Having run out of questions, the Streetcar Trivia contest has been retired.
(January 12, 2003): When was the last time you could board a streetcar at Wellington and York, take it eastbound along Wellington Street, and disembark at Church?
- (Winner: Jim Dufton) The last time streetcars could legally travel eastbound on Wellington Street was the last time two-way traffic was allowed. Late in 1958, the City of Toronto decided to make Wellington Street one-way westbound. This affected the Kingston Road Tripper, which until then looped counter-clockwise via King, York, Wellington and Church during the morning rush-hour.
Jim Dufton goes on to say "The service on Wellington Street then was pretty much all small Witts. I also recall a traffic diversion on King Street West between Bay and York in the early 1970's, I think the year was 1973 but I can't be sure, when Wellington was changed back to two way traffic for the King Cars for one weekend. Police and TTC workers were used to direct traffic and there was many red flags and warning signs on the street that day!
(March 17, 2002): David Youngs submits this trivia question: Where did the TTC hang trolley coach overhead from the streetcar contact wire, and why could they do this?
- (Winner: None) Perhaps this question wasn't as clear as it should have been. I was not asking where trolley buses shared wires with streetcars (for instance, at St. Clair station, where two wires were strung, with trolley buses using both, and streetcars using the right-most [possibly the positive one?]). No, what I was asking was at what streetcar/trolley bus crossing was trolley bus wires actually strung from the streetcar wire. As this would make the streetcar wire impossible for streetcars to use, this should have narrowed the question down: where did trolley buses cross unused streetcar tracks?
There are only three contenders, all of whom are on Bay Street: across the eastbound Richmond Street tracks, across the westbound Adelaide Street tracks and across the eastbound Wellington Street tracks. According to David Youngs, the Bay trolley bus wires were actually strung from the unused eastbound streetcar wires on Wellington Street -- the only case of this happening anywhere on the TTC's surface network. Mark Brader was the only person who used this reasoning of those who answered, although he limited his guess to the Bay/Richmond and Bay/Adelaide intersections, so he did not get the answer right, although he did come the closest.
In answer to the unasked question, trolley buses and streetcars shared wires on Queen Street between Ossington and Shaw (did they share wires along Shaw Street?), and in St. Clair station loop. Bob Halperin wrote: "As the trolley coaches traveled west on Queen, the trolley pole on the negative wire interfaced with a contact on the overhead which was located a few feet east of Ossington. As the trolley pole slid by the contact it activated a switch on the positive wire allowing the trolley coach poles to follow to the north on Ossington." (Please e-mail us if you know of any more occurrances of this)
(February 17, 2002): Through the history of the TTC, some streetcar routes used the same destination sign to refer to two different loops. What were those routes, and what were those loops?
- (Winner: Michael Cerps) The answer we were looking for was High Park. The Bloor and Carlton streetcars used this destination sign for two different loops: Carlton's High Park loop at Howard Park and Parkside Drive, and Bloor's short turn Park Loop at Bloor and High Park Avenue (Park loop was a small turnaround used during rush hours, other busy periods and emergencies to get streetcars heading back east without the trip out to Jane loop. Although the switches into this loop were visible during the short life of "Keele-Bloor" Shuttle between 1966 and 1968, its tracks disappeared soon after the opening of the Bloor-Danforth Subway to Keele Street in 1966. No trace of it remains today except for possible depressions along the sidewalk).
However, the question was worded too vaguely, so that several other correct answers became available.
|St. Clair:||Bathurst/Fort at Vaughan Loop, Harbord at Townsley Loop & Lansdowne at Lansdowne Loop;|
|Keele:||St. Clair at Keele Loop, Bloor West shuttle at Keele Station, Dundas at Junction Turnback;|
|Danforth:||Carlton at Main Loop, Harbord at Lipton Loop, Coxwell at Danforth Loop;|
|Lansdowne:||Carlton/Dundas at College Loop, Harbord at St. Clarens Loop, St. Clair/Earlscourt at Lansdowne Loop, Harbord at Royce Loop;|
|Queen:||Fort at Wolseley Loop, Coxwell at Queen-Coxwell Loop;|
|Subway:||St. Clair/Earlscourt at St. Clair Stn., Bathurst/Downtowner at Bathurst Stn.,;|
|Eglinton:||St. Clair/Earlscourt at Mt. Pleasant Loop, Yonge at Eglinton Loop;|
|Bloor:||Parliament at Viaduct Loop, Sherbourne at Rosedale Loop, Church at Asquith Loop, Spadina at Bloor cross-over, though not designated as a loop;|
|Woodbine:||Queen at Woodbine Loop, Danforth shuttle at Woodbine Stn.;|
|Coxwell:||Carlton at Danforth Loop, Bloor/Danforth at Coxwell/Hillingdon Loop;|
|King:||Parliament at Parliament Loop, Dovercourt at Crawford Loop;|
|Northlands:||St. Clair at Northlands Loop, St. Clair at Avon Loop|
(May 1, 2001): Where was this photograph taken?
