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A 'speed ramp' forever stopped

National Post Published: Saturday, March 15, 2008

Everyone knows about the disused Lower Bay subway station, but the TTC has a few other closed-off locations tucked around town. For instance, Keele subway station has a perfectly good secret tunnel.

When the Bloor line opened in 1966, Keele was the western terminus of the Bloor-Danforth line. Passengers who wanted to continue further west boarded a Bloor streetcar that ran as far as Jane Street. For their convenience, the TTC provided a 100-foot “speed ramp,” an escalator without steps, from the subway platform to the streetcar boarding area. (It was similar to the one that has recently been removed from the Spadina subway, except that it sloped down at about a 12-degree angle.) According to James Bow of Transit Toronto (transit. toronto.on.ca), it moved at about 90 feet per minute and could carry 7,200 people per hour.

However, when the subway line was extended to Islington in 1968, the streetcar access was closed off at the platform level and the speed ramp simply walled up. You can still see the lower access point, a windowless metal door at the left of the staircase leading up from the Indian Grove/Indian Road automatic entrance.

True transit geeks will have fun examining the eastbound subway platform wall closely. Although it looks whole from a distance, closer inspection will reveal a seam in the tiles that corresponds to the former entryway to the people-mover. It’s about three-quarters of the way along the platform, toward the eastern end.

Sarah B. Hood, National Post




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