Regular readers of Transit Toronto are already familiar with “Torkie”, “Yorkie”, “Holey” and “Moley”. They’re the tunnel-boring machines, or TBMs, that the TTC used (and, in the case of “Torkie” and “Yorkie” is still using) to build the twin tunnels for the project to extend the TTC’s 1 Yonge - University - Spadina subway northwest from Downsview to York University and Vaughan.
Now meet “Dennis”, “Lea”, “Don” and “Humber”, the new TBMs that will help Metrolinx dig out the underground portion of is the Eglinton Scarborough Crosstown light rail transit line.
This week, “Dennis” and “Lea”, started digging the underground portion of the line eastward under Eglinton Avenue from Black Creek Drive. Later in the project, “Don” and “Humber” will burrow from just west of Leslie Street heading westward toward Yonge. The machines will bore LRT tunnel at a rate of approximately 10 to 15 metres (30 to 50 feet) a day.
The new LRT line extends about 19 kilometres (12 miles) under and along Eglinton Avenue and includes as many as 25 stations. A little more than 10 kilometres (6.2 miles), from about Keele Street to Laird Drive, will be underground.
In November 2012, Metrolinx held an online contest to select names for the four tunnel boring machines to dig the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. Dennis and Lea represent the neighbourhoods at each end of the tunnel, Mount Dennis and Leaside, while Don and Humber represent the Don and Humber Rivers.
Metrolinx plans to have the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is expected to be in service by 2020. In an Ontario government news release, the Honourable Glen R. Murray, the Minister of Transportation, said, “Our government is moving forward with the largest transit investment in a generation to get the region moving. The new… line will get commuters to work, school and play faster than ever before — up to 60 per cent faster than today.”