The Bloor–Danforth Line (officially route 2 Bloor–Danforth Subway) is a rapid transit line of the Toronto subway and RT, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). It has 31 stations and is 26.2 kilometres (16.3 mi) in length. It opened on February 25, 1966, and extensions at both ends were completed in 1968 and again in 1980. It is also numbered as Route 2 (formerly route 601).
The most travelled part of the line is located in Toronto's midtown area known as Yorkville. In this area the subway also connects to the Yonge–University–Spadina line at St.George and Yonge stations. Towards the east the line runs parallel to Danforth Avenue serving areas such as Greektown and the East Danforth, it then continues further to the east to its eastern terminus in Scarborough where it connects to the Scarborough RT. To the west, the line continues along Bloor street serving many communities such as The Annex, Bloor West Village, and the area surrounding the line's western terminus located in Etobicoke.
The line runs primarily a few metres north of Bloor Street from its western terminus at Kipling Avenue to the Prince Edward Viaduct east of Castle Frank Road, after which the street continues as Danforth Avenue. Just east of Main Street, the line begins to deviate north from Danforth Road and runs grade-separated until its eastern terminus, slightly east of Kennedy Road on Eglinton Avenue. The subway line is closed at the night for maintenance, when Blue Night Network bus routes serve the route.
The earliest mention of rapid transit along the Bloor–Danforth line's route was made in a 1910 report that was prepared by an American firm of transit consultants. This study had been commissioned by a special commission which included City Controller Horatio Clarence Hocken and Mayor of Toronto Joseph Oliver. In their final report, the consultants suggested that the Prince Edward Viaduct, which spans the Don River Valley, should include a lower deck for a future subway. The lower deck was built, but the first plan for a line to use it was not made until June 15, 1933, when the TTC published a report which suggested construction of a subway and an expressway broadly following Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue. The estimated cost of the project was $120 million, but the plan was not implemented. Plans for a somewhat longer route, running east to west from Victoria Park Avenue to the Humber River, were proposed by the Toronto Planning Board in December 1943, although the report did not include costings. During the fall of 1911 the City of Toronto put out a tender for the construction of concrete tubes to carry a subway. However, when the cost of the subway was put to a referendum, the construction of the subway tunnels was rejected.
Before the subway was built, the TTC operated streetcars along the route between Jane Street and Luttrell Avenue. Paired PCC streetcars or multiple units (MUs) operated from 1950 to the opening of the subway line in 1966. The TTC favoured this route because the Prince Edward Viaduct made it easier to build a subway across the Don Valley, and the streetcar that ran along the route was filled with passengers travelling from East York and Scarborough. To provide relief to this streetcar line and to make it easier to expand into the suburbs, the line was built under Bloor street and Danforth Avenue.
During the period after World War II rapid development created a need for more public transit. A referendum on whether a subway along should be constructed along Yonge Street was held on January 1, 1946, and this proposal received majority support. The opening of the Yonge subway in 1954 resulted in another plan by the TTC for a Bloor–Danforth line, this time without an expressway, costing $146 million ($1.274 billion in 2014 dollars). The line was approved, but was not built.
In the 1950s, there was intense debate over where the second Toronto subway line would run as it would affect how bus routes in Toronto's suburbs would operate. There were two main plans. While both shared the same route at the outer ends, the TTC favoured a route that continued eastwards from Christie station to Pape station. This plan was championed by the TTC chairman, Allan A. Lamport, and also included an extension of the Yonge line from Union Station northwards to meet the new line at St. George station. The other plan, which was proposed by the city's planning department and endorsed by its chairman, Fred Gardiner, had a large "U"-shaped diversion in the centre. From Christie, it ran south to Queen Street West, and after following Queen Street eastwards to Pape Street, turned north to rejoin the east-west route at Pape station.
In 1956, Toronto's mid-town area was starting to experience growth. There was a public debate about the two schemes between the two chairmen and the municipalities that made up Metropolitan Toronto. The extension of the Yonge line along University Avenue, and the east-west Bloor–Danforth line extension were authorized on September 5, 1958 by the Ontario Municipal Board which sought a compromise between the involved communities.
The University line opened in 1963, and the Bloor–Danforth line opened from Keele station in the west to Woodbine station in the east on February 26, 1966. Nine men died during its construction. Most of the line is underground and built using the cut-and-cover method, with some sections built using a tunnel boring machine. Other parts of the line are above ground in grade separated rail corridors. The line was 12.9 kilometres (8.0 mi) long, and ran alongside Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue.
Once the line started full operation, construction of extensions to the Bloor–Danforth line began. The extensions to Islington Station in the west and Warden Station in the east opened simultaneously on May 11, 1968. On November 21, 1980, the line was extended to the current terminal stations of Kipling station in the west and Kennedy station in the east.
Upon opening, the Bloor–Danforth line was well received: a survey taken four months later showed that the subway was used by 10,000 riders per hour. As a result, many bus and streetcar routes were either discontinued or shortened. Various bus and streetcar routes, which connected to the subway stations allowed the line to continue to grow and become more sustainable. The line carries an average of 519,180 passengers on weekdays during the 2011–2012 operating year. For the first six months of operation, alternate trains forming the Bloor–Danforth subway service were routed along the new University Avenue line to Union Station. However, the manoeuvre made operation of both lines more difficult, and the practice was abandoned after the initial trial period.
