As Toronto awakens to a new day, we are throughout this City preparing to carry our 1.4 million riders where they need to go.

From the bustling and liveable streets of our downtown, through the neighbourhoods that make our City home to the world, Toronto has a population more diverse more than anywhere on earth. And for years, we’ve been known as the Better Way. We are the Toronto Transit Commission, the Life-Line of Toronto. Come on let’s take a tour.

The TTC has a proud history with the Streetcar. We still maintain and operate 3 heritage streetcars for special events, a 1921 Peter Witt Car, as well as a pair of Presidents Conference Committee Streetcars purchased in 1938. Our current fleet consists of 248 Streetcars and our plans include the overhaul of 132 CLRVs and a mid-life overhaul of the entire fleet of 52 ALRVs. Our team of employees at Harvey Shop facility estimate that they can breathe new life into the CLRV fleet to provide an additional 5 years of service, beyond their 30 year design life.  In addition to structural rehabilitation, the team has started to rebuild the trucks which will continue through to 2011. Let’s have a look at the work being done.

The truck rebuild process begins by disconnecting the truck from the vehicle. The trucks are transferred and have all components removed which are rebuilt in specialized areas of the Shop. The drive components are assembled while the wheels themselves are pressed onto the axles. The wheel assembly is then returned to the main rebuild area, where the reconditioned motor is attached, as well as the braking systems, new pneumatic piping, wiring and wheel guards.  The truck rebuild is completed and replaced beneath the vehicle. Finally the vehicle is inspected, tested and returned to service. This fleet of CLRVs is scheduled to be retired by 2016. Simultaneously, the ALRV mid-life overhaul project will undertake overhauls over the next five years.

Looking to the future, the TTC has undertaken the design and prototyping of fully accessible and articulated low floor LRVs. These vehicles are expected to be brought into service in two phases, with two prototype vehicles being delivered in 2010, and all 204 new vehicles in operation by 2018, making this a very exciting era of transition in Toronto’s public transportation evolution.

RADIO CALL: “147 STN… It’s Control”

Before we take a ride on the Toronto Subway System, let’s tour the newly completed Transit Control Centre, the nerve centre for the TTC which monitors transit service, co-ordinates maintenance crews and routes emergency response requests.  The Centre employs several newly developed technologies, including the Central Signalling System or CSS. The CSS tracks Subway Trains on all lines and displays in real time on a series of large screens and personal work stations for analysis by personnel.  While the CSS is running service on a predetermined schedule with headways, staff have the option of taking over in emergencies or making service adjustments.

Another technology in place is the Incident Reporting System or IRS, which provides integrated device capability with all communications modes in use and to field personnel of the TTC.  The Transit Control Centre also contains a Training Review and Simulation Centre which can mirror live events unfolding, playback from the archive of actual events and demonstrate appropriate responses for personnel.

STATION STOP ANNOUNCEMENT: “Arriving at Sheppard-Yonge. Sheppard-Yonge Station.”

Now let’s take a ride on the Toronto Subway System where implementation continues of the New Automated Station Stop Announcements which began in 2006.  The Sheppard-Yonge-University and Spadina subway lines were completed in January 2007 and are fully operational, while the Bloor-Danforth Line is scheduled for completion this year.


We are also undertaking the installation of a New Speed Control System which requires the installation of new components on vehicles and at key points throughout our rail network. This system will continuously impose a speed limit on each vehicle by using an on-board controller receiving data from transponders at track level, transmitting location and real time signal information.


The operator can view indicators which display the required speed limit and actual train speed. An audible warning sounds when it is necessary to take corrective action.


If a speed or signal violation occurs the vehicle’s  emergency brakes are engaged while data can be accessed by Transit Control for review.

STATION STOP ANNOUNCEMENT: “Arriving at Queen’s Park. Queen’s Park Station.”

This technology is also an integral component in the generation of Station Stop Announcements and can eventually enable Automated Train Control.
And now let us introduce you to The New Toronto Rocket. An investment of 710 million dollars in Toronto’s Public Transit System by all three levels of Government has allowed the TTC to award Bombardier Transportation a contract to deliver 78 new 6-car trains by 2011. These vehicles have several improved features including a 14% increase in interior space, full accessibility, two way emergency communication with passengers, active route information displays and on-board CCTV systems. These vehicles are also expected to deliver performance reliability at levels three times higher than that of current subway vehicles and are designed with safer more efficient materials. Now let’s stop at a station and see the CCTV project that is currently improving public safety and security. Since 2004, 23 of our stations have been equipped with Cameras, Digital Video Recorders and LAN Network allowing live monitoring by Transit Control and Police. This project is scheduled to complete the installation of 2500 cameras by 2011.

Let’s also have a look at some critical work being done to improve some of the subway systems network of tunnels. Our Track & Structure crews maintain over 68 kilometres of track and sustaining this infrastructure is a big challenge during regular service hours. So between late night and early morning service, our crews conduct maintenance work to rehabilitate areas where there’s deterioration. Over 800 sections of tunnel liner are expected to be completed by 2011. In another project, major repairs call for major planning. In the process of structural inspection, staff determined that a 4000 square foot soffit slab between Bay and St. George Station was deteriorating and required replacement. A new slab was laid above the existing tunnel and in early 2007 demolition work was carried out over three weekends to remove the original section.  It was determined that the most cost effective and productive method for removal was to do this work while regular weekend service was routed around this zone. This required co-ordination by Subway Transportation as well as additional staff to assist Customers through the diversion route. In the end, these efforts allowed the work to be finished ahead of schedule.

We also have a new edition to our fleet of specialized Work Cars known as RT-56. Commissioned in December 2006, it has dramatically improved our ability to clean and flush out catch basins and drains throughout our system. Operating a world class transit system in a City like Toronto poses many major challenges, the foremost being unprecedented growth and the TTC has some exciting plans to meet this challenge. In addition to the Subway Line extension to York University and Vaughan announced by the Canadian Government, TTC Chair Adam Giambrone announced at a recent press conference, the Toronto Transit City Light Rail Plan.
TTC CHAIR ADAM GIAMBRONE: “This Transit City Plan is designed to bring high quality Light Rapid Transit to every corner of Toronto. It has 7 Lines which will encompass over a hundred and twenty kilometres of Light Rapid Transit when complete in 2021… it’s a 15 year plan, this network will carry an additional 175 million riders.”

Our tour is coming to an end.  We’ve only had time to highlight a few of the many exciting initiatives at the TTC where we continue to develop and incorporate new technology and services. There is a reason why we have always been known as The Better Way. We are the Toronto Transit Commission, the Life-Line of Toronto.