Work continues on TTC’s Union Station Second Platform and Concourse Improvements Project, making steady progress toward opening in 2014. Serving approximately 250,000 passengers each day, Union Station is the busiest passenger transportation facility in Canada. By adding a second subway platform and expanding the concourse, the TTC will reduce overcrowding and improve passenger circulation.

A number of milestones were met in 2013, the most significant being the complete excavation of the site and the near-complete construction of major structure.

Front Street West at Bay Street. – January 10, 2014.

panoramic photo of Front St and the station under constrction

Site Overview

  1. West Fire Vent
  2. Concourse Floor
  3. Demolition
  4. Platform
  5. Concourse Walls
  6. Brookfield Entrance
  7. East Fire Vent

In 2012, crews began bulk excavation of the site and construction on major structures. The first stage took place at the west end of the site, where crews began excavation and built a new fire vent, maintenance rooms and the west half of the second platform.

On May 20, 2013, the newly constructed concourse was open to the public. Next, crews moved to excavate the east end of the site, followed by construction of a second fire vent, the east half of the second platform, concourse floors and a new second exit. Completion of the major structures is set for February 2014.


The most challenging part of the project is keeping the station open for business while undertaking a complete transformation. It requires a balanced, customer focused approach from the ground up – literally. 

First, the reduction of lanes on Front Street, from Yonge Street to York Street, was necessary to excavate down to the existing tunnel structure. This process, called a “dig down”, requires crews to meticulously dig around and temporarily support existing watermains, gas lines and other utilities that are currently servicing businesses in the downtown core.

In order to mitigate the traffic impact, engineers devised a plan to keep one east/west lane open on Front Street, maintaining access to businesses including the Royal York Hotel, Royal Bank Plaza, Brookfield Place and Oxford properties.

An existing gas line is suspended on Front Street during excavation – October 2013

An existing gas line is suspended on Front Street during excavation – October 2013

Traffic Configuration

The current traffic restrictions at the Front/Bay intersection will continue (left and right turns are restricted and one traffic lane in all directions). 

Front Street is closed at York Street for City of Toronto PATH construction. A “U-Turn” is provided on Front Street, east of York Street for access to the Royal York Hotel and Oxford properties.

Customer Access

At the concourse and platform level inside Union Station, hoarding has been erected at various stages of construction to maintain access to the station and work site.  Initial staging included closing the two, westerly sets of doors in the moat to allow for continued excavation and construction at the west end of the site. In an effort to maintain passenger movement for commuters travelling from GO Transit to the TTC’s Union Subway Station or the PATH, two temporary sets of doors were constructed. Once excavation at the west end of the site was complete and the new, unfinished concourse opened, crews flipped the work site to allow for excavation at the east end, and closing the easterly sets of doors.

Three new sets of doors open as the old doors are demolished – October 2013

To accommodate pedestrian flow from GO Transit and VIA Rail, a new entrance from Union Railway Station to the west end of the moat, new stairs, doors and concourse was constructed. At the east end of the site, a temporary staircase and walkway has been constructed adjacent to the Brookfield Place entrance in the moat to Front Street. The tunnel from the Brookfield Place rotunda to Union Subway station remains open.

Platform Construction

At track level, crews have continued the finishing stages of the newly constructed second platform. In November 2013, a portion of the yellow hoarding on the south side at track level was removed, giving customers the first glimpse of the new, unfinished platform. Having been constructed only inches away from the existing tracks, the removal of the yellow hoarding is necessary to finish the new platform edge.

New second platform under construction – January 2014

When the second platform is complete, Union Station will move from a “centre platform” configuration to a “side platform”, with the rehabilitated centre platform servicing trains to Downsview Station, and the new second platform servicing trains to Finch Station, effectively doubling capacity at Union Station.

What to expect in 2014

As crews work to open the new platform, they must prepare the existing platform for its upcoming renovation. This includes major structural work for a new elevator, drainage system and wall footings. Similar to road closures at street level, closures are required at track level to allow crews to construct foundation work. During the first closure of 2014 (January 11 -12), crews continued significant structural work ranging from cutting platform walls, excavating remaining footings, trenches, and sump, demolishing an existing staircase and escalator, to placing concrete for wall footings, refuge cages and a track level curb.

Crews excavate footings under the existing platform – January 11, 2014

Customers will see further closures of the Yonge-University-Spadina line between Union and St Andrew stations on January 25-26, February 8-9 and February 22-23.

Upcoming Major Milestones

  • Start of Front Street reinstatement: March 2014
  • Opening of new second platform: Summer 2014
  • Start of existing platform rehabilitation: Summer 2014
  • Art wall installation: Fall 2014
  • Project completion: Early 2015

The Union Station Second Subway Platform and Concourse Improvements Project is one of Waterfront Toronto's (WT) priority projects. The Toronto Transit Commission is the proponent of this project and has managed the planning, design and now the construction of the project.

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