- (Winner: Mark Brader) This R. Hill photograph was taken in Runnymede Loop during the twilight of the Dundas streetcar's operations north of Dundas West station.
(March 15, 2001): David Cavlovic asks: "When trolley buses still operated in T.O. what was the ONLY rt station (rt MUST be considered as subway technology) that saw all forms of surface/underground service? What were the (major) routes serving this station?"
- (Winner: Sean Marshall) Sean was the first to get the answer we were looking for: which was St. Clair station. The services included 512 St. Clair (streetcar), 74 Mt. Pleasant (trolley bus) and 33 Forest Hill, the 27 Downtown and a branch of the 97 Yonge (all buses). Union Station did not count as although the 6 Bay trolley bus came close to the station (as did the 121 Front-Esplanade bus), they did not enter the fare-paid zone of Union as 604 Harbourfront did.
Another good guess, by Michael Booker, was Keele station. For the two years while Keele was the western terminus of the Bloor-Danforth subway, it entertained the Bloor shuttle streetcar and the Weston trolley bus. Unfortunately, no diesel buses called, as the Keele bus did not go to Keele station until a major realignment of routes took place in 1994. Similarly, Dundas West station only saw trolley buses and streetcars until 1991, when the Junction trolley bus was replaced by diesel buses. The Symington route did not appear until 1994.
(January 15, 2001): "what CLRVs have been painted in 'historic' streetcar colours (sort of)"
- (Winner: none) Alan Gryfe, who asked this question, was referring to CLRVs 4052 and 4149, wrapped in an advertisement for Guinness Beer. The chocolate brown lower half of the car, representing the beer, and the off-white upper half of the car, representing the foam, makes the CLRV bear an uncanny resemblance to the old Toronto Railway Company colours.
Q. Where am I?
(December 1, 2000): Where was this picture taken?
- (Winner: Ian Folkard) Ian Folkard correctly guessed that this photograph, taken from the collection of Bill Volkmer, was of PCC 4447 in Luttrell Loop at the east end of the Bloor streetcar line. The streetcar is facing east. Others, however, had additional pieces of information that are well worth reading.
John Bromley noted the Witt car sitting behind PCC 4447. Witts were rare on the Bloor streetcar line in the 1950s and the 60s. He speculates that the Witt was likely visiting the loop on a fan trip.
Dave Imrie notes that the woman in the photograph is likely a TTC guide. The TTC employed many such guides (often women) to attend the loops during rush hours in order to answer commuters' questions and sell tickets. With Luttrell Loop acting as the transfer point between the very busy Bloor streetcar and several suburban bus routes, these guides were busy directing passengers to their right connections.
(November 1, 2000): When was the last time Bingham Loop last saw scheduled weekend streetcar service?
- (Winner: John F. Bromley) The last day of regular service was May 21, 1966. QUEEN cars were split from Feb 26, 1966 and on evenings and weeekends alternate cars went to Bingham and Neville. The very last car was the once-a-week night car from Bingham to Long Branch in the early morning hours of May 22, 1966 (SCHEDULE DAY May 21).
Q. Where am I?
(October 1, 2000): Where was this photograph taken?
- (Winner: Daniel Garcia) The piece of abandoned track was the giveaway for most respondents. They had to ask "where in the system did a right-turn used to have straight-through tracks?" The answer was, of course, Coxwell and Upper Gerrard. This photograph, taken in the early 1970s by R. Hill, shows a piece of the old Coxwell Avenue tracks that used to stretch north to Danforth Avenue. These tracks were taken up in 1968 soon after the Bloor-Danforth subway was extended to Warden, and Danforth carhouse became Danforth garage.
Coxwell and Gerrard has changed considerably since the photograph was taken. The gas station seen here at the northeast corner of the intersection has been redeveloped, and the area's trees have all grown up. The remaining north Coxwell tracks have also disappeared.
(September 1, 2000): Other than Yonge Street, where else in Toronto has a PCC operated north of Lawrence Avenue?
