Line 6 Finch West

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Line 6 Finch West
TTC - Line 6.svg
Overview
StatusUnder construction[1]
OwnerMetrolinx
LocaleToronto, Ontario
TerminiFinch West
Humber College
Stations18
Service
TypeLight rail
SystemToronto subway
Operator(s)Toronto Transit Commission
Depot(s)York Gate Blvd and Norfinch Dr[2]
Rolling stockAlstom Citadis Spirit[3]
History
Planned opening2023
Technical
Line length10.3 km (6.4 mi)[4]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Electrification750 V DC from overhead catenary
Operating speed80 km/h (50 mph)
SignallingThales SelTrac CBTC[5]
Route map

Humber College
Westmore
Martin Grove
Albion
Stevenson
Mount Olive
Rowntree Mills
Pearldale
Duncanwoods
Milvan Rumike
Emery
Signet Arrow
Norfinch Oakdale
Maintenance facility
Jane and Finch
Driftwood
Tobermory
Sentinel
Finch West
TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg

Line 6 Finch West, also known as the Finch West LRT,[6] is a light rail line under construction in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to be operated by the Toronto Transit Commission. The 10.3-kilometre (6.4 mi),[4] 18-stop line is to extend from Finch West station on Line 1 Yonge–University to the North Campus of Humber College in Etobicoke. Unlike most of the Toronto streetcar system, the line will be segregated from traffic. As well, it will use transit signal priority and standard gauge rather than the broad Toronto gauge. The line is forecast to carry about 14.6 million rides a year or 40,000 a day by 2031.[7] The line will replace the 36 Finch West bus route (west from Finch West station) – one of the three busiest bus routes in Toronto.[7][8] The line is scheduled for completion in 2023, with an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.[9]

History[edit]

Bus bay of Finch West station, Line 6 Finch West's eastern terminus and interchange station with Line 1 Yonge–University

Finch Avenue West is currently served by the 36 Finch West bus, one of the three busiest Toronto Transit Commission bus routes in Toronto with about 42,600 passengers per weekday. Forecasted demand in 2031 would require 32–39 articulated buses or 45–55 standard buses to serve the route.[8]

In March 2007, Toronto mayor David Miller announced the 17-kilometre (11 mi) Etobicoke–Finch West LRT as part of the Transit City project to build several light-rail lines within the city.[10][11] The western terminus of the line would be built in the Highway 27 / Humber College area in Etobicoke. The line would run along Finch Avenue West eastward, terminating at Finch station in North York.[10]

On April 1, 2009, the Government of Ontario announced that it would provide funding for construction of this line from Humber College to Don Mills station via Finch West and Finch stations, opening in 2013.[12][13] In March 2010, the Ontario government budgeted less for building transit. As a result, it eliminated the proposed section of the line east of Finch West station.[10]

In December 2010, Mayor Rob Ford cancelled the line after taking office.[14] However, in February 2012, city council voted to restore the project, along with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (later renamed Line 5 Eglinton), as part of a new transit plan, restoring some of the elements of the Transit City proposal over Mayor Ford's objections.[15]

In April 2012, Metrolinx proposed to start construction on the Finch West LRT in 2015, with the line opening in 2018.[10] By November 2012, when the city and province signed an LRT master agreement, construction for the line was to begin in 2015 for completion in 2020.[7] In April 2015, the province announced that construction of the line would start in 2016 for completion in 2021.[7]

Procurement[edit]

In September 2015, the Government of Ontario announced that its agency, Infrastructure Ontario, would search for a contractor to design, build, finance and maintain the Finch West LRT. The successful contractor would be chosen by 2017. The Request for Proposal (RFP) was released to select companies in February 2016[16] and closed on December 20, 2017.[17]

In May 2017, Metrolinx confirmed that it had entered into an agreement with Alstom to build 17 light rail vehicles for Line 6 Finch West.[16] In September 2017, Metrolinx announced the line would not open until 2022 at the earliest, blaming the delay on uncertainty with the Bombardier vehicle supply.[18]

