Toronto subway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Toronto subway and RT)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the font, see Toronto Subway (typeface).
Toronto subway
Locale Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 4 (plus 1 under construction)
Number of stations 69[1] (plus 28 under construction)
Daily ridership 1,006,300 (avg. weekday,
Q3 2015)[2]
Annual ridership 324,738,500 (2014)[3]
Website TTC
Began operation March 30, 1954
Operator(s) Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)
Number of vehicles 706 heavy rail and light metro cars, 66 work cars
Train length 4 and 6 car train sets
Headway 2 min 21 s–5 min 30 s (Line 1, 2 and 4), 6 min 45 s (Line 3)[4]
System length 68.3 km (42.4 mi)[1]
27.6 km (17.1 mi) (under construction)[5]
7.6 km (4.7 mi) (approved)[6]
Track gauge 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm) (Line 1, 2 and 4), 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge (Line 3 and 5)
Electrification 600 V DC Third rail (Line 1, 2 and 4), linear induction (Line 3), Overhead 750 V DC (Line 5)

The Toronto subway is a rapid transit system in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). It is a mixed system consisting of three heavy rail lines operating predominantly underground and one elevated light metro line, collectively encompassing 69 stations and 68.3 kilometres (42.4 mi) of track.[1] Since 1954, when the TTC opened Canada's first underground rail line then known as the Yonge subway, under Yonge Street between Union Station and Eglinton Avenue with 12 stations, the system expanded to become Canada's largest in terms of stations and second-busiest after the Montreal Metro. It accommodated an average of 1,066,100 passenger trips each weekday during the fourth quarter of 2015.[7]


Line Stations Length[1] Technology Track
TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Yonge–University 32 30.2 kilometres (18.8 mi) Heavy rail 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm)
TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg Bloor–Danforth 31 26.2 kilometres (16.3 mi) Heavy rail 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm)
TTC - Line 3 - Scarborough RT line.svg Scarborough 6 6.4 kilometres (4.0 mi) Light metro 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
TTC - Line 4 - Sheppard line.svg Sheppard 5 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) Heavy rail 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm)
Under construction:
TTC - Line 5.svg Eglinton 25 19 kilometres (12 mi) Light rail 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

There are 4 rapid transit lines in Toronto plus another under construction.

Line 1 Yonge–University, is the longest and busiest rapid transit line in the system. It opened as the Yonge Subway in 1954 with a length of 7.4 kilometres (4.6 mi),[8] and since then grew to a length of 30.2 kilometres (18.8 mi). Today, the line is U-shaped having two northern terminals looping on its southern end via Union Station. An 8.6-kilometre (5.3 mi), six-station extension of Line 1 north to Vaughan is under construction and scheduled to open for December 2017.[5]

Line 2 Bloor–Danforth, opened in 1966, runs parallel to Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue between Kipling Station in Etobicoke and Kennedy Station in Scarborough. There is a plan to extend Line 2 eastwards from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Town Centre.[9]

Line 3 Scarborough (also known as the Scarborough RT where "RT" means rapid transit) is an above-ground medium-capacity (light metro) rail line serving the city's eponymous suburban district. It opened in 1985. The line runs from Kennedy Station to McCowan Station passing Scarborough Town Centre. This is the only rapid transit line in Toronto to use Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) technology. There is a plan to close and dismantle Line 3 after Line 2 is extended to Scarborough Town Centre.[9]

Line 4 Sheppard opened in 2002 running under Sheppard Avenue East eastwards from Sheppard–Yonge Station on Line 1 to Fairview Mall at Don Mills Station; it is the shortest rapid transit line in Toronto.[10]

Line 5 Eglinton (also known as the Eglinton Crosstown) is a 19-kilometre (12 mi) light rail line under construction scheduled to open in 2021. The line will have 25 stations of which 15 will be underground, while the remaining ten will be at-grade stops accessed at the road's median.[11]

System map[edit]

Subway system map
A map of the Toronto Subway/RT network.
TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Yonge–University
Between Finch and Downsview via Union
TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg Bloor–Danforth
Between Kipling and Kennedy
TTC - Line 3 - Scarborough RT line.svg Scarborough
Between Kennedy and McCowan
TTC - Line 4 - Sheppard line.svg Sheppard
Between Sheppard–Yonge and Don Mills


Early proposals[edit]

The first serious proposal for a subway system in Toronto was made in the early part of the 20th century, with a series of proposals to bury the streetcar line on Yonge. A number of proposals emerged between 1909 and 1912, but the public rejected subways in a plebiscite in 1912, and discussions ended for a time.[12] In 1931, City Controller Hacker proposed a north-south subway running from Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue south to Front and York Streets, making a wide loop via Front, Scott, Victoria and Gerrard.[13]

Yonge route[edit]

Subway excavations in front of Union Station (left) on Front Street in 1950

During World War II, workers travelling from their homes in "northern Toronto" (which would now be considered the downtown core) to the industrial areas to the east and west of the downtown area on Yonge seriously strained the existing road and streetcar networks. There was concern that the expected post-war boom in car ownership would choke the city with traffic. The TTC formed a Rapid Transit Department and studied various solutions between 1942 and 1945. A plan was put to the voters on January 1, 1946. The plan had two parts. First, it featured a "rapid transit subway" operated with subway trains from Eglinton Avenue as far as College Street. The line would continue directly under Yonge and Front Streets to Union Station.

