Sheppard East LRT

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Sheppard East LRT
Type Light rail transit
System Toronto subway
Status Planned
Locale Toronto, Ontario
Termini Don Mills
Stations 26[1]
Owner Metrolinx
Operator(s) Toronto Transit Commission
Rolling stock Flexity Freedom
Line length 13 km (8.1 mi)[2]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 750 V DC overhead
Route map
Sheppard line
to Sheppard-Yonge
Don Mills BSicon SUBWAY.svg TTC - Line 4 - Sheppard line.svg
Highway 404
Victoria Park
Bay Mills
Highland Creek
Bendale Branch
Stouffville line
GO Transit logo.svg Stouffville line GO logo.png
Canadian Pacific
Highland Creek
Markham Branch
White Haven
Highland Creek
Malvern Branch
Maintenance Facility

The Sheppard East LRT is a proposed light rail line in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, proposed as part of the Transit City proposal announced March 16, 2007.

The Sheppard East LRT will add 13 kilometres of new transit along Sheppard Avenue from Don Mills subway station to east of Morningside Avenue and will be operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The project will include a new train yard at Conlins Road. Metrolinx had budgeted $944.5 million from 2009 through 2014 for the design and construction of the line[3] with an in service date of 2013.[4] In May 2010 Metrolinx delayed the opening date until mid-2014.[5]

Construction of the Sheppard East LRT will not start until at least after the completion of the Finch West LRT in 2021,[6] TTC is budgeting for a 2 September 2024 in-service date.[7] In July 2016, a Toronto Star article said the Sheppard LRT has been deferred indefinitely.[8]


In March 2007, the Sheppard East LRT was proposed as part of the Transit City proposal announced March 16, 2007.

In May 2009, funding was approved by the provincial and federal governments.[9] The line was to open from Don Mills station to Meadowvale Road in 2013.[10]

On 21 December 2009, construction for the line began at Agincourt GO Station.[11] Detailed engineering had been initiated for the grade separation of Sheppard Avenue East and the GO Transit tracks east of Kennedy Road.

In December 2010, following the municipal election, Mayor Rob Ford cancelled Transit City along with the Sheppard East LRT and Finch West LRT. However, in March 2012, Toronto city council re-instated these two lines at a special city council meeting.

In June 2012, the province of Ontario announced that construction of the Sheppard East LRT would not resume until 2017 or finish until 2021.[12]

By December 2012, the underpass construction needed for the Sheppard LRT at Agincourt GO Station was completed to enhance traffic flow as well as enhance the safety and reliability of GO Transit.[1]

On April 27, 2015, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced that construction of the Sheppard East LRT would not start until at least 2021, the expected completion year for the Finch West LRT. According to the minister, the delay in starting the Sheppard East LRT is due to limits in the province's capacity to do infrastructure work on multiple projects at the same time.[6]

Route layout[edit]

The Sheppard East LRT line is to run for 13 km (8.1 mi) from Don Mills Station at Don Mills Road in North York along Sheppard Avenue East to east of Morningside Avenue in Scarborough. The line will run in a 1.1 km (0.68 mi) tunnel between Don Mills Station and Consumers Road, and 11.9 km (7.4 mi) along the surface of Sheppard Avenue from Consumers Road to Morningside Avenue. The surface portion will operate in a dedicated lane in the centre of the street.[1]

At Don Mills Station, the LRT and the Line 4 Sheppard subway will use the same platform level, so that riders can simply walk down the platform and board the other vehicle.[13][14]

An interchange will also be built to connect the Sheppard East LRT line and the proposed extension of Line 2 Bloor–Danforth to meet the LRT line at Sheppard Avenue and McCowan Road.[15]

In addition to the underground stop at Don Mills Station, Metrolinx says there will be up to 26 surface stops along the route of which 25 have been identified in the Planned stops section.[1]

Potential extensions[edit]

These proposed segments were not part of Transit City.

Don Mills Station to Finch Station[edit]

This proposal was extended to the Sheppard East LRT north to Finch Avenue East from its western terminus at Don Mills Station, overlapping the Don Mills LRT to Finch Avenue East, then west on Finch Avenue East to Finch Station, where it would continue along Finch Avenue West as the Etobicoke-Finch West LRT line. This connection has been proposed to provide one seamless crosstown line across northern Toronto.

Meadowvale Road to Durham Region[edit]

This proposal would have extended the Sheppard East LRT east into Durham Region from the planned eastern terminus at Meadowvale Road. This extension would have taken the Sheppard East LRT from Meadowvale Road east to cross the Toronto/Durham Region border and continue to an undisclosed location within Durham Region.

