A Scarborough RT ICTS Mark I train leaving Lawrence East Station, bound for McCowan
|System||Toronto subway and RT|
|Daily ridership||40,010 (avg. weekday)|
|Opening||March 22, 1985|
|Owner||Toronto Transit Commission|
|Operator(s)||Toronto Transit Commission|
|Depot(s)||McCowan RT Yard|
|Rolling stock||ICTS Mark I|
|Line length||6.4 km (4.0 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||Third rail, linear induction|
The Scarborough RT or Line 3 is a rapid transit line on the Toronto subway and RT system in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is owned and operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), which refers to the line as route 3 (formerly route 603). The line has six stations and is 6.4 km (4.0 mi) in length with 0.5 km (0.3 mi) of it underground, connects with the Bloor–Danforth line at Kennedy and terminates at McCowan via Scarborough Centre.
Rather than the standard and relatively larger subway cars used by the other lines of the Toronto subway, the Scarborough RT rolling stock consists of a smaller, fully automated, medium-capacity rail transport system using Intermediate Capacity Transit System Mark I vehicles built by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC) and powered by linear induction motors. They are the same as those used by the Vancouver SkyTrain and the Detroit People Mover. The TTC is the only system to operate them with a driver on board. The line also uses standard gauge tracks, unlike the rest of the Toronto subway and the Toronto streetcar system which use a unique, wider gauge.
The line has been virtually unchanged since its opening in 1985 and has two of the least used stations in the system. Its revitalization and expansion plan, whether to convert the line into using modern light rail vehicles or to close the line and extend the Bloor–Danforth line further into Scarborough, has been debated for over a decade by the municipal government of Toronto. In September 2013, the Government of Ontario, under Premier Kathleen Wynne, announced it would fund the extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line to Scarborough Centre, thus resulting in the eventual closure of the Scarborough RT.
The name of the line is the Scarborough RT or Line 3, as it is the third rapid transit line to open in the city. The RT in Scarborough RT stands for Rapid Transit. The line is also known as the RT or SRT for short, and is known officially as the 3 Scarborough RT. It is also known as the Scarborough Line, according to the official 2014 TTC Ride Guide.
In October 2013, the TTC announced plans to give the lines official numbers to help riders and visitors to navigate the system. The Scarborough RT line is numbered as Line 3, the new signage(s) commenced in March 2014 and it is expected that they will eventually be rolled out to all TTC subway/RT stations.
In 1972, the provincial government announced the GO-Urban plan to build an intermediate capacity transit system across suburban Toronto using the experimental Krauss-Maffei Transurban. The system failed to come to fruition, and the TTC began building the line for CLRV streetcars, but the ICTS system was used instead, because the Province of Ontario agreed to pay a large portion of the costs. This change was made after construction had commenced. At Kennedy Station, there are clues revealing that it was originally built for streetcar operation; it is possible to see old low-level streetcar platforms protruding under the current high-level platforms, and Kennedy Station originally had an operational loop to turn streetcars. This proved too sharp for safe operation of SRT cars, which did not have a reason to turn around, and the loop was replaced by a Spanish solution-like crossover. Ontario wanted to develop and promote its new technology, which was originally designed for a proposed urban GO Transit service known as GO-ALRT. Changes to federal railway regulations had made the new system unnecessary for GO, and so the government hoped to sell it to other transit services in order to recoup its investment.
The Scarborough RT opened in March 1985. Three years after it opened, the TTC renovated its southwestern terminus at Kennedy Station, because the looped turnaround track, originally designed for uni-directional streetcars under the earlier plan and not needed for the bi-directional ICTS trains, was causing derailments; it was replaced with a single terminal track and the station was thus quasi-Spanish solution, with one side for boarding and another side for alighting, though the boarding side is also used for alighting during off-peak hours and weekends.
With the line approaching the end of its useful life and eventual closure, the TTC reduced the frequency of service effective mid-September 2012.