Second would be a "surface car subway", diverting streetcar services off Queen and Dundas Street. This would run mostly along Queen Street, with each end angling north to reach Dundas Street west of Trinity Park and Gerrard Street at Pape Avenue. The route would run directly under Queen Street from University Avenue to Church Street, with the rest off-street.[14][15] The vote was overwhelmingly in favour, and Toronto City Council approved construction four months later.[12]

The plebiscite contained the condition that the federal government would subsidize 20% of the project. The federal Minister of Reconstruction, C.D. Howe, promised federal support in an October 3, 1945 letter. However, the funding fell through over a disagreement about the details of the employment arrangements. A scaled down proposal, about 20% smaller, was agreed to in its place. The work along Queen Street was abandoned temporarily, and the original $42.3 million ($560 million in 2012) was reduced to $28.9 million ($383 million in 2012) plus $3.5 million ($46.4 million in 2012) for rolling stock.[12] After a two-year delay due to postwar labour shortages, construction on the new subway did not start until September 8, 1949. A total of 1.7 million cubic yards (1.3 million cubic metres) of material was removed and some 14,000 tons (12,700 metric tons) of reinforcing steel and 1.4 million bags of cement were put into place.[12]

Service on the Yonge route would be handled by new rolling stock, and the TTC was particularly interested in the Chicago series 6000 cars, which used trucks, wheels, motors, and drive control technologies that had been developed and perfected on PCC streetcars. However, the United States was in the midst of the Korean War at the time, which had caused a substantial increase in metal prices, thus making the PCC cars too expensive. Instead, in November 1951, an order was placed with the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in England for 104 cars for $7,800,000 including spare parts.

Ontario Premier Leslie Frost and Toronto Mayor Allan A. Lamport opened the 7.4-kilometre (4.6 mi) long Yonge subway on March 30, 1954. Trains operated at average speeds of 20 miles per hour (32 km/h).[8] The route was an instant success. The plan to operate two-car trains during off-peak hours was abandoned in favour of four-car trains, and six-car trains were standard during most periods, with some eight-car trains used during peak periods.


The TTC intended the subway to use streetcar-derived trains, like this former Chicago 'L' train preserved at the Halton County Radial Railway
The Gloucester (G-series) trains were chosen to be the system's first rolling stock

In 1963, an extension was added to curve north from Union Station, below University Avenue and Queen's Park to near Bloor Street, where it turned west to terminate at St. George and Bloor Street.

The Bloor–Danforth line opened in 1966 along Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue from Keele Street to Woodbine Avenue, and was extended in 1968 to run from Islington Avenue to Warden Station at Warden and St. Clair Avenues. For six months, the subway was operated as a single system, with trains from Eglinton Station running through to either Keele or Woodbine, while other trains connected the latter two points; after this the two lines were permanently segregated, leaving Lower Bay Station abandoned.

The routing of the line across the Don Valley was possible because of a decision made more than forty years earlier. When the Prince Edward Viaduct was built in 1918, its designer insisted on providing for twin decks below the roadway to allow for future rail traffic. As a result, the subway is able to cross the Don Valley to Danforth Avenue on the east side.

The Yonge-University line was extended north 8.7 km (5.4 mi) from Eglinton Avenue to Finch Avenue and Yonge in 1973 and 1974.

A further 9.9 km (6.2 mi) was added to the Yonge-University line in 1978 when it was extended from St. George and Bloor, running north and northwest to Eglinton Avenue and William R. Allen Road, then north along the median of the Allen Road to Wilson Avenue. This extension had been proposed as part of the Spadina Expressway, but when the expressway portion south of Eglinton Avenue was cancelled after massive protests, the subway was still built following the route through Cedarvale Ravine. Hence, it is called the Spadina subway line, though it follows Spadina Road for less than 2 km (1.2 mi).

In October 1976, arson caused the destruction of four subway cars and damage to Christie Station, resulting in the closure of the Bloor-Danforth line for three days, and the bypassing of Christie Station for some time afterwards for repairs. Extensions were added in 1980 at both ends of the Bloor-Danforth line. These extensions each added a single station, much needed bus bays to connect to surface routes, and room on the eastern end to connect to Line 3 Scarborough.

Spanning six stations over 6.8 km (4.2 mi) of track, the Scarborough RT is an intermediate-capacity line built almost entirely above ground, which has no direct track connections to the other lines and uses a separate fleet of UTDC Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) trains based on dramatically different technology (similar to that used in the Mark I cars of the Vancouver SkyTrain system). Nevertheless, its operating practices are the same as those of the three subway lines: the route is fully isolated from road traffic and pedestrians, the stations are fully covered, and the trains are boarded through many doors from high platforms within a fare-paid zone set off by a barrier. The TTC therefore includes it with the other rapid transit lines for mapping and administrative purposes.


A subway entrance sign in Downtown Toronto, iconic until 2002 when the logo was abandoned for the original TTC logo

An additional 2 km (1.2 mi) was added to the north end of the Spadina section of the Yonge-University line, adding one station (Downsview), with bus bays for connections to surface routes. At the time, a newly elected provincial Progressive Conservative government cancelled its share of funding that would have extended this route northward to York University and Steeles Avenue. This extension is under construction, and funding has been committed by governments (see Future expansion).

In August 1995, the TTC suffered the deadliest subway accident in Canadian history, known as the Russell Hill accident, on the Yonge-University line south of St. Clair West Station. Three women died and 100 other people were injured, a few of them seriously. This led to a major reorganization at the TTC, since contributing to maintaining a "state of good repair" (i.e., an increased emphasis on safety and maintenance of existing TTC capital/services) and less so on expansion.

