Line 6 Finch West
|Line 6 Finch West|
|Operator(s)||Toronto Transit Commission|
|Depot(s)||York Gate Blvd and Norfinch Dr|
|Rolling stock||Alstom Citadis Spirit|
|Line length||11 km (6.8 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V DC from overhead catenary|
|Operating speed||80 km/h (50 mph)|
|Signalling||Thales SelTrac CBTC|
Line 6 Finch West, also known as the Finch West LRT, is a light rail line under construction in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to be operated by the Toronto Transit Commission. The 11-kilometre (6.8 mi), 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 Toronto streetcars, the line will be segregated from traffic, as well as make use of transit signal priority and use 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. It is scheduled for completion in 2023, with an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
In December 2010, Mayor Rob Ford cancelled the line after taking office. 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.
In April 2012, Metrolinx proposed to start construction on the Finch West LRT in 2015, with the line opening in 2018. 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.
In April 2015, the province announced that construction of the line would start in 2016 for completion in 2021. 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 and closed on December 20, 2017.
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. 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.
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. After consultation with Mosaic on a construction schedule, Metrolinx delayed projected completion of the line to 2023, ten years after the originally announced date. 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.
Effective June 20, 2021, the TTC renumbered the Bay bus route from 6 to 19 in order to free up the route number 6 for the Finch West line.
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. Other utility work followed, with replacement and relocation of watermains, hydro poles and hydro cables. In the second quarter of 2019, substantial construction of the project began with work on the maintenance and storage facility (MSF).
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. By late October 2020, the first rails were being installed at the line's new maintenance and storage facility, with the first vehicles scheduled to arrive in mid-2021.
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.
In January 2021, the first of 11 traction power substations that will power the line 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.
The eastern terminus of the line is to be built at Finch West station on Line 1 Yonge–University in North York. After a short tunnel at Finch West station, the line will run on the surface along Finch Avenue West until it reaches Highway 27; from there, the line will run underground to its western terminus at Humber College's North Campus west of Highway 27. The line will be 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) long. As part of the project, two traffic lanes in each direction along Finch Avenue will be maintained, as well as new bike lanes.
18 stops will be built along the line. Tracks run in the middle of the street, segregated from traffic along Finch Avenue. Each stop will be 48 metres (157 ft) long, the length of a LRT vehicle. Finch West station will be built as a double-length station.
|Humber College||To be located underground|
|Mount Olive||Original proposed name: Kipling (after Kipling Avenue)|
|Rowntree Mills||Original proposed name: Islington (after Islington Avenue)|
|Emery||Original proposed name: Weston (after Weston Road)|
|Norfinch Oakdale||Site of proposed maintenance facility|
|Jane and Finch||Original proposed name: Jane (after Jane Street)|
|Finch West||Direct connection to Line 1 Yonge–University; to be located underground|
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. 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.
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. 17 Alstom Citadis Spirit vehicles will be used on the line. Thanks to dedicated tracks separated from traffic, transit signal priority at intersections, and fares using Presto proof-of-payment, 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. The line will also remove 35 morning and 29 afternoon peak period buses from existing traffic lanes.
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. 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.
Maintenance and storage facility
|Location||50 York Gate Boulevard|
|Operated by||Mosaic Transit Group (under contract to Metrolinx)|
|Structure type||Maintenance and storage facility|
Metrolinx is constructing a maintenance and storage facility (MSF) on an empty lot north of Finch Avenue West between York Gate Boulevard and Norfinch Drive next to the former Regina Pacis Catholic Secondary School (now Monsignor Fraser College's Norfinch Campus). 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. Once the line is completed, LRVs leaving the facility will be able to enter service either in an eastbound or westbound direction.
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.
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. 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 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.
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. 17 trains will be built at an Alstom plant in Brampton, with the first vehicle to be assembled in September 2020. The first LRV arrived from Alstom at the MSF in two sections on July 28 and 29, 2021.
The same vehicles will be used for the Hurontario LRT in neighbouring Mississauga. 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.
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
The line was originally planned to extend from Finch West station to Finch station, and this segment was included in the 2010 environmental assessment of the line. 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. 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. The extension was later shown in the TTC's 2018 Corporate Plan with no timeline for completion.
Humber College to Pearson Airport
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-paid zone. This extension was later reclassified as a future transit project as described in the 2013 "Feeling Congested?" report by the City of Toronto. Metrolinx has also noted the potential of an extension to the airport, albeit noting that this is an unfunded proposal.
Finch station to Don Mills station
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.
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