In April 2018, Mosaic Transit Group, a consortium of ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Aecon, and CRH Canada Group Inc., was selected to build the transit line.[19][20] After consultation with Mosaic on a construction schedule, Metrolinx delayed projected completion of the line to 2023, ten years after the originally announced date.[21] That May, Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx announced that Mosaic had signed a contract to design, build, and finance the construction of the line and stations, and to maintain them for 30 years after their initial opening.[22]

Effective June 20, 2021, the TTC renumbered the Bay bus route from 6 to 19 to free up the route number 6 for the Finch West line.[23]

Construction[edit]

Initial preparatory utility works began in 2016. Enbridge Gas Distribution relocated natural gas pipelines lower within the roadway to allow for an appropriate depth beneath the proposed track-bed.[24] Other utility work followed, with replacement and relocation of watermains, hydro poles and hydro cables.[25] In the second quarter of 2019, substantial construction of the project began with work on the maintenance and storage facility (MSF).[1]

In June 2020, the Highway 400 bridges over Finch Avenue were removed and replaced over two consecutive weekends, using a "rapid bridge replacement" technique. This involved moving the old bridge out of the way in one piece and installing a new bridge in its place.[26][27] By late October 2020, the first rails were being installed at the line's new maintenance and storage facility,[28] with the first vehicles scheduled to arrive in mid-2021.[25]

In December 2020, Mosaic Transit Partners awarded Bombardier Transportation a 30-year contract to maintain Line 6's light-rail vehicles as well as wayside systems such as track and overhead catenary. Bombardier was also chosen to maintain the fleet and wayside systems for Line 5 Eglinton in a different contract.[29]

In January 2021, the first of 11 traction power substations that will power the trains was installed. This first substation would power an initial 1,800-metre (5,900 ft) section of track between Norfinch Road / Oakdale Drive and Sentinel Road to allow for train testing.[25]

In late January 2022, the first vehicle test on the Finch West LRT occurred at its maintenance and storage facility. During the test, a vehicle travelled 700 m (2,300 ft) at speeds between 2 km/h (1.2 mph) and 5 km/h (3.1 mph).[30] In February 2022, an LRV made a 700-metre (2,300 ft) trip from the MSF along York Gate Boulevard onto Finch Avenue.[31] Main line testing is expected to take place in late 2022.[30]

By May 2022, Mosaic Transit Group had laid about 35 percent of the 25.6 kilometres (15.9 mi) of total track required to complete the line. Besides the double-track mainline, the total track to be laid included the maintenance and storage facility (MSF), crossovers and pocket tracks.[4] Mosaic had already laid 1.8 kilometres (1.1 mi) of track on the mainline between Pelican Gate (near the MSF) and Sentinel Road, which starting May 20 was to be used for LRV testing with speeds up to 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph).[32]

Route[edit]

Line 6 Finch West as it will appear on system maps after opening, with thick line indicating tunnelled and below-grade sections

Description[edit]

From west to east, the 10.3-kilometre (6.4 mi)[4] line will run from Humber College's North Campus at Highway 27 in Etobicoke to Finch West station on Line 1 Yonge–University, at Keele Street in North York. Between the two terminals, there will be 16 on-street stops, all along Finch Avenue.[7]

From its western terminal, Humber College station, the line will run north in a trench along the west side of Highway 27 to its intersection with Finch Avenue, where the line will curve east in a short tunnel under the intersection and rise to street level along Finch Avenue.[33]: 17 

On Finch Avenue east of Highway 27, there will be two centre-reserved lanes for the LRT flanked by two traffic lanes in each direction as well as bike lanes.[9] The Westmore stop will be the first stop (from west to east) of 16 along the route.[34]

After passing the Martin Grove stop, the line will circumvent the north edge of the Albion Centre[a] with three stops: Albion, Stevenson and Mount Olive located within a distance of about 800 metres (2,625 ft).[34][35]

At the Rowntree Mills stop, the line will cross the Humber River where Islington Avenue and Finch Avenue intersect on a bridge over the river with far-side stops on opposite sides of the river.[b][35]