The subway's newest line, Sheppard, opened in 2002. It was the only one of three subway projects backed in the mid-1990s by the Government of Ontario under Premier Bob Rae to be completed. It runs 5.5 km (3.4 mi) east, underneath Sheppard Avenue from Sheppard Station on the Yonge line (now renamed Sheppard–Yonge), to Don Mills Station at Sheppard and Don Mills Road. The Sheppard line has fewer users than the other two subway lines, and shorter trains are run.

A child was born on a TTC subway station platform for the first time in the subway's history on February 6, 2006.[16] This incident occurred at Wellesley Station and caused delays on the subway system.[16][17]

An automated voice system was added to announce each station, which replaced the need for the train operator to announce each stop which has since been installed throughout the entire subway and RT system. Station announcements by the operators began on January 8, 1995, under pressure from advocacy groups for the visually impaired. However, announcements were sporadic until the TTC began to enforce the policy in around 2005. Automated announcements were implemented under further pressure from the advocacy groups. The TTC's new Toronto Rocket subway trains provide audible and visible automatic stop announcements.[18][19]

As of December 23, 2016, Presto card readers have been installed in all TTC subway stations (at least one entrance per station) in the system.[20]

Operations and procedures[edit]

A T1 subway car stationary at Warden

Like most subways in North America, the Toronto subway/RT trains collect their electric power from a third rail mounted alongside the tracks. 'Shoes' mounted on the trucks are located on both sides of each coach for the required contact. Power is supplied at 600 V DC. Scarborough RT trains cannot switch directions except at the ends of the line as there are no crossovers between the two termini. In contrast, the subway system was built in multiple segments, thereby providing multiple crossovers. Current service patterns do not generally provide regular short turn service; however, the extra crossovers are used during emergencies where service is suspended in certain areas. The only exception is during the morning rush hour when some northbound trains short-turn at St. Clair West Station or, in rarer cases, Glencairn Station.

Safety procedures have progressed over time, usually in response to a mishap. One such incident was in March 1963, when there was an electrical short in a subway car's motor. The driver decided to continue operating the train, despite visible smoke in the affected car, until the train reached Union Station. This decision resulted in the destruction of six subway cars and extensive damage to the tunnel and signal lines west of Union Station. Following this incident, safety procedures involving electrical malfunctions and/or fire in subway trains, were revised to improve safety and reduce the likelihood of a similar incident occurring.

The TTC's Union subway station connects with Union Station, Toronto's main railway station, which serves GO Transit's commuter trains, Via Rail, and Amtrak. It used to serve Ontario Northland. GO trains stop at or near several other subway stations. GO buses connect with the TTC at a number of stations.

A train guard is responsible for opening and closing the subway car doors, and making sure no one is trapped in a door as the train leaves a station. From the subway's inception in 1954 to 1991, a transit worker notified patrons that the subway car doors were closing with two short blasts from a whistle. In 1991, as a result of lawsuits,[citation needed] electronic chimes, using a descending three-note arpeggio (either G-E-C [C major, root position], or between one or two semitones lower (F♯-D♯-B [B major, root position] or F-D-B♭ [B♭ major, root position])) and a flashing pair of orange lights above the doorway, added for the hearing impaired, were tested and gradually introduced system-wide during the 1990s. The Toronto Rocket trains use the same door chimes and flashing orange lights as the older trains do, and also plays the additional voice announcement at the end of the closing door chimes, "Please stand clear of the doors".

Platform markers[edit]

The following platform markers on used on the Toronto subway:[21]

  • Circular Red Disk (all lines)—This marker is typically mounted on the station platform wall to assist the operator to position the train in the station. When the train is stopped with the marker located between the front of the train and the first set of doors, the train is properly spotted (that is, aligned) in the station.
  • Circular Green Disk (Line 2 Bloor–Danforth)—This marker is typically mounted on the station platform wall and applies to H-type and T-1 trains. When the guard's window is aligned with this marker, under normal operating conditions, the guard knows that the train is properly spotted on the platform and it is safe to open the doors.
  • Circular Orange Disk (Line 2 Bloor–Danforth)—This marker is typically mounted on the station platform wall to assist the guard on H-type and T-1 trains to observe the platform (for passenger safety) for the required distance, under normal operating conditions, as the train is moving to exit the station.
  • Green Triangle (Line 1 Yonge–University and Line 4 Sheppard)—This marker is typically mounted on the station platform wall to assist the guard, who is positioned in the trailing car. When the guard's window is aligned with this marker, the train is properly spotted on the platform, and it is safe to open the doors.
  • Orange Triangle (Line 1 Yonge–University and Line 4 Sheppard)—This marker is typically mounted on the station platform wall to assist the guard positioned in the trailing car to observe the platform for the required distance as the train is moving to exit the station.

Service frequency[edit]

During rush hour, up to 50 trains are on the Yonge–University line simultaneously, 40 trains on the Bloor-Danforth line, 6 trains on the Scarborough RT line, and 4 trains on the Sheppard line. During non-rush hour periods, there are approximately 27 trains on the Yonge-University line at any one time.

On weekdays and Saturday, subway service runs from approximately 6:00 am to 1:30 am; Sunday service begins at 9:00 am. Start times on holidays may vary.

Line Off-peak frequency[4] Rush hour frequency[4]
TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Yonge–University 4–5 minutes 2–3 minutes
TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg Bloor–Danforth 4–5 minutes 2–3 minutes
TTC - Line 3 - Scarborough RT line.svg Scarborough 5–6 minutes 4–5 minutes
TTC - Line 4 - Sheppard line.svg Sheppard 5–6 minutes 5–6 minutes

Stations and features[edit]

The Toronto subway has 69 stations divided into four lines. There is one abandoned station, Lower Bay, which was used for only six months in 1966. Most stations are named for the nearest major arterial road crossed by the line in question. A few are named for major landmarks, such as shopping centres or transportation hubs, served by the station. The University Avenue section of the Yonge–University line, in particular, is named entirely for landmarks (public institutions and major churches).

