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2013: A Year In Review

January 8, 2014

The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) has now completed its third year of tunnels and station construction. The TYSSE project is an 8.6-kilometre extension of the Toronto Transit Commission’s Yonge-University-Spadina subway line from its present terminus at Downsview Station to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre at Highway 7. It will have six new stations, including one at York University. The expansion of the subway will bring the line into the Regional Municipality of York. The most significant milestone achieved in 2013 was the completion of the twin tunnels that connect all six stations together.

Contractor and TTC staff celebrate the final breakthrough of TBM “Torkie”. – November 8, 2013

Photo of TBM

Watch the final breakthrough! TTC's third video is on YouTube.

Tunnelling and Tunnel Fit-Out

Four tunnel boring machines (TBMs), nicknamed Holey, Moley, Yorkie and Torkie, were used to build the tunnels. Torkie finished the last tunnel drive for the project on November 8, 2013, arriving at an extraction shaft located at the south end of the future Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station. In total 6.4 kilometres of twin tunnels were constructed and 8,493 tunnel rings were placed to build the tunnels.

In 2012, construction started on a three track tunnel structure, just north of the Finch West Station site. This structure is being built under the Finch Hydro corridor using Sequential Excavation Method (SEM) tunnelling. SEM was chosen to minimize disruption to the hydro lines and major utilities located just below the surface. Small excavation equipment is being used to construct the three tunnels, two running tunnels and a centre tunnel (called a pocket track) that allows for the turning or storage of trains.
SEM Pocket Track: View of pocket track and two running tunnels. – October 9, 2013

Photo of pocket track and tunnels.

Once the tunnels are built; there are many steps required before trains can run. The first step involves pouring invert slabs (a flat concrete slab constructed at the bottom of the tunnel on which the track ties and track sit), construction of curbs and safety walkways with embedded conduits, laying track, installing traction power, communications, signals, and emergency systems. By the end of 2013, almost 11,000 metres of inverts and walkways had been constructed, and most of the track had been installed between Downsview Park and Finch West Stations. 

Tunnel inverts, curbs and walkways complete - Steeles Ave West to Keele Street. – October 2, 2013

Photo of completed tunnel inverts, curbs and walkways - Steeles Ave West to Keele Street.

Subway Station Construction

Construction at all of the six subway stations was well underway in 2013. The emphasis has been on the completion of the concrete shell, called a station box, at each site.

Most stations have three levels: platform (track level), concourse (passenger circulation level) and entrance (ground level). The roof of the concourse level is below ground level and needs to be backfilled (dirt poured and compacted) to get to ground elevation. The stations are built from the bottom up and in sections. In a number of locations crossover structures are constructed as part of a station. A crossover is structure that has tracks and switches that allow trains to cross from one track to another.

While most activities are in deep excavations, by the end of the year above ground structures were visible at the Downsview Park Station, as seen in the photo below. At Downsview Park Station, the platform, concourse and roof are constructed and backfilling has started over some areas of the station. 

Downsview Park Station looking east at the west station entrance. – November 3, 2013

Photo of west station entrance.

At Finch West Station much of the platform has been constructed and sections of the concourse and roof have been poured. The crossover, south of Finch Avenue West, was completed and backfilling over the structure was started.

Concrete pour for station roof underway at Finch West Station view looking south toward Finch Ave. – November 14, 2013

Photo of concrete pour for station roof.

In September- the York University Station site was handed over to the station constructor. Two tower cranes were installed at the end of the year that will be used to lift construction equipment and materials in and out of the station box. 

East tower crane installed at York University station site. – December 10, 2013

 Photo of construction crane.

Construction on the GO/YRT Bus Terminal at Highway 407 Station began later in 2013 and by the end of the year the west section of the framework was up. Tunnelling activity was ongoing at this station site throughout the year.

West wing roof frame of bus terminal. – December 10, 2013

Photo of bus terminal roof frame.

A Tail Track was completed at the end of the TYSSE line at the north end of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station. The tail track is located at the end of the subway line, where trains can be parked and stored when not in use.

Tail Track at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station. – December 19, 2013

Photo of tail track.

Traffic Management

In 2013 two major temporary detour bridges were constructed over the Pioneer Village Station site on Steeles Avenue West and over the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station site on Highway 7 to allow construction to continue under these two major roads.

What’s in Store for 2014?

Heavy construction activity will continue throughout 2014. There is still a lot of concrete to be poured to create the station platforms, concourses and roofs. Station entrance structures will start to be visible in a number of locations. The SEM tunnelling will be completed, and fit out of the tunnels will continue.

Check back to the website often to learn more about construction progress and to view new photos posted under the Photo Gallery tab.

To view tunnelling videos follow this link to the TTC YouTube Channel:

Bus Route Changes


Review the new changes to bus routes in the area to connect to the new subway extension.

Read about it here!

Need Information

To contact us for information about the project:

Call 416-393-4636 (INFO) automated information available 24 hours daily.

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Photo Gallery

Check out the latest construction photos and project YouTube videos.

Click here to view the Photo Gallery.

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