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Another tunneling milestone for subway project

Last week, Tuesday, March 5, the TTC’s tunnel-boring machine, “Moley”, completed the milestone of breaking through the headwall into the extraction shaft on the northeast corner of William R. Allen Road and Sheppard Avenue West — just north of Downsview Station. “Moley” tunneled 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) in its final drive and placed 799 liners in the tunnel.

“Moley” started its second tunneling drive in late September, from the launch shaft at the site of the future Sheppard West Station and headed southbound toward Downsview.

This marks the end of tunneling for the southern portion of the the project to extend the Spadina branch of the 1 Yonge - University - Spadina subway northwest beyond Downsview to Vaughan. Crews started removing “Moley” from the extraction shaft the week of March 11. They’ll need about six weeks before they can finish extracting the tunnel-borer from the shaft. Afterwards, contractors will convert the shaft to a drop shaft so that workers can lower rail, systems and equipment to to the subway track level.

“Moley“‘s twin tunneling companion, “Holey”, arrived at the extraction shaft at dawn Friday, December 7. (It started tunneling southward from the Sheppard West launch shaft in July.


The City of Toronto and the TTC held a contest to name the four TBMs working on the subway line in 2010. After 720 people submitted names for the machines and more than 2,000 people voted on line, the City and TTC announced that “Holey and Moley” and “Yorkie and Torkie” are the official names of the four machines.