Posts Tagged ‘tracks’

What to do on a cold day when the wind is vicious and blows right through you?   It blows through my hat, my ears and my brain.  It makes my head hurt.  Not the ideal walking day even with all my winter layers on.   I have been thinking about my walk along Sheppard Avenue and some of the issues with public transit and while doing so I realized that I had never been on the Scarborough Rapid Transit.  With all the talk about Sheppard subway vs LRT, I decided that maybe I should check it out.  So instead of a walk, I went for a ride and took the SRT to McCowan and back.

First I had to get to the SRT which starts at Kennedy subway station.

reflections of a woman in a red jacket sitting on the subway, reflected in the window beside a woman who is standing on the platform

At Kennedy I was a lost tourist as I searched for the route between the subway and the SRT.  Here the SRT trains run above street level so it took a couple of escalators and some stairs to reach the platform.

below: Standing on the platform and waiting for the train.  Kennedy station is at Kennedy & Eglinton and I think that this is the view looking east from there.

SRT tracks curve away from platform, outside, apartment building in the background, some snow on the tracks

below: The train arrives.

platform at Kennedy SRT station with people waiting as a blue train arrives

below: Leaving Kennedy station.   The first part of the route is north and runs parallel to the CNR & Stouffville GO line train tracks.     The red and white cars are the original colour from when the SRT opened in 1985.  In 2015 the TTC began painting the cars blue to match the colour scheme that now goes with “Line 3” on the TTC maps.  They also began two switch over the name of the SRT to Line 3 Scarborough.

the Scarborough RT train as it leaves Kennedy station, the track curves so you can see the front of the train out the window

below: I wasn’t the only tourist on the train!  After being on the subway, it felt a bit like being on a toy train.  The cars are smaller.  The trains are powered by linear induction motors which are quite different from conventional motors.  They push themselves along the tracks using alternating flat magnets.   That’s a very simplistic description of the science of induction motors but I’m sure that you can use google to find more information if you are interested!

looking down the length of an SRT car, two young women are looking out the back window. seats down either side, red on one side and blue on the other

below: The Scarborough RT,  also referred to as TTC line 3, covers  6.4 km on its route from Kennedy station to McCowan station.  There are six stops, Kennedy, Lawrence East, Ellesmere, Midland, Scarborough Centre, and McCowan.  Note the blue colour on the map!

a map of the SRT route is on the wall behind two red seats of an SRT car, view out the window is not easy to see but it is the platform at Lawrence East station

below: Ellesmere station. Apparently it is the least used station in the system, less even than Bessarion.

interior wall of Ellesmere station, covered (plastic?) glass wall, large black letters saying Ellesmere, and a bright red bench, snow on the curved translucent roof

faded TTC symbol on the exterior of a rapid transit vehicle

below: Looking out the back window.  The tracks are standard gauge whereas the subway runs on tracks that are wider so the TTC can’t run their subway cars on these tracks.

looking out the dirty window at the back of a SRT vehicle, tracks and some cityscape

below: This is the view at McCowan station, the end of the line. Although it was a very quiet ride to McCowan, the train was full on the ride back to Kennedy with Scarborough Centre being the most crowded station.   It took 40 minutes to go from McCowan to Bloor/Yonge.

a SRT train is stopped at McCowan station,

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blurry person standing on the platform at Greenwood station, with reflections of people sitting on the subway

reflections in the subway window along with people sitting on the train

This looks like an ordinary entrance into a TTC subway station.  It is.
It’s Bessarion station on Line 4, the Sheppard Line.

escalator down into Bessarion station

The red arrow points to one of a series of little photographs of hands that run beside the escalator to street level.