- (Winner: Pat Lavallee) This was a mean trick question. Many know about the extraordinary case of a new driver piloting her PCC along the St. Clair route during the Second World War. She was heading up Weston Road and accidentally missed her turn into Northlands Loop. The PCC continued north until the double track ran out. It was decided that the PCC would continue to the end of the single-tracked line and then be towed backwards at the end of the day.
But most respondents missed the fact that two PCCs were converted to operate in the subways as rail-grinders (RT 14 & 15). These were in operation after the Spadina line opened, and thus also operated north of Lawrence Avenue.
(August 1, 2000): After Los Angeles and Baltimore retired their PCC fleets in 1963, what other American cities operated PCCs concurrently with Toronto?
- (Winner: Herb Brannon): John Centenaro makes a case for including Chicago on this list, since a number of its subway cars were also completely rebuilt PCCs:
St.Louis, MO., who retired their last PCC in 1964 (and which had a very similar paint scheme to the TTC)
Pittsburgh, PA., which, in 1964, had been just acquired by a new "regional" transit system, who quickly reduced the city's fleet from 666 cars in 1964 to fewer than 250 by 1966. Their remaining PCCs were refitted several times and operated on the South Hills route, but the last PCC was retired in 1999 ("Railfan", January 2000).
Philadelphia, PA., which, by 1970, had North America's second largest active PCC fleet at 344 cars, but that was reduced by a 1974 car barn fire. The fleet was boosted by some of Toronto's 4700-series cars, but most PCCs were retired by 1982. Like Toronto, Pittsburgh and Philly's fleets were bolstered by acquisitions from cities that had abandoned streetcars. Some remain as tourist cars, seems this system is up in the air (for more information, check out Mike Szylagi's excellent Streetcar Philadelphia).
Boston, MA's "T" was composed of Pullman-built PCCs (plus one St. Louis-built PCC, car 3001, scrapped in the early 1950s) until the 1980s. Most were retired by 1998.
San Francisco, CA also boasted a large PCC fleet well into the 1970s. Dave Imrie was there in 1973 and can recall riding on streetcars down Market Street, but they were in somewhat poor repair. Their fleet also featured several double-ended PCCs. The F-Market Line now uses former local PCCs in addition to others purchased from several American cities and Toronto.
Although Cleveland, OH abandoned its "streetcar" fleet in the 1950s, PCCs were used on the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit Line until the 1990s. Apparently the remaining PCCs were scheduled to be used on Buffalo's transit line but Jon Bell (see his web site) says this has not happened.
El Paso, TX was operating PCCs over an international route between this Texan city and Juarez, Mexico. These would soon be abandoned along with the rest of El Paso's streetcar network.
Fort Worth, TX made use of heavily modified PCCs operating between the Leonard's Department Store (today known as the Tandy Centre) and its large parking lot. This line actually opened the year that the Los Angeles and Baltimore systems closed. These same vehicles ran to the very end, having been heavily rebuilt (and bearing little resemblance to PCCs). Despite proposals to expand the system, the line shut down on August 31, 2002.
Finally, there's Newark, NJ which was operating its streetcar subway at the time. Newark still uses PCCs and will continue to do so until they replace them later this year.
(July 1, 2000): What was the last Canadian city to retire its street railways?
- (Winner: Andy Elsey) Believe it or not, the answer is not Montreal or Ottawa, which abandoned their systems in 1959. Montreal and Ottawa may have been the last two to abandon their passenger streetcar systems, but we asked about street railways, meaning passenger and/or freight systems. Considering freight systems, Cornwall, Ontario is the answer we're looking for. Although it abandoned its streetcars before Montreal and Ottawa (in 1949, in fact), its freight network continued under CN operation until October 9, 1971. Steeplecab locomotives hauled freight off of the Canadian National tracks under trolley wire. The operation was eventually converted to diesel. Cornwall also boasted a trolley bus system that replaced streetcars in the 1940s. These also fell during the 1970s.
(May 15, 2000): Other than the Queen Streetcar, what streetcars regularly used streetcar loops at or near Queen Street?
- (Winner: None) From west to east, the following loops are located within one block of Queen Street: Sunnyside (used by old King cars in the 1920s), Roncesvalles Loop (used by the Long Branch streetcar before the opening of the Queensway private right of way), Wolesley Loop (used by Fort cars until 1966), McCaul Loop (still used by Downtowner (old Kingston Road) streetcars but it was built for the Beach streetcar), Mutual Loop (used by Lake Shore streetcars until August 1937, and by workcars and shortturns until its abandonment in the late 1940s), Coxwell Loop (used by Coxwell cars), Woodbine Loop (used by weekend and tripper Queen cars until the March 1933, when Queen cars operated on Kingston Road) and finally Neville Park loop also saw service by the Beach Streetcar and its trippers.