The trains operated were developed by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC), then an Ontario Crown corporation but now a division of Bombardier Transportation. The business proposal initially bore little fruit – a proposed pilot project in Hamilton was cancelled after meeting widespread public opposition, and the technology was used initially only by the Scarborough RT, Vancouver's SkyTrain, and the Detroit People Mover. With expansion of the SkyTrain and sales to Ankara, Turkey; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport AirTrain, and Yongin EverLine in Yongin near Seoul, South Korea, redesigned, sold under the name "ART" (advanced rapid transit), has become a success for Bombardier.
One unusual feature of the ICTS cars is that they are driven by linear induction motors: instead of using conventional motors to turn the wheels, they push themselves along the route using alternating flat magnets reacting with the distinctive di-magnetic aluminum metal plate that runs down the centre of the tracks. This system requires very few moving parts, and therefore leads to lower maintenance costs.
When the car motors are accelerating, they actually lift the car off the track an extremely small distance, repelling against the wide aluminum plate in the centre of the track. This micro-lifting prevents the truck wheels from making a solid electrical contact with the track. Instead of using the conventional method, in which motive power is supplied by a single third rail, with return current travelling through the running rails, a separate positive and negative power rail are provided on one side of the track. With respect to the accelerating trucks and the micro-lifting, the truck wheels have a somewhat larger flange than normal in order to keep the car inline on the track during the micro-lifting. Note that the Scarborough RT is not a true maglev.
The linear induction motors also allow the cars to climb steeper grades then would be possible with traditional subway technology since wheel slip is not an issue. This is an important consideration when trying to build a rail transit system into a built-up urban environment, such as Toronto.
The trains are also able to be operated exclusively by computers, using Standard Elektrik Lorenz's "SelTrac IS" system (now owned and delivered by Thales Canada Transportation Solutions), doing away with the need for a human operator. However, due to union opposition and public perception, operators were retained. (Other systems took full advantage of the automated operation and Vancouver's SkyTrain has been automated since 1985 with no mishaps.) The Scarborough RT trains have only one operator, unlike the other TTC subway lines, which carry both a guard, who operates the train's doors, and an operator, who drives the train. In practice, the Scarborough RT trains drive themselves; the operator monitors their operations and controls the doors. The transit workers' union has firmly opposed driverless trains. One feature, which was not implemented at the time of Scarborough RT's opening, is the automated next stop announcement system, which was introduced in January 2008 (which means operators are no longer required to call out stops manually), and uses the voice-over of TTC employee, Susan Bigioni as with all other subway lines.
The line follows a roughly upside down L-shaped (or gamma-shaped (Γ)) route: first northward from Kennedy Station, parallelling the Canadian National Railway/GO Transit's Stouffville line tracks, between Kennedy Road and Midland Avenue, 4 km (2.5 mi) to Ellesmere Road; then eastward between Ellesmere and Progress Avenue, through Scarborough City Centre to McCowan Road. The Scarborough RT's ICTS trains have their own small yard east of McCowan Station. This yard is large enough to store the existing fleet, but would have to be expanded or replaced if the TTC were to expand the line's capacity with new trains. Basic maintenance is performed in this yard; for more extensive work the cars are taken to the subway's Greenwood Yard by truck, given the train's different track gauge. The north-south section of the route, where it follows the CN tracks, is at ground level; the shorter east-west section (except for the ground-level yard) is elevated, as is the Kennedy terminus. The line dives briefly underground just north of Ellesmere Station to cross under the CN tracks. After that, it is elevated towards McCowan station Two stations, Kennedy and Scarborough Centre, are wheelchair accessible.
From 2 am to 6 am, when the Scarborough RT is not operating, the 302 Danforth Rd-McCowan Blue Night bus serves the same area. The 302 originates at Danforth and Warden, where it connects with the 300 Bloor–Danforth that travels to the west. From Warden, the 302 travels east along Danforth to McCowan, then north along McCowan to Steeles. With the exception of McCowan RT station, it does not pass near any of the subway or RT stations, though other night bus services pass near stations. Bus service is extended on Sundays because the subway and RT start at 9 a.m. instead the usual 6 a.m. start.
The frequency for this line is 4–5 minutes during peak periods and 5–6 minutes during off-peak periods.