The line passes the Pearldale, Duncanwoods, Milvan/Rumike, Emery and Signet/Arrow stops before passing under Highway 400.[35][36] One block east of the Norfinch/Oakdale stop, at York Gate Boulevard, there will be a wye junction to the line's maintenance and storage facility.[37] The next stop, Jane and Finch, will be a transfer point to the 35 Jane bus which was the TTC's fifth busiest bus route in 2018.[c][38]

After passing the Driftwood and Tobermory stops, the Sentinel stop will be the last on-street stop before the line's eastern terminal. About 500 m (1,600 ft) east of the latter stop, opposite Romfield Lane, the line will descend into a tunnel under Keele Street to terminate inside Finch West station.[37]

The line will serve several neighbourhoods along its route. Between Highway 27 and the Humber River, the line will serve the Rexdale neighbourhood of Etobicoke, which includes the Mount Olive-Silverstone-Jamestown neighbourhood (also known as Smithfield). There will be five on-street stops in the neighbourhood excluding the Roundtree Mills stop which straddles the Etobicoke / North York boundary at the Humber River.[39] Between the Humber River and Highway 400 in North York, the line will serve the Humber Summit neighbourhood on the north side of Finch Avenue[40] and Humbermede on the south side.[41] There are five on-street stops in this area again, excluding Roundtree Mills. Between Highway 400 and Keele Street (Finch West station), the line will serve the Jane and Finch neighbourhood, which includes its namesake stop along with four other on-street stops.[42]

Stops[edit]

18 stops will be built along the line. Tracks run in the middle of the street, segregated from traffic along Finch Avenue.[9] Each platform will be 48 metres (157 ft) long, the length of a LRT vehicle. Finch West station will be built as a double-length underground station.[43]

Stop Type Platform[d] Notes
Humber College Open trench Centre On Humber College North Campus at Highway 27.[44] Connections to MiWay, Brampton Transit / Züm, and York Region Transit.[45][46]
Westmore On-street Parallel At Westmore Drive, east side[34]
Martin Grove On-street Centre At Martin Grove Road, west side[34]
Albion On-street Centre At Albion Road, west side[34]
Stevenson On-street Centre Near Stevenson Road;[e] west of an access road to the Albion Centre[a][34]
Mount Olive On-street Centre At Kipling Avenue, east side,[35] in the Mount Olive-Silverstone-Jamestown neighbourhood
Rowntree Mills On-street Far-side At Islington Avenue, next to Rowntree Mills Park, near the Gord and Irene Risk Community Centre[f][35]
Pearldale On-street Centre At Pearldale Avenue, west side,[35] near Finchdale Plaza[50]
Duncanwoods On-street Far-side At Duncanwoods Drive[36]
Milvan/Rumike On-street Far-side At Milvan Drive and Rumike Road[36]
Emery On-street Far-side At Weston Road[36] in the Emery neighbourhood
Signet/Arrow On-street Far-side At Signet Drive and Arrow Road[36]
Norfinch/Oakdale On-street Far-side At Norfinch Drive and Oakdale Road;[36] near maintenance facility[2]
Jane and Finch On-street Far-side At Jane Street[37] in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood
Driftwood On-street Far-side At Driftwood Avenue[37]
Tobermory On-street Far-side At Tobermory Drive[37]
Sentinel On-street Far-side At Sentinel Road[37]
Finch West Underground Centre At Keele Street; direct connection to Line 1 Yonge–University.[43]

In January 2018, to avoid naming conflicts with existing TTC and GO stations in Toronto, a consultation process was initiated to select unique names for the stops at Jane, Kipling, Islington, and Weston; the initial suggestions were Jane and Finch, Mount Olive, Thistletown, and Emery Village, respectively.[51] Based on public feedback, Rowntree Mills was also considered, and ultimately selected, for the stop at Islington, while Emery was chosen as the name for the stop at Weston.[52]

Operations[edit]

