
- For other LRT lines in North America see Light rail in North America.
- Transit City
- TTC Peter Witt streetcar
- TTC Birney Cars (a model of streetcars operated by the TTC)
- "APTA transit ridership report, First Quarter, 2010" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
- Toronto at urbanrail.net
- The Canadian Light Rail Vehicles - Transit Toronto
- Toronto Star. 15 July 2007. The great Toronto streetcar debate. Retrieved on 2009-04-29
- William Bragg. "Our Streetcars are Near the End of the Line." Toronto Star. November 13, 1967 pg. 7
- Craig Cal. "'Streetcars for Toronto' – 35th Anniversary" Spacing December 1, 2007.
- Mayor Rob Ford: “Transit City is over” Toronto Life December 1, 2010
- Tess Kalinowski; David Rider (2 December 2010). "‘War on the car is over’: Ford moves transit underground". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
- "Funding questions linger after new transit plan announced" By Natalie Alcoba, National Post. March 31, 2011
- Schoolchildren returning from field trip hurt in streetcar crash: report
- TTC 2008 Operating Statistics
- Bow, James (2006-11-10). "Route 509 - The New Harbourfront Streetcar". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 2007-07-21.
- Route 512 - The St Clair Streetcar
- Kalinowski, Tess (30 June 2010). "Finally, St. Clair streetcar fully restored". The Star (Toronto).
- "Transit City". City of Toronto. Retrieved 2007-07-21.
- Tess Kalinowski (2007-12-11). "Transit-first street plan hailed". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2012-07-19. "Unlike Toronto's other streetcar routes, which traditionally run in mixed traffic and board passengers from platforms in the middle of the road, the Cherry St. plan calls for putting all the transit on the east side of the street, running in two directions, with a tree-lined platform separating it from other traffic." "Two figures incorrect in Cherry St. transit plan". Toronto Star. 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2012-07-19. "The transitway envisioned for this section is 700 metres."
- "STREETCARS ON CHERRY STREET AND SUMACH STREET SERVING THE WEST DON LANDS DEVELOPMENT". Toronto Transit Commission. 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- Adrian Morrow (2012-05-25). "A tiny perfect streetcar line is being laid along Cherry Street". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2012-07-19. "There’s a new streetcar line under construction in Toronto, the first in more than a decade and a surprising development during the tenure of a mayor who is outspokenly opposed to light rail."
- John F. Bromley (25 October 2001). "Toronto Street Railway Routes". Transit Canada. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- Pursley, Louis H. (1958). Street Railways of Toronto: 1861–1921. Los Angeles: Interurbans Press. pp. 39–45.
- James Bow (2012-04-03). "The Ashbridge Streetcar (Deceased)". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
- "The Toronto Civic Railways", UCRS Bulletin (Toronto: Upper Canada Railway Society) (26): 1–2
- "FAQ - STREETCARS", Transit Toronto, 3 January 2003
- "Transit City measures up to international standard" - Toronto Star, 06/01/10
- "Ashbridges Bay Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) Maintenance and Storage Facility". Toronto Transit Commission. May 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
- Gray, Jeff (2005-06-23). "TTC to shop for new streetcars". The Globe and Mail.
- "Future Streetcar Fleet Requirements and Plans". Toronto Transit Commission. 2005-06-22.
- Livett, Christopher. "Toronto's Streetcar System (schematic track map)". Transit Toronto.
- "Opportunities for New Streetcar Routes" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. 1997-01-21.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Trams in Toronto|
- Toronto Transit Commission
- TTC Transit City - LRT expansion proposals
- TTC's web site for its new vehicle procurement program
- Siemens's proposal for Toronto's new streetcar fleet
- Transit Toronto Streetcar Pages
- The Toronto LRT Information Page
- TTC Schedules by Route Name
- Toronto Star article on the history of Toronto's streetcar system
- Geographically accurate map on Google Maps