Union Station is a subway station on the Yonge–University–Spadina line in Toronto, Canada. One of the 12 original stations on the city's first section of subway, which opened in 1954, it is located between the Yonge Street and University Avenue sections of the line. It is situated between Bay Street and York Street, immediately north of the railway station and regional bus terminal of the same name. In Toronto's observed compass of street directions, Union is the southernmost station; however, using the standard global compass directions, Kipling and Islington Stations are further south.
Union connects the subway with GO Transit trains and buses, Via Rail, Ontario Northland Railway, and Amtrak. It serves approximately 102,540 people a day, ranking it as the fourth-busiest station in the system, after Bloor-Yonge, St. George & Sheppard–Yonge and the system's busiest station served by only one line.
North side entrances:
- Street-level stairs on north side of Front Street.
- Underground connection from Royal Bank Plaza
South side entrances:
- 2 street-level staircases on south side of Front Street.
- Outdoor connections via the "moat" to Union Passenger Rail Station
The station opened as the southern terminus of the original Yonge subway line on March 30, 1954, for the University section of the Yonge–University–Spadina line on February 28, 1963, and on June 22, 1990, for the former Harbourfront LRT.
Spadina and St Clair West stations were designed with an underground streetcar connection in mind. Retrofitting Union Station required building a pedestrian tunnel approximately 30 metres long, with a flight of stairs in the middle. The underground streetcar loop which opened in 1990 is now served by the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina routes.
Subway infrastructure in the vicinity
Leaving the station eastbound, the Yonge leg of the line runs briefly under Front Street and turns 90 degrees north to run under Yonge Street; leaving westbound, the University leg also runs under Front Street, and eventually turns 90 degrees north to run under University Avenue.
The station is also noted as being one of only three stations on the TTC where a signal light is publicly accessible (the others being Davisville and Islington Station). The signal is located on the east (trailing) end of the University line platform. It is an interlocking signal that protects the crossover to the northbound Yonge Line and is only occasionally used to reverse Yonge Line trains at Union.
Nearby landmarks include Union Station, the Royal York Hotel, the Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the CN Tower, the Royal Bank Plaza, Brookfield Place, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
A transfer is required to connect between the subway or streetcars and these bus routes at curbside stops:
- 6 Bay between Queens Quay East at Sherbourne Street and Dupont Street
- 72 Pape is replaced during reconstruction by temporary 172 Cherry Street from Wellington Street to Commissioners Street in the Port Lands
- 97 Yonge between Queens Quay West and Steeles Avenue
For most of the year no transfer is required to transfer to or from a streetcar in the underground loop to the main subway system. However, some summers tourists are allowed to board streetcars along Queens Quay without paying a fare. During these times passengers debarking at Union Station are asked to either pay a fare or show a valid transfer.
Union’s status as a transport hub has resulted in overcrowding on its narrow centre platform, often requiring TTC personnel to regulate the number of passengers allowed to wait on the platform at a given time. This results in overcrowding in the concourse level and significant commuter delays.
In 2003 public consultations and planning meetings were held to examine options to reduce crowding in the station. The resulting plan calls for the current platform to be re-purposed to serve only the University-Spadina line trains, while a new platform would be built on the south side of the existing tracks to serve the Yonge line trains. Preparatory construction for the expansion (mainly re-locating utilities buried in the area to be excavated for the new platform) began in 2006. The project went to public tender in April 2010 and construction commenced in February 2011.
The Transit City proposal calls for a new light rail line known as the Waterfront West LRT, extending the 509 Harbourfront streetcar route from the Exhibition Loop to Long Branch GO Station. Included in the plan is an expansion of the Union Station streetcar loop with additional platforms and passing tracks. Yet another line, not part of the Transit City plan, is to be built east along Queens Quay, from Bay to Parliament, partly to service sports facilities being built in the old Portlands for the 2015 Pan American Games. This Queens Quay East light rail line also would require expansion of this portion of the station.
- "About Presto". Presto website. Queens Printer for Ontario. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
- "Subway ridership, 2011-2012". Toronto Transit Commission. "This table shows the typical number of customer-trips made on each subway on an average weekday and the typical number of customers travelling to and from each station platform on an average weekday. Five stations serve two subways, and so are listed twice, once for each subway"
- Robert Mackenzie (May 6, 2011). "You can get on Queens Quay streetcars for free". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- TTC Union Subway Station
- Media related to Union subway station at Wikimedia Commons
- Union Station at the Toronto Transit Commission