89 Weston

Compiled by Peter Coulman
Text by James Bow
With assistance by Mike Vainchtein

The Weston Road trolley bus became the longest route on the Toronto trackless trolley system, although it didn’t start out that way. Beginning from a loop at Annette, this route operated along Keele and Weston Road to the village of Weston (looping at St. John’s Road, today known as Clouston Avenue).

Starting as a 3.1 mile long line, it replaced an interesting streetcar route that was part interurban. There was a 1.85 mile extension shortly thereafter, taking the trolley bus to Oak Street, a half-mile south of Wilson Avenue. The TTC is unclear when this extension took place. One document states that the extension into the town of Weston occurred on December 17, 1949; however, a 1948 TTC map shows Weston service extending to a loop on Oak Street. Either way, the extension replaced a shuttle bus service that operated north from St. John’s Loop after the streetcars fell.

Only two other changes occurred to the Weston route until its conversion to diesel buses. On February 26, 1966, the line was extended south along Keele to Keele station on the Bloor subway. Finally, on April 20, 1973, the line was extended a short distance north from Blondin Loop to the Weston Road/Albion Road interchange, using the ramps between the two streets to loop. During the mid 1970s, there were plans to extend the line to Steeles Avenue, but they never bore fruit. Even today, proposals to extend the bus route to Steeles Avenue have been turned down with the statement that they’d inconvenience more people than they’d help.

Several short turn loops existed along this route, including Avon Loop (a former streetcar loop) at Rogers Road, St. John’s Loop north of Eglinton, and an on-street loop via King, George, and Church Streets in the village of Weston. Of these, only the Church loop was listed as an official branch of the route, 89A, accepting extra vehicles during rush hour. By January 3, 1992, when the line was converted to diesel operation, 13 vehicles were required to provide 5-minute service. Since then, few changes have taken place to the route, but service has been cut back, and the 89A branch doesn’t see operation.

Daniel Hammond of Transport 2000 Ontario reports that the Weston Road trolley buses may have returned in 1993 using the leased Edmonton coaches.

The Weston Road service was the only TTC trolley bus route to run for any appreciable distance outside the City of Toronto. Initially, service was operated as part of the Township of York Railways. City fares applied south of Avon loop, and the first trolley coaches used twin fareboxes, just like its streetcar counterparts.

The TTC absorbed the Township of York Railways in 1954 and turned the Weston Road trolley bus into the TTC’s only multi-zone trolley bus route, operating initially in the central fare zone as well as suburban zones 1 and 2, then in zone 1 and 2 when the two suburban zones were combined before finally running under a single fare zone when the zone fare system was abolished in the early 1970s. The boundary between suburban zones 1 and 2 was at St. John’s Road in the city of York, the location of St. John’s Loop.


A Chronological History of 89 Weston

September 13, 1948

Service begins on a new trolley coach route replacing WESTON streetcars. Buses operate from St. John’s loop near what is today the corner of Weston Road and Sidney Belsey Crescent, via south on Weston and south on Keele to Annette. Trolley buses loop via west on Dundas, south on Mavety and west on Annette to Keele.

W E S T O N

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

December 17, 1949

Service extended north from St. John’s along Main Street (now Weston Road) to Oak loop, located just north of Weston Road’s underpass beneath the Canadian National railway tracks, near today’s Oak Street. Service replaces the WESTON-MAIN temporary replacement bus

October 16, 1952

With the opening of a realigned Annette, eliminating a jog on Keele Street, service adjusted to loop around the new traffic island created within the Annette/Keele intersection.

July 1, 1954

Coincident with a realignment of the TTC’s fare structure, reflecting its new mandate to provide public transit to Metropolitan Toronto, a new rush hour short turn loop is installed at Northland Avenue, at the boundary between the central fare zone and the first suburban zone. St. John’s loop is the location of the boundary between the first and second suburban zones.

W E S T O N

O   A   K
ANNETTE

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

W E S T O N

NORTHLAND
ANNETTE

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

W E S T O N

ST. JOHN’S
ANNETTE

Occasional short turns

September 1957

Service assigned route number 89.

W E S T O N

89

O   A   K
ANNETTE

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

W E S T O N

89A

NORTHLAND
ANNETTE

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

W E S T O N

89B

ST. JOHN’S
ANNETTE

Occasional short turns

July 26, 1959

Wires extended north on Main Street (now Weston Road) from Oak to a new off-street loop at Blondin Avenue (just south of today’s Albion Road), replacing service on 96 WILSON and 57 NORTH MAIN buses.

