Read these daily “on schedule” posts to find news and other information that affects your daily commute. You’ll learn about public meetings, special events and construction projects that affect transit services today.
The TTC is closing its Line 1 (Yonge - University) subway between Downsview and St George stations this Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22.
Line 1 subway trains operate only between Finch and St George stations this weekend.
While this part of the line is closed, TTC crews continue their ongoing work to test and install the new automatic train control system. According to a TTC news release, “When installation is complete in 2019, ATC will result in a more modern and reliable signal system that will allow for a 25 per cent increase in the number of trains operating on Line 1.”
The TTC is operating shuttle buses to partially replace subway service — but only between Downsview and Lawrence West stations. Three construction projects delayed shuttle buses when the TTC operated them south of Lawrence West station during last year’s closures. Instead, the TTC is encouraging passengers to ride connecting routes to stations on the Yonge arm of Line 1 or to Line 2 (Bloor - Danforth) stations. It will double regular service along nine bus and streetcar routes Saturday and Sunday:
- 7 Bathurst;
- 14 Glencairn;
- 32 Eglinton West;
- 52 Lawrence West;
- 84 Sheppard West;
- 96 Wilson;
- 109 Ranee;
- 127 Davenport; and
- 512 St Clair.
To improve bus service, the City of Toronto will temporarily ban parking on
- Lawrence Avenue West between Lawrence West and Lawrence stations;
- Eglinton Avenue West between Eglinton West Station and Spadina Road; and
- Bathurst Street between Barton Avenue and Bloor Street West.
The TTC is also operating extra subway service along the rest of Line 1 during the closure and along Line 2 from 3 until 11 p.m. to accommodate fans heading to and from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors games.
Wheel-Trans buses operate to and from Downsview, Lawrence West and St George stations, if you use a wheelchair or mobility device or otherwise need accessible service. Ask TTC staff at these stations for Wheel-Trans.
Dupont and Glencairn stations will be closed. All other stations will be open so you can buy tokens, tickets, passes and other fare media and connect with buses and streetcars.
This weekend, crews are testing the new ATC system between Wilson and Spadina stations and working at Downsview Station to get ready for extending the line northwestward to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre by the end of the year. The TTC also expects to have finished all ATC work on Line 1 north of Dupont Station by the end of 2017.
This is the first of 14 weekend closures affecting this part of Line 1 this year, mostly resulting from TTC crews installing and testing ATC.
Upcoming weekend closures for this part of the line:
- Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16 - Downsview to Lawrence West - track and switch work;
- Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17 - Downsview to St George - ATC;
- Saturday, October 21 and Sunday, October 22 - Downsview to Wilson - ATC;
- Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5 - Downsview to St George - ATC; and
- Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3 - Downsview to Wilson - ATC.
From 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 18, Thursday, January 19 and Friday, January 20, Exhibition Place is closing:
- Manitoba Drive east of Nova Scotia Avenue
to accommodate contractors who are pouring concrete at a construction site.
The TTC is detouring buses operating along this route, while the street is closed:
- 29C Dufferin (Princes’ Gate).
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is closing:
- Hospital Road near the building’s “M” Wing
from 11:59 p.m. Thursday, January 19 until 5 a.m. Friday, January 20 to accommodate road work.
The TTC is detouring buses operating along these routes, while the street is closed:
- Beach Metro News article, “Destination: Victoria Park station?”, here.
- BlogTO post, “New look TTC buses spotted on Toronto streets”, here.
- BlogTO post, “There are a ton of TTC subway closures scheduled for 2017”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Mechanical problems surfacing in new streetcars more often than expected: report”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “Who’s in the wrong in this nasty TTC fare dispute?”, here.
- CBC News Toronto report, “‘You’re a dust fart’: Woman caught on camera swearing at passenger on York Region bus”, here.
- CityNews Toronto report, “TTC proposing 35 weekend subway closures in 2017”, here.
- CTV News Toronto report, “TTC announces 2017 will see fewer weekend closures than last year”, here.
- DurhamRegion.com article, “Construction of GO rail maintenance facility in Whitby to wrap up this year”, here.
- Globe and Mail article, “Montreal pulls new Bombardier - Alstom subway trains”, here.
- InsideToronto.com article, “Exhibition Loop closed until March 2017”, here.