Transfer with the Sheppard Subway[edit]

The TTC investigated several options for the transfer at or near Don Mills Road with the existing Sheppard subway. The main obstacle is Highway 404 which the LRT may have tunnelled under, and the fact that the subway is located 18m below grade.[13]

The five original options[edit]

  1. Surface LRT Connection: Hwy 404 bridge expanded to maintain existing traffic lanes and incorporate two lanes for LRT in the centre. Traffic lanes reduced near Don Mills Road to allow LRT stop on surface, in the centre of Sheppard - a wide centre platform would include stairs and elevators connecting to the mezzanine level of the subway station.
  2. Underground LRT Connection 1: Tunnel under Highway 404 beginning west of Consumers Road and connecting to the mezzanine/concourse level of the subway (one level below the surface, one level above the subway.)
  3. Underground LRT Connection 2: Tunnel under Highway 404 beginning west of Consumers Road and ‘butting up’ against the east end of the subway platform (two levels below the surface.)
  4. Subway Extension 1: Extend the subway to Consumers Road area and build an LRT connection there.
  5. Subway Extension 2: Shallow subway extension to Consumers Road with LRT station in the middle of Sheppard Avenue and a direct passage to the subway below.

The two recommended options[edit]

Option 3 – LRT Underground to Subway Platform Level at Don Mills

Subway platform extended to east, LRT tracks on either side, level transfer


1. For customers east of Victoria Park and destined to subway, just as good as Option 5 (below)

2. Lower cost

3. Tunnel construction would be designed to allow for future subway extension


1. Separation between subway and LRT still under policy discussion; separation between vehicles could be 100–125 metres

Option 5 – Shallow Subway Extension to Consumers Road with Surface LRT Connection

LRT station in the middle of Sheppard Avenue (east of Consumers Road), direct passageways to subway below


1. Avoids need for travellers from business park to travel one stop, then transfer to subway as per Option 3 (above)

2. Given the above, much more effective “catalyst” for more dense, transit-oriented development in this development node


1. Much higher cost

2. More detailed design necessary to determine if “shallow” subway achievable – more work required on depth needed to avoid settlement near Highway 404 bridge and to avoid large, six metre deep sanitary sewer near Consumers Road


The TTC decided on option 3.

Planned stops[edit]


The Sheppard East LRT was to be constructed in two phases.

Phase One[edit]

Phase One will run along Sheppard Avenue East from Don Mills Road to Morningside Avenue.

Stop Type Notes
Don Mills Underground Connection to the TTC - Line 4 - Sheppard line.svg Sheppard line and proposed Don Mills LRT
Consumers Road At Grade
Victoria Park Avenue
Pharmacy Avenue
Palmdale Drive
Warden Avenue
Bay Mills Boulevard
Birchmount Road
Allanford Road
Kennedy Road
Agincourt GO Station Connection to the GO Transit logo.svg Stouffville GO train line
Midland Avenue
Brimley Road
Brownspring Road
McCowan Road Connection to proposed TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg Bloor-Danforth Subway extension
White Haven
Shorting Road
Massie Street
Markham Road
Progress Avenue
Washburn Way
Burrows Hall
Neilson Road
Murison Boulevard
Brenyon Way
Morningside Avenue Connection to proposed Scarborough Malvern LRT

Phase Two[edit]

Phase Two will run along Sheppard Avenue East from Morningside Avenue to Meadowvale Road.

  • Dean Park Road
  • Idagrove Gate
  • Meadowvale Road

Planned LRT lines in Toronto[edit]

Delay and restoration of the project[edit]

In April 2011, Mayor Rob Ford and the province of Ontario announced a transit plan that included the subway extensions and cancelled the Sheppard East LRT. Despite the inclusion of the extensions, no public funding was allocated for construction and work on the LRT was to be abandoned at significant cost.[16] Instead of building the previously-funded LRT, Mayor Ford proposed soliciting private financing for a subway extension; however, no specific plans for raising the funding were announced,[17] and Gordon Chong, head of the TTC agency tasked with analyzing the new subway plans, suggested that the project would not be feasible without a detailed funding plan including new taxes and levies. Lack of confidence in Mayor Ford's subway proposal eventually led council, under the guidance of TTC chair Karen Stintz, to appoint an expert panel to review the options for rapid transit on Sheppard East and to present a preferred alternative.[18] On March 21, 2012, city council received the report, authored by Professor Eric Miller, which strongly recommended proceeding with the original LRT plan. On March 22, after over a day and a half of debate, city council formally endorsed a return to the LRT plan for Sheppard east.[19] In June 2012, the province of Ontario announced that construction of the Sheppard east LRT would not resume until 2017 or finish until 2021.[12]

On April 27, 2015, the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto announced that work on the Finch LRT will begin in 2016. Work on the Sheppard East LRT may start once the work on the Finch LRT has been completed, sometime in the early to mid 2020s.[20] In July 2016, a Toronto Star article said the Sheppard LRT has been deferred indefinitely. That same month Toronto City Council voted to approve a one stop extension on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth Line) from Kennedy Station North East to Scarborough Center. This same vote reopened to consideration the possibility of extending the Sheppard Subway east into Scarborough. Therefore the Sheppard East LRT will not be built until a final decision is made on the Sheppard Subway extension.[8]