In 1971, Metro Council insisted that the zone fare system be removed to allow residents of the suburbs to travel anywhere with a single fare. Prior to this, stations west of Old Mill and east of Victoria Park were geographically part of the zone 2 fare zone, but the subway used a flat fare system, so they were treated as being part of zone 1. This created problems when transferring from the subway to the buses, which were in different zones at the same location. The solution was a change in political thinking, where the subway was seen as a subsidized public service, instead of a utility which needed to balance its books.
On October 15, 1976, an arsonist lit a fire on a subway train at Christie station. The fire destroyed four subway cars and some wall tiles, and resulted in a section of the subway being closed for a few days. On September 19, 2007, the station modernization program was started. This program would result in making the subway system more accessible, add new bus and streetcar platforms, and improve the connections to regional buses and GO trains.
The western terminus of the Bloor–Danforth line is located near Kipling Avenue and Bloor Street West. After going east for 12 kilometres (7.5 mi), it meets the University-Spadina line at both Spadina and St. George stations. It also meets the Yonge Street line at Yonge station. The route's eastern terminus is located at Kennedy station which is also the southern terminus of the Scarborough RT. The line does not run under Bloor Street or Danforth Avenue, except at the Prince Edward Viaduct; otherwise it is offset to the north. In some areas, it runs under parks and parking lots behind the businesses on the north side of the street, while other sections run under side streets.
Most stations on the Bloor–Danforth line have side platforms; however, there are still a few stations which use a centre platform instead. At the surface, some stations are designed to be a part of the shopping area which are located above the subway. Other stations are large facilities on the surface which also contain bus and/or streetcar platforms to allow transfers to take place.
The 300 Bloor–Danforth bus provides late-night service to the area around the stations when the subway is not in operation. This service operates frequently along Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue between East/West Mall and Warden. Service is provided east of Warden and Danforth via the 302 Danforth Rd-McCowan bus. On Sundays, these routes operate through the early morning hours, because the subway starts at 9:00 a.m. instead of the usual 6:00 a.m.
The subway stations of the Bloor–Danforth line follow a two colour background and trim theme and use the unique Toronto Subway font on the stations' walls. The tiling theme was influenced by the Broad Street Subway in Philadelphia and used a cycle that was similar to the design employed on the Yonge subway. This design consists of two colours for the tiles, one for main wall tiles and another for trim tiles near the ceiling of the stations. The station names on the main wall tiles use the colour of the trim tiles and vice versa, except that some of the station names of the trim tiles are white instead of the main wall tile colour for readability.
This pattern is based on a design similar to the stations along the University line which follow a regular pattern with some small variances which are the results of multiple events. One of these tiling variances is located at Christie station, where some of the original tiles were replaced following the 1976 arson attack. The replacement trim tiles were differently-coloured due to the lack of extra green trim tiles.
Other variations to the pattern can be observed at Islington and Warden stations which both have a tricolour design. The current terminus stations of Kipling and Kennedy stations resemble the second version of Union subway station. For a short time after opening, Kipling and Kennedy stations were the only Bloor–Danforth line stations not to use the Toronto Subway Font.
Station Modernization Program
As the stations on the line have begun to show signs of aging, the TTC has embarked on a "Station Modernization Program" aimed at improving accessibility and appearances at several subway stations. These modernizations include new and updated wall finishes, signage, lighting and public art, as well as the installation of elevators for accessibility needs. Pape and Dufferin stations are the first slated for modernization under this project, and Islington will also be modernized under larger capital projects aimed at greater accessibility and reconstruction of bus loading platforms. Victoria Park's modernization project was completed between 2008 and 2011 to make the station more functional, attractive, better connected to the surrounding community, and fully accessible.
The second exit program was also included in station modernization projects after a fire safety audit revealed several at-risk stations with only one means of access and egress from the subway platform level to the street. Some stations with only one entrance/exit are slated to receive a second means of access/egress during major overhauls at stations such as Pape and Dufferin. Other stations such as Donlands and Greenwood are scheduled to receive second exits for egress only. Due to the potential for land expropriation and construction of the exit structures in residential neighbourhoods, this portion of the program has become controversial, as some houses need to be removed to accommodate these secondary exits. However, plans to add a second exit for Donlands, Greenwood, and Woodbine stations have been deferred since late February 2011, due to lack of funding.
Construction of a second access route at Broadview station was completed in 2007. This work provided direct access to bus platforms and a new streetcar platform, improving traffic control within the station.
The Bloor–Danforth line accepts and sells all types of fares at each of the collector booths in the subway stations. In addition to this, tokens and passes are also sold from terminals, which can be used at collector booths or be used to operate the automatic entrances. The Presto smartcard can also be used to buy a fare at several stations, while debit machines are being added to make it easier to purchase passes.