The line will be operated by the Toronto Transit Commission and maintained by Mosaic Transit Group as part of the public–private partnership contract with Metrolinx.[53] 17 Alstom Citadis Spirit vehicles will be used on the line.[9] Thanks to dedicated tracks separated from traffic, transit signal priority at intersections,[9] and fares using Presto proof-of-payment,[8] when open, the line will provide service 20 percent faster than buses in mixed traffic, as well as increased reliability due to its segregation from traffic.[8] The line will also remove 35 morning and 29 afternoon peak period buses from existing traffic lanes.[8]

According to Metrolinx, Line 6 will have a frequency of every five minutes during peak hours and seven to ten minutes at off-peak times.[54] Bicycles will be allowed on board, stored in the bicycle racks inside the vehicles, during the off-peak hours.[55]

The line will carry about 42,600 passengers per weekday. By 2031, projected ridership is around 2,800 passengers per hour in the peak direction.[8] Annual operating and maintenance costs are estimated to be $51.5 million in 2022, before deducting fare revenue and costs saved by eliminating parallel bus service.[56]

Intermediate turnback points[edit]

The line will have six intermediate turnback points in addition to the turnbacks at the two terminal stations. All but one turnback point have a pair of crossovers, one facing-point and the other trailing-point. The crossovers at or near the Westmore and Sentinel stops are just one stop away from the western and eastern terminals respectively. The turnback points from west to east are:

  • Between Westmore and Martin Grove stops (pair of crossovers)[34]
  • East of Albion stop (trailing-point crossover)[34]
  • East of Mount Olive stop (pair of crossovers)[35]
  • East of Milvan/Rumike stop (pair of crossovers)[36]
  • East of Norfinch/Oakdale stop (pair of crossovers)[36][37]
  • East of Sentinel stop (pair of crossovers)[37]

Maintenance and storage facility[edit]

Finch West LRT Maintenance and Storage Facility
Finch West LRT depot under construction (2020-02).jpg
General information
Location50 York Gate Boulevard
Toronto, Ontario[57]
Canada
Coordinates43°45′27″N 79°31′23″W / 43.75750°N 79.52306°W / 43.75750; -79.52306Coordinates: 43°45′27″N 79°31′23″W / 43.75750°N 79.52306°W / 43.75750; -79.52306
Owned byMetrolinx
Operated byMosaic Transit Group (under contract to Metrolinx)
Construction
Structure typeMaintenance and storage facility[57]
Other information
StatusUnder construction
History
Opened2021 (facility)[57]

Metrolinx has constructed a maintenance and storage facility (MSF) on a lot on the north side of Finch Avenue West between York Gate Boulevard and Norfinch Drive next to Monsignor Fraser College's Norfinch Campus.[58] The MSF will have facilities to service the Alstom Citadis Spirit light rail vehicles used on the line, as well as the line trackage.

The 10,000-square-metre (110,000 sq ft) facility will include a maintenance building, open-air storage for up to 26 LRVs, a car wash facility, materials storage, an administration building and a traction power substation.[57][59] The facility will have 4.4 kilometres (2.7 mi) of track, including both exterior storage and interior tracks. There is also 600 metres (2,000 ft) of track to connect the MSF to Finch Avenue via York Gate Boulevard.[4] Once the line is completed, LRVs leaving the facility will be able to enter service either in an eastbound or westbound direction.[57]

Construction of the facility started in 2019, and the MSF was ready to receive its first LRV by the end of July 2021. With completion of the MSF, Mosaic Transit Group will start to test LRVs and the communication system. In late 2021, a section of the line from the MSF to Sentinnel Road will be energized for up to 18 months of testing.[60][57]

In 2020, Metrolinx was criticized for proposing to sell off land in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood located in front of the MSF, contrary to initial promises to local community groups.[61] A 32-metre-wide (105 ft) strip of land along Finch Avenue is currently being used as a construction staging area by Mosaic Transit Group. In March 2021, Metrolinx cancelled their proposal and agreed to provide the land at zero cost to allow for the construction of a community hub by the City of Toronto and the local community, following completion of the line.[62]

Rolling stock[edit]

The line uses Alstom Citadis Spirit light rail vehicles. The vehicles are 48 metres (157 ft) long,[9] with a seating capacity of 120 and a maximum capacity of 292 passengers.[60] Each vehicle weighs 81 tonnes (89 tons).[54]