I’d be willing to bet that none of you have been to Bessarion subway station.  If you’ve heard of the station it’s probably in the context of complaints that no one uses the station so why did the city spend so much money building it.   One of the reasons for the low volume of traffic is that there are no bus routes (besides Sheppard) that serve this station.  Apparently in 2014 an average of 2380 people used the station on weekdays.  If true, then 2379 plus me where there today (although the stats may have increased since then).    I took some pictures for you – you will now have an idea of what the station looks like without having to go there.

photos of peoples legs and feet in black and white on tiles on a yellow tiled subway station wall, over the metal turnstiles for entry into the station, artwork by Sylvie Belanger

below: An art installation called ‘Passing’ dominates the yellow walls of the station concourse level.  It consists of a band of black and white photographs of legs and feet taken by Sylvie Belanger.  The little pictures of hands that I mentioned at the beginning of this blog are also part of this installation.

photos of peoples legs and feet in black and white on tiles on a yellow tiled subway station wall, over and beside two Bell pay phones, artwork by Sylvie Belanger

below: The pictures of legs and feet run around the whole concourse level of the station.

below: Down the escalator to the lower level.

looking down the main escalator at Bessarion subway station, the upper level has yellow walls and the lower level (track level) can also be seen.

below: I was not alone!

pillar covered in red tiles and with a black and white photo of the back of three peoples head, a man with a turban and a woman in a head scarf and someone with curly hair.

below: The artwork at track level is a continuation of the photographs by Sylvie Belanger.  This time the pictures are of the backs of people’s heads and they are incorporated into the red pillars.

close up of black and white photo of the back of peoples heads, one child's face turns to the camera and is slightly out of focus, Passing by Sylvie Belanger at Bessarion subway station

below: The outer walls are bare concrete and there are very few ads or posters on the walls.

from the subway platform at Bessarion subway station looking toward the concrete wall at the edge of the tracks, signs for the station, and direction signs.

As you all know, the TTC is replacing their older streetcars with new longer Bombardier streetcars.   Or at least they are trying to 🙂  Because they are longer, they don’t fit into existing “garages”, hence the new Leslie Barns facility.  Located on Leslie St., south of Queen, it is the new streetcar “home”.  It is where streetcars are parked, maintained and repaired.  It has been in operation since Nov 2015 but the first chance the public got to peak inside the finished complex was at Doors Open on the 28th of May.

below: While waiting for a streetcar at the corner of Queen and Broadview on the way to visit the Leslie Barns, I saw this renovated TTC streetcar from the 1950’s.

An old restored TTC streetcar, maroon and yellow, on Queen St. East

below:  The streetcar tour involved riding a new streetcar through a maintenance bay in the building and then around the parking lot out back.

People at Doors Open in TOronto, at the TTC LEslie Barns streetcar facitlity, lining up for , or just getting off of, streetcar tours, riding the new streetcars around Leslie Barns

A group of people inside Leslie Barns streetcar facility, standing aside to make way for a new streetcar that is taking other people on a tour.

people riding in a new streetcar, photo taken from the outside, most of them are waving

A man in black T-shirt and black cap is taking a picture of people riding in the new streetcar, inside Leslie Barns at Doors Open

below: Exterior, parking space for at least 100 streetcars

the massive concrete parking lot for streetcars with all the overhead wires. The building that houses the workshops and cleaning and office for the ttc is in the background.

below: Special bays have been constructed with space for workers to access both the underneath and the top of the streetcars.  Because the cars have been designed to ride low, a lot of their workings such as the HVAC and propulsion systems are built into the roof of the car.

the back of a new streetcar as it passes through interior of Leslie Barns streetcar facility, a large, tall interior space with lots of pipes

A streetcar sits in a repair bay of the Leslie Barns, space underneath the streetcar for workers to go down and work on the underside of the streetcar.

below: It’s a big space!  …. 17,510 square metres (188,500 sq ft) in fact.

interior of Leslie Barns streetcar facility, a large, tall interior space with lots of pipes

below: A spic and span shiny paint room

interior of the paint room at Leslie Barns, where streetcars go to get painted.

below: A myriad of colour coded pipes

A myriad of pipes running up walls and across the ceiling, blue, pink, red, grey, all colour coded, interior, Leslie Barns

below: There were renovated vintage streetcars on display.  On the left is a 1921 Peter Witt streetcar and next to it is a PCC streetcar from the early 1950’s.

a number of people waiting to go inside old renovated vintage TTC streetcars

below: Interior of a refurbished Peter Witt streetcar with its wood trim.  The Witt cars were built for the newly formed TTC in 1921.  They entered service on Broadview in October of that year.  By 1923 they were operating on seven routes.  The last Witt streetcar was retired in 1963.