All trains, except for short turns, stop at every station along their route and run the entire length of their line from terminus to terminus.


A growing number of Toronto's subway stations are accessible to wheelchair users in general and riders with accessibility issues. Upgrade plans to stations call for all stations to have barrier free, and elevator access by 2020.


The May 2010 TTC cleanliness audit of subway stations found that none of them meet the transit agency's highest standard for cleanliness and general state of repair. Only 21 stations scored in the 70–80% range in the TTC's cleanliness scale, a range described as "Ordinary Tidiness", while 45 fell in the 60–70% range achieving what the commission describes as "Casual Inattentiveness". The May audit was the third in a series of comprehensive assessments that began in 2009. The commission announced a "Cleaning Blitz" that woukd add 30 new temporary cleaners for the latter part of 2010 to address major issues and has other action plans that include more full-time cleaners, and new and more effective ways at addressing station cleanliness.[22][23]

Public art[edit]

Over time, Toronto's subway system has become a hidden art gallery, home to more than two dozen pieces installed in subway stations. Here is a list of artwork by line and station.

Line 1 Yonge–University[edit]

Hockey Knights in Canada at College Station
Columns in Museum Station
A Spadina Summer Under All Seasons at Dupont Station

College Station: One of the most memorable art pieces in the subway system is Charles Pachter's Hockey Knights in Canada, installed in 1985. The two-part installation, just steps from Maple Leaf Gardens, depicts the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs squaring off from opposite sides of the subway tracks, with the Canadiens on the northbound side and the Leafs on the southbound side. The name of the artwork is a pun derived from Hockey Night in Canada.

Queen Station contains painted murals by John Boyle at the platform level entitled Our Nell,[24] featuring depictions of Nellie McClung, William Lyon Mackenzie, as well as the former Simpson's and Eaton's department stores.

Union Station features the art piece "Zones of Immersion" by Stuart Reid, a professor at the OCAD University. The work comprises 166 large glass panels along the length of the pratform depicting sketches of commuters.[25][26]

Osgoode and St. Patrick subway stations will be renovated to provide transit riders with a visual experience linking them to the major cultural institutions in the area, such as the Textile Museum of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario and OCAD University near St. Patrick Station, and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts at Osgoode Station.

Queen's Park: A ceramic tile mural, a gift from the Government of Portugal,[27] is located within the fare-paid area of the mezzanine. The mural features subject matter inspired by Portuguese exploration of the New World. It was designed by Ana Vilel, manufactured by Viúva Lamego in Lisbon and installed here in 2003.

Museum Station: After a renovation started in June 2007 and completed on April 8, 2008, the station platform feature columns resembling the Egyptian god Osiris, First Nations house posts, Doric columns found in the Parthenon, China's Forbidden City columns, and Toltec warriors. These decorative columns pay tribute to the nearby Royal Ontario Museum served by the station.

Spadina Station features a tilework mural with approximately 10,000 circular tiles and another mural called Barren Ground Caribou by Joyce Wieland.

Dupont Station features A Spadina Summer Under All Seasons, an installation from the 1970s. Using thousands of pieces of glass, artist James Sutherland built colourful mosaics of flowers directly into the station's tiling. Two giant flowers face each other across the tracks, reaching upward into a mezzanine level lined with smaller flower mosaics.

St. Clair West Station features an enamel mural called Tempo by Gordon Rayner. Also, as part of the 2017 station renovations, a new artwork inspired by a children's book written by Pierre Burton will be installed depicting 40 bronze snails.[28]

Eglinton West Station features an artwork called Summertime Streetcar by Gerald Zeldin, which consists of two enamel murals depicting PCC streetcars facing each other, although these streetcars had never served this station.

Yorkdale Station used to have a sculpture called "Arc-en-Ciel" (French for "Rainbow"), in which neon lights in various colours flashed in the appropriate direction when a train passed by. However, it stopped working soon after it was installed. Because the TTC had not budgeted for its maintenance, it was removed in the mid-1990s at the artist's request.[29]

Line 2 Bloor–Danforth[edit]

Pape Station: The platforms and station concourse are decorated with rectangular panels depicting features of the station and of the neighbourhood. The artwork by Allan Harding MacKay and titled Source/Derivations was installed as part of the 2013 station renovations.[30]

Line 4 Sheppard[edit]

A "clock" near escalators at mezzanine level at Bayview Station

Each Sheppard line station has an artistic feature. USA Today said of the Sheppard subway line: "Despite the remarkable engineering feats of this metro, known as Sheppard Subway, [it is] the art covering walls, ceilings, and platforms of all five stations that stands out. Each station is 'a total art experience where artists have created imaginative environments, uniquely expressing themes of community, location, and heritage' through panoramic landscapes and ceramic wall murals."[31]

Sheppard–Yonge Station features Immersion Land, a mosaic composed of 1.5 million one-inch tiles, created by Toronto artist Stacey Spiegel. The installation was developed from a digitized and pixelated blend of 150 photographs depicting lush landscapes, country homes, and rural scenes from Yonge Street as it stretches towards North Bay.

Bayview Station: Shadows of common objects such as apples and ladders silk screened to the linoleum and walls framed by patches of coloured tile gives it a kind of surreal look called Trompe-l'œil. Panya Clark Espinal is the artist who designed the art in the Bayview Station.[32][33]

Bessarion: Images of the backs of people's heads have been silk-screened onto wall tiles that highlight the platform walls.