The trains were ordered in May 2017 by Metrolinx, as part of a joint order of 121 trains for Hurontario LRT and Finch West, at cost of $528 million.[63][64] 17 trains will be built at an Alstom plant in Brampton, with the first vehicle to be assembled in September 2020.[65] The first LRV arrived from Alstom at the MSF in two sections on July 28 and 29, 2021.[60] The second LRV arrived in two sections on November 12, 2021. After assembly, the vehicles are run around the MSF yard initially at 5 km/h (3.1 mph), then each vehicle is tested by running it around the yard for 600 km (370 mi) without a defect occurring.[55]

The same vehicles will be used for the Hurontario LRT in neighbouring Mississauga.[65] The line was originally supposed to use the same Bombardier Flexity Freedom trains planned for Line 5 Eglinton; however, this order was cancelled by Metrolinx following delivery delays by Bombardier.[64][66]

Potential extensions[edit]

Several extensions to the line have been proposed; however, as of 2021, none of the proposed extensions have been funded for design or construction.

Finch West station to Finch station[edit]

The line was originally planned to extend from Finch West station to Finch station on the Yonge leg of Line 1, and this segment was included in the 2010 environmental assessment of the line.[9] In March 2010, the Ontario government eliminated the proposed section of the line between Finch West and Finch because of budget constraints. This section of the line was part of the original Transit City proposal.[10] In 2013, this plan was revived as an "unfunded future rapid transit project" in the City of Toronto's "Feeling Congested?" report, indicating that this extension may be constructed sometime in the future.[67] The extension was later shown in the TTC's 2018 Corporate Plan with no timeline for completion.[68]

Humber College to Pearson Airport[edit]

In 2009, the TTC was studying the feasibility of potential routings for a future westward extension of the Etobicoke–Finch West LRT to the vicinity of Woodbine Live development, Woodbine Centre, and Pearson International Airport. The airport is primarily in Mississauga but within the Toronto fare zone.[11][69] This extension was later reclassified as a future transit project as described in the 2013 "Feeling Congested?" report by the City of Toronto.[67] Metrolinx has also noted the potential of an extension to the airport, albeit noting that this is an unfunded proposal.[9] In May 2021, Toronto City Council discussed a potential 2.5-kilometre (1.6 mi) extension south from Humber College to a new GO Transit station on the Kitchener line.[70]

Finch station to Don Mills station[edit]

In May 2009, Metrolinx proposed that the line be extended from Finch station along Finch Avenue East and Don Mills Road into Don Mills station to connect with the Sheppard East LRT and create a seamless crosstown LRT line in northern Toronto to parallel the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (later renamed Line 5 Eglinton) in central Toronto. The TTC said that a planning study would have commenced in 2010.[11][71][72]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Albion Centre (a.k.a the Albion Mall) is a shopping centre on a triagular site bounded by Albion Road on the west, Kipling Avenue on the east and Finch Avenue on its north edge with 3 stops: Albion, Stevenson and Mount Olive (Kipling Avenue).[47]
  2. ^ The Humber River is the boundary between the Etobicoke and North York districts of Toronto.
  3. ^ As of 2021, the TTC was planning to install "priority bus lanes" on Jane Street. A Jane LRT was once considered for Jane Street. Both would serve the Jane and Finch neighbourhood.
  4. ^ Stops use one of the following platform configurations:
    • Centre: centre or island platform serving both tracks
    • Parallel: two parallel side platforms facing one another on the same side of a street intersection
    • Far-side: two side platforms each located separately at the far side of an intersection
  5. ^ The Stevenson stop's namesake street, Stevenson Road, does not intersect Finch Avenue, but lies north of Finch Avenue separated by a narrow strip of parkland.
  6. ^ The Rowntree Mills stop is surrounded by parkland. Besides the namesake Rowntree Mills Park, the Humber River valley passes under the intersection of Finch Avenue and Islington Avenue with Finch - Islington Park on the southwest corner and Gord and Irene Risk Park on the northeast corner.[48][49]

References[edit]

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