In 2006, a study was completed on the prospects of the Scarborough RT. It recommended upgrading the line to handle larger ART Mark II vehicles, at a cost of $360 million (2006 dollars). Extending the Bloor–Danforth line, either along the current Scarborough RT route or along a different alignment directly to Scarborough Centre, was not considered cost-effective or justifiable.
The TTC and the City of Toronto completed an environmental assessment in 2010 to convert the line to light rail transit and extend it to Malvern from its current eastern terminus, McCowan, with potential new intermediate stations at Bellamy Road, Centennial College and Sheppard Avenue with a possible additional station at Brimley Road between the existing Midland and Scarborough Centre stations.
After initially planning to include the line with the proposed Eglinton Crosstown LRT line and create a single line called the "Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown line", Metrolinx proceeded with plans to convert the line to light rail and extend it to Sheppard Avenue with a single new intermediate station at Centennial College. The existing line would have closed after the 2015 Pan American Games and be completed in 2020. In January 2013, Infrastructure Ontario issued a request for qualifications to shortlist companies to construct both this line and the Eglinton Crosstown line.
In June 2013, Toronto City Council again debated to have the Scarborough RT replaced with an extension of the Bloor–Danforth line north to Sheppard Avenue along a different right of way. Metrolinx issued a letter to Toronto City Council indicating it would cease work on the Scarborough portion of the line, because its position strayed from the original LRT agreement. The subway alternative would cost between $500 million and $1 billion more than converting the Scarborough RT to use the same rolling stock as the Eglinton Crosstown line be so it could be a continuation of that line. The Globe and Mail reported that Scarborough councillors had argued that providing Scarborough residents with light rail, not heavy rail treated them as "second class citizens".
|Characteristic||LRT Proposal||Subway Extension|
|Vehicle||Flexity Freedom||T1 subway car|
|Number of stations||7||3|
|Length of line||9.9 km (6.2 mi)||7.6 km (4.7 mi)|
|Average speed||36 kilometres per hour (22 mph)||40 kilometres per hour (25 mph)|
|Total projected annual ridership||31 million||36 million|
|Residents within walking distance of a stop||47,000||24,000|
|Transfer issues at Kennedy Station||One level above subway||No need to transfer|
|Problems during construction||SRT shut down; riders must use buses||5-year construction will disrupt traffic on streets near subway|
|Building costs||$1.8 billion||$2.8 billion|
|Operating costs||Paid by province||Paid by TTC; up to $40 million per year|
Two competing subway plans were proposed to replace the Scarborough RT. TTC Chair Karen Stintz proposed to extend the Bloor–Danforth subway line to the east before turning north with 3 new stations at Lawrence Avenue and McCowan Road, at Scarborough Town Centre and then at Sheppard Avenue East and McCowan Road where it would connect to the Sheppard East LRT. Transportation Minister Glen Murray made an alternative proposal to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway along the route of the current Scarborough RT but terminating at Scarborough Town Centre. Under the Murray plan, there would be only 2 stations and there would be no direct connection with the Sheppard LRT. The Murray plan would have required the relocation of Kennedy Station as a new north-bound curve from the existing Kennedy Station would have been too tight for subway trains. The Murray plan would also have required the complete shutdown of the SRT during construction something that the Stintz plan avoided.
On October 8, 2013, Toronto City Council voted 24-20 to replace the Scarborough RT with a 3 station extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Council chose the Stintz plan for the extension.
The subway extension is estimated to cost $2.5 billion and $3 billion. Here is how that cost is to be financed:
- Provincial Government: $1.48-billion
- Federal Government: $660 million
- 1.6% property tax levy: $745 million
- Increase in development charges: $165 million
The city will borrow money to pay its portion of the subway extension costs. The increases in property tax and development charges are to pay off this debt over a 30-year period.
Internally, subway and RT lines are numbered, but in October 2013, the TTC announced plans to give the lines official numbers to help riders and visitors to navigate the system. The Scarborough RT Line is numbered as Line 3.
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- TTC Subway/RT
- TTC considers numbering subway lines | CityNews
- TTC tests new numerical signage system | CTV Toronto News
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