Editorial Archive

New signal system means reduced crowding for TTC riders

12/2/16 6:00 AM

Earlier this week, I led a small TTC team to Rochester, NY to witness a demonstration of the software that will soon control Line 1 Yonge-University’s new signalling system.

We last visited the manufacturer seven months ago. At that time, the software was not yet developed, as the focus was to construct the hardware needed to support switchgear, wiring racks and other sophisticated components required by a modern signal system – a system that will transform the reliability and capacity of our busiest subway line.

Much progress has been made in the intervening period. Not only is almost all of the hardware now on site in Toronto for the first section of Line 1 that will go live next fall (Dupont to Wilson stations), we also witnessed a successful test of the software we will be using.

The TTC has used weekend subway closures to install kilometres of cable and cable trays, as well as track equipment to support the new system, all in readiness for real-time trials that will start early next year.

The rollout of the new signal system will then progress to the new subway extension between Downsview (to be renamed Sheppard West) and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre stations, which remains on-track to open in December 2017. The rest of Line 1 will be completed by the end of 2019, at which point the benefits of this mega-project will be realized: a 25-per-cent capacity improvement that means reduced wait times and less crowding.

Upgrading a signal system on a subway used by hundreds of thousands a customers a day is extremely challenging. Progressively, though, you will feel the benefits as this key element of TTC modernization comes on stream.

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