Many respondents forgot about Mutual Loop, which no longer exists, but most of the rest of the loops and their routes were hit. Blair Krupchyn came close, as did Sean Marshall.
(April 1, 2000): Where was this picture (on the left) taken?
An eastbound chartered Witt passes a westbound Bloor PCC at Dundas Street
- (Winner: Daniel Garcia) The first clue is the sign in the shape of a shield near the right side of the page. This is an Ontario highway marker, and it shows that we're on Highway 5, or Bloor Street. This narrows down the field considerably. Based solely upon the track layout, we could be at Dundas Street or Lansdowne Avenue, facing west, or Dovercourt Road, facing east. The fact that the cross tracks don't take a sharp jog through the intersection eliminates Lansdowne, and the rough date of the picture (early 1960s, judging from the cars) suggests that Dovercourt is unlikely as well. It was the lay of the land which gave Daniel Garcia his answer. West from Dundas Street, Bloor Street dips into a bit of a valley as it heads for High Park. The intersection may have changed, but the lay of the land has not.
(March 1, 2000): Where was this picture (on the right) taken?
Where are we?
- (Winner: Asher Mercer) Asher Mercer was the first to guess the answer, Townsley Loop, correctly. It was, however, a pure guess, just like every answer given. Interestingly, every person who replied thought that this loop was in the northwest quadrant, with answers ranging from Northlands Loop, Avon Loop, Keele Loop and Townsley Loop. Congratulations to everybody for being so close. I guess there must be something instantly recognizable about the area, even though the area has changed significantly. However, there is something that can be used to confirm the location. Compare the two photographs, paying careful attention to the central area. Notice the Hydro transformer tower? A Hydro right-of-way runs to the north of Townsley Loop. The immediate area may have changed, with the construction of a flea market, but the tower is the givaway. In the older photograph, Joseph Testagrose caught Witt 2766 operating through the loop. It is likely the streetcar was on an excursion run, much like PCC 4500 in the newer shot.
(February 1, 2000): What connection does Commissioners Street have with streetcars?
- (Winner: None) A number of people supplied elements of the full answer, but we did not find everything we were looking for in a single e-mail. David Cavlovic noted that Commissioners Street was where the Ashbridge Streetcar used to run (a short route running from Queen and East Don Roadway, south to Commissioners and west to Cherry, closed in the mid 1920s). Pat Lavallee noted that 'a spur line ran down to Commissioners st. to the ammunition plant', and Daniel Garcia picked up something I hadn't thought of: the PCCs shipped to Alexandria were likely shipped to the port via Commissioners. Nobody mentioned the plan, noted in John Bromley's Fifty Years of Progressive Transit, to convert the Ashbridge's bus to streetcar operation, effectively creating a Pape Streetcar in the same alignment that the 72 Pape bus currently runs. Unfortunately, the onset of the Great Depression killed this proposal.
(January 1, 2000): Which Toronto streetcars were converted to operate in the subway and for what purpose were each converted?
- (Winner: None) Lots of people replied to this question, including Pat Lavallee, Tom Jaworski and David Cavlovic. Everybody got part of the answer, but nobody got all of it. Here, from John Bromley's book, Fifty Years of Progressive Transit, is the complete list: RT1 (Rail Maintenance car, formerly TP-2, snowplow), RT2 (Flat car, formerly RS-3, built from parts from TCR 109), RT3 (Wall Washing Car, formerly ballast car, formerly W-18, dump car), RT4 (Platform Maintenance car [Garbage Car], formerly Witt 2528), RT-5 (Rail Grinder Car, formerly TTC Scraper 2206, formerly TCR passenger car), RT-6 (Snow Blower, formerly ex dump-car trailer W-850), RT-7 (Rail Grinder, formerly surface grinder W-27, formerly TCR passenger car) and RT-14 and RT-15 (ex PCCs 4410 and 4446, respectively). Car Y-2, a surface shunter used to move Witt Trailers around, was also transferred to the subway briefly, prior to to the subway's opening. Basically when the subway opened, the TTC needed work cars, and they got a lot of them off of the streetcar network. All but RT-1, 3 and 6 have been scrapped. The remaining three have been extensively rebuilt.