A young boy stands in the back of an old restored ttc streetcar. A black and white picture of an old street scene has been put across the back window to show you what the view out the window might have looked like at the time the streetcar was functional. Old ads on the upper part of the interior, wood trim

below: Looking out the window of a PCC streetcar built in 1951.  PCC stands for Presidents’ Conference Committee, which was a group of operators from the USA and Canada  who got together in 1938 to design a new electric railway car.  By the late 1950s, the TTC owned the largest fleet of PCC’s in the world.  The last one was retired in 1995.

A young boy wearing a hat looks out the window of an old restored streetcar while his father takes a picture out the window

below: Streetcar wire maintenance truck.

a special TTC truck sits outside Leslie Barns TTC facility on Doors Open day, the truck is designed to run on streetcar tracks and is used to repair tracks and wires. There are people looking at the truck

#DOT16 | #TTC

A walk down Brock Ave, well sort of.  I don’t think I’m capable of walking in a straight line.

 

Brock Avenue, just north of Bloor, the Haven Espresso Bar, a tiny little place with good coffee. I don’t usually start my walk with a cup of coffee but I was intrigued by the smallness of the space.

below:  This is the mural on the wall beside the coffee bar.  It’s just the word Haven but there are some interesting details in the letters.

two chairs and a small table in front of a wall with a mural on it. The mural is the word Haven. Each letter is decorated in a different way.

Close up of the letter V in blue on a larger mural that spells haven. Different shapes and colours of jewel stones are painted in the point of the V.
White ducks or geese in silhouette flying on a bright blue sky, a close up of a mural. Amongst the birds are some buttons with the word Joy on them.

 

below: The local park is called Susan Tibaldi Parkette, named for a woman who was active in the community. This cheerful toucan overlooks the park.

street art mural of a toucan on the side of a garage that faces a park

There are a few painted walls and garages in the area around the park.

  below: Including this spud bomb covered garage door.

Garage door covered with spud bombs street art

garage door, half greed and half red, with black letters diagonally across it

mural on a garage door, of two hands reaching for each other, in the style of Michaelangelo, with the word Chase written below on a brown banner.

below: On a wall, ‘Building with the Gods, James Massey R.I.P’

Blue curvy lines on the bottom, a pair of blank white eyes in the middle and a scarab like creature in the middle of the top section.

part of a garage door mural woman in pink walking, green man's head talking

garage door mural of red poppies by bright blue sky.

part of a mural high on a bright wall painted black. An ice cream cone and other sweet things.

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light blue geometric lettering graffiti on a background of two toned pink triangles.
below: I spotted this on a pole just before I headed south.  A little bit of sparkle to brighten the day.

Small graffiti piece of a paper cut out dragonfly with sequins glued onto it's body and a small part of the wing.

The area south of Bloor was once the village of Brockton.  Back in 1812, one hundred acres of land from what is now Queen Street, north to Bloor Street, and west of Dufferin Avenue was granted to James Brock (yes, a relative of Sir Isaac).  After James died, his widow Lucy had a road built that run down the center of the property.  This road was Brock Avenue.  She subdivided the property and sold the lots to smaller land holders.  This settlement became Brockton.  In 1884 it was annexed by the city of Toronto.

below: Colourful cat and mouse games on a wall just south of Dundas.  I couldn’t find any ‘signature’ on the wall and I haven’t been able to find out who painted this.  I’d love to know.

large mural of a cat chasing a mouse done in bright colours.

below: Malabar Ltd.  It looks unkempt and I thought it was abandoned.  The gate to the parking lot was open and there were a couple of cars parked behind the wall.  A quick search online and I discovered that this site is still operational, but only serves the professional opera and theaters industry.

box like brick building with square awnings over the windows, large empty parking lit beside it, white and blue fence behind the parking lot, taller apartment building beyond the fence.