Leslie: Five years before the station opened, artist Micah Lexier began collecting writing samples from the public of the words "Sheppard" and "Leslie". Over 3,000 of these samples were used in the installation, and the words were silk-screened onto tiles. In total, 17,000 of these tiles are on the walls of the station, each featuring the handwritten contribution of a community member. The installation was dubbed Ampersand in recognition of the "&" symbol – the only consistent element of each tile.

Don Mills: Metallic inlays of shells in the floor of the platform make it appear underwater, while in the concourse, tile patterns representing geological strata make it appear underground (which it is).

Wireless Internet access[edit]

On December 13, 2013, wireless Internet access was launched at Bloor–Yonge and St. George stations. The ad-supported Wi-Fi service (called "TConnect") is provided by BAI Canada, who have agreed to pay $25 million to the TTC over a 20-year period for the exclusive rights to provide the service. TTC/BAI Canada plan to offer TCONNECT at all underground stations.[34] Commuters have to view a video advertisement to gain access to the Internet.[35] It is expected that all of the 69 subway stations will have service by 2017.[36]

From early December 2015 to late January 2016, users of TConnect were required to authenticate themselves using a Twitter account, whose Canadian operations sponsored the TCONNECT Wi-Fi network.[37] Currently, users of the network only need to sign-in to allow automatic Wi-Fi connection for 30 days.

Rolling stock[edit]

The following table shows the vehicle type by line:[38]

Line Vehicle Number of
per train
TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Yonge–University Toronto Rocket (TR) 6-car trainsets 456[38][note 1] 6[39] 1080[39]
TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg Bloor–Danforth T-series (T1) 370[38] 6[39] 1000[39]
TTC - Line 3 - Scarborough RT line.svg Scarborough S-series 28[38] 4[39] 220[39]
TTC - Line 4 - Sheppard line.svg Sheppard Toronto Rocket (TR) 4-car trainsets 24[38][note 2] 4[40] 720[note 3]
Future line (under construction):
TTC - Line 5.svg Eglinton Flexity Freedom 76[41][note 4] 1-3[42] 163-489[42]
  1. ^ 456 vehicles ordered for 6-car TR trainsets, 444 delivered as of January 2017.
  2. ^ 24 vehicles ordered for 4-car TR trainsets, 16 delivered as of January 2017.
  3. ^ 4-car TR train capacity prorated from the capacity of the 6-car TR train.
  4. ^ Planned fleet size for Line 5.

Heavy rail[edit]

The Toronto Rocket, TTC's newest subway train

Lines 1, 2 and 4 currently use two types of vehicles: the new Toronto Rocket (TR) trains on Line 1 Yonge–University and Line 4 Sheppard, and the T1 trains on Line 2 Bloor–Danforth.[43] Because of shorter station platforms, Line 4 uses 4-car TR trains.[40]

The TTC's original G-series cars were manufactured by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company. All subsequent heavy-rail subway cars were manufactured by Bombardier Transportation or one of its predecessors (Montreal Locomotive Works, Hawker Siddeley, and UTDC). All cars starting with the Hawker Siddeley H-series in 1965 have been built in Bombardier's Thunder Bay, Ontario plant. The final H4 subway cars were retired on January 27, 2012.[44] The last H5 subway service run took place on June 14, 2013 and the H6's were retired the following year, with the final run on June 20, 2014.

Light metro[edit]

Line 3 Scarborough uses 28 S-series trains built by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC) in Millhaven, Ontario similar in design to former trains found on the Vancouver SkyTrain. The Mark I models are the original vehicles of the SRT and have been in service for over 30 years. Because of the trains' age, they have been refurbished for operation until the extension of Line 2 Bloor-Danforth is built.

Light rail[edit]

When it opens, Line 5 Eglinton will use the Flexity Freedom low-floor, light-rail vehicle, a Bombardier product.[42]


Heavy rail[edit]

A rare platform accessible signal tree as seen at Islington Station

Fixed block signalling has been used throughout the subway system since the opening of Toronto's first subway in 1954.[45][46] Along with automatic signalling, used to prevent rear-end train collision, interlocking signals are used to prevent collisions from conflicting movements on track crossovers.

In 2009, the TTC awarded a contract to upgrade the signalling system of Line 1 Yonge-University to automatic train control. The project will cost $562-million, $424 million of which is funded by Metrolinx. With ATC, the TTC will be able to reduce the headway between trains from 2.5 minutes to 2 minutes during rush hours, and allow a 25 per cent increase in the number of trains operating on Line 1.[45] ATC will be introduced to Line 1 in phases. ATC will be activated on a part of Line 1 in the fall of 2017 with complete conversion in 2019. Work would then begin to convert Line 2 to ATC.[47]

Light metro[edit]

Line 3 Scarborough uses automatic train control (ATC), meaning it could be operated autonomously. However, for safety, each train has an operator on board who monitors the doors.[9]

Light rail[edit]

When completed, Line 5 Eglinton will use automatic train control on the underground section of the line between Laird station and Mount Dennis station. ATC will also be used for the Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility (under construction) adjacent to Mount Dennis station.[48]


Heavy rail[edit]

