|Termini||Neville Park Loop (East)
Long Branch Loop (West)
|Daily ridership||43,464 (2014)|
|Operator(s)||Toronto Transit Commission|
|Depot(s)||Mount Dennis, Queensway Wilson|
|Rolling stock||Shuttle buses|
|Line length||24.43 km (15.18 mi)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 10 7⁄8 in (1,495 mm) - TTC Gauge|
|Electrification||600 VDC Overhead|
The 501 Queen is an east-west streetcar route in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). At 24.8 kilometres (15.4 mi), it is one of the longest surface routes operated by the TTC, the longest streetcar route operating in Canada and one of the longest streetcar routes operating in the world. 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 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 overnight service between 1 am and 5 am is operated as one of three streetcar routes on the TTC's Blue Night Network under the route number 301 Queen.
Former Route 507
Route 501 used to run only as far west as Humber Loop, which until 1973 was a fare zone boundary point. Another route, 507 Long Branch, ran from Humber to Long Branch. The TTC decided in 1995 to amalgamate the two routes into one continuous route. However a similar arrangement was reinstated in January 2016 when the route was temporarily split in two stages with the 501 Queen streetcar between Neville Park - Humber Loop and Humber Loop - Long Branch (see below).
Former subway plans
The TTC's 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 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 was built there as a dedicated rapid-transit line like that under Yonge.
On April 2, 2007, the TTC 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.
2009 trial route splitting
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.
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.
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 increased short turns, required more streetcars and resulted in poorer service.
As of May 7, 2017:
- 501 Neville Park: Eastbound on Queen Street from Roncesvalles Avenue to Neville Park Loop.
- 501P Park Lawn: Westbound on Queen street, Queensway to Park Lawn.
- 501L Long Branch: Westbound on Lake Shore Boulevard to the Long Branch Loop.
Sites along the line (from east to west)
- Neville Park Loop
- The Beaches
- Broadview Avenue
- Moss Park
- Moss Park Armoury
- Yonge Street (Queen subway station)
- Eaton Centre
- Old City Hall courts
- Toronto City Hall, Nathan Phillips Square
- Osgoode Hall
- University Avenue (Osgoode subway station)
- Four Seasons Centre
- 299 Queen Street West (Home to MuchMusic, CP24, Bell Media)
- Spadina Avenue
- Trinity Bellwoods Park
- Ossington Avenue
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
- Drake Hotel
- Gladstone Hotel
- High Park
- Humber Loop
- Long Branch Loop
The 501 Queen is the only TTC streetcar route that provides all-day service mainly using double-length Articulated Light Rail Vehicles (ALRVs), supplemented when necessary with some single-length Canadian Light Rail Vehicles (CLRVs). (The ALRVs are used on other routes only during periods of high patronage, such as during rush hours or special event services.)
2016 route split
Until December 2015, most ALRVs operated continuously on the entire length of the route from Neville Park Loop and Long Branch Loop, with occasional vehicles short turning at Humber Loop. On January 3, 2016, the route was split into two sections at Humber Loop, with the section west towards Long Branch Loop operated with CLRVs and the section east to Neville Park Loop continuing to use ALRVs. As a result, service over the entire route operates at intervals of ten minutes or better all day, every day. This change was intended to be temporary to concentrate the larger ALRVs on the main part of the route east of Humber, providing more frequent service than before on both segments combined.
2017 service reorganization
Due to right-of-way reconstruction along a section of The Queensway, intended to prepare the line for the new Flexity Outlook vehicles, 501 Queen service was further reorganized. Effective January 8, 2017, all streetcars on 501 Queen (even though westbound 501 streetcar drivers sign the cars on the overhead rollsigns as "501 Roncesvalles", "501 Humber" or "501 Long Branch") operate between Sunnyside Loop and Neville Park Loop only with service west of Roncesvalles Avenue being replaced by buses plying on two routes:
- the 501L, which operates from Long Branch Loop to the Dufferin-Exhibition Gate Loop via The Queensway and Lake Shore Boulevard West (directly replacing streetcar service along the original route except for near the Humber Loop)
- the 501M, a circular shuttle service between Park Lawn Road and Windermere Avenue via Marine Parade (serving the immediate vicinity of the Humber Loop, which cannot be served by streetcars during the reconstruction).
Simultaneously, service on the 80A Queensway regular bus route was restored along The Queensway and Parkside Drive to provide connections, operating between Sherway Gardens and Keele Station 7 days a week, 18 hours a day.
The 66A Prince Edward buses will continue to serve Humber Loop as the only route to service that area.
From May 7 to September 3, 2017, all streetcar service over the entire 501 Queen route will be replaced by buses to permit multiple construction projects along Queen Street, including the replacement of an overhead pedestrian walkway at the Eaton Centre, which will require overhead wires to be removed. It will be the first time ever in TTC history that all service on this route will be replaced by buses.[full citation needed]
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.
- TTC Open Data (September 2014). "TTC Ridership - All Day Weekday for Surface Routes". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- Toronto Transit Commission (September 18, 2009). "TTC Service Summary" (PDF).
- 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.
- 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.
- As seen on this 1968 map.
- "501 Queen - Service increase". Toronto Transit Commission. 3 January 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
The route will be temporarily split into two separate sections, operating between Long Branch Loop and Humber Loop, and between Neville Park Loop and Humber Loop.
- "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.
- 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.
- "October 2009 - Service changes effective October 18, 2009". TTC. October 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
- "501 Queen Streetcar Route: Final Recommendations" (PDF). TTC. 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2012-07-29.
- 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.
- Verity Stevenson (3 January 2016). "Queen streetcar riders get what they’ve waited for: more service". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
- Steve Munro (3 January 2016). "501 Queen Service Design Effective January 3, 2016". Retrieved 2016-01-03.
- "TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, January 8, 2017 (Updated)". Steve Munro: Transit & Politics. December 11, 2016.
- "TTC 501 Queen route converts to buses west of Roncesvalles for 2017". Toronto Transit Commission. December 16, 2016.
- Buses to replace streetcars on Queen Street this summer CP24, published March 1, 2017.
- Kuitenbrouwer, Peter (2007-11-24). "Crown jewel badly tarnished". National Post. Toronto. Retrieved 2008-01-21.[dead link]
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