- Ride This Crazy Train post, “GO Transit’s delays due to trespasser activity double those of the TTC in 2016”, here.
- Oshawa Express article, “Transit commission rejects quarterly meetings”, here.
- Oshawa Express editorial, “Commission: Reform it or dump it”, here.
- Scarborough Transit Action post, “A new year: Time for a new way of talking about transit in Scarborough?”, here.
- Scarborough Transit Action post, “With a $2.5 billion TTC capital budget shortfall, why are we building a one-stop subway boondoggle?”, here.
- Scarborough Transit Action post, “Scarborough residents are being tricked by their own councillors”, here.
- Scarborough Transit Action post, “John Tory says Scarborough is getting a subway. Here’s a full list of Scarborough neighbourhoods that will get nothing”, here.
- South Bayview Bulldog post, “New subways isolate tracks to save lives, prevent delay”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, February 12, 2017”, here.
- Steve Munro’s post, “How Much Service Actually Runs on King Street (2)?”, here.
- Toronto Star article, “TTC plans 35 subway closures this year”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “UP Express mess a red flag for future projects”, here.
- Toronto Sun column, “Toronto the rude”, here.
- Toronto Sun article, “Toronto man sought in alleged sex assault on TTC subway”, here.
- Urban Toronto post, “Scarborough Subway: The Trojan Horse Alignment”, here.
First the good news:
That’s three fewer weekends that parts of system are off-line than in 2016.
More importantly, the closing of the lines — inconvenient though it may be — shows that the TTC is taking full advantage of the unprecedented interest in public transit of all three levels of government in improving infrastructure. The Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto are putting their money where their interest is by funding many TTC capital projects.
While the principle of “short-term pain for long-term gain” isn’t helpful when you have to shuffle onto a shuttle bus, instead of boarding a train, to get where you’re going to weekends, it helps to remember that the weekend closures may assure that you continue to reach your destination (mostly) reliably every day for years to come.
Why the weekend? Not surprisingly, fewer passengers travel aboard subway and RT trains — and on all TTC vehicles — Saturdays, Sundays and holidays than ride Mondays to Fridays. So, by scheduling these closures over a weekend, instead of, say, a Tuesday during rush hours, the work affects far fewer people.
Since TTC staff have just two hours each night between the end of one day’s subway service before the next day’s starts to engage in regular maintenance activities, weekend closures make even more sense. According to the TTC’s chief executive officer, Andy Byford, “Big jobs that need to be done must take place on the weekend, when we can effectively get the equivalent of five weeks’ worth of nights done in one weekend.”
While the TTC must work many weekends to maintain its tracks, signals, stations and buildings in a “state of good repair”, a major project requiring the TTC to close the subway is installing automatic train control (ATC) on Line 1 (Yonge - University). This requires crews to replace the old signal system and install a new control system. The new system will allow the TTC to operate more trains along the line more frequently.
During subway closures, crews working on the ATC project typically install new cables, track-side signalling equipment or special track work in the tunnels. This work is labour-intensive and can’t all occur during the normal maintenance window each night.
Here’s a video in which CEO Byford and the TTC’s director of Corporate Communications Brad Ross explain why weekend closures are necessary.
During the multiple weekend subway shutdowns in 2016, crews:
- replaced 5,044 metres (16,549 feet) of running rail on Lines 1 and 2;
- replaced 500 metres (1,640 feet) of power rail on Lines 1 and 2;
- conducted major maintenance on eight crossovers on Lines 1 and 2 (crossovers allow trains to move from one track to another, often to change direction.);
- rehabilitated 180 train stops (a train stop or tripper would automatically stop a train that passes a signal prohibiting its progress);
- replace 24 train stops;
- ground 6,500 metres (21,325 feet) of southbound track on Line 3;
- replaced 950 metres (3,117 feet) of power rail on Line 3;
- replaced track fasteners, ties and communication cables on Line 3;
- installed 181,000 metres (593,832 feet) of cabling for ATC on Line 1;
- upgraded 250 track circuit locations on Lines 1 and 2
- replaced 24 switch point heaters and 56 train-stop heaters on Lines 1 and 2;
- replaced skylights, painted station ceilings, replaced platform edge tiles, cleaned drains, inspected structures, replaced and relamped lights in stations, installed PRESTO fare-card equipment, upgraded electrical panels;
- rehabilitated escalators rehabilitation, repaired fencing along rights-of-way, repaired floors, installed and removed signs and removed asbestos.