The subway system (lines 1, 2 and 4) is built to the unique gauge of 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm) which is the same gauge used on the Toronto streetcar system. This gauge is 2 38 in (60 mm) wider than the usual 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge. Some early subway proposals involved using streetcars at least partially in tunnels, so using same gauge would be advantageous, but the idea was ultimately dropped in favour of dedicated rapid-transit trains. A number of ex-streetcar vehicles were used as work trains for the subway, taking advantage of the common gauge.[49] Indeed, before the opening of the Yonge subway in 1954, there was a temporary interchange track between the Yonge streetcar line and the Davisville Yard on the north side of the Belt Line bridge.[50] However, according to rail historians John F. Bromley and Jack May, the reason that the Yonge subway was built to the streetcar gauge, was that between 1954 and 1965, subway bogies were maintained at the Hillcrest Complex where the streetcar gauge is used for shop tracks. The Davisville Carhouse was not equipped to perform such heavy maintenance, and the bogies would be loaded onto a specially built track trailer for shipment between Davisville and Hillcrest.[51]

Light metro[edit]

The Scarborough RT (Line 3 Scarborough) uses standard-gauge tracks, as the ICTS design for the line did not allow for interchanging equipment between the subway system and the SRT.[49] Thus, there can be no interchange of rail equipment between lines 2 and 3. When its ICTS vehicles need anything more than basic service (which can be carried out in the RT's own McCowan Yard), they are carried by truck to the Greenwood Subway Yard.[52]

Light rail[edit]

Line 5 Eglinton (Eglinton Crosstown line), Finch West and Sheppard East LRT lines will be constructed to 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge. The projects are receiving a large part of their funding from the Ontario provincial transit authority Metrolinx and, to ensure a better price for purchasing vehicles, it wants to have a degree of commonality with other similar projects within Ontario.[53]


The subway and RT have four active yards that provide storage, maintenance and cleaning for the rolling stock.

Facilities Year opened Services
Davisville Subway Yard 1954 services the Yonge–University and Sheppard lines
Greenwood Subway Yard 1966 services the Bloor–Danforth line
Wilson Subway Yard 1977 services the Yonge-University line
McCowan RT Yard 1985 services the Scarborough RT line
Vincent Subway Yard 1966 inactive (closed in 1978)


Mind the gap sign in the Toronto subway

Emergency responders[edit]

These organizations provide emergency response:

  • Toronto Police Service and Toronto Police Transit Patrol Unit
    • respond to more serious crime and life safety related calls
  • Toronto Paramedic Services
    • Respond to all medical emergencies
    • A trial program began in 2008 with Toronto EMS and has been expanded and made permanent with EMS personnel on at several stations during the rush hour (Spadina and Yonge & Bloor - morning rush (7am - 10am)) and (Union and Eglinton - evening rush (2pm - 6pm))[54]
  • Toronto Fire Services
    • respond in tiered response to medical related calls
    • respond to fire and smoke related emergencies

Emergency devices for passenger use[edit]

There are also several safety systems for use by passengers in emergencies:

  • Emergency Alarms (formerly Passenger Assistance Alarms): Located throughout all subway and RT trains — When the yellow strip is pressed, an audible alarm is activated within the car, a notification is sent to the train crew and the Transit Control Centre, which in turn dispatches a tiered response. An orange light is activated on the outside of the car with the alarm for emergency personnel to see where the problem is.[55]
  • Emergency power cut devices: Marked by a blue light, located at both ends of each subway and RT platform — For use to cut DC traction power in the event a person falls or is observed at track level or any emergency where train movement into the station would be dangerous. These devices cut power in both directions for approximately one station each way.[56]
  • Emergency stopping mechanisms (PGEV — Passenger/Guard Emergency Valve): Located at each end of each subway/RT car (with exception of the Toronto Rocket trains) — Will activate the emergency brakes of the vehicle stopping it in its current location (for use in extreme emergencies I.e. persons trapped in doors as train departs station, doors opening in the tunnel, derailments etc.)[56]
  • Passenger intercoms: Located on subway platforms and near/in elevators in stations - For use to inform station collector of security/life safety issues[55]
  • Automated external defibrillators (AEDs): Located in several subway stations near the collector booth(s) - for use in the event someone suffers cardiac arrest
  • Fire extinguishers: Located on subway/RT platforms - not specifically for use by customers but available if necessary
  • Public telephones: Located in various locations in all stations, and at the Designated Waiting Area's on each subway platform. Emergency calls can be made to 911 toll free.[55] Phones located at the DWA's also include a "Crisis Link" button that connect callers - free of charge - to a 24-hour crisis line in the event that they are contemplating self-harm.


Subway operators begin their training at Hillcrest with a virtual reality mockup of a Toronto Rocket car. The simulator consists of the operator cab with full functions, a door and partial interior of a subway car. The simulator is housed in a simulated subway tunnel. Construction of a new subway training centre is underway at the Wilson Complex, as part of the Toronto Rocket subway car programme.[57]

Future expansion[edit]

A representation of the Toronto rapid transit network, including some of the approved and proposed projects, as it will likely appear in 2023.

Under construction[edit]

The Toronto–York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) will extend the west branch of Line 1 Yonge–University north to Vaughan, Ontario in the Regional Municipality of York. It was announced by the Government of Ontario in its 2006 budget, and is funded jointly by the federal government, Metrolinx, the City of Toronto, and the Regional Municipality of York.[5][58] Construction work began in 2010 and was scheduled to open in 2015,[58] but the opening was revised to fall 2016[5] and then to December 2017.[59] The extension is approximately 8.6 kilometres (5.3 mi) long and has a revised cost of almost C$3.2 billion.[60] The six stations under construction are Downsview Park, Finch West, York University, Pioneer Village, Highway 407, and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.

Line 5 Eglinton is a light rail line under construction along Eglinton Avenue that will operate both underground and at-grade between Kennedy and the future Mount Dennis station. It is planned to have 25 stations; 15 of these will be underground while the remaining ten will be at-grade stops accessed at the road's median. Its planned opening is in 2021.


