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Streetcars roll along Fleet Street tomorrow

Starting about 9 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday, March 30, streetcars on the 509 Harbourfront and 511 Bathurst routes will operate along Fleet Street between Exhibition (east) Loop and Bathurst Street. (This will occur only if the project to repair the streetcar tracks on the Bathurst Street Bridge, south of Front Street West, is complete.)

Tomorrow will be the first day that streetcars have served stops along Fleet since September 4, 2007.

The Fleet Street tracks play an important role in the TTC’s current and future streetcar and light rail vehicle services. Not only do they serve the two regular current streetcar routes and the developing neighbourhoods around Fort York and Strachan Avenue, they are also key to transporting large numbers of people to the many special events taking place at Ontario Place and Exhibition Place, including the Canadian National Exhibition. And, they may also soon help link Union Station to southern Etobicoke as part of the Waterfront West streetcar project.

On his website, Steve Munro reports that Fleet is the first street to sport a new overhead wiring structure for streetcars. The TTC has installed a different type of wire hangers and a different gauge of wiring along Fleet. This will help handle the larger power demands of future, larger streetcars and light rail vehicles, and also accommodate pantographs instead of trolley poles. (Pantographs are diamond- or Z-shaped devices that conduct power from an overhead wire to the roof of an electric-power vehicle.)

Although the tracks are complete, the City of Toronto and TTC project to rebuild the tracks and roadway on Fleet Street isn’t. Appearing soon will be:

  • new, wider sidewalks;
  • a new concrete streetcar platform stop at Fort York Boulevard, replacing a temporary asphalt one; and
  • new tracks and overhead wiring for the Fleet Loop (beside the Queen’s Wharf Lighthouse).

The Waterfront West streetcar project points the way to the future of the Fleet Street tracks. But what about the past? If you’re interested, check out these Transit Toronto pages for Fleet Street’s transit history.

You can read a history of the 511 Bathurst streetcar route and the former Fort streetcar route here.

You can read a history of the 509 Harbourfront streetcar route here.

You can read a history of the Fleet and Exhibition Loops here.

You can read a history of streetcars to the Exhibition here.