While some on-line chatter during closures usually suggests that the TTC must be a “third-rate” transit system due to these weekend shut-downs, in fact, most major transit agencies frequently undertake similar weekend projects to keep service running. For example, this weekend, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is closing parts of the 4 and E lines for construction projects while long-term work continues to close stations along the F and N lines. Transport for London (TfL) is closing parts of the Jubilee and Metropolitan underground lines and part of the London Overground, too, this weekend. Meanwhile over in Paris part of the Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP) Line 14 is off limits to passengers this Saturday.
More good news:
By improving its power infrastructure at Broadview Station, the TTC has reduced four scheduled Line 2 closures between Pape and St George Stations to just between Broadview and St George. By including service to Broadview, TTC shuttle buses avoid congestion along Danforth Avenue between Pape and Broadview Avenues. Perhaps more important, Broadview offers more travel options for subway passengers who may wish to travel operating along the 504 King or 505 Dundas routes to travel to and from downtown.
The TTC says it’s also developed special special operating procedures to reduce a planned closure between Bloor and St Andrew stations just King and St Andrew, drastically reducing or eliminating the need for shuttles.
Even more good news:
The TTC plans to continue working with the City of Toronto’s Transportation Services to improve shuttle services by modifying signal timing along shuttle routes. It also plans to continue hiring Toronto Police Service “paid-duty” officers to help direct traffic to allow shuttles buses to quickly make turns and move into and out of station terminals.
It will also ask the City to continue restricting on-street parking during subway closures to improve trip times for shuttle buses. The City restricted parking along shuttle route during 21 of last year’s 38 closures. As a result, trip times improved for shuttle buses improved considerably, getting passengers to their destinations more quickly. Buses were less crowded and the TTC needed fewer buses to provide the service.
Now the bad news:
The TTC is closing parts of rapid transit system during 35 weekends in 2017.
The first weekend closure takes place this coming weekend, Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, when the TTC shuts Line 1 between Downsview and St George Station, for work on the ATC project.
In fact, Line 1 passengers face the bulk of the closure pain this year, especially those who travel along the Downsview-to-St George section. The TTC intends to stop trains along this part of the line 11 weekends in 2017 — eight closures for commissioning and testing the ATC system and three more for trial operations.
TTC planners hope an alternate plan for operating shuttle buses to replace subway service during these closures will improve things for passengers — and for the TTC itself. In 2016, with three construction sites affecting traffic along the route an average shuttle-bus trip between Downsview and St George required about an hour to complete. The TTC had to supply about 100 buses for the service.
In 2017, the TTC intends only to operate shuttle buses between Downsview and Lawrence West Stations. It’s encouraging passengers to ride connecting buses and streetcars to stations on the Yonge branch of the line or directly to Line 2 (Bloor - Danforth) stations and it will enhance service along these connecting routes.
In total, Line 1 riders face 20 weekends without service along part of the line in 2017. Line 2 riders can expect 10 shut-down weekends. The TTC closes all of Line 3 during four weekends and Line 4 on just one weekend.
PRESTO Contact Centre services, prestocard.ca and the GO Transit Service Guarantee webpage are all temporarily unavailable starting at 10 p.m. tonight, Friday, January 13, until early afternoon tomorrow, Saturday, January 14, while PRESTO staff maintain the system.
“There may be a delay with online transactions being updated; all transactions completed during this time should appear in your transaction history within one-two days after the system maintenance.
“General information questions during this time can still be answered by contacting the PRESTO Contact Centre at 1-877-378-6123.”
You can continue using your PRESTO card for travel during the maintenance. You can still load your card in-person at a GO Transit station, a PRESTO customer service outlet and at PRESTO self-serve reload machines.
PRESTO devices will continue to display accurate fare and balance information during the system maintenance, however, online accounts won’t be available.
Starting Monday, January 16, the City of Brampton is closing:
- Orenda Road east of West Drive
Brampton Transit is detouring buses operating along this route while the street is closed:
- 40 Central Industrial.
Construction on Orenda Road and the Brampton Transit detour continue until February 6.