Editorial Archive

TTC uses weekends, evenings to complete critical TTC work

6/13/14 6:00 AM

Last weekend’s closure of the “U” portion of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) enabled the TTC to make major progress in our efforts to replace the nearly 60-year-old signal system on our busiest subway line.

To recap, we are replacing and modernizing the signals on the entire line between Finch and Downsview stations. This project is a forerunner to implementation of automatic train control, a modern computer-based system that will allow us to run more trains closer together, thereby increasing capacity.

This is extremely complicated work that requires absolute attention to detail and a relentless focus on safety. The work can only be done in phases, based on geographic sections of the line. We are focusing our initial efforts from Union to Eglinton stations, the original extent of Line 1, as this has the oldest – and increasingly unreliable – signals.

In one weekend closure, we get the equivalent of five weeks’ worth of night closures.

We know that subway closures cause inconvenience. We are often asked why we don’t carry out the work at night or at a time when there are no competing events in the city. Quite simply, the three hours that we have each night between close of service and roll-out of service the next day does not provide enough time to carry out this painstaking work. In one weekend closure, we get the equivalent of five weeks’ worth of night closures. And as the vibrant, international city Toronto is, it is impossible to find a weekend when there are no events or festivals.

To minimize disruption, then, we provide a robust alternative service and lots of customer service staff to provide assistance. Last weekend (June 7-8) saw a 120-strong bus shuttle in place to keep customers on the move while our crews worked underground.

This is not the only work going on, of course – it is essential to keep other key assets like escalators in a state of good repair. By adopting a customer-led approach, we have introduced new shift patterns for our escalator heavy overhaul crews, reducing the scheduled time for the rebuild of our longest escalators at York Mills from 58 to 36 weeks.

Modernizing the TTC will require more subway closures and more assets to be overhauled in the coming months and years. We will do everything to minimize the impact on customers while we continue to transform the TTC – including adoption of more efficient work practices.

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