In addition to this, a new short turn loop is established at Church Street in the village of Weston, with trolley coaches looping via King, George and Church.

W E S T O N

89

BLONDIN
ANNETTE

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

W E S T O N

89A

CHURCH
ANNETTE

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

S H O R T
T U R N

89S

W E S T O N

For occasional short turns at Northlands, St. John’s and Avon loops.

February 25, 1966

Coincident with the opening of the BLOOR-DANFORTH SUBWAY, service extended south on Keele Street to Keele station on the newly opened subway line.

W E S T O N

89

BLONDIN
KEELE STATION

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

W E S T O N

89A

CHURCH
KEELE STATION

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

April 20, 1973

Due to reconstruction of the Highway 401 and Wilson Avenue/Albion Road interchanges, trolley bus wires are extended north from Blondin loop via Weston Road onto the northbound off-ramp leading to Albion Road. There, buses turn left onto Albion Road and head into the southbound on-ramp leading back onto Weston Road, returning south via Weston Road. Blondin loop abandoned, though “BLONDIN” remained on 89 WESTON’s rollsigns for years to come before being eventually changed as follows:

W E S T O N

89

ALBION RD
KEELE STATION

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

W E S T O N

89A

CHURCH
KEELE STATION

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

January 3, 1992

Trolley coach suspended due to aging equipment and infrastructure. Diesel buses take over the following day, although unconfirmed reports suggest that trolley coaches may have returned briefly in 1993.

May 11, 1992

A new rush hour service (designated 89B) established between Keele station and the off-street loop (St. John’s loop) just north of Jane Street, replacing the 89A short turn service on Weston’s Church Street.

February 13, 1994

As part of a general realignment of transit services in the Town of York, made possible by the abandonment of trolley bus services two years earlier, the TTC reports that rush hour service on the 89A “Church” branch has been discontinued again. It is uncertain whether this service had been reinstated, or if extra service had been added after the arrival of 89B service. It’s possible that all rush hour short-turn service was eliminated on this date.

It should be noted that, during the brief period after trolley coach service was replaced by buses, and before electronic destination rollsigns replaced fabric and mylar rollsigns, 89 WESTON buses were equipped with a new set of mylar rollsigns as follows:

WESTON

89

ALBION RD
KEELE STATION

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

WESTON

89A

LAWRENCE
KEELE STATION

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

This further suggests that the St. John’s short turn service was extended back north of Lawrence at some point between 1992 and 1994.

July 26, 1998

Service revised on weekends “to eliminate excessive running time and to reduce service at times of very low ridership”:

On Saturdays, before 9:00 a.m. (time at KeeIe Station), the round-trip running time will be reduced from 72 min to 60 min. The two northbound trips at 4:50 and 5:20 a.m. will be eliminated, and service will be increased from 15 min to 30 min. Only four customers used these trips at Keele Station on the day of the most recent count. Between approximately 6:00 and 8:40 a.m., two fewer buses will be used, the headway will change from 12 min to 15 min, and the average number of customers per bus will remain within the loading standards.

From 8:40 a.m. to 12:20 noon on Saturdays, and during the daytime on Sundays, the running time will be reduced from 72 min to 66 min, and 6 min of recovery time will be scheduled. From 12:20 noon to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays, the running time will be reduced from 74 min to 68 min, and 6 min of recovery time will be scheduled. There will be no change to the headway at these times.

In the evening on Saturdays and Sundays, the running time will be reduced to 56 minutes, and 4 min of recovery time will be scheduled. There will be no change to the headway.

November 22, 2009

New accessible service launched using low floor vehicles on all runs. Bike rack service also installed.

89

W E S T O N

 

89

W E S T O N

TO ALBION RD

TO KEELE STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day


89 Weston Image Archive


References

  • Bromley, John F. and Jack May, Fifty Years of Progressive Transit, Electric Railroaders’ Association, New York (New York) 1975.
  • Filey, Mike, The TTC Story: The First Seventy-Five Years, Dundurn Press, Toronto (Ontario) 1996.
  • Toronto Transit Commission, Trolley Coach CC&F and Flyer Coaches, The Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto (Ontario), January 1987.