The Finch West LRT is a planned light rail line that will run west from the future Finch West subway station to Humber College in north Etobicoke. It will have 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) of track, 18 surface stations and one underground connection to Line 1 Yonge–University at Finch West station. Work to relocate utilities started in 2016; the expected completion is in 2021.[61]

The Sheppard East LRT is a planned light rail line that will run east from Don Mills subway station to Morningside Avenue in Scarborough. The line would be 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) long with 25 surface stations and one underground connection at Don Mills Station on Line 4 Sheppard. Construction of the Sheppard East LRT was to start upon completion of the Finch West LRT. [61] However, in July 2016, the Toronto Star reported the Sheppard LRT had been deferred indefinitely.[41]

The Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) is a proposal to replace Line 3 Scarborough with an eastward extension of Line 2 Bloor–Danforth. On October 8, 2013, Toronto City Council conducted a debate on whether to replace Line 3 Scarborough with a light rail line or a subway extension. In 2014, the city council voted to extend Line 2 Bloor–Danforth to Scarborough City Centre, which will eventually lead to the closure of Line 3.[6][62] The SSE will be 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) long and add one new station to Line 2 at Scarborough Town Centre. TTC and city staff will finalize the precise route of the SSE in early 2017.[63]

The Relief Line is a proposed heavy-rail subway line running from Pape Station south to Queen Street East and then west to the vicinity of Toronto City Hall. The proposal includes intermediate stations at Sherbourne Street, Sumach Street, Broadview Avenue, and another near Gerrard Square. As of January 2016, alignment options and possible stations were still being studied, and the project is unfunded. Construction would take about 10 years to complete.[64] As early as 2008, Metrolinx chair Rob MacIsaac expressed the intent of constructing the Relief Line to prevent overcrowding along Line 1.[65] Toronto City Council also expressed support for this plan.[66]

The Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE) is a proposal to extend Line 1 Yonge–University north along Yonge Street from Finch Station, the existing terminus of Line 1, to Richmond Hill. There would be new stations at Drewry/Cummer, Steeles Avenue, Clark Avenue, Royal Orchard Boulevard, Langstaff Road and the existing Richmond Hill Centre Terminal (Highway 7). The province's MoveOntario 2020 plan proposed this extension. The main problem with this proposal is that Line 1 is at capacity, and the TTC says that the Relief Line and SmartTrack must both be in service before opening the YNSE.[67]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d "2013 TTC Operating Statistics". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 2015-01-14. 
  2. ^ "Public Transportation Ridership Report - Third Quarter, 2014" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. November 30, 2015. p. 36. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  3. ^ "Public Transportation Ridership Report - Fourth Quarter & End-of-Year 2014, 2014" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 3, 2015. p. 34. Retrieved 2015-04-13. 
  4. ^ a b c "Service Summary January 6 to March 30, 2013" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. December 13, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  5. ^ a b c d "2011 Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension Overview". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  6. ^ a b "Toronto Transit Commission Report No. ?? - Scarborough_Subway_Extension_Update" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. June 24, 2014. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "Traffic authorities from all over world see subway opened", Toronto Daily Star, March 30, 1954, p. 3.
  9. ^ a b c James Bow (December 28, 2016). "The Scarborough Rapid Transit Line". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  10. ^ Aaron Adel & James Bow (23 October 2016). "The Sheppard Subway". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  11. ^ Tess Kalinowski (September 24, 2015). "Eglinton Crosstown to open a year later than expected". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-09-24. 
  12. ^ a b c d James Bow, "A History of the Original Yonge Subway", December 8, 2009
  13. ^ James Bow, "Early Subway Proposals", November 10, 2006
  14. ^ "The Toronto Subway Referendum" (editorial), Toronto Daily Star, December 1, 1945, p. 6
  15. ^ "Rapid Transit for Toronto" (TTC advertisement), Toronto Daily Star, December 12, 1945, p. 26
  16. ^ a b Brown-Bowers, Amy; Teotonio, Isabel (February 7, 2006). "Baby born on subway platform". Toronto Star. pp. A1. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  17. ^ Connor, Kevin (February 7, 2006). "Baby, what a ride! Child born on subway platform". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2007-07-21. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Ontario Transit Services Expected To Announce All Transit Stops". Ontario Human Rights Commission. October 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  19. ^ Ku, Christina (June 3, 2007). "Our lady of the stations: Meet the calm-voiced woman behind the TTC's automated subway announcements". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Rocket Talk: What Are Those Subway Symbols For? | news". Torontoist. August 26, 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  22. ^ "No TTC stations meet cleanliness standard". CBC. July 12, 2010. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  23. ^ "Subway Station Appearance Improvement Update" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. July 14, 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  24. ^ Sandy Fairbairn (September 18, 2013). "Boyle's 'Our Nell' has historic value". Readers' Letters. Toronto Star. Retrieved June 3, 2015. they are titled "Our Nell" and depict Nellie McClung, women's rights activist 
  25. ^ Nick Westoll (August 17, 2014). "TTC opens Union Subway Station second platform". Retrieved January 21, 2017. The TTC will also be installing a 500-foot glass art wall to block off the southern side of the University line platform. Stuart Reid won an international public art competition for his piece, "Zones of Immersion," in 2012. 
  26. ^ Christopher Hume (March 31, 2015). "Union Station artwork an exercise in artistic transparency". The Toronto Star. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  27. ^ "The Commission Approved The Installation Of A Ceramic Mural At Queen's Park Station". Meeting No. 1828. Toronto Transit Commission. May 14, 2003. Retrieved 2012-05-01. 
  28. ^ Tara Deschamps (January 19, 2017). "A smother commute". Metro News. p. 6. St. Clair West: TTC is building a barrier-free path to all levels of the station by making adjustments to elevators and concourse and adding sliding doors and accessible ramps. A new art installation involving up to 40 bronze snails and inspired by one of Pierre Burton's children's books will decorate the walls. 
  29. ^ Deschamps, Tara (January 19, 2017). "A smother commute". Metro News. p. 6. Yorkdale: Construction on Yorkdale's TTC parking lot is expected to be finished this year, but there still isn't a completion date for the revival of the arc en ciel art piece made of curved rainbow glass tubes and LED lights that was removed in the mid-90s. 
  30. ^ "Pape Station Improvements". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 20 January 2017. Public Art: As part of the station modernization, art has been incorporated throughout the station, located on the platforms and concourse as well as the station building interior and exterior. Artist Allan Harding MacKay has integrated architectural features of the station and urban features of the neighbourhood in his work. The Art Design Review Committee for Pape Station held a public art competition and selected the artist's concept, titled "Source/Derivations". 
  31. ^ Sell, Shawn (September 2, 2004). "10 great places to stop for subway art". USA Today. 
  32. ^ McIlveen, Eli (December 17, 2006). "Art on the TTC". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  33. ^ Bow, James (April 18, 2007). "Subway Art by Serafin". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Wi-fi Now Available At". TCONNECT. Archived from the original on February 20, 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-07. Each of the 65 underground stations will have wireless and Wi-Fi service by 2017. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ a b c d e "Service Summary" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. January 8, 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-21. 
  39. ^ a b c d e f "2013 TTC Operating Statistics". Toronto Transit Commission. December 31, 2013. Retrieved 2017-01-17. 
  40. ^ a b "Sheppard subway line gets new Toronto Rocket trains". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. May 30, 2016. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  41. ^ a b Ben Spurr (July 20, 2016). "Metrolinx threatens legal action over late delivery of light rail vehicles". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  42. ^ a b c "Crosstown Infographic". Metrolinx. Retrieved 2017-01-17. 
  43. ^ Kalinowski, Tess (March 4, 2011). "So what happened to those TTC improvements?". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  44. ^ Tapper, Josh (January 27, 2012). "Long-running subway car takes final journey". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  45. ^ a b Kalinowski, Tess (November 20, 2014). "TTC signal solution promises subway relief someday — but for now, it's more delays". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-11-29. 
  46. ^ Royson, James (February 8, 2014). "Driverless Toronto needs driverless trains: James". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2015-11-29. 
  47. ^ Andy Byford (January 20, 2017). "Necessity of TTC subway closures explained". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 2017-01-23. The new signal system will be introduced in phases from this fall and will be completed by the end of 2019 at which point we will undertake similar work on Line 2. 
  48. ^ Munro, Steve (June 17, 2013). "Metrolinx Announces Design Changes and Public Meetings on Eglinton LRT (Update 8)". Steve Munro. Archived from the original on March 4, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2013. Metrolinx intends to use automatic train control on the underground section of Eglinton, and the yard access will be part of the ATC territory. 
  49. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions About Toronto's Streetcars". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  50. ^ Baldwin Collection (1953). "Yonge St. looking n. from G.T.R. Belt Line bridge s. of Merton St.". Toronto Public Library. Retrieved 2016-09-21. 
  51. ^ John F. Bromley and Jack May (1973). 50 Years of Progressive Transit. Electric Railroaders' Association. pp. 85,107. ISBN 9781550024487. Retrieved 2016-08-31. Chapter 9 - Subway City; Chapter 11 - The Crosstown Subway 
  52. ^ Aaron Adel & James Bow (June 25, 2015). "The Greenwood Subway Yards". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 2016-12-13. 
  53. ^ "Transit City measures up to international standard". Toronto Star. January 6, 2010. Retrieved 2014-10-04. 
  54. ^ "TTC and Toronto EMS place more paramedics in Toronto's subway system". Toronto Transit Commission. March 20, 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  55. ^ a b c "Security features". Toronto Transit Commission. 
  56. ^ a b "What to do in an emergency". Toronto Transit Commission. 
  57. ^ "Procurement Authorization - Wilson Carhouse Expansion - Toronto Rocket - Contract C1-34" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. July 10, 2008. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  58. ^ a b Kalinoswski, Tess (June 16, 2007). "A $17,5B transit promise". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  59. ^ "Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension – Schedule and Budget Change" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2015-03-23. 
  60. ^ "Toronto-York Spadina subway extension $400M over budget". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 January 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  61. ^ a b Fox, C. (2015-04-27). "Construction on Finch West LRT to begin in 2016 but Sheppard East LRT on hold". CP24. Retrieved 2015-04-27. 
  62. ^ "A Scarborough Subway: Do the Numbers Add Up?". The Globe and Mail. July 4, 2014. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-11-05. 
  63. ^ Ben Spurr (11 January 2017). "Scarborough subway report delayed . . . again". Toronto Star. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  64. ^ Oliver Moore (29 January 2016). "City proposes Queen Street route for Toronto's downtown relief line". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  65. ^ Hertz, Barry (September 4, 2008). "New subway line still a way's off, Metrolinx head says". National Post. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  66. ^ Vincent, Donovan (January 29, 2009). "City favours relief line over subway". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  67. ^ Ben Spurr, Transportation Reporter (2 June 2016). "Yonge subway extension to York Region takes step forward". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 


External links[edit]