Two stickers on a metal pole beside a railway bridge. The top sticker says Love Skateboards and it has picture of a skateboard on it. The lower sticker says Bunk Bed has a Posse and a black and white drawing of a man's head is also on it.

After passing under one of the greyest, dingiest railway bridges, I came to a street – not sure what it was!

A Toronto street sign in blue and white that is covered with a vine

I checked a map – it’s Cunningham Ave.

.
But it afforded me an unobstructed view.
A view of the CN TOwer and the Toronto skyline from north west of downtown. Railway tracks are in the foreground.
I looked around a bit but there wasn’t much of interest on my side of the tracks and I wasn’t about to cross over!  I did notice that there is graffiti on the track side of the wall around the Malabar parking lot.  Something to explore another time… when I don’t have to dodge trains!

Short Union Pearson express train as it passes by

As the leaves fall off the trees, the houses are hidden less.  I like looking for older and/or unique architectural details that are now easier to spot (and take pictures of!)

below: The first time I saw one of these “half houses” I was quite surprised (it’s behind the large tree).  I now realize that there are a number of them in the city but it was still a fun find.

looking up an alley towards a street with some old houses. There is a large tree and behind the tree is a house that looks like it was cut in half vertically

below:  Brick and wood trim details being preserved and restored on an old house.

An old square two storey brick house undergoing restoration.

details of the carved wooden trim on a brick house being restored.

below: There are a number of old square houses in the neighbourhood.

an older square brick house on a corner of a residential street in Toronto.

below: A house with an old second storey wooden structure.  I don’t think it can be called an oriel window but I don’t know any other architectural term to describe it.

second storey wood structure protruding from house, almost the width of the house, with three vertical windows in it. A small balcony is above it.

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below: Although it’s not as easy to see in this picture, this house also has an old window and wood structure.  The fence around the neighbour’s yard is probably not as old as the porch, but it to is from a bygone era.  Is it from the 1960’s?  I suspect that they were very trendy at one time although I have seen this sort of design more as balcony railings than as fences.

a large brick semi-detached house with trees around it in fall foilage. The side of the house closest to the camera has a glassed in porch. To the left is a small house with a black metal fence around the front yeard. The fence has diamond shaped black metal pieces joined together in squares.

below:  Symmetrical but not symmetrical

A group of row houses. In the middle are two semis that share a peaked roof but the semis are totally different. One has a pink roof the other has a brown roof. One is white and the other is green. One has a front porch but the other doesn't

below: The back of Bike Pirates, a DIY bike workshop on Queen West, has a mural by Jonny Cakes.

In a laneway, painted by Jonny Cakes @thehalfdecent, the wall of a workshop, shed or garage, is painted with a big skull wearing a red bike hat. Two white cats, one on a unicycle and one on a bicycle, and the words BIKE PIRATE written over the door.

below: Someone’s got a leg up!

A fake leg, bent at the knee, with fake blood along the top of the thigh, attached to a wall over a door, the leg protrudes from the wall.
Up over a door that is…. this door in fact.

A red door with some items attached to it - a squished ping pong ball, an old dirty grey glove with a clip attached to the end of one finger

 

below:  And there were a few other little amusements along the way.

Someone hsa taken a red marker to a no dumping sign so now it reads grnoom dumping. The sign is nailed onto a post and there is an old blue truck parked behind the post.
scrawled in cursive writing with black spray paint on a white garage door are the words love yourself

close up of two stickers on a blue and white bike route sign. One sticker is a brown one with the words Vote Spud and a picture of skull wearing a floppy hat. The other is a red cartoon character

part of an old wood door, plywood wall beside the door with a black line drawing of a worm like creature with a big head with four eyes and a smiling mouth

small paper taped to a hydro pole on a residential street. On the paper are typed the words: WHy doesn't Harper want a parliamentary oversight of his security and police forces? Could it be because Hitler didn't want it either? Why do young people run away from Canada to join ISIS?

A car with a Virginia state licence plate that says Chil Out