All stations except Chester connect to surface TTC bus and/or streetcar routes during regular operating hours. Such connections involve a transfer, which is a free supplementary ticket, obtained at the point of entering the transit system, allowing the rider to transfer to another route, or a fare-paid terminal, which is an area within an interchange only accessible to holders of valid tickets or tokens.
The first trains to operate along the Bloor–Danforth line were M-series subway trains, which were among the first subway trains to be manufactured in Canada. At the time of construction, these subway cars were the longest in the world. As a result of camshaft propulsion controls, the increased speed provided by the M-series trains and the H-series trains allowed the Bloor–Danforth line to operate efficiently between Islington and Warden without the need for a larger subway fleet. As a result, the G-series subway trains were confined to the Yonge line. In the 1980s, as the H-series trains took over, the M-series trains were only used during rush hour as the trains were linked to be made up of vehicles of a single class. With the introduction of the T-series subway trains, the M-series trains were gradually retired from service shortly thereafter with the last cars decommissioned as of 1999.
Due to the opening of the Bloor–Danforth line and the additional services that were required, a new set of trains were purchased from the Hawker Siddeley group. These trains, which were a part of the H-series were similar to the M-series trains with newer features such as electrically-operated doors. With the introduction of the T-series subway trains, the H-1 and H-2 subway trains were retired, while the remaining H-4 trains were transferred to the Bloor–Danforth line.
With the introduction of the new articulated Toronto Rocket subway trains on the Yonge–University–Spadina line, more six-car T-1 series trains are being transferred to the Bloor–Danforth line. They will become the only train model to serve the line when the H-6 series trains are fully retired from service in approximately mid-2014. The remaining H-4 trains were retired from revenue service throughout the fall of 2011, with the last cars decommissioned on January 27, 2012. At the time, it was the oldest train operating in the TTC subway system, and were also the last in the TTC's train fleet that was not equipped with air-conditioning systems (but instead used ceiling fans) and were outfitted with large orange upholstered bench seating. While some H-4 trains have since been converted for use as work cars, some of the H-5 and H-6 subway trains were sold to the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority in Lagos, Nigeria.
The trains that serve the Bloor–Danforth line are stored at the Greenwood Subway Yard, which opened with the first segment of the line. Before the yard was built, the land was occupied by a quarry and a garbage dump. Due to its location next to the CN rail tracks, it was possible for to be delivered directly to the subway. Currently, the CN rail tracks will be converted to allow for the storage of more subway trains as the T-1 trains are moved from the Yonge–University–Spadina line to the Bloor–Danforth line. In addition to providing storage for subway trains, the Greenwood yard is also used to maintain the Scarborough RT vehicles as the McCowan RT Yard is only equipped for vehicle storage.
Before the opening of the Wilson Subway Yard, many excess train-sets were stored at the Vincent Subway Yard, which is located between Keele station and Dundas West station. Although this facility did not have maintenance facilities, there was still enough space for the storage and cleaning of subway trains. While it is not an active subway yard, it is used to store subway work vehicles.
In 1983, there was discussion of a rapid transit extension from Kennedy towards the Scarborough Town Centre. As multiple types of technologies were examined many politicians requested a subway extension instead of the then proposed streetcar line. Instead, an intermediate capacity transit system now known as the Scarborough RT was built.
In 2005, Toronto politicians again proposed to extend the line northeastward as a replacement for the aging Scarborough RT. In 2006, this proposal was then altered when Scarborough councillors agreed to support plans to refurbish the existing RT and pursue other RT and LRT options for Scarborough. An independent Scarborough subway, connecting the civic centre with downtown Toronto, has yet to be examined.
During his mayoralty campaign, Rob Ford proposed to replace the Scarborough RT with an extension of the Bloor–Danforth line. However, on March 31, 2011, Ford agreed with the provincial government that the province's Metrolinx agency would replace the Scarborough RT with an elevated LRT as part of the Eglinton Crosstown line instead. In June 2012, the idea of a Scarborough subway extension was a key part of Toronto's proposed OneCity transit plan. This plan was later rejected by the provincial government and Mayor Rob Ford.
On September 4, 2013, the province of Ontario announced that it would fund two-thirds of the 6.4 km extension from Kennedy to Scarborough Town Centre. The federal government of Canada would fund the remaining one-third. Toronto City Council approved the extension by a vote of 24-20 on October 8, 2013 where the route will extend eastward towards McCowan Road and going north towards the Scarborough Town Centre and Sheppard Avenue East. The city would also raise property taxes annually over the next three years. It is expected that the digging of the extension would begin as early as 2014, with a completion within the next five years.
The TTC's Rapid Transit Expansion Study, published in 2001, identified three possible western extensions to the line. The first was a 3.2-kilometre (2.0 mi) link to Sherway Gardens, with a station added at the East Mall at a later date. The second included an additional 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) from Sherway Gardens to Dixie Road, while a further section from Dixie Road to Mississauga City Centre, which included three stations, was considered but rejected due to cost and planning considerations. This was replaced by a planned Dundas LRT run by MiWay going from Kipling to Hurontario Street, linking to the planned Hurontario LRT as part of the MoveOntario 2020 transit plan.
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