Editorial Archive

Subway closures: short-term pain for long-term improvements

2/8/13 6:00 AM

This weekend (Feb. 9-10, 2013), the TTC is closing a portion of the Bloor-Danforth subway line between Kipling and Keele Stations to enable us to undertake further installation of special track work at Jane Station.

No one likes disruption to their regular service and we spend a lot of time planning such events, including the evaluation of less disruptive options, such as undertaking work only at night. In reality though, that window of opportunity is very limited as we only have about three hours on weeknights. This time is frequently used to undertake mandatory track inspections and high-priority repairs. Saturday nights/Sunday mornings offer a bit more time, but this is when we catch up on less critical work to keep our system in a state of good repair.

This challenge is not unique to Toronto, although systems such as New York have the advantage of four parallel tracks that allow reduced service to be maintained.

A lot of what the TTC is doing now will bear fruit in the future in the form of enhanced service reliability and increased capacity. For example, at present the lack of crossover tracks at the south end of the Yonge line means that when problems occur between Bloor and Union Stations, that entire stretch of subway has to be suspended when the problem may only be at, say, Wellesley Station. With the installation of crossover tracks at College and King Stations, we have increased our operational flexibility on that part of the line. These crossovers will be put into use once the signal system has been upgraded.

On that score, a lot of work is needed to upgrade, not only track and track beds, but signals. We have well-advanced plans to upgrade the signalling system on the Yonge-University-Spadina line that will enable us to run more trains and reduce crowding. Retrofitting the system, then commissioning it, is a major undertaking. Further line closures to enable this work to be done will require intensive planning and communication on our part. In the long run, though, renewed infrastructure means greater capacity, improved reliability and much better service for you, our customer. In the short-term, we truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we undertake this critical work.

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