Editorial Archive

Necessity of TTC subway closures explained

1/20/17 6:00 AM

At the TTC Board meeting earlier this week (Jan. 18), my team presented the scope and rationale behind the 2017 subway closures program in order to continue our upgrade of critical infrastructure.

   Video explainer: Modernizing the signal system: 2017 subway closures


In 2016, we made huge progress in putting right decades of underinvestment, undertaking repairs and fitting new equipment that will make subway service much more reliable going forward. During last year’s closures, we replaced more than five kilometres of worn out track on Lines 1 and 2, fitted new power rail across Lines 1, 2 and 3, and overhauled or replaced hundreds of individual pieces of equipment.

This work is already having a positive effect. Since 2014, the number of delays caused by defective infrastructure is down by 21 per cent, including a 44-per-cent reduction in signal failures. This is encouraging as it confirms that we were correct to move to a proactive maintenance regime where we look to fix before failure, rather than the TTC’s previous fix on failure approach.

In addition to keeping existing infrastructure in a good state of repair, the additional time afforded by planned subway closures has enabled us to make huge progress in the installation of a new signalling system on Line 1, our busiest line. Last year alone, more than 180,000 metres of cabling was installed as well of hundreds of pieces of critical equipment. The new signal system will be introduced in phases from this fall and will be completed by the end of 2019 at which point we will undertake similar work on Line 2.

I know that weekend subway closures are frustrating and we are working hard to improve the flow of replacement shuttle buses to minimize additional journey times, including work with the City and Toronto Police to restrict on-street parking so that the buses can get through.

Thank you for your patience while we modernize the subway. The improvements to service reliability and line capacity will be worth the pain.

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