Economic benefits[edit]

There has been an ongoing discussion as to economic benefits of Toronto's different rapid transit choices, including the benefits of building an LRT along Sheppard.[21] Tess Kalinowski, writing in the Toronto Star, reported on the views of Andre Sorensen, who compared the likely economic stimilus of building an LRT along Sheppard, with the likely economic benefits of building mayor John Tory's Smart Track surface subway, or building the 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) extension of the TTC's heavy rail system from Kennedy Station to Sheppard. Sorenson, a University of Toronto Scarborough professor of Human Geography, had recently published a paper on this topic. Sorenson's team concluded that not only would the $1 billion CAD provide more economic stimulus per dollar than the other two more expensive routes, but that it would provide more economic benefits in absolute terms. Sorenson also asserted that, in addition to being cheaper, and providing more economic benefits, the Sheppard LRT could be completed years earlier than the other two routes, and that, unlike the other two routes, its entire capital cost would be funded by the Province of Ontario, not by the City of Toronto.


According to Metrolinx:

  • 3,000: Riders per hour per hour in the peak direction by 2031.[1]

According to the TTC:[22]

  • 35,800: Typical number of daily weekday riders on the six TTC bus routes that serve Sheppard Ave. E. between Don Mills Station and Morningside Ave.
  • 17 million: TTC's forecast annual ridership for Sheppard East LRT.

David Crowley, a transportation planner, estimates that about 13 per cent of north Scarborough commuters work in downtown Toronto, and 78 per cent of those are already taking transit.[22]


Operating characteristics of the line include:

  • Annual operating and maintenance costs are estimated to be $38.1 million in 2025, before deducting fare revenue and costs saved by eliminating parallel bus service.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Sheppard East Light Rail Transit Project - Fact Sheet" (PDF). Metrolinx. May 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-29. 
  2. ^ "Metrolinx Etobicoke-Finch West LRT Environmental Project Report Executive Summary".  External link in |website= (help);
  3. ^ Lambert, Kim; John Howe (2008-11-28). "2009/10 and Five-Year Capital Plan" (PDF). Metrolinx. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  4. ^ Howe, John (July 13, 2009). "Provincial Framework for New Transit Project Implementation" (PDF). Metrolinx. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ Collins, Jack (May 19, 2010). "Achieving 5 in 10 - A Revised Plan for the Big 5 Transit Projects" (PDF). Metrolinx. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Tess Kalinowski, Transportation reporter (2015-04-27). "Finch LRT to be complete in 2021, before Sheppard breaks ground". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-04-27. 
  7. ^ "Proposed Service Improvements for the 2016 Operating Budget" (PDF). TTC. September 15, 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Ben Spurr (20 July 2016). "Metrolinx threatens legal action over late delivery of light rail vehicles". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  9. ^ Ferguson, Rob; Kalinowski, Tess (2009-05-15). "Toronto gets nearly $1B for new LRT line". The Star. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Transit City Light Rail Plan: Status Update for February 2009" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  12. ^ a b "Delay to Sheppard East LRT raises hopes of possible subway line". Scarborough Mirror. 2012-08-24. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Sheppard East LRT connection at Don Mills Station" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2015-06-30. 
  14. ^ Tess Kalinowski Transportation reporter (2012-04-25). "Q&A: What you need to know about the Sheppard LRT". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  15. ^ "Scarborough subway confirmed by Toronto council". The Toronto Star. The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  16. ^ "Toronto must pay at least $49M to cancel LRT plan". CBC News. 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  17. ^ Alcoba, Natalie. "Q&A: Digging into transit plan". National Post. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  18. ^ Granatstein, Rob. "Rob Ford's Sheppard hole: Granatstein". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  19. ^ "Mayor Rob Ford loses Toronto subway vote". CBC News. 2012-03-22. 
  20. ^ Toronto Star, Finch to be complete in 2021 ..., last accessed May 2, 2015
  21. ^ Tess Kalinowksi (2015-03-11). "Scarborough LRT would attract more development than subway: Study". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2015-03-12. The study looked at the prospects for redevelopment along LRT routes on Eglinton-Morningside and Malvern, as well as Sheppard. Combined, they had 18.4 hectares per kilometre that could be available for redevelopment. That was more than the 12 hectares per kilometre on SmartTrack and 11.1 hectares per kilometre on the McCowan subway route, which is supposed to replace the aging Scarborough RT. 
  22. ^ a b Tess Kalinowski Transportation reporter (2015-05-18). "Could the Finch LRT reshape the Sheppard transit debate?". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-05-19. Source: TTC 
  23. ^ Ben Spurr & Jennifer Pagliaro (31 October 2016). "Report outlines steep costs of running new Toronto transit lines". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-10-31. 

External links[edit]